Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle

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SEA FISHING

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).

31 July 2006

Tobago 3.

Last time I promised to say a bit more about bonefish but before that I'll just mention a couple of other interesting species that we caught in Tobago. One day we had a trip out to Parlatuvier, a fishing village with a small wooden pier. We walked out along the pier and, as usual, there were lots of bait fish around the structure.

The seabed was sandy and flat so I decided to try a sinking lure and tied on an ABU Tormentor. I let it sink almost to the bottom and then jigged it up and down. After a couple of minutes I felt a heavy weight on the line and, reeling in, found that I'd hooked an oval reef squid (I'd have called it a cuttlefish). Down went the tormentor again and up came a second squid. Richard had a go and sure enough he also landed a squid. By peering into the water we could see a shoal of squid attacking the lure. No doubt it would be even better fishing after dark. I'm sure that the squid would be good (if rather large) baits but we never had a chance to try them and simply released them (in a cloud of sepia coloured ink).

The other interesting fish we caught were houndfish. These giant garfish are real buggers to hook. Usually if you find yourself missing bite after bite houndfish are the culprits. I suspect that the real answer would be to use a strip of flying fish or a small bait fish on light float gear but you would surely have to use a wire trace to the single hook. The truth is that houndfish not only have a sharp, spearlike beak and a mouth full of strong needle teeth but when this is combined with a treble hooked lure and a fish that leaps and thrashes about everywhere they are tricky to handle. I never like to be too close to a hooked houndfish when I am wading.

Anyway, bonefish! I mentioned last time that Rich lost a couple of bonefish when they wrecked the hooks and/or split rings on a small plug. Some years ago, in my ignorance, I wrote an article entitled 'Mullet - better than bonefish'. Now mullet are no slouches and I've had my fair share of five to seven pounders on both fly and float gear but I have to be honest - bonefish of this size are something else. We were using our 'bass' gear with spinning rods, thirty pound braid and fixed spool reels. We screwed up the clutch to give maximum resistance to a running fish without risking pulling the hooks out. Mullet-sized bones simply ripped off 100-200m of line (at speed) in a single run and then, often, they did it again. Fantastic!

We hooked bonefish on Rapalas and L Minnows, I suspect any small to medium sized plug would have been OK but the best by far was the shallow diving, 90mm, pearl-sandeel Angel Kiss. This lure cast well, fished easily in the shallow water and certainly attracted and hooked good bonefish. Using it Richard outfished my Rapalas four or five to one and every fish was an event to remember.

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 - docladle@hotmail.com

Reef squid and lure.

The picture doesn't show the squid's fantastic irridescent green eyes..

Bonefish on jointed Rapala.

This was one of the smallest ones we landed.

Proud angler!

I was chuffed with this fish.  Note the spinning gear in the background.

Beaten!

After a long hard battle Rich is about to beach a good bonefish.

Phew!

Believe me they were both tired.

Cracking fish!

Richard had several fish of this quality.

Another one.

This shows the form and colouring of the fish well.

Houndfish.

More like a weapon than a fish.