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).

Close encounter.

Last week I decided that it was time to have another go for bass with a livebait. My pal Brian Baxter had emailed me to say that he'd had lots of mackerel the previous morning so off I went. How things change. The conditions weren't bad but It was almost futile. Eventually I had a pollack or two and a mackerel on a wedge. the latter immediately went on my livebait rod but for some reason known only to itself it wouldn't behave. It swam round rocks and dived into the kelp in a very frustrating fashion until, eventually, I lost it as I pulled it out of the weeds. Ah well! It happens!

I'd heard from Dave Baker that all he'd been catching, along Weymouth way, was pollack so knowing that a good set of spring tides was coming up we arranged to meet for an evening bash at the bass and mullet 'off the top'. Nigel also said he was going to have a go. However, the evning in question was my wife's birthday and although she didn't mind me going fishing we had arranged to go out for a celebratory meal. This meant that I had, at most, one hour to fish. I trudged along the beach towards the appointed meeting place and in the distance I could see my pals already fishing away. When I was still about 400m short of them I saw some mullet feeding on maggots in the edge and rather than waste precious time going further I decided to stay and fish for them. Good decision Mike! I started off with a poly maggot-fly and after losing a mullet on my first cast I proceeded to land four more, all between 3.5 and 4.5lb in the next half-hour, fantastic sport. I switched to a small Clouser and promptly caught a bass. before I had to leave I landed five more bass on the fly. Ten fish in an hour - good stuff!

Feeling a little deprived by the curtailed fishing session I opted to get up the following morning and see whether the surface feeders were still there - they weren't. I was gutted. Not a sign of a fish despite all the maggots in the water. I had a few flicks with a streamer fly - nothing! I twiddled a Slug-Go through the murk - nothing! I put on a Maria Chase shallow diver to see if I could tempt a bass. On about the tenth cast I was beginning to think why did you get out of bed Mike? Suddenly the lure was grabbed when it was only about five metres out. Nice bass1 It fought out its splashy, clutch ripping battle in the way that they do and I eventually beached a nice fish of four pounds or so. Honour was satisfied. After taking a couple of pictures I picked up the rod again. In my mind I was thinking (yes I do think sometimes) 'That fish was pretty close in. Perhaps there's another one!'

I swung the rod and pitched my plug to the left straight along the shore so that it landed a couple of metres from the water's edge and came back parallel to the rocks. It was almost back to the rod tip and only about 20cm from the edge in about half-a-metre of water when there was an almighty swirl, the rod was dragged over and a fish began to tear line off the clutch. Firstly it raced away to the left then it turned and went out to sea. After five minutes with it making a succession of powerful runs I'm muttering to myself "This is a decent fish Mike!" Another five minutes of give and take passed and by now I was catching glimpses of the fish in the grey murky water - it was a beauty. Eventually I had it in the edge and was able to beach it on a wave and lift it ashore. What a cracker! I took a couple of pictures then I took my balance out of the bag (I hardly ever weigh fish). Exactly six kilogrammes (13lb 3oz) my best bass on a lure. Still shaking from the excitement I went home for my breakfast.

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 first attempts to catch a mackerel for livebait produced pollack.


I managed a nice mackerel on the wedge but it was uncooperative and gave me nothing but trouble.


One of four 'four pounders' that I caught on my fly gear.

The fly.

The foam fly is still in the mullet's lip.  It had been baited with four white maggots

- and a bass.

The bass were smaller than the mullet and fought much less doggedly.

The fly.

This bass took a little streamer.  Notice all the hopper which jumped on board as soon as the fish was landed.


This four pounder took the Chase plug close in and gave me an idea where to make my next cast.


Six kg.  What a great fish.  Even though it took in the shallows and very close in the water was too gloomy for me to see it until ten minutes later.