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).

16 September 2006

Livebait.

Early in the week I had a short session fly fishing at dawn. my only bite on the fly turned out to be a very small bass. For the last ten minutes I switched to a popper and I had one bite that I missed - presumably another small bass. Anyway - nothing of note.

My next trip was to a rock mark where I expect to catch a range of fish species on the fly gear. For ages we have been saying that we should give livebaits a try for the bass at this spot - largely because potential baits are often plentiful. Anyway, I lugged along my spinning rod, my fly rod and a float rod set up in the same fashion that I use for pike fishing (but without a wire trace). The rig was simple - just a 4/0 circle hook and a wine bottle cork for a float. No weights or swivels.

I set about fly fishing just before first light and my first catch was a bass of well over two pounds - it fought like stink. Then I had a smaller bass and a couple of pollack. My third pollack was tiny (about 12cm) and I decided to try it for live bait. I plopped it into the sea and it seemed to be behaving itself, swimming round under the cork a couple of metres beyond the ledge. I felt that it was safe to pick the fly rod up again so I laid down the float rod, opened the bale arm and left the little pollack to swim where it wanted. As I fly -fished I glanced occasionally at the cork to see that my bait was OK. Suddenly I looked and the cork had gone - 'the pollack must have pulled it under,' was my first thought. I picked up the float rod and tried to lift the float - it wasn't there. I reeled in and it was only when I had recovered about thirty metres of line that I saw my float. The pollack was still on the hook - a bit the worse for wear - but still alive. Could the culprit have been a bass?

Shortly after my abortive 'run' I caught a modest mackerel on the fly. I replaced the pollack with the mackerel which promptly set off for the horizon dragging the cork behind it. No chance of laying the rod down this time so, ignoring the fly tackle I decided to hold the float rod. After five minutes the mackerel was still powering away but it had swum back to within ten metres of where I stood. Although it was capable of dragging my little float under there was no problem keeping in touch with the bait and the rapid vibrations transmitted through the rod and line showed me it was fit and well. Suddenly the cork went under more sharply and the line began to stream off my reel. This time it was just a steady powerful pull, quite different to the throbbing of the mackerel.

I let the fish run for some time, in fact it probably took thirty or forty metres of line before I decided to tighten. My heart was in my mouth as I closed the bale arm and gently lifted the rod. It was on! The clutch buzzed as the fish took line against strong resistance. It was a few minutes before I had my bass close to the ledge. I 'beached' it on a wave and had my first decent look - well over six pounds and beautifully hooked in the scissors. The whole scenario was just like the ones I have experienced many times with pike. Was I pleased?

Apart from anything else the bass was much heavier than any that we have caught on flies or lures from that spot - surely not a coincidence. Anyway, I shall be trying the technique again just to prove the point.

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

Little bass.

this small fish was my only catch on the first session.

Bait!

Only a modest mackerel but much bigger than any of my artificial baits or flies.

Predator!

Just as it should be, my bass was nicely hooked on the circle hook and could be easily released.

Another bait?

Pollack are much less powerful and less lively baits.