Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle

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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).

25 August 2005

Ben's first bass!

My grandson Ben came to stay for a couple of days this week. Before he arrived I asked him (over the phone) what sort of fishing he fancied. "Sea!" was his reply. I went down to the local tackle shop to see if I could get a few ragworm but I was told that there were only the dregs which were about to be chucked away. "They'll do!" I said and came away with a packet of (mostly) small bits and pieces.

The following day Ben duly arrived and we set up some float gear. Ten pound nylon, a size six hook, a single shot for weight and a third of a wine bottle cork for a float. By the time we got to the coast the sun was blazing down out of a cloudless sky anmd the holiday makers were already out in force. We hiked along for about half a mile to avoid the worst of the crowd, baited Ben's hook and he cast out.

The water was clear and calm and only about three feet deep but I was hopeful that there would be some wrasse about. First cast produced nothing in the form of a bite so I was not too hopeful (wrasse are usually keen to have a pluck at a ragworm) so when he cast out again, to the same spot, it was almost a surprise to see the float dip a couple of times and slowly submerge. Ben struck and there was a solid resistance. "I expect it's the bottom Ben," I said but he treated my comment with the disdain it deserved and began to play a lively fish that spent a fair amount of time splashing at the surface - most unwrasselike. Clearly it was a bass and Ben was absolutely thrilled when eventually he was able to slide it ashore.

We took the necessary pictures, slipped the fish back and after a few more unproductive casts moved to a ledge with slightly deeper water. Here we found corkwing wrasse on the feed and ben landed several specimens with typical turquoise and orange throat markings - he did not fancy a picture with these 'tiddlers' after his bass, so we just dropped them straight back.

The following morning we intended to get up at dawn (4am) and try fly-fishing and/or spinning for mackerel bass and pollack but when we woke there was an ominous flash of lightening and a crash of thunder. It seemed unwise to venture out holding carbon fibre lightening conductors so we went back to bed. Later that day the weather improved and once more the sun blazed out. We set up some float gear and went to a local pond to try a spot of maggot fishing. In about two hours Ben landed a couple of hundred rudd and one perch. Eventually he gave up with the rod and simply lowered the maggot baited hook by hand so that he could see the fish take the bait. It was a hectic session but from his reaction afterwards it clearly did not match up to catching his first ever bass.

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 -

A lovely wriggly bass.

I was more surprised than Ben to see what had taken the bait.

A better shot.

I expect that this one will go in the album.

A rudd.

Beautiful fish rudd - but not a patch on bass - I know what we'll be doing next time he comes to stay.