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).

A(lmost) perch a chuck (despite the wire).

I like catching perch. They may not be the biggest fish, nor are they the hardest battlers, but they are attractive, aggressive, interesting fish. This morning was my first sortie to the river since the start of the coarse fishing season and I decided to try catching a few 'stripeys'. I suppose I could have spun or jigged for them but one of my favourite approaches is to paternoster with minnows. The only real down side of this approach is that I have to catch the minnows before I can commence operations. Anyway, I was at the river soon after half-past-four in the morning, armed with a float rod and a few maggots, a bait bucket and a second rod with a light paternoster and size 6 circle hook on a short length of 20lb anti-pike-wire. I have to say that I've never found that wire reduces the number of bites from perch nor, for that matter, from chub or pike.

It was already well light when I arrived at the water. I stood on the concrete beside a weir and plonked my bag, net and rods beside me before dipping a few inches of water into the bucket. As I progged the first maggot on the size 10 hook, I decided that the big hook (still there after my last trip of the previous season) was my first mistake, but I was so eager to get going that I couldn't be bothered to change for a smaller one - silly old man. I lowered it in under the rod tip, the float dipped, and I swung my first minnow to hand before dropping it into the waiting bucket. Good start! The next few bites were missed and it was probably almost ten minutes before I'd managed to accumulate half-a-dozen minnows swimming in the bucket. I knew I should have changed that hook.

Having decided that six minnows was sufficient for me to make a start, I changed rods and chased the largest minnow round the bucket with my left hand. After a few seconds I caught it and gently lip hooked it on my little circle hook before swinging the rig out into mid river. It splashed down about three metres below the sill of the weir and I held the rod hoping that a bite would signal that there were perch in residence - nothing! Without waiting for more than a minute (I'm not very patient) I reeled in to find the minnow and trace were thickly covered in filaments of dark green algae. Clearly I'd dropped the bait into a patch of the stuff. I cleaned all the gunge off before swinging the set up out again. This time it landed, where I had intended, in the white water only 50cm from the sill. It wasn't very deep and the weight touched down almost immediately. Literally, two seconds later there was the tiniest twitch of the line, then another, it HAD to be a fish. I slowly lifted the rod to and as the line tightened I could feel the weight on the end. I began to reel in and there was the familiar bump, bump, bump of a hooked perch. Fantastic! I played the fish in through the fast flow and netted it,to find that it was well over a pound in weight, excellent!

The first perch - and not a bad size, with the two rods in the background.


The remaining five minnows each produced a perch within seconds of splashing down. In fact it generally took longer to catch a minnow rom the bucket than it did to get a bite. In the past I've found that the perch will take dead minnows but much less keenly than lively ones. After the first perch , the five that followed were a slight disappointment, they varied a bit in size but none of them topped the pound. Still, at least the tactics wre working well.

The second perch under the rod tip.


Number two - ready to be lifted out..


Now it was back to catching minnows. Each time, after gathering three or four more baits, I'd go back to catching perch and in the next hour and a quarter I lost cound t of the number that I landed. Once or twice I failed to get an immediate bite, usually to find that the bait, hook and trace were plastered in algae like my first cast. To cut a long story short, the circle hook worked exactly as expected. All the fish except one were nicely lip hooked and easy to return. There was no question that the wire trace deterred them from biting and the response to a fresh minnow was generally instantaneous..

Yet another,nicely hooked, despite traces of the nuisance algae around the hook.


It would be good to catch some larger minnows or perhaps a few bleak or even gudgeon to see whether it was possible to select for the larger perch. In the past attempts to do this have sometimes resulted in catching small to middling pike.

An average specimen.


Another, typically nicely-hooked in the scissors.


One of many beautifully marked fish.


....and a darker looking one.


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 -