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).

Conditions do matter!

Recently I've made three, brief, early morning trips to the same spot. It's a place with fairly exposed ledges dropping straight off into a couple of metres of water with plenty of kelp and rocky hummocks. The difference between the three sessions, each lasting roughly an hour, was remarkable.

The first time there was a light northerly wind blowing more or less offshore but clearly there was a bit of a depression out to the south-west because there was a swell of perhaps a metre in height crashing against the rocks. However, it was not too dangerous for fishing so, with the water movement suggesting the possibility of bass, I tackled up the spinning rod with an 18cm, Pearl, Evo Redgill. Sure enough I hadn’t been fishing long when I had a decent bite and found myself playing a reasonable bass. I landed the fish, took its picture and slipped it back into the sea. Twenty minutes later I had my second bite which turned out to be a pollack a bit smaller than the bass. Having caught a pollack I switched to my fly rod armed with a 65mm Delta and was soon into another fair sized pollack. Sadly, after rushing about and making the drag buzz with a couple of powerful dives it wriggled off the hook. That was that and when the sun began to peep over the horizon I packed in and went home.

I was encouraged by my first trip and a couple of days later I decided to give it another go. Despite the surfer’s website predicting only a 0.1m swell I arrived to find that the wind was stronger and more onshore so it was much rougher than previously - only just safe to fish I thought. I shouldn't have bothered. Not only was there a big swell (ten times the one predicted) but the sea was full of bits of loose weed. Nightmare! Again I tried the big Redgill with a Delta dropper (fly fishing wasn’t really an option in the conditions) but this time, apart from a couple of furtive plucks, I never had a sniff.

The following weekend my pal Ben rang to ask if I fancied an early morning trip. The weather had now been hot and calm for a couple of days so (a glutton for punishment) I suggested that we might try the same spot again. Ben picked me up at 03:10hr and off we went to the coast. After a bit of a hike we arrived at the ledges and found that this time it was flat calm and gin clear. Of course it was still pretty dark and to start off with I began spinning with the big Redgill while Ben fly fished. For ten minutes there was nothing doing then I missed one or two taps on the plastic eel. This prompted us to change tactics and Ben began to spin with a wedge while I switched to my fly rod and little Delta.

Ben began to get bites almost straight away, mostly at long range. It wasn’t long until he landed a small pollack and then he began to catch mackerel. Meanwhile I was still biteless but ever hopeful. My optimism was rewarded when I struck into a reasonable pollack but as I slid it ashore it flipped off the hook and swam off. My spirits raised and it wasn’t long before I caught a half-pound pollack and then another one a bit bigger. Both of them put up a fair battle on the fly gear. Ben was still catching mackerel at range and missing a fair few bites (probably small pollack). Just as we were thinking about giving it best I found myself attached to a hard fighting fish on the fly rod. The reel screamed and I said to my pal ”What the hell’s this!” It wasn’t long before the fish plunged for the kelp and had to be restrained by a bit of finger pressure on the spool. My best pollack of the three sessions. Before we packed in Ben had another small pollack on the spinning gear. Altogether quite a hectic session for an hour or so. Must try again soon if the good weather persists.

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 -

My bass.

Taken spinning the Redgill in rough but fishable conditions.

First trip pollack.

Not a bad fish but no match for the spinning gear.

Biggest pollack.

This one took the fly in flat calm conditions.


One of Ben's mackerel caught on a wedge.