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 (3).

I've just been to Norfolk with my youngest son and his family - it was cold, very cold! Of course you know that but I haven't really recovered from my recent trip to Brazil yet. Anyway, just one last posting about the fishing from Maceio's beaches before I return to normal (well as normal as I ever am).

First I should say that we had a trip to a manatee reserve in the mouth of a river lined with mangroves. The manatees were thin on the ground and, apart from their huge size, not very impressive. About all we saw was a snout poking up for air. For me the highlight was the incredibly coloured mangrove crabs - almost like jewels on the dark grey mud.

Anyway, back to the fishing. It was the third week of my trip when my usual dawn walk along the beach surprised me. Every day I'd taken the spinning rod and every day it had been futile, so (typically) for the first time I'd simply left it behind and was only carrying my binoculars. I should have guessed that it might be different when I saw that the sea was flat, glassy calm (every other morning there had been a surf and a stiff wind). Anyway after about half-a-mile I noticed a ripple in the water's edge. I could hardly believe my eyes but it looked like baitfish. I walked a bit further and sure enough I began to see signs of activity everywhere. Not only were the shoals of tiny fish disturbing the surface but periodically there was a mini-blitz as they were attacked from below. I suppose I should have run all the way back to get the rod but I didn't, thinking it'll be even better on the next tide.

I wouldn't like to give the wrong idea - the predatory fish that I saw were not big. If I'd been in Dorset I'd have said that they were small pollack. However, they were potential catches for my spinning gear. So, the following morning, I was armed with my spinning rod, a 12cm plug (ever hopeful) and a short dropper carrying a tiny Delta eel (ever realistic). Sure enough the sea was again calm and now that I'd 'got my eye in' I could see shoals of baitfish scattered along the beach. Richard was with me and for half-an-hour nothing happened. In fact we were making our way back when suddenly I had a bite which I missed. I cast again and this time I was in. Clearly it wasn't a large fish but it was incredibly lively running powerfully and even taking a little line against the clutch. I was chuffed.

My catch, on the Delta, turned out to be a tiny jack and after we'd inspected it we returned to our spinning. Shortly afterwards I had another bite and this was even more vigorous than the first. It ran and leapt from the water - a bar of silver. When I landed the fish Richard and I both gasped. My catch looked as thought it was mirror plated with a deeply forked bright yellow tail. Beautiful! In fact it looked like a mini queenfish and as I found out later it is a close relative - known as a leatherjacket (not the leatherjacket of Australian anglers). We took a couple of pictures before I unhooked and returned my fish. I'd have handled it with a bit more care if I'd realised that it has sharp, poisonous dorsal spines. Anyway, that was it for the morning, my first spinning successes.

That afternoon I decided to try fly fishing. The sea remained calm and I could see a good sized shoal of baitfish by one of the fish traps. I armed the fly rod with a Clouser (to get it down) and attached a dropper with my favourite plastic eel. It was slow but I had a couple of pulls to keep me interested and eventually I hooked a fish. It was substantially bigger than anything than I'd had before and as it sprang into the air it looked like a big mackerel. Line zipped off the reel and I played the fish for minutes before it made one final leap and came unstuck. I was gutted but try as I might I couldn't hook another one.

The following day the wind had returned in force and the sea reverted to its usual murky, choppy self. Fly fishing was no longer an easy option so I took out the spinning gear and tied on my bouncy ball float with a long trace and three'flies'. There were no more of the 'mackerel' but eventually I caught more of the wonderful leatherjackets. On one occasion I even had three at once. Quite a handful. All in all it was a good end to a fantastic holiday.

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 -


The arrow shows the tip of it's nose.


I think these are fantastic.

Great kiskadee.

These birds often forage on the beach for food.


Not big but feisty.


Ferocious little predators with a poisonous sting.


Isn't that a lovely fish?


Relaxation. You'll probably never see me 'fishing' like this again.