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).

Different weirs different, tactics, different fish.

Following my catch of perch the other day I had another try with minnows as bait. Again there were perch in the deeper (perhaps 2m) water under the sill of the weir. For some reason the minnows were much harder to catch this time (fewer, less frequent bites) so it was fairly disappointing. There was the added problem of a heavy downpour of rain after I'd been fishing for about half-an-hour. Anyway, I packed in and went home after catching only four modest perch.

Typical position of the circle hook (plus algae) in the mouth of a perch.


Another perch on minnow bait from the water under the weir sill.


A couple of days after my poor perch session I decided to try a different weir a bit further upstream. This one has no deep water and there are lots of boulders under the sill creating a turbulent rush of white water before giving way onto a wide, gravel bedded shallow (brisk flow, no more than 1m deep but mostly only 0.5m). I expect that minnows would work here too but in the past I've done well with a small, jointed Rapala and, because it is easy to cover every inch of ground by plug casting, this tactic is much more efficient. I waded onto the, ankle deep, water of the concrete apron above the weir and made a short cast straight downstream. At some point on the retrieve the lure, working against the current, touched bottom and picked up a string of algal filaments. Now even the smallest bit of vegetation immediately kills the action of my little, balsa plugs. The up side of this is that it doesn't happen very often because they only 'work' at depths of ten or twenty centimetres. Also, as soon as anything affects the action of the lure, its presence is signalled up the line by the lack of vibration, so I can reel in and have another cast.

I began to lengthen and fan out my casts to ensure that every scrap of water was fished. On about the sixth or seventh chuck the lure was seized and a nice brown trout immediately flung itself into the air. The fish rushed about wildly but it was no match for the gear and I soon had it close to the rod tip in the water crashing over the boulders below my feet. I had a choice of wading back to pick up the net (I'd left it leaning against a bush on the bank). However, I wasn't sure that the handle would be long enough to reach the fish and I knew that if I netted it there was a fair chance that I might spend five minutes extracting the hooks from the net. It looked as though the trout was firmly attached so I opted to slide the fish up the face of the weir and onto the apron where I stood in much smoother flow. It worked and I soon had the trout - about 1kg in weight - swimming round my feet. I took the camera out of my jacket pocket and took a couple of quick pictures before unhooking and releasing the fish.

The trout is now swimminhg in the smooth water upstream of the weir.


Slid into the slack of the bankside grasses and ready to be unhooked.


The fish swam off and I paddled back to my previous vantage point on the edge of the weir to recommence fishing. I was able to cast the lure perhaps two thirds of the width of the river, so I gradually inched my way across towards the mid-point of the weir sill. Every cast covered a slightly different area of water. Now I was in a position where there was a risk of casting into the overhanging trees on the far bank. Out went the plug and as it dropped into the boiling foam just behind the sill it was taken again and once more I was treated to the leaping thrashing spectacle of another fine brown trout, a little bigger and somewhat fatter than the first one. This time I knew exactly how to land and unhook the fish and it wasn't long before it swam off in the clear water.

Not much heavier than the first but much better looking.


A better picture, again in the slow flow on the apron of the weir.


All in all it was a very enjoyable half-hour's fishing and I went home for my breakfast well satisfied with the results.

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 -