Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle

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8 August 2003

Fly sport.

Saltwater fly fishing is becoming one of the cult things to do. These days I often see anglers wielding fly gear from the rocks along the Purbeck coast. The other morning my pal Brian Baxter took me to a rock mark, which was new to me, to fish for bass and mackerel. I took my spinning rod and the usual selection of lures but when we met up at 4.30am Brian was armed with a fly rod as well as his spinning gear.

Brian just fancied catching a mackerel on the fly. We started by me fishing a popper and Brian casting a fly. I was soon into a fish on the popper and as I played it I noticed that my pal also had a fish on his fly rod. We landed our respective fish and took a few pictures before fishing on.

As it turned out it was an excellent morning and the fish fed well. On the fly Brian landed a number of mackerel, a pollack and a scad while I had two or three mackerel on the popper followed by several more on a J11 and a modest bass on the same lure. The whole session lasted for no more than an-hour-and-a-half and we totalled sixteen mackerel plus the other species.

A couple of days later we tried again and this time I took my little fly rod. Sport was not quite as good as on the previous trip but I did manage to catch mackerel, pollack and bass on the fly. It also gave me a good chance to compare the three species on the same gear. Interestingly, the bass gave much the best scrap and the pollack were distinctly a poor third when it came to sport. No doubt a big pollack would give you a fair old tussle but pound-for-pound the bass and mackerel had them beaten hands down.

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 first mackerel of the session.

My first ever on a Skitterpop.

Brian had this one on a fly.

The fish are so lively that it is almost impossible to get rod, fly and fish in the same picture.

My bass.

The J11 is such a consistent lure for bass.

My first pollack on the fly.

This was the biggest.  There were hundreds of tiny pollack dashing at the fly as well.

- and a bass.

A real battler on my little fly.

- and a mackerel.

The three fish all took the same little Redgill 'fly'.