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).

About time!

For one reason or another (holidays, family stuff, etc. etc.) I didn't do as much sea fishing as I would like last month. When my pal Nigel rang Yesterday to ask if I fancied wetting a line I was keen to give it a try. The best option seemed to be bait fishing at high water so we agreed to join up for a few casts. As it turned out, although the sea was pretty flat and there was little wind, there was a gigantic swell crashing against the cliffs. The spot we'd chosen was fishable but only just. I tried a calamari and Nigel freelined a mackerel head but in the hour or so we fished neither of us had a bite.

As we packed in Nigel asked if I wanted the rest of his bait which consisted of a mackerel fillet and a bluey which he didn't want to refreeze. I accepted gratefully and decided to try a session at low water the following morning. When my alarm went off at 04:00 hr I almost went back to sleep, having forgotten that I had some bait. Anyway, I managed to get up and drove down to the shore. The tide was well out and the swell of the previous evening had dropped away so I tramped along the rocks to one of my favoured spots. I was using a Mustad Demon 7/0 circle hook and baited it with the head of the bluey hooked through its pointy snout. I placed the bait on a flat rock, sat down and waited for the tide to come in.

After about ten minutes the water was beginning to creep up the rocks when suddenly I saw the strangest phenomenon. Suddenly, within about one minute, the tide rushed into my gully and rose literally a metre. I was shocked but then, just as quickly, the water went out again. It was like a mini tsunami. There was a bit of a downside to this surge in that it carried with it lots of loose weed and whipped my bait away from its appointed resting place. In fact my spot was now unfishable. Time for a rethink.

I had lost my head-of-bluey wrapped in a mass of feathery weed so I rebaited with the rest of it (a hefty bait even for me) and walked along until I found a less disturbed spot. The water close in was really filthy and packed with loose weed but I felt that it would be possible to freeline my bait beyond the worst of it. I cast out about five metres and stood holding the rod with the line between my finger and thumb and the bale arm open. Was that a twitch? It surely was and the line began to stream out at light speed. I'd missed a bite on my previous session (a few weeks back) so I let the fish go for perhaps thirty metres as I knew that the bait was very bulky. Holding my breath I closed the bale, the rod pulled right round and the line went slack!!! Bugger!!! I'd done it again. I reeled in all the line to find my big chunk of bluey apparently untouched.

Needless to say I thought that I'd missed my chance. However, hope springs eternal, so I cut off at least half of the bait making it now only about four or five inches long. I lobbed it out again and waited. After about five minutes the line twitched. Now I was on tenterhooks. Was it a bass? Would it run? It did. Away went the line accelerating off the spool. This time I dropped the rod tip towards the sea to give a bit of slack as I closed the bale arm, the line tightened, the rod bowed over and I was in! Eureka! In fact the fish didn't fight very hard and it wasn't long before I slid it ashore. I took its picture, unhooked it and took a selfie before releasing the bass - a chunky specimen of just under five pounds, the smallest one I've had so far on freelined bait. I wonder how big the one I missed was??? Anyway, thanks for the bait Nigel.

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 -

Bass and gear.

Landed at last on the old 4Surespin and braided line.

Nicely hooked.

With the reduced bait size the circle hook had lodged nicely in the scissors.


To be honest it was more relief than enjoyment.