Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle

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SEA FISHING

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).

A diversion of thinlips.

I suppose that the thing I enjoy most about fishing is trying to understand why a particular tactic works and then attempting to improve on it. One of the best examples of this approach is catching thinlipped mullet by spinning with a baited spoon. The thinlips have entered my local rivers now to feed on the 'bloom' of diatom algae which occurs in late Spring early Summer. If there is lots for them to eat the fish will often hang on throughout the Summer; otherwise they usually retreat to the saltwater and return again in the Autumn. A couple of weeks ago I'd noticed some big thinlips in the river and decided to fish for them - then it rained. Heavy rain and coloured water is bad news for mullet and often sends them back down towards the sea. Fortunately the deluge was short lived so as the river began to fine down I decided to give it a go. I bought half-a-dozen (yes just six!) ragworm from my local tackle shop, dug out a mullet spinner, replaced the hooks and set off.

I hadn't been fishing long before I saw a grey shape following the spinner and I was encouraged. However, this year there is an exceptional amount of weed growth. All this streamer weed in the shallows makes spinning for mullet rather tricky. If you cast up and spin quickly the mullet will frequently chase the lure but I prefer to cast across to the far bank and then allow the spinner to swing across before I retrieve. As I say, with lots of weed trailing down it can be difficult to fish in my preferred way. However, by keeping the rod up it is often possible to avoid snagging and this has the advantage of tempting the odd fish from between the weed clumps..

Having seen a follower I pressed on downstream and it wasn't long before I managed to induce a small group of fish to follow. If it is possible to get several mullet competing for the lure you stand a good chance of catching one and so it proved. It wasn't long before I was playing a fast moving, hard fighting specimen to the net. The trickiest part of the operation is holding the net handle between my knees while I manipulate the mullet into the meshes from the high bank. Over about four hours fishing during the week, some of it with my pal Nigel, we landed ten thinlips. Not bad for a handful of ragworm, bright conditions and low river flows. At least it's more consistent than many other forms of angling.

My first thinlip in the net.

The home-made, lead bodied spinner with Pennel rigged hooks.

Another one on the little Teklon rod and Mitchell Mag Force reel.

Streamer weed on the shallows - awkward!

A nice thinlip battling through the weed.

Nigel spinning a slower stretch.

Another good fish on the rag baited spoon.

One for Nigel.

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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 - docladle@hotmail.com