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).

Almost a bass for Rob.

After catching ten bass in half-an-hour the other morning I had to go again. I was up early and down at the coast just after half past three but there were already a couple of cars in the car park when I arrived. Bugger! Anyway, I put the bag on my back, picked up the spinning rod and set off for the beach. Sure enough, when I got to my intended place there were two figures, in the gloom, waving rods about just where I would have fished. Now there was plenty of room for another one but I don't like muscling in on other peoples' spots so I walked on past and trudged a further half-mile before beginning to fish. Nothing doing! I moved on to the next likely spot and tried again - nothing! My third stopping place looked very good so I gave it a good half-hour's flog - still nothing.

By now I was wondering whether the writing was on the wall for that morning so I was just about to wander back and see whether the other blokes had done any good when I saw another angler approaching. It turned out to be Rob - someone who had contacted me by email, a week or two before, with a few bass fishing questions. I'd answered as best I could and Rob had given it a go but, not surprisingly, for his first trip or two had blanked. The gist of Rob's latest email was as follows -

Hi Mike

Was wondering if you can help me with a couple more queries.

I went for an evening session on Saturday. As I worked my way round the shore there were hundreds of gulls sitting on the water in the bay. On approach I could see thousands of hoppers scrambling up the beach! I could also see fish feeding (I think it was anyway, as I don't have a lot of experience) I started to fly fish but they seemed just out of my limited casting range. I was using a maggot baited fly but no joy.

What I'd like to know is "Are there any tips on keeping the hook weed-free before the cast? I really struggled to get any line out without the hook brushing the beach and picking up weed. Also do you use a line tray as I found the line was getting covered in weed at my feet!

One other question. When plugging, am I best to pick a spot and stay with it or should I move along the shore having a couple of chucks as I go?

Sorry for the bombardment I've been on 5 fruitless trips since I last emailed you. I'm only going dusk or dawn and I'm trying to tie it in with periods around H/W or L/W rather than in the slacks desperate to get my first fish on the plug and fly!

Any Help much appreciated.


Rob J

Again I answered to the best of my abilities. Not long afterwards Rob contacted me again as follows -

Hi Mike

After your advice a few weeks ago I wasn't able to take full advantage of the evening tides at the end of last week. I managed an evening session from a local ledge on the bank holiday monday, two of the friends I went with were fishing small worm baits and caught a few small wrasse. I stuck to plugging (determined to get that first fish) but no joy!

I next had an early morning session but again no joy, I saw some fish really close in over some very thick weed they didn't look like they were surface feeding but I could see plenty of tails and fins (were they grubbing around for Idotea??). I tried with a streamer fly but couldn't tempt one!! I finally managed an evening session on monday. High water was a bit late but I thought it was worth a crack. It was lovely when I got down there but as I went round to the east the wind was really blowing I fished as best I could until the line started to blowing back over my head on the cast so decided to wander back to shelter still no joy.

Yesterday I finished work and headed down to the ledge again. I had a few chucks with the J11 on the east side then waded over to the rocks to fish a little rocky bay (this had been where I was fishing on my previous session down there). I cast and retrieved against the flow of tide and also let the lure swing round on a slow retrieve but nothing! I wasn't snagging much despite being able to see the weed, I had a bit of a knock just before low water but failed to hook it. I then saw a few splashes further out, I changed to an Angel Kiss to get the extra distance (dropping the J11 in the water as I did so. It proceeded to float away out of reach I then spent the next 5 - 10 mins trying to catch my lure - I managed it though!!!). I seemed to get into the weed nearly every cast with the Kiss so I switched to a Skitterpop to fish at distance but over the weed, it was flat calm and I always have problems when using poppers so it was at least a bit of practice. Still no joy!

I changed back to the J11 for a couple of chucks before I had to wade back off the rocks. I cast back into the rocky bay a few times then I cast towards the end of the opposite rock outcrop I got a knock and at first I thought it was weed (I'd been hitting the weed quite a bit and knew there was a patch right where my lure was), but the 'weed' pulled back. I gave a strike to make sure the hooks were set and the fish took line wow! It roared off, my clutch was set a little light (I'd had to switch rods at the last minute as mine had a damaged guide, luckily I noticed before I got in the car) so once I had adjusted it I managed to get control and gain some line. The fish had another couple of runs but I managed to keep contact and get it onto the rocks. I took a couple of pics (attached - they're with my phone so not the best) and released the fish to fight another day. I was like Robson Green, hopping around on that rock (without the Geordie accent). What a fish!! I've caught schoolies on bait and on feathers before but nothing like that, easily my best fish and my first on a plug (one that I'd almost lost earlier).

Sorry for the Essay I'm still buzzing now!! I was hoping to go down again tonight and see if the later tide and change in wind affects the fishing but I've got a meeting six so I doubt I'll have time.

Thanks for your tips and info, its really helped keep me positive in the hunt for my first. It was totally worth the wait!

Rob J

Notice that Rob wasn't deterred by failing a few times and his determination to succeed showed exactly the right attitude. Anyway, to return to our chance meeting on the shore, we had a bit of a chat and I suggested that we might walk on a further half-mile and try a beach of mixed rock and gritty sand which sometimes produces a fish or two. Clearly Rob was happy to do so.

Needless to say the fishing was not hectic. The tide was coming in and it was full daylight but the water was a bit coloured by an onshore breeze so I was still hopeful. We chose a reasonably weed-free stretch and plugged away for twenty minutes or so. Suddenly I heard Rob call out and looked up to see his rod well bent. I jumped off my rocky perch and hurried to get the camera out of the bag. By the time I turned back to the sea it was clear that the fish (a decent one to judge from the swirls in the water) had made good its escape - what a downer!

We continued to fish and after five or ten minutes I had a good take and landed a reasonable bass. It was time for me to go home so I put the fish back and left Rob - still plugging away - with a suggestion that we do it again some time. The following day he sent me another email -

Hi Mike

It was good to meet you yesterday. Thank you for taking the time to walk round the bay with me it was very much appreciated. Thinking about it afterwards I guess the fish must have hung me on a rock as it made a couple of runs but there was a bit of a ledge in front of me and that's where I lost it, I think in my excitement I didn't realise what was happening! I stayed on for a bit then tried a few more spots on my walk back but no joy, there were a lot of maggots in the water and lots of birds feeding at the edge. I sat and watched for about 15 mins but no signs of fish (then it started to rain so I buggered off).


Rob J.

The first fish is always the hardest so I've no doubt that Rob will catch plenty more bass this year and I hope I shall be there to see a few of them.

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 -

My fish.

Nicely hooked!

One of those rare pictures.

Rob kindly took a picture of me with the bass.  It's a bit grubby but I forgot to clean it up in my haste to return it.