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).

Lows and highs!

Do you ever feel as though the fates are against you? You're an angler so of course you do! Anyway, I've had one of those spells - everyone seemed to be catching fish except me. I'm not counting the odd carp from a lake and thinlipped mullet from a river of course - what I really mean is fish from the sea shore. Reports of decent bass had begun to arrive regularly in recent weeks but when I went - nothing!!! Even when I fished with my pals and they all caught reasonable fish I was struggling to get a bite. Of course being a pig headed sort of person I tended to do something a bit different to everyone else. No point everybody doing the same thing is there? If others were catching on soft plastics I stuck to plugs and vice verse. However, I KNEW that my lures had been catching fish for many years so, despite the lack of positive results, it had to be down to a simple run of bad luck. This becomes harder to accept as the blanks mount up but I stuck to my guns (or to my lures in this case).

There seem (to me) to be two possible approaches to this 'bad luck' problem. If you are confident that your methods are OK (in other words they've always been successful in the past) just keep doing your usual things. Times, places, lures, retrieves, etc. Simply grin and bear it. Alternatively, you can spend as much time fishing as possible in the knowledge that sooner or later you'll catch something. The latter 'saturation fishing' approach is no longer for me (it does my back in these days). In any case it is a bit too much like the "spend three days in a bivvy and chuck in half a hundredweight of boilies" idea to appeal to my nature. Anyway, the other day I had another short session at a spot where I'd already blanked a couple of times and the sequence finally broke. I actually managed to catch something. In fact I went down to do a spot of first light fly fishing and had several decent pollack on my fly gear. It's hard to describe that sense of relief when the line first tightens and you realise it is something alive on the other end. This is followed by the 'will I land it' concern but this time the pollack came ashore and I was satisfied. It doesn't take much to restore my confidence.

Even after my minor fly fishing success the dry spell was not ended and I had a couple more blanks when I went bass fishing. Then, the other morning I roused myself at 02:45, dressed, picked up the spinning rod and drove to the coast to catch first light - my favourite time of day. I parked the car and hiked to my chosen spot. The rod was still armed with a J11 floating Rapala - despite my recent run of blanks a consistently effective bass lure - and as I began to cast into the gloom I was hopeful. The sky was just beginning to lighten in the east when I felt that old, familiar yank on the rod tip and heard a splash as a fish grabbed the plug (still too dark to see it). I was in! I played the bass carefully towards the shore feeling that it would be tragic if it came unstuck. It was no monster but several times it took yards of line against the clutch so I knew it wasn't a little schoolie. Eventually I slid my catch ashore and picked up the camera for a quick picture before returning it to the sea. I was chuffed.

It got better! Before I packed in an hour later I'd landed and released six more reasonable bass. The best was 64cm in length and all of them were fat as butter and fought extremely hard. Not bad for a short session. I think I enjoyed my catch even more because of the preceding spell of fishless trips. There are no real highs without lows.

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 drought breaks.

My first pollack on the Delta 'fly'.

A bass.

The Rapala is generally effective.

A smaller one.

This was my smallest of the session.

A bigger one.

Not the biggest but another fine fat bass.