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).

New Zealand trevally.

My pal Alan Bulmer sent me an e-mail from New Zealand recently. Alan is just as keen as I am and there are lots of parallels between the ups and downs of fishing in our respective countries so here's his tale:-

Hi Mike,

Trust this note finds you and Lilian in the best of everything. No doubt you’ll be hammering the early season bass by now.(The chance would be a fine thing)

Thought you may be interested in my last couple of sessions on the Manukau. Strolled down on Friday about half an hour earlier than normal. The sand flat was pock marked with freshly dug sign from snapper or trevally, obviously digging for crabs. I crossed the bay with a local who I’ve fished with a few times. He was ostensibly out walking his labrador and had one eye on the dog and one eye on the water. Not a good combination, almost enough to cause schizophrenia.

As we neared the edge of the receding tide line I spotted two areas of nervous water, both about the size of large billiard tables. I picked them for bait balls. Amazingly my colleague couldn’t see them and he turned away and carried on his walk. Probably needs to go to Specsavers.

He wouldn’t have been 50 metres away when a couple of big kingfish sped in and scattered the baitfish, one on each side of the ball. Within seconds the same thing happened on the second ball, baitfish scattering everywhere. Most skipped along the surface but others stayed down and got hammered. I cast all around the tightly bunched bait but couldn’t get a take. All the while the kingfish sped around the flat their bow waves, like errant torpedoes, plainly visible. I tired of this after 10 minutes and so did the kingfish. I’m picking they opted to wait in deeper water until dinner came to them. I carried on to my normal spot only to see more big kingfish bow waves heading directly into the shore. Here they upended and waved their tails in the air as they pinned hapless flounder to the bottom before hoovering them up. I tried casting at these fast moving fish with a lure (flounder fly would have worked) but none showed any interest. Bugger!

By the time I reached my normal spot I was seriously amped and spent more time looking for sign in the channel than casting. Nothing was visible or came to the lure all morning so I blanked. How can you see so many big kingfish (~12) and not get a follow or hit?

Today I went out at the same stage of the tide but instead of glass calm I had to deal with a 25 kilometre per hour tail wind. This roughed up the surface and made spotting difficult. I did see six flounder in the shallows so there are no prizes for guessing why the kingfish are around.

To cut a long story short, I landed two small kahawai in the first 20 minutes then it went dead - nothing for an hour. Couple of rain squalls passed through during that time and I was struggling to keep my hat on when the heavier gusts hit.

Just as I was about to call it a day the ever reliable ‘Emperor Toby’ got absolutely slaughtered by a big fish. It hit the turbos and headed straight for a snag, an oyster encrusted tree branch that I knew was there. Luckily I was using 35lb braid and 20lb trace (in case I hooked another kingfish) so I was able to apply side and muscle it out with the brutally strong IRT spinning reel ( 25lb of drag on this bad boy). Gears like a tank. I could feel the line grating though so I knew it had to be a short fight. When it emerged I was also fighting a decent lump of weed. The fish zig-zagged and ran parallel to the shore for a few minutes but I managed to keep it under tight control after the initial flurry. The trace had been shredded badly on the initial run but somehow I managed to land it. My catch probably weighed 4 pounds, if the small amount of weed on its flank is included. Dirtiest fight I’ve had from a trevally in years.

A beautiful trevally with the lure still in its lip.



"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 -