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).

How about that?

I still haven't managed any fishing and I'm hobbling round like the old crock that I am so here's a nice little piece from another epal Pete Evans to keep the pot boiling.

Hi Mike,

I’ve been an ardent follower of your diaries for more years than I care to remember, been fishing the Purbecks on occasion for the last 20 years with mixed success. Your recent diary entry regarding wrasse on soft baits reminded me of a trip to the west coast of Ireland last year with a group of friends and I thought I would share this with you. I hope you don’t mind.

We were fishing a rocky outcrop at Scraggane, Castlegregory, incoming spring tide and being new to the area did not know what to expect. Having geared up with surface lures, floatfished sandeel and slug-gos, basically we all did our own thing. At the time the sea was calm, ideal conditions, clear. The floats produced pollack to 5lb and we had lots of medium sized wrasse to surface lures, no bass were showing, but I was sure they were there. One pal, who was new to lure fishing was becoming disconcerted with the lack of action. Having been convinced to use a Slug-Go, he thrashed the water, trying to cast as far as he could, with not a sniff. He dropped his slug-go into a gully to the side of him to check the “action” of his lure. No sooner had he started “wiggling” this along the gully, a hit appeared from below a ledge and an unexpected struggle ensued. When landed this fish was a tad under 5lb, and was a great lesson to my rookie friend, “never be afraid to fish at your feet”. I’ve attached a photo of mate and fish.

At the end of that tide we hopped back over the rocks, the tide there was about 5-6 metres so our return journey was via a much higher and precarious route. I had noted at low water a thick bank of rotting weed in a little bay but paid little attention to this at the time, being preoccupied with the thought of bass. At high water I found clouds of white maggots washing against the rocks, it seemed so alien and there were no obvious signs of mullet feeding on them, unlike at home in Dorset.

As an aside, we revisited the place a couple of days later, expecting a repeat performance but were disappointed to find someone had put a net down among the rocks. Decent bass and mullet were caught in the net along with large wrasse. I believe netting from the shore is illegal in Ireland but policing this is impossible in such a remote region. I’ve attached a couple of photos I took.

Apologies for going on, I hope this information has been of interest to you.


Pete Evans

P.S. I visited the Purbecks a few weeks ago with a couple of friends. It was an evening tide, the springs were pushing the weed into the water while the wind was holding it close to shore, making fishing difficult. The fish were apparent but catholic in their tastes, preferring wallowing in the weed after Idotea, and snubbing our lures. My Italian friend was frustrated picking up weed every cast but found slapping the lure at the water’s edge removed the majority of the weed allowing a decent re-cast with out the delay involved in picking the weed off. He did this a few times, and was quite pleased he had saved himself some time. He hit the water at his feet to clear the lure once again only to be immediately hit by a bass. He eventually landed this fish and I estimate it was around 5lb. I know bass appear at the water’s edge at certain times(have caught them myself this way near dark), but I was surprised to see this hit with such ferocity in a thick weed soup when it was bright daylight. It's humbling to learn something new about bass just about every trip. Looking forward to the next couple of months.........

Thank's Pete. I'm still learning every trip myself. Wrasse on surface lures eh! Bass on slapped down lures! There's a bit of scope for experiment. When I went to south-west Ireland, many years ago now, I asked Bob Moss (a great angler) whether they ever caught wrasse on bass lures like we did in Dorset. I was told that it never happened. Within minutes of starting to fish I hooked a decent wrasse on my Rapala, so it was a probably more a matter of confidence than anything. No doubt confidence is also a major element in catching wrasse on the soft plastics and I expect that Pete's pal has plenty of confidence now. Pity about the net, we've all seen it happen, but you just have to grin and bear it I'm afraid.ML

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 -


I've been banging on for decades about maggot feeding being widespread.  The bass and mullet in the Dingle MUST surely eat them.

Stonking wrasse.

Ballan wrasse are attractive fish aren't they? This one's a real beauty.


The sad thing about gill nets is that, unlike rod and line, there's little chance of releasing anything you don't want.

More shame!

Mullet, bass, wrasse, crabs - you name it everything gets tangled up and killed.