Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle

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5 November 2002

A late mullet.

Despite the recent rough weather I still keep hoping for a few fish on lures or flies (will I never learn?). Last week I had one or two short, early morning sessions with the spinning rod in the vain hope of a bass from the filthy grey brown sea. In places the kelp has now built up to an enormous depth on the beaches and it is beginning to develop a massive crop of seaweed fly maggots.

One morning I found several good bass feeding on Idotea in a heavy surf. I only had the spinning rod with me so I tried to catch a fish on plugs and poppers but it was no use. If I'd had the wit to take my fly rod it might just have been possible to tempt a bass with a shrimp fly but they showed no interest in my large lures.

Two days later I woke to find it blowing harder than ever from the south-west but I decided to have another go for the woodlouse feeders. This time when I arrived (with spinning rod AND fly rod at the ready) the fish were already there. To my surprise they were not the usual tailing bass but surface feeding mullet, presumably skimming maggots from the water, although I could not see any sign of maggots in the sea.

It was almost impossible to force a fly out against the strong wind but by paddling into the heavy surf and casting obliquely I was just able to drop the fly among the group of pink lipped mullet. Half-a-dozen times I cast and retrieved the shrimp fly ( I was still hoping for bass!) and on the seventh cast I felt the line tighten and zip round to my right. It was not a lump of kelp surging in the waves but a decent fish which I played for about five minutes before I could slide it onto the beach. My catch turned out to be a mullet of over two pounds and as I took its picture a ray of sunshine shone through and lit up the front half of the fish. I returned my catch and looked to find that the feeding fish had gone. Will that be my last mullet of the year?

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 -

A weed pile.

Mountains of kelp have been cast up along miles of shoreline.  The weed is full of maggots but it's almost too late to attract the fish..

The water's edge.

The water's full of bits of weed making it difficult to fish with any sort of lure or fly.

The mullet.

Despite feeding right on the surface the fish took a small shrimp fly.  It took a while to land in the rough conditions