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).

Dave's "Trip of a lifetime."

My pal Dave and his friend Paul have just been on a special fishing holiday to Costa Rica. They'd never been before so it was all new to them; as usual the shore fishing proved challenging but they clearly had a good time. I think it can take years to get to know a place reasonably well. Anyway, here's Dave's report.


I've now recovered from the return journey enough to get a couple of lines off to you.

We had a fantastic time on our "holiday of a lifetime" and caught one or two fish whilst we were there. The shore fishing was a little problematic because of the shallow surf beaches and constant dream conditions (for surfers!) which restricted our efforts somewhat. Nonetheless, Paul managed some kind of ray thing on our very first morning on a Rapala from the surf. Paul had said that his Long Cast Rapala was fishing a little too deep and hitting the sandy bottom all the way in but that proved to be exactly what this ray wanted, and it did appear to have taken the lure rather than being foul hooked as I suspected when Paul first shouted that he thought he'd hooked a stingray. The fish was hooked well under the disc ( still foul hooked, obviously) not on the edge of the wing, which I'm guessing meant that the fish had flopped down on the lure rather than being snagged as the lure went by. Don't know what kind of ray it was but it had a very short tail with no obvious sting.

Further along the beach, from the rocks I had a take from a small fish, but missed it on a wedge lure before the sun came up and chances diminished. Two days later I fished the same spot a little earlier and caught eight small grouper type fishes, of a type that Paul had caught in New Guinea, where they are called rock cod. I also had a very unlucky puffer fish which the wedge nicked in the extreme end of its tail. Bites tailed off abruptly as the sun rose. Our final beach fishing trip resulted in a rock cod each for myself and Paul.

Most of our fish were taken on boat trips. I'd organised a Kayak fishing safari, two inshore boat trips and an offshore trip after marlin & sailfish. The kayak fishing safari promised much but fell well short of expectations. It was supposed to be a specialist snook trip. In the Nosara river there seems to be a snook nursery, the guide impressed upon us the need for small lures and the reason became apparent when the guide caught one of perhaps twelve ounces and I got one of maybe half that weight. The guide said I'd just missed a crocodile with my kayak - I saw nothing. Then we paddled to the river mouth where Kayaks were abandoned for chucking lures out into the surf which is where, apparently, all the huge (50lb +) snook are taken but the sea was full of mangrove leaves and our guide's exhortations to use small lures had led us to use our lightest rods too. Inevitably we were unable to throw large lures far enough, so we gave up. Tried again on our own a couple of evenings later in the same spot and the leaves had miraculously disappeared, as too had all the baitfish and, inevitably the big snook.

Our offshore (expensive) trip was a little disappointing, although we did spot several sailfish and a small (150lb!) blue marlin. We had no takes but saw lots of turtles, including lots of baby turtles being eaten by frigate birds. I know it has to happen but it did seem a shame that those little turtles had made it to several miles offshore, only to be gobbled up.

The highlight of the trip was the inshore boat sessions. We had to use the same boat as for the offshore because the smaller boat had an engine malfunction, this meant that the casting platform was a bit difficult to use properly but we tossed lures and pulled livebaits for roosters, Only one take which Paul missed by being a little too keen. Then we dropped down cut baits (pieces of little tuna of about a pound and a half) where I got a cubera snapper of about 50-60lb - my scales only go up to 50lb! and Paul got a grouper of about 20lb. My highlight was an onsa jack (that's what the skipper said it was - can find no reference to onsa jack anywhere) of just about double figures on a wedge using my 30-60g spin rod.

We had a time targeting a huge pod of dolphins that showed where the tuna were. Paul hooked one of about 25lb on a surface popper which took him over 40 minutes to subdue on his 30-60g rod and 4000 reel. I hooked one on similar tackle which broke off after a run of over 150 yards. I'd been changing lures and with each change shortened the leader. When I eventually hooked up my leader was only about eight inches long, some part of the fish must have rubbed the braid and I was left to reel in 150+ yards of unencumbered braid. "Bum!" I said.

The really good bit was plonking down fillets of snapper, tuna and cero mackerel in the local restaurant and exhorting the chef to turn it into a culinary masterpiece!

Not the holiday of a lifetime though, we're going again next year! Will have more inshore boat trips and sort out a better approach to the shore fishing.


Well - not a bad trip eh? Plenty of memorable fishing tales. It makes me wish I'd been there.

Probably a California butterfly ray - nice fish!

That's what I call a fish - Dave's cubera snapper.

A cracking grouper for Paul.

Puffer fish - almost unrecognisble.

A small but beautifully marked grouper.



"Fishing for Ghosts - Successful Mullet Angling"

written with David Rigden IT'S AVAILABLE FROM - "The Medlar Press"


“The Second Wave”

Written with Steve Pitts this is a SEQUEL TO THE BESTSELLER "Operation Sea Angler" IT'S AVAILABLE ON PAPER OR FOR YOUR KINDLE FROM - "Veals Mail Order" and from Amazon "Amazon"

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