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 several 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. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. 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).

26 July 2006

Tobago 2.

Having tried various beaches and flats with plugs and livebait during the first couple of days Rich and I decided that plugging and fly fishing the flats would be our best bet for sport. Our primary targets were snook, barracuda and bonefish and as a compromise which might give a chance of all three Rich decided to stick to small to medium sized shallow-diving plugs.

I did all the fly fishing and on the whole it was unproductive. I landed a fair variety of fish but all were small. With regard to the fly fishing I should say that even in good conditions there was almost always a ripple on the water and we were wading, often chest deep. With the low angle of view, the choppy water and the patchy bottom of coral sand and turtle grass it was virtually impossible to spot individual fish and cast to them, in other words we had to choose 'good' places and hope that the fish were there. In these circumstances plugging gives a huge advantage over fly fishing. With spinning gear it is possible to cover a vast area of water making minimal disturbance and Richard made the most of his advantage.

Barracuda were numerous on the flats and were often in the sandy 'holes' between beds of turtle grass. Most of the ones we caught were only a few pounds in weight but on one occasion Rich hooked a monster that made a typical lightening run against heavy pressure before shearing through the twenty pound wire trace - we should know by now always to expect the unexpected.

Where there was enough surf to stir up the sand in the water's edge snook were often present. Frequently the water in such places was pretty well clogged up with weed and turtle grass fragments but by fishing just on the outer edge of the debris we managed to land numbers of snook. We barbecued one of Rich's better fish and it proved to be a fantastic meal - quite the equal of any bass I have eaten. Snappers, jacks, palometa, small barracuda and tarpon also took the lures in these mucky spots and although all the tarpon came unstuck (nothing new there) we had fish on plugs, flies and rubber baits (shads).

Early on in our sessions Rich took a fancy to a small L Minnow plug given to me by my pal Alan Bulmer who lives in New Zealand. It is only a few centimetres long, casts well, has a beautiful wiggling action and has already caught me a variety of fish in the UK. Mistake! The lure proved (as we anticipated) to be a great fish attractor and after catching a number of smaller fish on it Rich tried it for bonefish. Stupidly we did not change the hooks on the lure and the first bone he hooked straightened out the trebles before escaping. Of course we switched to stronger hooks and shortly afterwards the second bonefish pulled the hooks off the split rings - do we never learn? These tropical fish are unbelievably powerful.

After losing two bones Rich switched to a shallow diving Maria plug and had no further problems - more about the bone fishing on the next web page..

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 -


This 'cuda was no trouble on the little L Minnow.

Close up.

Lightly hooked and no trouble to land.  No indication of the forthcoming disasters with the lure.

Reasonable snapper.

Again no problem on the little plug.

One of my snook.

Although I was outfished I did catch some reasonable fish like this snook.

A snook for Richard.

Rich had lots of snook by fishing the 'mucky water'.  NOte the algae washed up on the beach.

Better view.

A closer look at the snook and the Maria that caught so many of our fish.