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).

Bassing in Kerry.

I've just had an email from my e-friend Eoghan in Ireland. I always enjoy his accounts of fishing because they're so full of life. Anyway, here is his report, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Hello Mike,

Where do I start. Once again Kerry doesn’t let us down. We set off for our annual September trip to Brandon in Dingle. I check the weather and the low pressure is being pushed off by the high pressure…perfect..!

We know the place backwards at this stage. Lots of good marks and more importantly when to fish them. I cant make it down til the Thursday but the lads are down since Tuesday. A quick session on Tuesday draws a blank. The mouth of the estuary usually produces fish on the rise and at times on the drop. Not this time. The lads try again next morning and same. So its clear at this stage the big tides are not working for the estuary. I txt them to see where they are fishing later that night and they are in the pub. I suggest to Steve that he leaves the drink where it is and heads for the first mark, fishing it two hours on the drop in darkness. Fair play to Steve, he leaves the warm pub and amazing Guinness to try the mark I suggested. The next two hours he smashes bass on a pearl shallow feed. Three bass landed, five bass off. He said there were splashes all round him as the bass hammered sandeels at low water in the darkness. It was the start of a brilliant weekend for Steve, he had one of those weekends where you couldn’t put a foot wrong. Needless to say I couldn’t sleep and was dying to get down the next day.

Thursday morn, on my way down I get a txt from Steve to say he had another bass that morning at the same mark, same lure. So its clear the bass are more turned on at night than during the day. Conditions are tough, churned up seas, murky water etc, not ideal for lures but we press on. On the way down I know just the mark I want to hit at half-tide. There is really only space for one person so im trying to keep this idea to myself. I get there and Steve is waiting for me like the good mate he is (Damn it!). So I tell him the mark I want to fish and he invites himself along. We get to the mark and it looks special. Steve says “I bet I get one on my first cast”. He was wrong, it was his second..! I was still getting set up, he was set up from the day before. I wont tell you what I called him. It was clear from the start this was a decent fish. The Illex was bent like a u-nail and the fish was giving him some stick. I just put my rod down to watch. He eventually lands a beautiful bass, approx 5-6Ib, released straight away. Corker. We had a couple of grabs and smashes but it wasn’t as good as we thought. I was speaking to Steve about 40 mins later when I saw my SG Sandeel engulfed just at my feet. Fish on. Played it for a few seconds then off….F**k..!!! Shortly after the tide and the very large swell pushed us off the mark.

Quick bite to eat, 2 pints and then out again around 7 to fish the dropping tide into darkness and hopefully a repeat of the night before.Around 20 mins into the Thur night session my lure gets smashed at my feet, fish on…….6 seconds maybe then off…..F**K…! I'm starting to get annoyed now. We fish then from 8 'til around 11 and not a tap. Im getting tired from the drive down that day and call it a night. Mistake. I'd say I was five mins away when it all kicked off. Steve landed a schoolie followed by a bass approx 7-8Ib..! A few more hits then it goes quiet. God im an idiot. So good nights sleep and I'm ready for battle again tomorrow.

Its early Friday morning and the lads are asleep. Over brekkie I decide to hit a mark that never lets me down. It fishes great two hours before low water. I walk out to the mark and it looks perfect. A few casts into the session, and bringing my SG sandeel slowly past a half submerged set of rocks I get smashed. Rod goes from straight to U-nail immediately. Reels screams and fish takes off. I know immediately this is not a schoolie. I play the fish for about 5 mins then I see this long black back and huge mouth. Must be at least 7lb. As the fish tires I have it at my feet. Two attempts to grab the leader fail so in panic I try to slide the fish up the rock. CRACK…! Rod snaps the top section and bass slide into the water. I reel in the slack and rod and lure still there, fish gone. At this stage I don’t know whether to cry or kick the shit out of the rock I am standing on. Luckily I bring two rods rigged up with me so I put down my broken Pezon and Michel Gunki and pick up the Illex S210m loaded with a light silver kilty lure. About four casts Bang……hit and a miss but I know they are there. Two casts later bang, rod buckles. Nice little scrap and a schoolie landed and quick photo. As we say in Ireland “Thank jayzis for that”. I was beginning to think it was going to be one of those weekends. A few more casts and hits later the rod slams over. Better fish this time and amazing sport on the lighter tackle. Fish around maybe 3lb at my feet. I know this mark produces for about 40 mins so I keep on in and a few schoolies later it goes quiet, the tide has dropped past a point I know the fish will be gone so I call it a morning. Happy again.

Quick bite to eat and back to the mark again, this time two hours on the rise. Same point at which I believe they pass on their way to the estuary. I rig up a green kilty single hook and start fishing. Bang….bass…..followed by another one shortly after. Dreamland. Then I switch to the Illex as this rod is a gem, Bang….I believe it’s a bass but a pollack..? Three pollack later it goes quiet. The tide has flooded and I know they have moved on. By this stage I am exhausted. Back to the house, food, pint then out to fish the low water at night again. The trouble is low water is nearly 1 am and I'm a walking zombie. One of those nights where I lose a lure, wind knots, not going my way so I call it a day early. Im probably leaving fish behind but I'm just too tired.

All in all it was a great weekend. Steve had the best of it. I had a few macks over one of the evening tides but that was that. Another brilliant September in Kerry.

I don’t think we would have done as well didnt we not know these marks so well. I am 38 and have been fishing these marks since I was 21. I promised myself where I got down there I would fish like a machine and I did. So some long hours put in but calculated marks we knew from the past would produce fish. Night time seemed to be the key.


Excellent stuff! It's almost as good as going fishing myself.

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 -

One bass.

Nice fish.

-two bass.

... and another.

-three bass.

... and another.


... and another.