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).

02 October 2007

Malta again.

We've just been to Valletta in Malta on an archaeology tour. Of course I took a rod and some gear to fill in time between looking at old ruins. I had determined NOT to fish for mullet which I knew would be abundant and mostly small so I managed four mornings of spinning from rocks at the harbour mouth using shads, spoons, plugs and poppers - it looked good but I never had so much as a sniff.

I suppose I should set the scene and despite the lack of fish it's worth reading on because of what I learned during my visit. I don't suppose I'll ever go to Valletta or indeed Malta again but it might help others who visit. Firstly I should say that lots of the locals fish. Most of them use long poles for float fishing at depth or long telescopic rods for bottom fishing. The gear was all light and the hooks small (about size 8 or 10) - usually baited with bread paste about the size of a marble. The most popular bait is bread but they also use shrimps etc. The only fish I saw anglers catch using these techniques were small (8-10cm) bream but I was told that they catch bigger ones sometimes. One chap that I spoke to used slightly different tactics. His float was a cork and he had a short boom of twisted nylon with a small hook on a dropper at either end. He also baited with bread but he was fishing less than a metre deep right in the breaking waves at the edge of the rocks. He said that he was after mullet and indicated that they were good sized fish but I didn't see him catch anything while I was there.

There were quite a few small boats trolling with hand lines, often well within my casting range, so presumably my spinning from the shore was not completely stupid or futile. However, by far the most interesting thing that I saw happened on our last morning (doesn't it always???). We went on a boat trip round the harbour and while I sat on the top deck of the boat in Sliema Creek I watched two youngsters fishing from the quayside. They clearly knew exactly what they were doing but I could hardly believe my eyes. They were using fairly hefty rods with fixed spool reels but (sadly) I was too far away to see the end tackle. They had no floats or leads and they baited up with HALF A LOAF! I don't know how they did it but they appeared to quickly hith the loaf to the end of the line. As far as I could see they only had one or at most two hooks of modest size somewhere on the loaf which they then lobbed out about ten metres from the quay.

There was no current so the huge lumps of bread just bobbed about in the same area that they landed in. As I watched shoals of small mullet pecked at one or two lumps of bread that had been thrown in as 'loose feed'. Then I saw a splash right next to one bait and another and another. Something was striking at the bread and throwing great fountains of water into the air - certainly not mullet I thought. Before I realised it one of the lads was playing a good fish. Clearly it had hooked itself as it attacked the half loaf. It put up a good battle but eventually the young (expert (he certainly knew what he was doing) lifted it onto the quayside and popped it into his carrier bag. He actually had two fish when he packed in and they weren't mullet but I couldn't be sure what they were - saupe or bluefish were my best guesses. Anyway that was it - no fish caught but a method that I'd never seen before and that I never got the chance to try out. To do it you'd need a good source of bread (half a loaf every cast) and a few tips on how to bait up. If anyone knows more I'd be ever so interested.

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 harbour mouth.

I spun from these rocks every dawn with no result.


This bloke seemed to know exactly what to do and dropped his baits into the swell at the edge. Note the 'shirvy' bucket.

Float gear

I dredged this two hooked float gear up while I was spinning.  The swivels and bead are just as crude and pointless as the stuff people often use over here.

A real expert.

Note the size of the bait, I wish I knew how he rigged it.

Loose feed.

lots of small mullet etc attacked the bread.

Free-lined bread.

That's what I call a bait.  I thought my carp baits were a good size.  Like an iceberg most of it's submerged.

The catch.

Not a mullet but what the hell is it?

Fishing party.

I couldn't resist this shot of happy anglers.