Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle


Information Page

Freshwater Fishing

For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over several years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff).

Not exactly what I was after.

These days I generally fish for an hour or two per session. If I'm not getting bites and catching fish I reckon that I'm in the wrong place at the wrong time. Anyway, last week after catching a good seatrout I couldn't resist having another go and, in fact, I was so enthusiastic that, a couple of days later I went twice on the trot. Oh, I should mention that the replacement net (for the one I lost) proved to be unsuitable for what I wanted (prone to tangling with lure hooks) so I have repaired (bodged) an older one that has rubberised mesh, and it seems fine. As it turned out it was just as well that I did.

On the first evening I began fishing, as usual, just before dusk. The idea is to start off while I can see what I am doing, because the banks are treacherous and it's nice to get a feel of where I'm treading before I have to move about mostly by memory and by 'feel'. I tend to rely on my night vision and only use the headlamp in extreme circumstances, for landing or unhooking fish - a habit that I've gained over many years of early mornings and evenings on the coast.

In fact I only managed a couple of bites on that first attempt, hooking and landing one decent seatrout on my little, jointed Rapala. The following evening I was a bit late arriving so by the time I hooked the first fish it was 19:15hr and already pretty gloomy. I took a picture and returned the fish before pressing on. Ten minutes later I had another smaller seatrout, which put up the usual, leaping, thrashing show before being easily landed. Excellent stuff!

I was well satisfied with the two fish but on the way back to my car there was a short, smooth run (20m?) which had not produced anything for me this year. In past months I had seen one or two decent fish roll in that section so, ever hopeful, I couldn't resist a last cast or two before I packed in. By now it was 19:45 and really dark. I inched my way as near to the soft, squelchy bank as I dared and made my first cast of perhaps four metres, straight across to the far bank. The little plug wriggled its way across unscathed. Without moving my feet I made the next cast a couple of metres further downstream. Again the plug crossed back to my bank without incident. 'Last cast,' I thought, and flicked the lure five or six metres further downstream. I could feel the plug as it vibrated in the current - then it stopped sharply. I raised the rod and all hell let loose. Something big thrashed at the surface and began to rip line off against my usual tight clutch setting. Not really a pikey spot so probably not a pike. Possibly an out of season salmon but I was hoping it might be the mother of all seatrout. Anyway, there was no way that I would find out until I could see what was on the end of my line. Time after time the fish made powerful runs both upstream and downstream. Each time I managed to turn it before it before it went beyond my control (dense trees upstream and an uncrossable ditch downstream). At the end of every run there would be another session of massive boils and twists under the surface but still I hadn't had a view of the fish.

By now it was tiring and apart from one occasion when it tried to burrow under the near bank there were few problems. Time to switch on my light. I tried it at low strength as the fish swam up past me - sure enough it was a large, very red, cock salmon, neatly hooked in the jaw. I would have to net it so I could remove the hook. After a couple of passes I managed to get enough of the fish in my net to slide it ashore. The hook fell out as the line slackened so I took the camera from my pocket and clicked the time delay before picking up the salmon to return it. It was a good metre in length so I guessed 25lb and it certainly felt like it as I heaved it back into the river. An entertaining if slightly disappointing finish.

The seatrout on my first evening.


My second trip and another decent seatrout.


.... and a third one.


Now the salmon, I was in such a rush to get it back that I forgot to switch off the headlamp.


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