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).

Rays down under.

I'm not likely to do much, if any, sea fishing for a month or two so I was pleased to get an email from my pal Alan in New Zealand. His account of a blank fishing trip was interesting in itself but made even more so by the catch of two other anglers -

Hi Mike,

Hope this note finds you and Lilian in the best of everything and that you back has returned to normal transmission.

Got up at 6.30 am this morning and there was very little wind. Conditions looked perfect for a brief session on the Manukau before breakfast. When I reached the car park it was immediately evident that the lack of wind in Three Kings does not always correlate to calm conditions on the Manukau. The wind was blowing steadily from the NW at around 15 – 20 knots which made fishing difficult. Wind against tide and the wind direction was parallel to the shore. This means that the current is taking the lure downstream and the line is being billowed upstream. The consequence is that it is difficult to keep contact with all but the heaviest jig heads. Far from ideal.

Imagine my surprise when I got to the bottom of the staircase from heaven (it turns into the staircase from hell on the return journey) to find a fisherman hard at work in the deep hole to my left. Fortunately there was no one fishing in 'our normal spot' so I headed right and slipped and slid my way to the prime lie across mud covered rock and exposed pockets of rock oysters. First cast with my new trace system saw the P-line sleeve catch in a small diameter ring near the tip. The lure and trace headed to Australia faster than an illegal over-stayer and I was forced to 'retrace' immediately. Obviously the P-line system cannot be cast through the rod rings which was the precise reason why I bought it. Sod it (or words to that effect)!

I threaded on a ¼ oz jighead and 3” Gulp! smelt soft bait and cast out. Thought I had a touch on the first twitch but it was impossible to keep the line tight to the lure and set the hook due to the wind. Tried a number of lures over the next hour but conditions were far from ideal. One thing that was evident is that the wind/tide combination was forcing debris into a foam line close to shore and there were numerous bait fish, ranging in size from 1 – 6”, feeding ravenously in the flotsam. I saw a couple of isolated swirls in amongst the white caps which were probably feeding kahawai. Aside from the wind, it felt tremendously fishy.

After I’d been pottering about in vain for about an hour two Asian anglers arrived and began to set up their tackle about 200 metres away (North of my position) at the end of the oyster clad rocks. Over the next 30 minutes they snared a couple of fish, nothing large. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw one of them strike hard with his surfcasting rod and come up solid on a beauty. He was losing a lot of line and getting towed around a fair bit so I reeled in and headed towards them to watch the battle unfold. I picked it for a stingray or a shark as the bend in the rod was extreme and parabolic. After about 15 minutes the angler started to gain a modicum of control and then it became clear what he’d hooked, it was a decent eagle ray which took to the air in the margins. By the time I got to them 5 minutes later the angler had beached the ray and it lay panting in the margins. I tried to start up a conversation with them but it was difficult as they spoke halting English. They were keeping their catch alive in a rock pool and had caught two snapper. One was around 30 cm and the other was obviously undersized so I suggested that it should go back, which they did immediately much to their credit.

The best thing about this session is that I’ve probably just discovered another holding stretch and a potential access point as they did not pass me to get to the shore. Something to try when the wind dies down. I reckon that early morning (before 7.00 am) may be the best time on the Manukau as there is usually less wind to contend with.

Must go as have a “chore list” to attend to!

Tight lines and best wishes,

Alan Bulmer

So there it is. At least someone caught something and the fish are wonderful,

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 -

Eagle ray.

A fine fish which clearly put up a typical leaping tough fight.

Head on.

Note the beautiful blue spots.  The spotted eagle rays I've seen jumping in the Atlantic have quite a different pattern.