Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle

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SEA FISHING

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).

Got one!

I've had a poor week. Three fishing trips were either cancelled or we blanked because of the changeable conditions. However, the other morning, following a report of surface feeding fish from my pals Nigel and Bill, I ventured down for an early morning. Stupidly (you'd think I would know by now) I only took the spinning rod. I flogged away for the best part of an hour to no avail. Bill turned up and there were two other blokes spinning as well but none of us had anything. Just before I packed in I had a little walk to see whether there was any sign of action in another spot that sometimes produces under the prevailing conditions.

I scrambled over the rocks and banks of old weed an when I arrived at my destination I couldn't believe my eyes. There was a shoal of mullet feeding in calm water only a foot or two from the boulders - they were monsters and I had no fly rod. What a prat!!!! After a few pointless casts with a plug I packed in and went home for breakfast but, in the back of my mind was the thought that the fish would probably be there again on the next corresponding high water.

That evening I gobbled down my dinner, grabbed the fly rod and maggot box and set off for the coast. I knew that I'd only have an hour or so to fish because it would be dark by seven at the latest. I hurried along to the 'hot-spot, but when I arrived there was nothing showing. I opened the maggot box and (futilely) threw a few dozen onto the water before sitting down on a handy rock to wait. After about five minutes I saw the first snout gliding along the edge of the sea and within minutes there were half-a-dozen fish guzzling away only five yards from where I sat. I had tied on a fresh length of six pound nylon as a leader and on the end was a new version of a maggot fly sent to me by my pal Alan Bulmer - all the way from New Zealand.

On about the fifth or sixth cast the line twitched and I struck, perhaps a bit too hard (I was pretty excited) and I felt the weight of the fish before there was a ping and the cast broke at the hook. Bugger!!! I hurried back to the bag and scrabbled about for another fly. The first one that came to hand was one of my old, polyethylene maggot-flies. All fingers and thumbs I tied it to the leader and gave it a couple of hard tugs to check the knot. Turning back to the water I could see that the mullet were still there and feeding well. I baited the fly with three maggots, in the traditional style, returned to my rocky perch and sat down before casting again.

This time it was only the second or third cast before I saw a slight twitch of the line and struck - not quite so hard this time. I was in! The mullet set off for the horizon in a spectacular run and I kept my hand well away from the reel so that it would have only the light resistance of the check to slow it. For the next half hour (Yes - half an hour!) it was give and take. I'd gain a few yards and away it would go again. There were no snags so I was not too worried about where it went and the last thing I wanted was to pull or straighten the hook.

Eventually the fish was nearing my stance - tired but not exhausted. I could see that it was a beauty and I was even more determined to take all the time I needed. I retreated from the water's edge to give me a bit more room to beach the mullet and, eventually, it slid between two big boulders and lay gasping in a big pool. Back to the water and try to pick it up (I haven't used a net for years). I realised just how big and fat it was when I found that couldn't get my hand round it to lift it. It was a two handed-job so I carefully layed down the rod, prayed that the fish would stay where it was and reached down for it. I had it! Take a couple of pictures before popping it into my old poly bag to be weighed. Just over eight pounds - the biggest I've ever caught by about three-quarters-of-a-pound. Back it went. By now it was almost dark so, well pleased, I packed in and went home.

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 - docladle@hotmail.com

Nice fish.

Not much bigger than the seven pounder I had a few years back but much fatter.

Pleased!

it's a good feeling when you catch what you are after.