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).

Mullet by all means.

On the last Saltwater page of the BLOG I recounted how Bill, Nigel and myelf caught a few bass, mostly small, from large shoals of maggot feeding schoolies. My parting comment was that it might be worth another try the following evening - well we all went and it was a complete surprise for us. This time we were joined by two more friends, Phil and Richard. Despite a spot of drizzle conditions were if anything easier than the previous evening, not too much wind or swell, a little bit of surf right in the edge and high water at about 19:00hr so we were all anticipating a good session.

As high water approached once again the fish arrived in force but something was different. This was not the smash and grab behaviour of baby bass as we'd seen on the previous day but open mouthed skimming of (mainly) young mullet. Between us, according to our preferences, we were trying a variety of lures and flies. Surely there would be one or two bass among the hundreds of mullet? But no: nobody could buy a bite despite the many fish present. I persisted with my Delta eel on the fly rod but if there were any bass in the mullet shoals they were just not interested. It was now past high tide and I decided as a final gesture to switch to a poly maggot–fly. I had barely changed my ‘fly’ when I missed a pluck – encouraging! However, it was a flash in the pan and although I flogged away for another half-an-hour I only had one more bite. I hooked this one and it turned out to be a fat mullet of perhaps three pounds which fought like hell on the fly gear. At the start of each season the first mullet reminds me of just what amazing sport these fish can give. Everyone else blanked – what a disappointment!

I was itching to catch a decent bass so a couple of days later I went on my own at the crack of dawn and freelined a sardine on an 8/0 circle hook. As usual I failed to catch but at least I had my first PROPER bite of the year to this tactic. A steaming run from what was clearly a big bass took twenty or thirty metres of line at lightning speed. I obeyed my rules – give it a metre of slack line, gently close the bale arm, let it pull the rod round, hold your breath, the line tightens and it twangs back slack. B*****! I’ve missed it. And that was that. I heard later from Bill that he’d been lure fishing that morning and had two schoolies and a nice four pounder; ah well, never mind.

Still smarting from the missed bass bite; later in the week I went for an hour one evening in search of seatrout on my local river. There was a modest hatch of mayfly but, as is often the case, nothing was rising. I spun a J9 Rapala and after an hour without a sign a fish finally attached itself, just as the lure came to the bank. It turned out to be a modest thinlip nicely hooked in the mouth on the tail treble of the little plug; very unusual. I fished on and saw a couple of bow waves behind the lure which I took to be more mullet. I had no more bites.

Next day I bought 50 pence worth of ragworm from my local tackle shop in Wareham. First of all I tried with the plug I'd used the day before, having baited the rear treble with a fragment of worm. I had a couple of follows but of course, despite reducing my bait to a few millimetres in length, the action of the little balsa lure was killed by the piece of worm. I should have known better.

I grovelled in the lure box to see what was there. There was only one mullet spinner so I clipped it on. When I noticed that the worm spun almost as fast as the blade I wasn't happy – it's never good when that happens. However I immediately saw bow waves of fish following the lure, really exciting stuff. Despite my less-than-perfect-spinner in under an hour I landed four thinlips to 3lb+ and dropped two or three more before packing in. A very enjoyable session. Now for that big bass?

At last! I'm into a thicklip on the fly. Nigel's fly fishing in the background.

Nice plump fish. In the absence of windscreen wipers I tucked my glasses under the hood.

Well hooked on the poly fly.

My unlucky thinlip which took the rear treble of the Rapala.

The first mullet on my inferior baited spinner.

The hooks were too large and crudely tied so the bait spun - but it still worked.

The best thinlip on my spinner - slim but almost as heavy as the thicklip caught on the fly.



"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 -