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).

Baja 4

This is the last piece from our recent trip to Mexico. Steve and I achieved our aim of catching a roosterfish (neither of us had ever done it before) so it was an out and out success. We also learned a hell of a lot about these fish so, if we ever get another chance we'll be better prepared.

However, my most enjoyable event of the trip was a lost fish. Steve and I were trying to catch roosterfish by spinning. We'd already had a couple and lost one or two others but to tell the truth the bloody things don't really like artificials (in my view at any rate). The local charter boats often trolled live mullet only a few metres from the beach where we were staying (and fishing). To cut a long story short they weren't catching anything as far as I could see (typically they had two rods in holders and a bottle of beer in hand). I'd also met a guide, with his fly-fishing American clients, who came down four mornings on the trot. He said that it had been good the previous week (typical eh!) but they'd had nothing at all. Now, I assume that he thought that his guests would have a good chance of a fish from our beach so at least we were in the right place.

Anyway, we'd seen a few roosters zipping along the beach (black, oval shapes going along at about 8kph and only a couple of metres out) looking for unwary baitfish. If you chucked a plug (or a fly) at them they usually buggered off or ignored it so I decided to try a livebait. I tied a circle hook on my line and after catching a mullet of about 15-20cm. I lip hooked it on the circle hook. A split wine cork was pushed on the line half a metre from the hook and the whole lot was dumped into the sea. The mullet seemed to be as tough as old boots and my fish swam round like mad all the time. After the best part of an hour I'd seen no more roosters (isn't that just the way of things) and Steve was (understandably) getting a bit bored standing round with the video camera, so he buggered off back to the house and left me to it.

You can guess what happened next. Ten minutes after he had gone a decent rooster came zipping along the beach. I lobbed my mullet (about three metres out) towards it - it swam past. I ran after the rooster and repeated the lob - again it swam past. More sprinting and a third lob. This time, as the rooster approached I gave my mullet a twitch - it saw it. The bait swam to the surface to avoid being eaten, the roosterfish hurtled after it and missed. Cork, mullet and rooster left the water several times as the predator tried to grab the panic stricken bait. I was up to the eyeballs with adrenaline. Eventually the mullet was engulfed and with my heart in my mouth I let the rooster run off (bale arm open) with the braid streaming off the reel. After it had gone fifteen or twenty metres I closed the bale arm and allowed the line to tighten. The fish was on. The clutch screamed as it pissed off out to sea, five ten, fifteen metres, then the line went slack - the hook had pulled. I collapsed on the beach. What a fish!!!!

We caught lots more fish during our stay but that was my highlight. It's not all about catching fish is it?

I'll put a few more pictures of the place and some of the astonishing desert plants on this page just to complete the atmosphere of Baja as we felt it.

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

Hard at it.

Me spinning from the beach where we caught (and lost) our roosterfish.

Steve's in.

Steve playing a rooster.  He hooked one right at the start of our trip but it came unstuck.

Nearly there.

After a bit of a tussle he eases the fish towards the sand.

Wow!

His first rooster fish.

Close up.

The fish took a Bull Chop lure - a sinker that planes upwards on the retrieve.

My first one.

Was I pleased to get one!

Back it goes.

The fish swims off to harrass the mullet on another day.

A good road.

This is a typical dirt road.  They were often impassable even with four-wheel drive.

Evening primrose.

Just like ours but a dwarf succulent.

stinger!

This is a sort of desert nettle.  I wouldn't mind it in my garden.

?

Just a cracking pink succulent.

Time to go home.

A fantastic fishing trip.  Not the biggest fish in the world but wonderful sport.