Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle

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10 May 2002

More thinlips!

At the weekend I went fishing with some of my grandchildren. They live in Littlehampton on the Sussex coast and on a previous trip we caught bass, bream, sand smelt, bullheads and gobies from the local quayside. Ever hopeful, I took a dozen ragworm and set up a couple of rods with light, nylon paternosters and size eight hooks. Because it was a flying visit we had no choice about the tides and as it turned out we were only able to fish the last of the ebb. There was a chilly breeze and the water of the river which runs past the quay was only about half a metre deep and pretty murky. To cut a long story short there was nothing doing and the nearest we got to a fish was a three inch sea scorpion which fell off just before it reached the top of the wall. We used very few worms.

I took the remainder of the worms home with me and popped them in the fridge for a future occasion. To tell the truth I forgot about them until, a few days later, a faint and delicate odour reminded me of their presence. Rather than chuck them in the bin I decided to pop down to Poole and try spinning for a few thinlips.

As it turned out the tide was just beginning to ebb when I arrived. I put on one of my heavy bodied spinners, adorned it with the front five centimetres of the best of my worms and began to fish. Bites came immediately but hooking them proved to be a problem. However, in the next couple of hours I landed seven fish, none of them large, and lost one of about four pounds after playing it for a while. By the time I ran out of bait I was using what could best be described as 'ragworm slime' on my hook and although there were still plenty of fish about they were less than enthusiastic about my offerings. By now the tide was well down so I tried turning a few stones in the hope of finding a suitable worm. All I could come up with was a small lugworm and a modest few clams. To my surprise I managed to get mullet bites on both these baits and although I pricked a couple of fish I did not hook any.

The most interesting thing was a huge shoal of thinlips which began to feed in the surface film - on what I have no idea. Of course the fly rod was at home so catching them was out of the question.

Next time I visit my eldest sons family I shall take the mullet spinners and, grandchildren, weather and tides permitting, I shall try for mullet in the mouth of the River Arun.

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 -

The fishing party.

Paul, Me,Orion, Matthew, James and Ben - all rarin to go.

The first thinlip.

This one took a reasonably firm (if dead) bait.

Ready for landing.

Note the curious kink in the middle of the lower lip, a feature of the mullet's particle feeding strategy.

Small enough to swing in

The barrel 'lead' body of the lure is clearly visible.