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).

Mixed catch - same gear.

After our recent successful mullet fishing session I decided to try the following evening. This time I was on my own and again I took both the fly tackle and the spinning rod - belt and braces. When I got to my fishing spot conditions seemed almost identical to the previous day but no fish were showing so I clipped on a Pearl Evo Redgill for starters. My second cast was almost fished out when there was a splash and a yank on the line and I found myself playing a decent bass. After a lively struggle I beached the fish which was just under four pounds - not a bad start.

Soon after I'd unhooked the bass and taken its picture the mullet arrived. They were feeding madly in the edge again so I switched to the fly gear with a large poly-fly that I'd made after my last trip. It didn't work and half-an-hour of flogging produced only three fish - all tiny bass of a pound or less. I switched back to spinning the Redgill but apart from countless taps and pulls I only land two more bass - both very small. By this time it was getting dark and I packed in for the hike back in the dark. The session was a complete contrast to the previous evening - no mullet, only bass.

As I trudged along over the boulders thinking about the change from one night to the next I decided to get up the next morning and have a try with a free-lined bait. Back at the house I dug a mackerel fillet out of the freezer and popped it into the bucket in my car boot to be thawed out ready for the morning. I was up at 04:30 and soon on my way to the coast. I walked a short distance to a sheltered spot (always easier for free-lining, blustery wind can be a pain), flicked the bait out a couple of metres into very shallow water, left the bale arm open and waited as the tide rose. I was dressed in several layers of warm clothing, waders, hat, scarf and gloves but after fifteen minutes my finger tips holding the line felt as though they were frostbitten. I alternately tucked each hand into my jacket pocket to warm up for a little while and held the line in my free hand. About three-quarters-of-an-hour passed and it was the turn of my right hand to freeze. The rod butt was tucked under my right arm and my index finger was hooked round the line on the edge of the spool. There was a sharp pull on the braid and I quickly took my left hand out of its cosy pocket. Already the line was beginning to whisper out from the spool. As I held it between my finger and thumb it ran faster and faster. I took a pace forward to give a spot of slack and closed the bale. The rod began to bend and there was a big splash out in the darkness to my right. The clutch of the Shimano started to buzz and there was more surface splashing. The bass fought on the surface as it was pumped all the way back to where I stood, eventually I reached down and took the nylon trace to slide it ashore.

The fish was a beauty, fat as a barrel and 74 cm long it weighed exactly nine pounds. Having removed the 8/0 Varivas circle hook from the scissors I perched my little camera on a handy boulder and took a selfy before slipping the fish back to swim away. Excellent!

Later that day I had a visit from my good friend Steve Pitts. Steve lives in Bristol so it's a bit of a drive to get down to Dorset and we hadn't fished together for at least a couple of years. The idea was to try and catch a pike or a seatrout (or both) from a stretch of my local river but in practice it was just a chance to catch up and have a good old natter. We spent a very pleasant afternoon spinning but the river was very low and clear and the fish were not cooperative. Steve tried a large soft plastic and a Rapala plug to no avail while I wobbled a dead pilchard or spun a Lumi- lure. Each of us missed one decent bite from trout but the only decent fish was a pike of eight or nine pounds which took my little spinner. We did a lot of talking and thoroughly enjoyed the session so for sure it won't be two years until we fish together again. As a matter of interest, apart from the three small bass on the fly, all my fish (spun or bait fished, salt or freshwater) were taken on exactly the same rod reel and line.

A tiny bass taken on a polystyrene surface fly.

A bit better bass on an Evo Redgill.

Nicely hooked on the Redgill.

the best fish of my lure session.

That's better! My nine pounder taken on bait in the dark.

Different place same gear.

A pike of similar weight to the bass but this one took a 'Lumi-Lure'.



"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 -