Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle


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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).

Brazil 2018 - Part III

I can’t finish my account of the recent Brazil trip without mentioning a few of the non-fishing events that kept us entertained. Richard’s DIY skills must have been inherited from me because if something can go wrong it usually does. The front garden of their new bungalow now has an attractive bamboo fence which only needed a final coat of varnish to complete it (he’s finished it now). One sunny afternoon he put on his old clothes, opened the brand new tin of varnish and set about brushing away. For half-an-hour all went well and the freshly bronzed palings were looking good. Typically it was a hot sunny day so, at risk of heat stroke and with the sweat running down his face my son opted to move from the grass to a stretch which was in the shade. As it happened this move required the paint tin to be replaced on the brand new, wood-grain finish, tiled drive. Within minutes I heard a cry of anguish and looked up to see the painter doing a war dance and cursing loudly around a large, rapidly spreading, pool of dark brown liquid. In attempting to shift the tin along he had somehow flipped it onto its side. Of course panic set in with the proximity of dogs and kids to the offending liquid but after a prolonged spell of hosing and scrubbing the location of the disaster was barely visible.

The paint fiasco followed a lesser event earlier that day. Rich and I had gone to replenish the stock of diet Coke (almost essential in the heat). We went to the tiny shop just outside the condominium and Rich picked up a pack of six large bottles wrapped in plastic film. As he lifted them it dislodged the adjacent set of six which toppled a short distance to the floor. Amazingly the impact caused one of the bottles to explode showering us and most of the shop with wet, sticky, soft drink. The chap behind the counter was very understanding and seemed to think it was his fault for stacking them up.

Fruit for sale in Maceio. The market is huge and sells everything from spices to shoes.

Lilian with a jack fruit a popular 'snack' from the roadside stalls.

Typical lunch on the patio.

Quite often our fishing trips resulted in unexpected finds. One day I went for an early morning dabble and came across a recently dead green turtle. Over the next couple of days it was devoured by the local black vultures. A little further along from our village, in the palm trees just behind the beach; workmen were beginning to construct a new wooden building. Two days after finding the dead turtle we were having our usual dawn fishing sortie when the builders drew our attention to a huge turtle which had just completed digging a nest and laying its eggs at the top of the beach. A little later as we walked back fishless, the turtle had already made its way back down the shore and swum away.

A recently deceased turtle - probably drowned in a mullet net.

The vultures soon spot any corpses on the beach.

Turtle shit is frequently washed up.

Alive and kicking - Richard inspects a big green turtle that has just completed laying its eggs. Two workmen looking on.

I think I’ve said elsewhere that we had several failed attempts at fishing the estuary of the Sao Antonio River. To get to our fishing spot involved a ten minute hike along the sandy beach. Richard prefers to make the walk along the strand in bare feet so he generally leaves his flip-flops at a handy spot on the dunes. On our second visit some early rising local had obviously taken a liking to his shoes and applied the well known Brazilian principle which loosely translated is “finding is not stealing”. Ever trusting, on a later trip he decided to divest himself of his smart T-shirt so he could wade out to spin in the heavy surf. Again, on our return the shirt was gone. This time however and only a week later I rediscovered his clothing where some kind person had clearly moved it ‘for safety’.

We also had some proper fishing-related incidents. Very occasionally one of us doesn't take a rod when we go to the beach. In the rare event that I have (sensibly) taken my gear and he has (stupidly) not bothered, Rich is always keen to get his hands on my tackle “just for one or two casts”. On one such trip I was spinning from the shore using a weedless soft plastic and getting nothing – Rich decided that he might be able to do better so he made some lame comment about my inept technique, grabbed the rod and first cast produced a tangle which required cutting off the braid and putting on a new trace. Muttering oaths and curses regarding his incompetence I did the necessary adjustments and clipped on a heavy Toby for easier casting. Again my son took the rod and I said “try a gentle cast the first time!” For all I know the lure may still be travelling somewhere over the Atlantic following the ping which resulted from his usual hearty swing of the rod. We packed in and went home.

Our kayak fishing was also dogged with misfortune. On returning from one of our first trips the wheels collapsed and couldn’t be repaired so fishing was postponed for a few days (we did manage to launch on one occasion using an old pushchair as a trolley). However the most irritating event took place one evening. Having replaced the broken wheels and trundled our way to the sea we found that it was a bit on the rough side but typically we couldn't resist having a go. Due to the conditions we decided to fish closer in than usual. We paddled out to the chosen mark through a hefty swell and some unusually coloured water. “This’ll do!” came the voice from behind me so I took the paddle while the ‘skipper’ dropped anchor. There was a splash followed immediately by a string of unrepeatable curses. It appeared that my five year old granddaughter had at some time untied the anchor and dad didn’t notice, so it plummeted to the depths unattached. We didn't have a spare so it was back to the shore - unsatisfied!

I must end with a fish. Whatever the conditions it was always possible to fish from the beach where we lived. The water was shallow and as I've said before the fish were numerous and diverse but tiny. However, it was a handy spot for an early morning dabble and ever hopeful of catching something bigger Rich and I spent some hours spinning from the shore with a variety of lures.

Our fishing from the beach generally involved casting beyond the surf with a variety of lures in hope of a snook or a jack – both of which we knew to be present (although seemingly not very often). There was always a stiff cross wind and often a lot of marginal weed so Richard generally stripped down to his bathers and waded beyond the breaking waves to fish (I was less bold, generally paddled thigh deep and put up with cleaning weed off the lures).

A dawn session on 'our' beach at the end of the street.

One morning near the end of our holiday we made one of our frequent attempts to catch something locally. It was a beautiful dawn and as usual my son was soon way ahead of me and shoulder deep in the breaking waves casting is favourite resin-headed, weedless, soft plastic into the distance. We've fished together for forty-odd years now and it's a sort of instinct to glance along and see what the other one is doing. One of these glances showed that my 'buddy' was behaving differently - his posture, the way he moved and (was I imagining it?) the bend in his rod suggested 'fish on!'

I quickly reeled in, took the camera from my bag and began to trot along the beach pausing every so often to take another picture. Of course as I got closer it was apparent that my suspicion had been correct and Richard was playing a decent fish. By now the workmen (the ones who had drawn our attention to the turtle) were forming an audience to watch the excitement - I doubt that they'd ever seen anyone catch a 'proper' fish from that beach. The times on my camera showed that it was a good ten minutes before he was able to tail the jack - a decent double. Typically the fish had hit the lure like a ton of bricks and stripped many metres of line in a series of runs. What a way to start the day.

Even at long range with my rubbish eyesight I could see that he was into a fish.

After a ten minutes battle the fish is coming closer.

A fine jack but I thought that the full frontal of Professor Ladle in his mini-trunks might offend sensitive blog readers.

Several other morning efforts failed to produce even a bite. Good fish are not ten a penny on these beaches. Another Black Minnow destroyed.



"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 -