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).

Perch as intended -well almost!.

I've been perch fishing agian. As before I started just before daybreak and after losing a weight and a pike on my previous trip I'd slightly modified my gear. The rod and reel were the same with 10kg Whiplash braid (that I use for bass). Knotted to the end of the braid was about 1metre of 7kg clear Amnesia and on the end of this I looped a short length of 6lb mono as weak link for the small weight - because it occasionally wedges in rubbish or stones on the river bed and I didn't want to risk losing the gear or worse still a fish. About half way along the Amnesia I tied a small strong swivel with a short (15-20cm), knottable trace of 7kg wire, terminating in a size 6 circle hook. The exact nature, lengths, strengths and sizes of the line, traces, and hooks is not important and of course there is no need to use wire or indeed such hefty gear for perch, but where I fish there is the ever present risk of small pike and even a chance of a large pike.

The first task is to catch a few baits, which I do by float-fishing a single maggot on a small barbless hook, near the bank. Having put half-a-dozen minnows in my bucket I impale one by its upper lip on the size six circle hook of the other rod. The gear is swung out into the river and allowed to sink to the bottom in perhaps 2m of water. Usually, within less than half-a-minute (sometimes within seconds of the gear 'touching down'), I feel the tap, tap, tap of a perch bite. With the circle hook I don't strike but simply drop the rod tip towards the fish to give a little slack and slowly begin to reel in. With a bit of luck the next indication is the bump, bump, fight of a sizeable perch. The strength and vigour of the tugging is a pretty good indication of the size of the customer. Sometimes, the initial bite is not the desired tapping, but a sharp, solid pull, and as I tighten into it the fish rips away taking line and turns into a pike. Almost invariably, whether a perch or a pike, the customer is lightly hooked in the jaw.

My perch fishing set up.


On my latest trip it wasn't long until I had a gudgeon a couple of bleak and a few minnows in the bucket. I tend to stick a hand in and feel about until I take hold of a suitable bait. This time the gudgeon was first out (they aren't so nippy as the other baits). I hooked it on and swung it out. Almost at once the rod jerked and began to pull over. I gave a little slack and began to wind. The fish was on. I knew at once that it was a reasonable perch, wound it in, netted it and lifted it out. I took a couple of pictures before unhooking the perch and slipping it back into the water. Not a bad fish, well over a pound. At this point I was thinking that I might be in for a good hour's fishing. As it turned out the number of bites and fish caught was excellent but the first fish was the largest of the session. The only fish I had were perch ranging from the first one down to only a couple of ounces (it's amazing how even a small perch can ingest a good sized bait). I pressed on for another hour or so before I packed in and went for breakfast. Probably a dozen fish landed and a fair number missed but nothing was deeply hooked and the pike had the good grace to stay away. I didn't lose any gear and the set-up worked well. I've just bought a few more maggots so I shall go again before long. I really enjoy perch fishing.

The first and largest perch of the session. It took almost at once.


The hook is just inside the mouth, but quite secure.


One of the many smaller perch with the minnow still on the hook.


The same fish. Not quite in focus but the hook size and position is reasonably clear.


Another very small perch on its way in..


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 -