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).

Maceio kayaking.

I've been grandson sitting for a couple of weeks so the fishing is on hold. However, I had a couple of emails from Richard in Brazil so here's his latest fishing tale-

Hi Dad,

As you know the fishing has been slow since I got back from Europe a few weeks ago. On my first trip after I got back I had a nice sennet of a couple of pounds - small by Caribbean standards, but the largest I have had so far. Apart from that I've had about 5-8 trips in the kayak and only managed a solitary small grouper of about 1/2lb off the reef. The most frustrating thing is that I must have had about 50 trips since I caught the big snook without any sign of something more substantial...until tonight.

As usual I paddled out to the reef at about 16.30hr, fighting the strong left-to-right wind that seems to be a permanent feature of the beach at this time of year. The sea was choppy and coloured and, after 30 minutes of trolling a jointed Rapala, I decided to try Alan's fabled Binski Blade. I love the tight wriggling action and the plain silver finish - it also casts well and seems to be very effective at picking up a wide variety of smallish fish. Sure enough, after 20 or so casts I hooked a tiny lizard fish that was barely bigger the blade itself. Encouraged, I continued casting and retrieving as I drifted with the wind. After a few more casts I had what seemed a fairly gentle bite. However, following a pause of a second or two the fish realised it had been hooked and set off parallel to the reef and angled slightly towards the beach at an incredible speed. The kayak swayed alarmingly so I hunkered down and tried to figure out what to do - the line was disappearing fast (70-80m already gone) so I repeated the trick with the snook and started to ratchet up the clutch. Stupidity! The small hooks of the lure weren't up to it: they straightened under the extra pressure and pulled out.

Cursing, I changed back to the big jointed rapala, but failed to get another bite. You can probably imagine my frustration - I fish for months without a decent bite, and when I hook one it always seems to be a monster. It's like the 'Old man and the sea' on permanent repeat. I'm beginning to think I am also 'salao' (unlucky/cursed) like old Santiago, and that the local fisherman are going to start to shun me! More seriously, I seem to have a genuine dilemma: use big lures and get 2-3 bites a year from enormous fish, or use small lures, catching more fish but losing any of the monsters I hook. I love fishing, but the thought of 50 trips between bites is not very inspiring!

Anyhow, will send a few photos when I download them if you want to put this on your website.



Later that week Rich wrote again-

Hi Dad,

A few photos as promised.

I went out again (of course!) this morning at 04.30hr. The sea was beautiful and calm but I didn't get a sniff. One thing I forgot to mention was that as I was coming in last night I saw dace-sized bait fish being chased along the side of a fish trap. This is the first time I have seen this, but I guess that any longitudinal structure/barrier is likely to be used by predators to concentrate prey fish.

As with the first big fish I lost, I don't have any idea what species it was. If I was in Tobago I would say the take was like a bonefish... - there is also a small possibility that I genuinely did hook a small fish and that this was immediately taken by something much bigger. Judging by the power and speed I would guess a big crevalle... but who knows?

What would be your approach? There is a tiny chance of a huge fish (somewhere between 1-5% chance of a bite per trip), but if you gear up for them you are unlikely to get bites from small fish making the fishing hard work!

Two other interesting things happened this week. First, I nearly stepped on a little coral snake as I was dragging the kayak back up to the condominium. The guard kindly warned me as I was walking backwards... from now on I will face forwards when I am pulling it up the beach! The other interesting animal was a dead (and dried out) scorpion found behind a plant pot. It was about 3 times as big as those we see in Egypt and had a frighteningly large sting. It's the first one I have seen here, but in future I will be a little more careful when I am moving things around the garden (and the house)!

It probably sounds like we are surrounded by dangerous animals, but its actually a real rarity to see any of these things. For example, I have only seen 5 snakes since we moved here, and only 1 of these was large enough to scare mum.

Anyhow, i'm off to Paulo Alphonse in Bahia today (for work). It's the site of a big hydroelectric dam so I will be taking the Mike Ladle Surepopper and a few lures just in case.



I replied and said something about trying stronger trebles or possibly single hooks on the lures. Clearly he tried the single hooks because his next email had a picture of a grunt taken on the Binsky Blade.

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 small grouper caught by Rich.

Close up.

A bit bigger picture.

A sennet.

These small species of barracuda have teeth just like the big ones.


Why didn't he change the hooks?


Richards first attempt with single hooks worked OK.