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).

Well! Well!.

Every lure angler must have 'weapons' in the fishing bag that he hasn't used in ang(l)er. To be honest I'm pretty ruthless about what I carry in the way of lures, I tend to take a couple of each of my 'bankers' plus one or two gadgets that I might need given the right conditions. Well, last year I was given a few Slug-Go' lures to try out. I could see that they were likely to catch fish but since they have no intrinsic movement (waggy tails, vanes etc.) they have to be worked by movements of the rod and reel. Most of the time, in my view, this would be no advantage over a plug, shad, plastic eel or what have you. However, these lures do have one important feature, there is a groove along the back in which the point of their large hook sits and so is shielded from any weed or snags. I'd carried a couple in the bag since I got them waiting for an opportune moment to give them a try.

The other morning I met my pal Dave Baker at the coast with a view to a spot of early morning plugging. For once it was a wonderful morning, calm and mild with very little wind. We began to fish with the usual shallow divers and after a while Dave hooked and lost a fish, then he landed another - not quite what we were after but a reasonable pollack. Shortly after wards I had a small bass and I took its picture so that I'd have something for the website. We decided to walk on to another spot and as we went Dave recounted how, just like me, he'd been carrying the Slug-Gos in his bag for ages. He said that recently , in Cornwall, he had fished a spot with loads of weed in the water. Every lure picked up weed so he gave the plastic lure a go and 'bingo' he caught a couple of bass. He said that the lure had simply slid through all the crap without becoming fouled.

We began plugging again, this time in deeper murkier water and, after a while Dave had a bass similar to my earlier one. Excellent! By now I was thinking 'breakfast' so I left my pal fishing and began the long trudge back to the car. After a mile or so I came across a little gully with lots of kelp and other 'salad' in the water's edge. I stopped for a look and saw the tail of a good bass right in the edge. After a minute or two I divined that there were half-a-dozen decent fish feeding in the drifting crap, no more than a couple of metres from the water's edge.

My mind said 'Slug-Go' and I quickly tied one on in place of my plug. First cast there was a bit of a swirl and a tug which made me think that it might work but after a few more weed free chucks and no further action I thought I'd go back to the old faithful J11F. Mistake! Every cast, within seconds of starting to retrieve, it was clogged up with bits of weed. Open the bag, cut off the plug, tie on another plastic lure. Cast out - wallop!!!! I was into a nice fish. It fought like hell and took me some time to subdue and land it. I was chuffed. I took a picture or two before releasing the bass and then began to fish again but I had no more bites and breakfast was calling louder than ever so I packed in and went home.

Clearly the lures are not 'magic', but equally clearly they have their place in my box for those occasions when I can't fish with anything else. Well! Well! You live and learn.

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

Lovely morning.

By the time the light was like this we'd both had fish.

My first schoolie.

Typically this fish took the plug just as it was getting light.

Dave's in!

Dave plays his bass hooked from a high perch to avoid the waves.  By now it was quite bright but my camera was facing into the light.

Another schoolie.

Dave's fish was similar to my first one.

Slug-Go.

Clearly the five pounder had engulfed the long plastic lure.  It put up quite a struggle on my four piece rod.

Close up.

Despite the hook being shielded from drifting weed by the plastic groove the fish was well hooked.