Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle

Information Page


18 May 2003

Bass at last!

It was Saturday morning and the alarm went off at 03.30am. The idea was to be at the coast for first light and try to catch a bass. I had an extra incentive because I knew that David Evans-Roberts was also going to come down (later on). Although we had e-mailed on a number of occasions we had never met. I dragged myself out of bed, dressed and went down stairs to set up my gear (tie a woodlouse fly on the fly gear and clip a J11 onto the spinning rod). I put on my coat, my waders and my water proofs and opened the door - it was ******* down with rain. Now I'm not usually a fair weather fisherman but tramping to the beach in a torrential downpour at quarter-to-four in the morning is not my idea of fun - so I went back to bed (after taking off the waders etc.).

Of course it was a mistake. I forgot to reset the alarm and by the time I woke up it was much too late to go and meet David. Well, I got what I deserved. The weather improved and the rain let up. Later that morning the phone rang and David told me that after a long hike and some fishless hours he had put on a Chug Bug and tried in the surf. Third cast he landed a three pound plus bass. Served me right!

That evening the phone rang again. This time it was a young bloke called Mark asking about bass fishing. Mark said he had done abit of lure fishing in Devon - without too much success - but he fancied giving the Dorset coast a try. Mark was obviously genuine and with that morning's sleep in fiasco still fresh in my mind I suggested that we met, at the coast, at six-thirty the following morning. This time I did not sleep in and when I got to the car park I saw Mark's blue car already there. He was standing on the cliff top with his bag and rod ready for the off.

We talked bass fishing on the ten minute walk to the chosen spot. The sea was rougher than on the previous day and there was a westerly gale blowing. Another bloke was already bait fishing at the first place I had selected. like most bass anglers he was friendly and as we chatted about the fishing I noticed a decent bass feeding on Idotea in the edge of the washed up kelp debris. Mark had a few casts with a plug but, not surprisingly, the preoccupied fish showed no interest. I suggested that we walked a bit further and tried plugging from the ledge where david had landed his fish on the previous day. It was quite difficult with the wind howling across at right angles to the heavy surf. Mark had trouble getting his plug out any distance and even the Skitterpop on my rod was limited to about twenty metres range.

We flogged away and after about twenty minutes battling against the elements suddenly I was into a fish. The bass ran with the strong flow, tearing lots of line off against the clutch and it was a few minutes before I could slide it onto the rocks. We took a few pictures and I lent Mark a Chug Bug to try. He was greatly encouraged to see a fish and we fished on energetically over the top of the tide but there were no more takes - however, I am sure that over the next few months Mark will catch his fair share of Dorset bass. I look forward to his next visit. Thanks for the info. Dave! Sorry I didn't make it.

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 -

Wild cabbage on the cliffs.

The timing of cliffside flowers often gives a clue as to whether it's time to try bassing.

Wild carrot.

Another indicator of the season.

Mark in the surf.

It was not too difficult wading but the cross wind made casting difficult.

My bass.

A fish of about five-and-a-half pounds slid into a rockpool just beyond the waves.

Well hooked!

The mid-body treble of the Skitterpop was firmly in the side of the mouth but easily removed.

A rare picture.

Mark took a picture of me with the fish just before I returned it to the sea.


Mark takes a well earned drink after fighting the waves and wind.