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).

Seatrout at dusk.

As we approach the end of the seatrout fishing here in Dorset, the nights are drawing in. It is already pretty dark by about 18:45hr so there's just time for a quick sortie after tea (or dinner, depending what part of the country you come from and how old you are). Anyway, the other day I took my pal Phil for a couple of hours on the river before darkness fell. I said to him that the seatrout fishing was often better after dark but, if you are not familiar with the steep, undercut, snag-ridden banks, it can be a tad difficult to negotiate the river when you can't see (and I only resort to a light to land or unhook fish).

The river was clearing nicely after a couple of wet days, so conditions looked pretty good. To make the most of the remaining light we began fishing at about 16:30. Phil is an excellent sea angler but has not done much river fishing, so I gave him a suitable anti-pike trace and a small jointed plug to get him started. I told my pal to fish down and across with the 9cm, jointed Rapala, to keep moving downstream, and not to spend too long at any spot. I started fishing about fifty metres upstream of him with the same set-up and followed him as he moved on down. We had been casting for perhaps fifteen minutes and Phil had just passed from my view round a large, bankside bush when I heard a great splashing from downstream. I picked up the net and trotted down to see my pal playing a decent sized fish. His catch turned out to be a salmon of perhaps eight pounds which Had followed his lure up a couple of times before taking it, almost at his feet. The fish fought in typical salmon fashion, but before long we had it in the net, unhooked and ready to return. It was Phil's first ever of the species so I took a picture as he picked it up to release it.

We continued on downstream but it was some time before we had any more action. I had one bite which I missed, and Phil managed to overcast and snag the far bank, which entailed a ten minute walk to a bridge and down the far bank to retrieve the lure. One such glitch in a session was pretty good for a first attempt. Having retied his trace we continued on downstream. In the next hour Phil had two decent seatrout and I managed only a single browny and one good (missed) bite before it became too dark and tricky to continue. Four fish in a couple of hour's fishing was pretty good and we were both well pleased.

Two days later I tried again, this time on my own, and starting a couple of hours later. I decided to cover the downstream section where Phil and I had fished for our last half-hour. On my third cast I was into a fish which proved to be yet another salmon of about the same size as the one we'd had before. I popped it back and continued on downstream. There wasn't much action apart from a couple of tentative plucks, and it was getting pretty dark by the time I reached the tail of a large pool. I made a long cast to the point where the water broke into a shallow riffle and held the rod still as the little plug worked its way across just upstream of the fast flow. The lure was roughly in mid-river when there was a fierce snatch and a good seatrout exploded into the air. The trout went ballistic, and it was some time before I had it close enought to switch on my headlight and see exactly what it was. The fish turned out to be a nice specimen of perhaps six pounds. After a couple of minutes manipulating my long handled net I managed to slide it ashore, unhook it and, after taking a quick snap, return it to the river.

Of course I couldn't resist having another go the next day. This time I opted to cover the upstream stretch, where Phil and I had started on our joint trip. By now the river had cleared nicely and I began to fish at 18:00hr. On my third cast the plug was seized in mid-stream and the fish instantly revealed its nature by leaping clear of the surface. After the usual jumping, thrashing, running battle I was able to net my catch and draw it ashore to have its picture taken. Good start! Back went the hefty seatrout and I continued on downstream. Two missed bites and three more seatrout landed, resulted before I packed in after landing my last fish at 07:10. Four good seatrout in an hour's fishing was an excellent return.

Phil's first ever salmon.


... and then his first seatrout.


.... and another one - as the sun goes down.


A stonking, nicely spotted seatrout for me on my next trip.


Another good one (with less spots) to start off the final, one-hour session.


My second fish and it's already getting dark.


Only a couple of pounds, but no less pleasing.


The last fish of my trip, too dark to see where the lure splashed down by now.


If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you!' get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to -