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).

Bass time!

It was a mild winter wasn't it? As a result sea temperatures have been pretty high this spring and everyone expected or at least hoped that the fish might be about a bit earlier than usual. In fact this seems to have been the case with bass, and over the past few weeks a number have been caught locally. My pals Bill, Dave and Rob have each had fish in the past week so things are definitely looking up. My personal tally for two short (one hour) sessions was nil but conditions hadn't really been suitable for the free-lined bait tactics I was using. Anyway, when my pal Nigel rang to say that he was going to meet Bill for an evening lure fishing round about high water I said I was keen to join them.

As it turned out my pals were on the shore before I got there. First of all I went to the wrong place and finding that they were not there I had to drive to a second parking spot, then I walked down from my car to find that they'd gone off along the rocks and were now out of sight round the headland. I looked at the sea, it was pretty rough and with the tide already well in I didn't fancy tramping after the others and getting a soaking only to find that it was unfishable. I considered my options. The rocky stretch where I was standing was reasonably sheltered so I decided to give it a go for ten minutes to see if there was anything about.

I was fishing with the light Teklon Concept rod, Mitchell reel and twenty pound Whiplash braid that I use in the river. The lure was an 18cm Pearl, Evo Redgill and of course it rocketed out to sea on the relatively fine line. I tried a few casts in each accessible spot and was pleased to see that the water was reasonably clear. There were a few bits of loose weed but I only had to clear the hook every three or four casts so there was no need to resort to a weedless version. I worked my way back towards the inner part of the bay where it was even calmer and as I reached the last fishable spot I felt a tap. Definitely a fish, I thought. Encouraged I flogged away for a while and had several more tugs and pulls but I hooked nothing. Having seen one or two small fish break the surface I decided that the bites were either mini pollack or tiny bass so I changed the lure for a size 3 silver Mepps. The bites ceased and after ten minutes I got the message and switched back to the big Redgill.

Sure enough the bites began again and after a dozen more casts I suddenly found myself attached to a fish. I knew at once that I'd hooked a small bass but it was fighting like stink and I had to play it round a big post before I could slide it ashore on a sloping concrete ramp. A couple of pictures, slip the hook out and put my first bass of the year, probably weighing a-pound-and-a-half back into the sea where it rushed away. Fantastic, it's always nice to get that first one under your belt. By now I was feeling more confident so I began to cast again. Sure enough I was still getting uncatchable bites - the fish must have been really small. I kept saying to myself "Last cast Mike!" Then I'd have another bite which made me try again. I looked at my watch to find that if I was to get home at the appointed time I'd have to go.

One last chuck. Out went the lure again and when it was about a third of the way back the rod tip jerked to the umpteenth nip. I kept winding steadily and two seconds later the tip arched over as a proper fish took the plastic eel and was hooked. This was certainly bigger than my first one and was fighting just as fiercely. I manoeuvered my line over the projecting post, slipping and slithering back to the ramp. The fish was still pulling hard and even taking some line in short bursts. I slid it ashore and grabbed the camera. My captive behaved perfectly and didn't move until I'd taken its picture and unhooked it. Back it went into the sea - well over three pounds and very satisfying. I packed in and went home without another cast. I later discovered that my pals had blanked so being late had saved the day for me.

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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 -

No monster but my first bass of the year - nicely hooked.

A second bass, larger and in equally good condition.

Close up, this one really wanted the lure.