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 often get emails asking me for one or two tips about fishing. I always give an answer if I can and usually I get a thank you. If I subsequently hear no more about it I generally assume that the problem was solved (or that it proved insoluble). However, occasionally my correspondent writes later to let me know what happened. These responses can be very interesting and frequently they add to the general store of information on the subject. A recent series of exchanges with a new epal Dale is a good example -

Hi Mike,

I'm returning to angling after a children/work induced sabbatical and intend concentrating on bass and mullet. I've only ever caught a handful of bass from the shore, the largest (a pure fluke) landed after my pal tangled my line with a dodgy cast (5 and a half pounds in 1987), the others were schoolies from under a local bridge. I had a brief spell fishing on a charter boat after leaving school, and was spoilt with several good-sized fish. I also used to catch good mullet to 6lb on float fished bread from the nearby harbour.

Now, with time at a premium, I like the idea of short sessions at dawn and dusk - particularly plugging. With this in mind I've had a bit of a spending spree on ebay, amassing a small arsenal of plugs, including poppers (many from the US).

I have a couple of venues in mind and intend exploring my local rock marks and beaches. I guess from your jottings and photos that you spend some time on a similar stretch of coastline, and wonder if you have had any luck at dawn/dusk at all states of the tide, or whether you plan trips to coincide with high water only - particularly springs?

Also, I particularly love steep-to rock ledges. The swell might make landing bass difficult, but do you know of anyone who has caught fish on plugs from this type of spot?

Any advice gratefully received!

Thanks in advance,


I wrote back saying, in essence, that often the time of day was often more important than the state of tide although it depended where you were fishing. Also I was certain that the usual plugs and poppers would work from the rock ledge marks. Dale then said -

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your prompt reply. I'm having a bash on Sunday morning at first light, with a pal, and hope to get out a bit more regularly from now on. If I get any joy, I'll let you know!



Obviously he did exactly that because the next email gave me the results of his efforts and some nice pictures -

Hi Mike,

Just thought I'd let you know how I've been getting on...

First trip was a morning session to some shallow ledges the weekend before last. Flat calm, bright, nothing doing (missed dawn because my pal and I over-did things the night before!).

This friday evening, took my 10 year old daughter to a rocky deep water mark. Despite interest in the lures from garfish, no bass were evident where we were. Eventually I landed a small pollack on a Storm Thunderstick lure, so that was a bit of a confidence booster (at least one lure in my box actually caught something).

Interestingly, there was a large shoal of fry moving around, close in, which was being savaged by marauding pollack up to a couple of pounds - fish leaping clear of the water and fry scattering everywhere.

Buoyed by this relative success, and the desire to land an elusive bass, I returned early on saturday morning (05.30) which coincided with the rise of a decent spring tide. Spent a couple of hours fruitlessly swapping lures and plugging over a few different ledges, whilst a nearby angler pulled out several pollack on a Redgill.

A move towards the nearby point bore fruit. A small bass (1lb12oz) on the same Storm lure (newly christened ĎMy Lucky Lureí). Despite a number of plugging trips spanning around 20 years, this was my first ever bass to come from the shore to this method. "Cock-a hoop" doesn't come close. Then I caught two more...

I was absolutely delighted with this result, and with the chance of a similar tide fishable in the evening, planned another trip with my daughter later that day. But it rained, and my daughter didn't fancy a soaking.

I returned yesterday evening for a short (hour-and-a-half) session. The conditions were similar. Heavy swell but clear water, apart from the loose weed floating about. An hour off high water. First cast with the lucky lure - felt a knock but no firm take. Second cast, fish on, and it was a bass! Now I was really excited. Then I caught another bass on the third cast... I'm sure the combination of time, tide, location, and the ever-present large shoal of baitfish all played a huge part, but at the end of the short session, I'd landed four bass, two pollack, a garfish and thirteen mackerel. Whilst the mackerel gave a good account, they became nuisance fish because I could see the bass were still feeding on the shoal of fry in the gulley beneath me. The gulley filled and emptied with each large surge, but I could see up to a dozen bass and more pollack chasing the fish in there.

All of the fish except the mackerel were returned, to the disbelief of friends, and I'm looking forward to snatching another session soon, to see whether this was an absolute fluke, or whether these fish are part of a year class that hangs around this location. They were only babies really, but it was immensely satisfying nevertheless. Now I just need to try other spots, and maybe larger lures to see if they would be more selective...

Thanks again for your help. Regards,


Dale said that I could use his emails on the web and that he was going to try various other approaches, including the bigger lures. I think that the Thunderstick in the pictures is a 'Magflash' type about 4.5" in length. Thatís more or less it although we will no doubt be corresponding more in the future and Iím fully expecting to hear of him catching some outsize bass before long. Of course what he's discovered is that when you're lure fishing you tend to quickly establish where and when the fish are active. Iíve put a few of his pictures at the bottom of this page just for interest.

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 -


Not bad for starters although no doubt Dale might have caught more pollack on soft plastics.


A bass hooked on the front treble of the Thunderstick.  I think that the third hook tends to get in the way when your unhooking fish.

Another bass.

Dale sent me quite a few pictures but this one shows the lure with its three red VMC trebles clearly.

and another pollack.

I expect he'll get plenty more fish in the future - the first one's always the hardest.