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).

03 February 2007.

Better fishing.

It's ages since I promised to take Steve Boyt fishing. Steve is one of my email correspondents and I'd promised that we would get together for a session some time last Autumn. What with one thing and another we never managed a trip last year and the weather has been so ****** awful lately that I was beginning to despair (and I expect Steve thought I'd forgotten about him). However, this week the river has cleared, water levels have fallen and the weather warmed up. I couldn't go on Monday because of a hospital appointment, on Tuesday I was in Oxford all day but on Wednesday all was well. We met (for the first time ever) just after mid-day and set about catching baits. I caught fish quite quickly on float-fished maggots but they were all smallish. Anyway we decided to give it a go with our mini-baits.

Steve used his own spinning rod and Shimano reel loaded with braid and I gave him a 20lb trace with a 4/0 circle hook and a cork to support the bait. Within minutes of dropping the bait into the first spot it was taken and Steve was into his first pike. Of course it came unstuck after a short time so I told him to drop the bait in again. Sure enough the fish came back for a second go and this time it was played and landed - good start! The next spot we tried was about twenty metres upstream and blow me down Steve had his second pike which was a bit bigger and fought a good deal harder than the first. Clearly they were 'on the feed'. Of course it couldn't last and the third pool, although it looked good, was a blank.

We decided to walk a mile or so downstream to another section but before we did so we went to try and catch a few bigger baits. As luck would have it we managed two decent ones and a really big one - fantastic! Off we went again and within minutes of casting out (actually plopping in!) Steve was into his third fish of the session. We hiked on down, through the muddy field, to the next decent pool and using one of the medium sized dace Steve cast again. This time the fates were against him and after a while the bait made good its escape in the bankside vegetation. I thought it was worth another try so Steve baited up again with one of the smaller baits. It swam into the edge and was promply grabbed by a fish which came off almost at once. Steve's taller than me (who isn't?) and from his high vantage point said he thought that the culprit had been a perch. He baited up again with a small dace and dropped it in. This time there was no mistake and within a minute or two he was landing a beautiful perch of about two-and-a-half pounds. What a bonus!

We went on down to another good pool and again within minutes Steve was into his fourth pike which we landed and returned. The next spot looked fantastic and we gave it a good half-hour but all to no avail. I baited up with the biggest fish but nothing was interested. Steve fished on with a plug (just for a change) but I walked down to a small shallow slack. I swung out the big dace and it was taken at once and almost as quickly came adrift. On the second time of asking I hooked and landed the fish. Clearly the bait had been a bit too big for it to manage easily the first time. By this time we had had enough and so started the long trudge back to the car well satisfied with our session. I wonder if we'll manage another pike trip before the bassing starts?

It's on!

Steve's 'spinning' rod well bent into a nice pike.

First pike.

Not a monster but good to get the first one on the bank.

Back it goes.

Steve returns his first ever pike.

Steve's third pike.

it was easy to slide the fish into a shallow grassy gully.

There it is.

Nicely hooked!  Note the sophisticated float.

---and another one.

A nice fat little pike ready to go back.

Fish of the session!.

Perch are fantastic fish.