Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle


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If you are feeling a sense of withdrawal from the lack of sea fishing material, please have a look at the new Tackle and Tactics page.

Last time I mentioned catching tench off the top on floating dog biscuits intended for carp. In fact my first trip to the lakes which I fished last summer was specifically for tench. My pal Bob Simmons said that he had had a good day catching tench and invited me to join him the next day.

Bob had caught all his fish on legered cubes of luncheon meat so I decided to follow suit. On arrival at the water I chucked in a few cubes of meat and followed them with a freelined offering of the same bait on a size 8 hook tied direct to 6lb braid. It was only minutes before I had the first run. The fish was hooked and before long I saw the solid green shape of a tench under the water surface.

I was pleased to land the first fish because it is even more years since I caught a tench than a carp. After landing a couple more, including a nice fish of about five pounds I decided to cast alongside the reeds which grew thickly along the bank to my left. A few minutes after the bait settled on the bottom I was into another good fish which ploughed through weeds and lily pads before eventually coming to the net, this time it was a decent carp.

A few days later I went back early in the morning to try the same tactics and landed eight more tench in about an hour-and-a-half. Excellent sport! After that the tench were neglected in favour of carp and it was only at the end of August that I caught some more. I had been carping with the usual dog biscuit baits but had taken a small bag of luncheon meat cubes, just in case!

I caught one small carp and then the fish went quiet, so I decided to have a walk round to see if I could find any fish. I had only gone a few yards when I noticed some lily leaves 'twitching'. The water was flat calm and there was no breeze so it had to be a fish. I watched for a few minutes and it was obvious that something was nuzzling at the base of the lilies, causing the stem and the surface leaf to shudder.

Using my carp tackle I put a half-inch cube of meat on the hook, lowered the bait into the water and opened the bale arm so that the baited hook would sink down to the base of the lily plant. The tension in the line eased showing that the meat had settled. Within seconds the braid was drawn tight again as a fish swam off with my offering. I tightened and after a spirited tussle landed a nice tench. Encouraged I walked round to the next lily patch. I dropped a few free offerings right into the centre of the leaves and soon the telltale shuddering of the leaves began. In went the bait and the whole process was repeated.

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 -



January 30 2002

The first tench I caught last season on freelined luncheon meat.

The fish rolled as it surfaced just under a patch of bistort.

A second tench coming to the net in the same spot.

This time my hands were not shaking quite as much as I held the camera and I switched off the flash.

Fish number 3 on the bank.

All tench are beautiful fish.

--- And another one!.

All the fish took the free lined meat and swam strongly away.

One of the fish that I landed from under the twitching lilies.

This time I had my carp net with me.  The long handle was useful for extracting the fish from the lily pads.