Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle


Information Page

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 four 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. 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 so if you are new to fly fishing or spinning these are the ones for you).

Happy New Year

22 December 2005.

Festive Fishing.

My grandson Ben came over to stay this week armed with his Christmas hat, rod and tackle box so I knew that we had to go fishing. By some miracle there was no frost on the appointed morning so I felt that we were in with a chance. I donned my own festive headgear and we set off.

Ben was quite keen to try one of the local lakes but I persuaded him that the river would be a better bet. I had a few maggots left from a previous trip so we decided to try and catch some bait then to have ago for a pike.

It turned out that Ben had left his floats at home so I dug out an old porcupine quill and we set up his 'dace' gear. When we reached our chosen fishing spot I threw in a few maggots and ben began to trot his float down. It was only a minute or two before he began to get bites and before long he had landed a couple of nice dace. "You have a go while I have a sandwich." he said. So I picked up my float gear. Of course my first dace was minute and I suffered all the usual mockery regarding my ability to catch decent fish (he's just eight but they soon learn don't they?).

Shortly afterwards I saved face by catching a grayling then a couple more respectable dace. By now Ben had eaten his sandwiches and biscuits so we packed in and set up the pike rod. Now I wouldn't say that he is impatient but I doubt that the float had been in the water for more than a couple of minutes before he was asking why he hadn't had a bite yet. I counselled patience and he quietened down. Fortunately it was only a couple of minutes more before there was a boil and away went the cork. Ben was using one of the semi-circle hooks that I'm trying out and he tightened into the fish nicely. It struggled hard but he played it nicely and I was able (at risk of a ducking) to slide it ashore - eight or nine pounds - very nice! Unfortunately the hook was in the back of the throat (I don't think this would happen with a full circle hook) but I managed to remove it with no damage to the fish.

We moved on to another swim and in went Ben's gear again. This time the water was only about two feet deep so we set the float at about half the depth. The bait drifted round for a couple of minutes and then, as if by magic, a long green shape appeared behind it. The pike hardly needed to move to engulf the bait and Ben was into his second fish. This one, neatly hooked in the lip, was more of a problem and it was a good five minutes before we managed to bank it. Just over twenty pounds - his second twenty. When I think how many years it took me to land a twenty pound fish it makes you wonder. He's obviously got the equivalent of green fingers. I can't wait to take him again. Oh! that won't be for a while, his Dad's just rung to say that he's broken his arm. Merry Christmas Ben.

The first dace.

Ben was pleased with his first catch of the day.

Less impressive.

The lurid hat takes something away from my catch.


I cant help thinking that the festive hat is a bit intrusive.

It's on!

Ben's hat gives him a perky look as he leans into his first pike.

Ready to return.

it's never a good idea to let your model look into the sun.

A better fish.

Ben's twenty pounder surges away as it is hooked in the shallows.

What a cracker!

Ben has good reason to look pleased with his seasonal catch.