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).

Colin's late mullet.

My Epal Colin McCleod wrote to me last week with an interesting little anecdote about fly fishing for mullet, well worth a page on the blog:-

Hi Mike,

I was sorely looking forward to a few hours chasing mullet during Saturday afternoon past, following a very demanding week at work.

I arrived at my local mullet mark to find that the incessant winds and torrential rain of the past week had turned the sea 50 shades of brown. To compound matters, the water was saturated with the annoying red, stringy weed which plagues this stretch of coast following stormy weather. My hopes and expectations receded with the tide, for not a single fish was spied during the ebb. Suddenly, the futility of the situation hit home and I decided to call it a day, convinced that not just the day but in fact the whole season had come to a premature end.

I took one last look out across the water before departing and there they were! An open group of fish, creating trade mark, mullet, v-shaped wakes as they moved swiftly towards a small sandy bay. I placed my trio of flies immediately in front of the advancing fish and commenced a slow strip through the pattern of swirls. A fish broke surface by the tail fly but narrowly failed to make contact. Next cast and the tail fly received a tentative nip. Third cast and the same fly was hit with aggression. I struck in response but simply pulled the fly free.

I reasoned that the fish were not bass, for they would not miss the fly repeatedly. Sea trout? Perhaps, for previous encounters at this mark had shown sea trout to be enthusiastic chasers of a fly, without fully committing themselves. Mullet? Surely not, for I have never witnessed mullet to be so overtly predatory. Fourth cast and the passage of the flies came to an abrupt halt. The fish went berserk in little more than a foot of water and spent the next five minutes twisting, turning and tail slapping the surface, intermingled with some violent head shaking. The fish fought long and hard and I was with some relief that it slipped into the net.

The fish was a plump and healthy thick lip, my largest of the season so far. I guess that the season is never truly over until the fat mullet sings.



I was interested in Colin’s catch and I replied as follows –

Hi Colin,

Thanks for the email. Fascinating little story, and a good effort on your part. I don't want to sound like a know-all but I have to say that it doesn't surprise me. Many years ago I had two big mullet in November at Kimmeridge. Both took a 12cm plug by the tail treble. I had two decent bass from the same shoal at the same time. All the fish, bass and mullet, were feeding on fry in dirty water and you could actually see the mullet fins zig-zagging through the surface as they chased the little fish. In fact, at the time I had some correspondence with my pal Dave Rigden of the National Mullet Club about the matter.

Since then I've had a fair few mullet on spinners (thousands on flies - mostly maggot flies) and one thing I never followed up was a mullet capture (in rough, dirty, conditions by my son Richard) from the open coast on a rag-baited spinnerbait. I think it has potential. There's nowt so queer as fish eh!

Can I use your little tale on the website please. I think people will be interested.



One further email from Colin completes the picture:-

Hi Mike,

Glad that you enjoyed the read and of course I would be happy for the account to feature on your site. I have attached a photograph of the fish, should you wish to include it. (I did).

It is very interesting to hear of your experiences with mullet chasing fry. Unfortunately, the waters I fish tend to be coloured, making observation of precisely which abundant food form the mullet are feeding upon very difficult. I have stood within feet of rampaging groups of bass and mullet, in water only shin deep, and completely failed to identify any form of invertebrate. Perhaps I should have been looking for fast moving fry!

The only interaction I have witnessed between mullet and small fish occurred in a harbour which hosts some very large (into double figures) mullet during the summer months. The mullet spend long periods in a torpid state, lying motionless by the hull of a small fishing boat and allow fry of a few inches in length to pick away at their mouth areas. Some form of symbiosis, perhaps? Also an indication of how a mullet's feeding behaviour and temperament is dictated by its environment. The harbour fish appear very 'fish friendly' while a hundred yards outside of the harbour mouth, the 'flats' mullet are a much more predatory proposition! I put this down to the abundance of shrimp, Idotea etc and communal feeding with bass. The mullet seem inclined to mimic the bass' aggressive form of feeding but are comparatively slow and less adept in consuming the fly. It is usually a case of 5 bass for every mullet during instances of frenetic feeding. Not that I am complaining, for in shallow water the first run of a decent bass as it strikes for the perceived safety of deeper water is almost a match for the blinding speed of a panicked mullet.

Once the 2013 season is underway and the Chelon have settled into a regular feeding pattern, I will give you a shout Mike.

All the best,


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 -

Nice one Colin!

A cracking mullet for November.