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).

I nearly caught a bass.

The trouble with looking at other peoples fishing catch records is that they always seem to be catching something. Of course it's never like that and everyone has blanks at times. This was my week for a blank. Anyway, it wasn't a total waste because, as it happens Ben and I had been doing a bit of independent exploring with a view to finding some new spots.

Early in the week I went for an early morning fishing session but the place I chose was more or less dead. I popped a large popper for a good half-hour without seeing even a vestige of a bass. I decided that it was going to be futile and thought I'd have a walk to see whether I could find any likely places for the future. It was hard work hiking up and down the cliff path with my rod and my heavy bag and although I had a good view of the sea there was nowhere, as far as I could tell, that I could easily get down to have a closer look. At one spot I saw a big flock of sandwich terns fishing for sandeels and the place just shouted 'bass' but I was still hundreds of feet above the sea. What a downer!

When I got home I rang Ben and told him what I'd seen so he said he'd go later in the week and look for a way down to the shore. In fact he did better than that, he asked a friend who knew the area and then he went down to explore the feasibility of the proposed route. He said that when he got to the cliff path it was raining. The path, although passable, was covered in sticky horrible clay but, undaunted he slithered his way down to the sea. He was rodless and the sea was pretty rough but he confirmed what I'd thought about the fishing potential.

At the weekend we decided to give the new place (new to us anyway) a go. We got down to the shore fairly quickly but then found that it was a fairly slow process picking our way over the rocks to suitable stances. There was a strong crosswind and the sea was still pretty rough. There was the odd hungry looking tern flapping along the shore but none of them were fishing. A lot of weed was washing about in the surf so we made our way along to the most sheltered area we could find. We split up to fish two different places and using almost identical shallow diving plugs we began to cast. It was not too difficult although on almost every chuck the lure came back adorned with strips of kelp. We flogged away for perhaps half-an-hour then suddenly I felt a hard double yank on the line as a bass grabbed the plug. I was only in contact for a couple of seconds as the fish boiled on the surface and then came unstuck and made good its escape. I was gutted. Neither of us had another sniff despite fishing on for a good while longer.

However, about ten minutes after my 'missed bite', I suddenly heard a loud splosh above the roar of the wind and waves. Looking down I saw, right in the edge, a huge fin flapping out of the sea. For a moment my heart seemed to stop but I realised that it couldn't possibly be the biggest bass in the world and sure enough, just as I was thinking this, up popped the head of a large seal. It must have been grovelling among the rocks for a fish and waving its flippers in the air. The seal bobbed about and watched me for a few seconds, as they do, but as I turned to grab the camera it dived and disappeared. This seal must have been camera shy because when Ben came back along he said that it had done exactly the same thing to him. As soon as the weather picks up we'll no doubt be giving it another go.

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 -

Sheltered spot.

Ben plugging away at the base of the cliff.  He says the seal appeared just in front of him.