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).

'Fly' fishing made easy.

If you want to catch surface feeding mullet and bass then conventional fly tackle is usually the best. When they are taking maggots both species can be tempted by means of a little (size 12) hook dressed with a bit of white foam and garnished with a few 'whites' from the local tackle shop. However, at times, conditions may be against you.

If there is a strong onshore or longshore wind that makes casting a fly difficult. If there is a big surf that threatens to knock you off your feet. If there is tonnes of weed in the edge of the sea that wraps itself round the fly line. Worst of all - if the fish are feeding just (or well) out of casting range so that the maggots flick off with the force of your cast then you need to try something else. Many years ago we devised a method which involved using a bubble float or JIF lemon filled with candle grease. These could be cast, with the normal spinning gear, much further than it was possible (for me) to shoot a fly line. One or two droppers rodside of the float could be used to attach normal maggot flies to dabble on the surface. Alternatively, if you are after bass, you can attach a trace beyond the float and tie on a small Delta or Redgill eel. Recently my pal Dave Baker has revived the latter set up with considerable success.

On the first decent tide of the last set of springs Nigel and I had struggled to catch much on the fly gear so, the following evening, I took a bouncy ball float with a couple of tiny Deltas on a metre or so of trace beyond it. It was just as well I had. When I met Nigel and my pal Bill down on the beach it was quite rough and there was lots of drifting weed in the margins. A few chucks with a big plastic eel showed that it was going to be weed every other cast. We could see large numbers of fish gobbling maggots like there was no tomorrow so on went the bouncy ball 'rig'.

On my third cast as the lures drifted round through the shoals I hit a good fish. it went off like a train and as the clutch of my Stradic screamed I was immediately thinking double figure bass. The fish made several strong runs and it was some time before I could get it near enough to slide it ashore on a wave. Much to my surprise it turned out to be a five pound mullet in wonderful condition. Now it is fairly rare to hook one of these fish on any sort of lure other than maggots so I was well pleased. I took a couple of pictures before putting the fish back then I began to fish again. Now I can't pretend it was hectic but it was much more productive than either Nigel's fly gear or Bills conventional bass lure. By the end of the evening I'd added four modest bass to my mullet. Five fish in a couple of hours fishing, plus a few missed takes made it a good evening's sport. Bill kindly took one or two nice action pictures to show the fishing conditions and sent them to me the next day.

There's just one little addition to this piece which may be of interest. It blew up a bit over the next day or two and I suspected that there might be bass feeding on Idotea in one or two weedy spots. Anyway, I tied on a 'Slandra' and went down for a dawn session. Sure enough the edge of the sea at my chosen spot was like thick weed soup - ONLY the weedless lure could be contemplated. I fished through first light and as it got brighter I could see a few bass of perhaps three to five pounds mooching about in the weedy water. I flogged for maybe an hour but apart from two possible light plucks (I'm not sure if they were bites) there was nothing. I set off to walk back to my car and as I came to another 'Idotea spot' I stood back and watched. Sure enough there were two fish feeding only inches from the shore in perhaps a foot of weedy water. One of the cruising fish was roughly five or six pounds and the other was nearer ten. I crept along the boulders until I was out beyond the bass and cast the Slandra back towards the water's edge. On about the sixth or seventh cast the lure was grabbed and a couple of feet of line was dragged off against the clutch. Then it was gone. Bother!!!! I thought. I don't know which of the two bass had a go at my lure - either would have been a triumph and even to get a bite was something of an achievement.

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 -

Bouncy ball rig.

Two little Delta eels did the damage.  The bouncy ball is gripped by a loop of stainless wire and has a swivel at either end.

First fish.

The really fat thicklip was an unusual catch on my little plastic eel.

Bill's piccy 1.

A fish has taken one of the little eels and is fighting gamely.

Bill's piccy 2.

It was pretty rough in the edge and needed a bit of a dance and some nifty rod-work to coax my fish ashore.

Bill's piccy 3.

One of the four bass that I managed to land in the course of the evening.