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).

Still not what I was after.

This week I've made three more attempts to catch seatrout from my local river. Each trip was in the evening and I fished for about an hour or an-hour-and-a-half. The first visit was a blank. Well, in fact I did have a bite on my last cast. I was spinning with the usual little Rapala and I'd just packed in and was walking back to the car. As I passed a little sidestream I thought I'd have a flick to see if there was anything there. The light was failing but the water was pretty clear so I could see the little plug wiggling its way back. It was almost under the rod tip when a silver fish rushed out and made a splashy grab at it. In the split second's view that I had I reckoned it was probably a seatrout, but I couldn't be certain. Of course I tried a couple more last casts after that but, unsurprisingly, the fish was no longer interested.

A couple of days later I went again. This time I started fishing a bit later (about 20:00 hr), on a very weedy stretch. It wasn't easy to find fishable gaps in the weed but I gave it a good go with no sign of anything until I reached a short, wide, shallow pool. It was getting a bit gloomy and I was quite hopeful, so when the lure was in mid-river and the rod suddenly yanked round it wasn't a total surprise. There was a splash and a swirl as the fish took but it didn't jump. However, I was still hopeful when a couple of strong runs took line against the clutch. The fish fought well but the chances of it being a seatrout diminished rapidly when it failed to show itself. When it eventually came into view I could see the long, green shape of a modest pike. Never mind! At least it was a fish. I slid it into the net and drew it ashore to have its picture taken - perhaps 3kg in weight. I had no more bites before it was time to go home.

The pike which took my little plug.


A closer view of the lure.


For my third session I decided to fish at the upstream end of the beat. Now this bit is totally unmanaged and, with a dense growth of nettles, dropwort and thistles almost up to my shoulders, access wasn't easy. I pressed on as far upstream as it was possible to go and, by pushing down the bankside vegetation to make a bit of a gap for the rod, I was able to cast down and across to the far bank before retrieving. It wasn't easy fishing but I worked my way downstream fishing each accessible bit of water as I went. I'd probably slogged my way through about 100m of 'jungle' without a sign of a fish when I felt a pluck just after the lure plopped in. At this point the water was shallow and fast flowing. The fish wasn't hooked and I decided that it must have been a small trout, but at least it was encouraging.

I struggled on down a little further, but it was hard work pushing through the dense plants. The water began to deepen as I approached a bend. At this point, reed growth on my bank made further progress impossible. There was just room for a couple of casts before I'd have to go back. I swung the rod and the lure dropped in about a metre from the far bank. The rod tip had barely begun to vibrate when the plug was grabbed and the culprit thrashed heavily at the surface. At last I was into a fish.

At first I thought that the splashing fish wasn't very big, could it be the desired seatrout? The culprit continued to thrash at the surface for a few seconds before submerging and making a short run downstream. Not very trouty behaviour I thought. I regained a few metres of line and felt that it was probably going to be a short tussle, then the fish woke up and made a long, unstoppable downstream run against the clutch. I pressed my finger on the edge of the spool as hard as I dared to try and slow its progress. Eventually the pressure told and I was able to regain a bit of line. Several more strong runs followed but the fish never broke the surface again. By now I was almost certain that it wasn't a seatrout. Eventually, when I'd worked it near enough for a clear view, I saw the silver flank of a good sized salmon.

The bank wasn't too high close to where I stood, and there was an area of slack water - an ideal place to net the fish I thought. I was determined not to make the mistake of using the net too soon, for fear of getting a hook tangled in the meshes. A few minutes of give and take passed and the salmon was now tiring, so I placed the net in the water. I lifted the rod to slide the fish into my net, which was barely big enough (I must get one with a larger ring). The front two thirds of its hefty shape were now over the net. I lifted to make sure the long body would fold into the bag of the net. A final heave to get the entire fish into the net and there was a loud 'crack!' as the net handle snapped. I lunged forward and grabbed the remains of the handle before sliding the salmon onto the bank. Then it was a quick picture before I put it back - probably six or seven kg. Ah well, I needed a new net anyway.

Another non-seatrout.


Perhaps next time I'll catch what I'm after?

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