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).

20 September 2005

Getting late.

My friend Mark Taylor emailed me a little while back. Mark is a keen naturalist and angler but does not get too many chances to fish with me in Purbeck. We arranged to meet last Friday evening at my house for a trip to the coast. As it turned out Thursday was windy and rainy so I rang Mark and suggested that we change the date. This was not because I am a 'fair weather fisherman' but I felt that conditions might not be good for fish to feed at the surface (I wanted Mark to see some surface action). We decided to try fishing on the Sunday evening - although the high tide, by then, would be after dark.

Nigel rang me on Saturday to say that he'd done exactly what I'd cancelled. I was right in one thing - there had been tonnes of fresh weed and apparently no maggots or surface feeding fish. However, Nigel, using a plug, had managed to catch one small bass and another of 4.5lb. My mistake!

Mark duly arrived on the Sunday, a calm, sunny evening, just right for fishing but a sweaty walk to our 'mark'. The beach was (as Nigel had described to me) piled with fresh weed. There seemed to be very few seaweed fly maggots in the weed so I was not hopeful for surface feeding activity. We tackled up with plugs and began to fish. It was still very sunny and for a while we had no sign of fish at all. Then I had a very tentative pluck from a small fish at maximum range. I missed it! Five minutes later I had a much better bite almost under the rod tip. The fish made a massive swirl, yanked on the plug and let it go, catapulting the lure back into the top section of my rod at great speed. I was gutted to have missed what was obviously a big fish and checked to see that the jet propelled plug had not damaged my rod - it seemed OK.

We fished on and after a while Mark had a bite and after a bit of a tussle with some bladder wrack landed a small but beautifully coloured wrasse. By now the light was beginning to fail and when Mark hooked another fish which fought quite hard we both thought it was the bass we were after. When he slid his catch ashore we could see that it was a decent pollack - quite a rare catch for the spot we were fishing. I missed a couple more tentative bites (not my night) and then Mark landed another pollack of similar size to his first - excellent.

By now it was after eight-o-clock and pretty gloomy. I looked along to my left and saw some fish swirling at the surface so I shouted to Mark and we hurried to the spot. Sure enough there was a good shoal of bass/mullet (it was hard to tell which in the dark) gobbling away at floating maggots. Mark tried his plug and I nipped back for the fly rod. I'd not expected any maggots to be present so I'd only brought streamer flies for bass. I began to cast (flick the fly out five yards or so) and soon hooked a fish which tore off all over the sea. I played it for five or ten minutes and eventually I was just drawing it ashore (I could see that it was a big mullet) it popped off. I rushed back and began to cast again. Soon I hooked another fish and this time I walked backwards and bullied it towards the shore. Before long it slid towards the beach and Mark put his rod down and helped me to land it - another cracking mullet. By now it was 'black dark' so we packed in and set off on the long walk back over the boulders in the dark. Not a bad evening really!

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 -

Mark's wrasse.

Fantastically brightly coloured if a bit on the small side.

One of Mark's pollack.

This is a good fish for a shallow water mark in Purbeck.  Two in a session is remarkeable.

My mullet (I was using my old 6 wt rod and reel picked up in haste when I left home).

I'd hoped for a bass but this would have to do.  I was surprised to find any surface feeders at all in view of the freshness of the weed.