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).

16 January 2007.

Pike at last!

Cabin fever was setting in. I'd hardly wet a line for weeks (at least it seemed like that to me) unless you counted a couple of dace fishing sessions in the high, filthy river. Every other day it has poured with rain so the river has been over its banks and roaring along with yellow-brown flood water.

On a whim I went to a local pond and after a twenty minute biteless period managed to catch a small roach. I popped it on as livebait but no perch were interested. Then the rain started again and with cold wet hands I packed in.

Two days later and no more rain. Would the river be fishable? What was that big yellow ball up in the sky? I just had to have a go. Bait was no problem - the dace bit as though there was no tomorrow (my recent practice sessions were not wasted) and I soon had my baits. The first spot was the end of a ditch - not a sniff. I moved on to a slack under the roots of an old tree. After about a minute the float shot away. I tightened and the rod arched over. A modest pike of about six pounds gave a good account of itself before shedding the hook. I put on another bait and swung it out. again the float zoomed under. This time the fish was properly hooked under the maxilla and I landed and returned it - it was wonderful just to see a reasonable fish.

I moved on and in the next pool I had another pike a bit smaller. This one came off twice before eventually being firmly hooked and landed. The hook this time was in the front of the upper 'lip'. In my experience these lightly hooked fish are usually on the small side - I don't think it's anything to do with the circle hook. To be honest it's not common to drop pike in this way even on my single hooks and in any case they usually have another go if you persist (these two did at any rate).

I tried a couple more likely places with no joy. I have to say that the river was so high and turbulent that the 'pikey' spots were few and far between. As I was thinking about packing in I looked down and saw half an eel by my feet. It had clearly been caught and chewed by a mink and the little holes left by the sharp canine teeth were clearly visible. I took a picture. Why didn't it eat the whole eel?

Perch bait.

My roach was returned unscathed after its swim.

Pike bait.

The dace are getting ready to spawn and are in cracking condition.

At last.

My first pike swims onto the flooded meadow.


No monster but a lovely fish all the same.


The pike lay in the edge for a while before shooting off into the river.

a bit smaller.

It took me three goes to catch this one..

Mink food.

The mink had eaten the rear half of the eel and left the rest.