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).

Fishing down under I Queensland

It seems a long time since I updated the website. Apologies to all but we've been on holiday in New Zealand and Australia since the end of December. My son Richard and his wife Ana had arrived in New Zealand a week before us so they'd already seen a lot and caught a few fish. After we got together our first ten days were spent in Australia. After flying to Brisbane we drove up the "Sunshine Coast" doing all the touristy things and Richard and I fished when we had the chance. Our first real opportunity was from some wharves and a concrete sea wall in Caloundra. We'd no real idea what to expect so I spun with a weighted Redgill, while Rich cast out and jigged a soft plastic on a small leadhead - a new approach for him. After a while I had a strike from a fish. Although it took virtually on the surface the water was a bit murky so I couldn't see the culprit and it wasn't hooked. When I examined the lure the plastic had been sliced in several places just behind the hook - typical tailor (=bluefish) behaviour. I fished on and it was perhaps ten minutes before I heard a call from Richard and looked up to see him with the rod well bent.

I was still suffering from my back injury so it was a minute or two before I hobbled along to join him and see what was going on. It turned out that he'd had a bite as the lure lay on the sea bed, between twitches, close in and on striking, had hooked into the mother and father of all sting rays. The 30lb braid was man enough for most things but when this fish moved it was unstoppable. Rich had nowhere to go so he had to play the ray from where he stood. Play is perhaps too kind a word because it was simply a matter of hanging on and trying to recover some line - easier said than done. After ten or fifteen minutes of give and give the ray was clearly tired of the whole business and it set off for the deeps. As the line streamed out against maximum drag and added hand pressure it was clear that it would not be long before our hero was 'spooled', so eventually he had to admit defeat, wrap the braid solidly (around his sleeved arm) and try to avoid being pulled into the sea. The rod bent, the line sung as it was stretched ever tighter and eventually the fish broke away - bugger!!!! - what a start to our holiday fishing!

Our second venue was further north near Hervey Bay. This place has one of the longest wooden piers I have ever seen and it was permanently thronged with anglers of all shapes and sizes. The pier was a fantastic angling facility with taps, baitboards and rodholders fitted along its length. The 'experts' tended to hog the end of the pier and were almost all using pretty crude and hefty gear with livebaits - either freshly caught herrings (taken on small Sabiki type lures) or squid (caught on jigs) - under balloon floats or on simple legers. Most anglers who were not livebaiting were using shrimp, fish or squid baits on leger tackle to try and catch flathead or rays. At all times of day and night there seemed to be anglers in residence. We tried three or four sessions on the pier, at first with lures (plugs, plastics and spoons) and later with livebaits (when in Rome do as the locals do). Our livebaits (caught on improvised rigs armed with cut down mullet flies) performed well when liphooked with circle hooks and light legered or freelined. They invariably survived and swam about until they were devoured by the ubiquitous squid (good sized ones of a pound or two in weight).

Apart from the baits that we caught our pier fishing produced zilch as did the efforts of the hundreds of Australians. The only decent fish that we saw anyone catch were a small eagle ray and a slightly larger stingray (of a few pounds weight). Disappointing but at least we weren't being outfished. I'm sure that, at times, the pier must produce big sharks, trevally, barracuda, rays, grouper and the like but they didn't show up during our visit. The only fish other than the two rays and the many baitfish caught was one tiny flathead. Spinning from the nearby, sandy shore Richard also caught our first ever, one and only flathead.

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 -

Black swans.

Just to prove that we were down under.

Fruit bats.

This colony of huge bats was just behind the beach.  When they spread their wings it was a spectacular sight.

Ungaran Pier.

A fantastic fishing facilty well used by locals and holiday makers alike but unproductive during our visit - time of year? state of tide? weather? Who knows?.

Small spotted herring?

One of several small species of herrings that we used for livebaits.


Another species of herring after a squid attack.


A small specimen taken on our improvised feathers.  This is possibly a shortfinned seaspike but again the squid had done their worst to our livebait.

Got one!

The best fish caught while we were fishing.  The anglers were equipped with a gaff on a stout rope to help land bigger fish.


This is the ray after it had been landed.  Not much of a result for the countless man hours spent fishing.

Brown flathead.

Richard caught this popular food fish on a bibless minnow.