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).

Tobago - Barracuda!

As I said in the last posting the fishing in our first week on Tobago was, to say the least, quiet. On one of our first mornings Steve and I fished a beach that has consistently produced jacks and tarpon for us to surface and subsurface lures. Steve had attached a big Grauvel popper and I was using a Yo-Zuri Mag Slider that was not much smaller. My tactic is to pitch the lure out over the incoming waves and then wind as fast as I can. This has produced a variety of fish for me over the years. Things were slow but eventually I had a strike and found myself attached to a fish that zipped line off against a tight clutch. When I eventually beached my adversary it turned out to be a decent barracuda - not the norm for the spot we were fishing but the usual candidates had obviously gone elsewhere.

Later in the week, after Richard arrived, we tried the flats where we catch big bonefish. This time we were using the small, transparent, shallow diving, Angel Kiss lures that have proved successful in the past. We hooked no bonefish but a succession of barracuda provided decent sport. These fish hit lures like nothing else and they literally make the line hiss through the water. Fortunately we always use a short wire trace just in case and it saves countless lures. The only problem is that, when you're wading, a lightening fast, razor toothed fish trailing a couple of needle sharp trebles is the last thing that you want hurtling round your bare legs. We took good care to keep the fish at rods length until we could apply Richard's 'grip' tool to their jaw. We've never used one of these gadgets before but it seemed quite effective and allowed the fish to be held until we were able to remove the hooks with pliers. The grip also incorporated a spring balance so we had reasonably accurate weights for our catches. The barracuda varied in weight up to about seven pounds or so and all of them gave a good account of themselves.

Over our second week we landed quite a few barracuda but the bonefish (I hooked and lost just one after a fifty metre run), jacks and tarpon remained stubbornly absent, wherever we fished. Almost at the end of the holiday Richard and I were having a last morning's go from a jack/tarpon beach when, lo and behold, a shoal of horseye jacks roared in close. As it happened Rich had just changed to a soft plastic and I had simultaneously switched to an Angel Kiss. In addition while my son clearly saw the striking fish and shouted at me to "cast now Dad!" I (silly old devil) saw only a single swirl and was dithering about where to put the lure. Richard was so agitated that I simply hurled the plug out to sea where he was pointing and, more by luck than management, it was taken at once by a nice jack. The usual heart stopping battle ensued and eventually I managed to beach our best jack of the trip. Wonderful!

I'm in.

My first hit of the holiday - a nice barracuda has grabbed the popper and is racing about in the surf.

What a fish.

I love catching barracuda.  The hit and the subsequent ripping runs are second to none.


These jobs make pike look fairly tame and it's always a pleasure to land one..


Places like this are usually the haunt of bonefish but on this trip barracuda were the main catch.

Got one!

Richard, backed up against the mangroves by the incoming tide, is playing a barracuda hookedon a bonefish lure.

Nice fish!

This is typical of the barracuda that took our small  Angel Kiss lures.  Note the 'grip' tool in action - reassuring.

- and another.

Another flats barracuda for me - ready to be returned.

A jack at last.

These hard fighting fish are one of our favourites but they were hard to come by.