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).

Evenings and mornings.

It was spring tides again this week, the beaches were stacked with maggoty weed, everything looked set for decent sport with bass and mullet. On a decent, evening high water (the first one that reached the weed middens) three of us - Bill, Nigel and myself - arranged to meet on the beach. As usual the other two were there a bit before me and by the time I arrived Nigel had already landed a good thicklip on the fly gear using an artificial 'star' maggot fly without the attraction of added maggots. Bill was, as usual, spinning with his favourite lure and I had decided to try something different. I'd rigged a self weighted float on light spinning gear with a couple of polyethylene maggot flies as droppers. I've used similar gear before to combat the problems of casting flies in stiff cross winds. There were quite a few fish showing, both bass and mullet, and there was a bit of a breeze so I was quite hopeful. I began to fish alongside my mates and it wasn't too long before I had a bite and missed it. Bugger! I was encouraged and pressed on until eventually I had a better bite and found myself playing a reasonable bass of perhaps three pounds. Bill laid down his rod and picked up the camera and after taking a couple of shots he came to give me a hand landing the fish. I brought it closer on each wave and eventually it slid ashore and was thrashing on top of the weed. Just as my pal put his foot behind the fish to stop it returning to the water it kicked and wriggled so that the six pound nylon was trapped under Bill's boot. The last we saw of the bass was as it rushed off into the sea. Of course we'd only have put it back so it didn't really matter. That was more or less that for the evening apart from a beautiful bass pushing five pounds which took the wet fly that Nigel had resorted to. A little disappointing!

As I packed in I told the others that I couldn't join them the following evening because of a prior commitment (not fishing). Nigel's parting comment was "Why don't you try on the morning tide?" It was a very good idea. The following morning armed with spinning tackle, fly gear and a new set of float fished maggot flies I tramped along the beach to the chosen spot and, not surprisingly, found that apart from a couple of hundred black headed gulls I had it all to myself. Unlike the previous evening there was no wind at all and the fish were closer in so I began to fish with the float tackle and baited maggot flies. On only the third cast I was into a fine mullet which fought hard for perhaps five minutes before I was able to slide it ashore. I reached down to pick it up and as I did so it wriggled free of the hook and slid back into the sea. Two fish lost on successive trips - unlucky, but that's fishing. However, if I'd only realised it, hooking a fish so quickly was the worst thing that could have happened, because it encouraged me to continue with the float tackle. It took me almost half-an-hour of frustrating, fruitless fishing with the float gear before I decided to change.

I could see that there was a high proportion of bass in the patches of surface feeding fish so eventually I picked up the fly rod and, having seen Nigel catch a nice fish on a wet fly the previous evening, I tied on a small, white Delta. Almost at once I was into a fish which proved to be a school bass. I took its picture, unhooked it and put it back before casting again. The line straightened and I was into another schoolie, slightly larger than the first. Once more I took it's picture. The next fish fought harder and this time it was a minute or two before I beached a three pounder. Stumble back for the camera, fiddle about, unhook it, put it back. After repeating this for the fourth time I decided that I could do without any more photographs and simply unhooked the fish where I stood and dropped them back. In not much more than an hour I landed seventeen bass. Only four of them were in the three to four pound category and the rest were schoolies but it was great to catch so many fish and I was feeling well pleased as I walked back.

Back at home I emailed my pals to let them know what it had been like. Later I heard that three of them Richard, Nigel and Bill went down that evening but it seems that there were less fish about. They gave it a good go with a variety of methods and they all caught something. Nigel had two modest bass, Bill had one and Richard had the prize fish - a 4lb 7oz thicklip on the fly. The question is - Why was the morning so much more productive than the evenings?

Bill and I took the pictures.

Nigel into his mullet.

A cracking thicklip well hooked on the artificial maggots.

Playing my bass on the float fished fly.

Nigel's bass taken on a wet fly.

The morning after - flat calm, most of the ripples are feeding fish.

The shape of things to come, a schoolie on the Delta.

Another small bass on the 'plastic eel fly'.

- a better one.

Another reasonable bass well hooked on the white Delta.

Bill's evening bass.

Richard's beautiful mullet.



"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"

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 -