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).

An hour-and-a-half of mixed tactics.

My attempts to catch bass on freelined baits this year have been futile up to now. I'd be concerned but in truth I have several pals who despite many hours of lure fishing haven't done much better than me. Anyway, having heard that there were a few mackerel about I decided to have a go at catching something (anything) to raise my spirits a bit. The problem now we're almost at the longest day is that if you want to fish first light you need to be on the shore before 04:00hr which means leaving the house between three and half-past.

This morning I raked myself out of bed, dressed, slung the gear into the car and set off for the coast. I was armed with three sets of tackle: a spinning rod for catching mackerel, etc., a fly rod in case the fish were mad on and close in and lastly a second spinning rod armed with a big circle hook for freelining a mackerel livebait (I can't resist the thought of a big bass being out there). When I got to the rocks it was still pretty gloomy although there was a ful moon above the mist; my first few casts were with the fly tackle and a small white plastic eel. Nothing! I put down the fly rod and began to spin with a silver Toby. I'd switched the treble for a single hook armed with a bit of white fluff. The single makes it easier to unhook mackerel without doing serious damage to their mouths or gills - essential if you want to use them to stay alive and kicking when you're freelining.

On my second cast there were two or three sharp pulls as the lure was almost at my feet - I didn't hook them. That's the down side of the single hook set up if you are dead set on hooking most bites. I cast again and once more missed a couple of bites. It was probably the fourth or fifth cast before the rod hooped over to the pull of a decent fish. Although it plunged away there was no vibration to suggest that I'd hooked a mackerel and sure enough my catch turned out to be a nice pollack. Now quite often the pollack on this stretch of shoreline are half-a-pound if you're lucky but this one was a good two pounder so I was quite pleased. I took its picture and slipped it back into the sea before casting again. A couple of minutes later I hooked and landed another pollack only slightly smaller than the first. It was five pollack later before I felt the hard bite and shuddering fight of a mackerel which I played in and unhooked before taking its picture. I couldn't resist casting again and it was one more mackerel and another pollack before I hooked a heavy fish close in. "Bass" I'm thinking but after a few strong plunges I saw that it was a pollack quite a lot larger than any I'd had before. It unhooked itself and wriggled away as I tried to slide it ashore. At this point I remembered the fly tackle.

I propped the spinning rod against a handy rock and flicked out the little white, plastic fly. After a few casts I had my smallest pollack of the session then another mackerel which put up the usual strong battle on the fly rod. I swung it to hand and unhooked it before laying it on my selected area of flat rock 'studio' and taking one or two pictures. The next cast produced another mackerel and this time I whipped it off the hook and lip hooked it on the livebait rod. For the remaining half-hour I allowed my fish to swim all over the sea but sadly there was no bass bite before I went home for my breakfast. Still, it made a nice change to catch some decent fish from the salt water. Must go again soon. Oh - by the way - I noticed some good sized thinlipped mullet in my local river this week - must buy a few ragworm and give them a go.

My first pollack - and a good one - I needed the flash for this picture.

Close up to show my single-hooked Toby.

Another reasonable pollack, this time on the 'fly'.

A mackerel on the fluff dressed Toby.

... and one on the fly.

Livebait but no takes.



"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 -