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).

Cape Cod 3

You're jigging for striped bass from the shore. Keeping the braid nice and tight you lift the rod to raise the waggling plastic shad a few inches from the bed and then let it sink again. After a few more lifts the lure has swung round in the strong current. As you retrieve there is a knock on the line, then nothing! You wind in and examine the lure. All you have is the ‘head and shoulders’ of the shad. Two thirds of the bait have been neatly removed. There is a clean curved excision just behind the bend of the hook. Bugger! The bluefish are about!

Bluefish are a sort of mixture of tigerfish, piranha and barracuda. They massacre soft lures for a pastime. Growing to about twenty pounds and roaming the oceans of the World in packs these are serious predators. The jury is still out on whether the bluefish is related to jacks or to bass but be in no doubt these fish are extreme sport. Their mouths are armed with razor sharp teeth and they have solid, well muscled, streamlined bodies. This combination is a nightmare (or a dream - depending on your point of view) for the lure angler armed with soft plastic baits. The jaws clamp down, the head shakes and the business end of your shad has been removed, neatly avoiding the hook.

If you want to catch bluefish you need to resort to more durable lures. This is no problem because - poppers, plugs, spoons, wedges, bucktails - they take them all with equal gusto. The teeth are formidable so you don't let your hands wander near those chopping jaws while you remove the hooks. Strong single hooks with reduced barbs and a good set of pliers make the business a whole lot easier.

So what's the good news? Well bluefish grow big. Most of the ones we caught were between three and ten pounds, many of them nearer the upper limit than the lower one. They fight like stink, running, thrashing and jumping like demons. They are ubiquitous - beaches, jetties, rocks, flats and the open sea, if there's food about they'll be there. Best of all they feed throughout the day. They'll take your popper or spoon in bright sunlight and in complete darkness, it makes little difference to them. If you want you can even fish with bait - I found that bluefish fillets are good - but be sure to add a few inches of knottable wire before the hook. You can't fail to enjoy a spot of bluefishing.

My thanks to Alan, Dave and Steve for some of the pictures.


This is what happens to shads when the blues are on the feed.


I caught this one on a jighead and a Sandra but the lure has had it.


they take poppers and sliders well but there are too many hooks involved.

Nice one Alan.

Alan Vaughan with one of the good bluefish that he caught.  This one in daylight.

Nice one Steve.

Again on a bright sunny afternoon, Steve had this one on a single hooked metal lure while wading on a sandy flat.

In the dark.

I landed this one (along with lots more) at dead of night.