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).

Tide race fishing.

Of course I enjoy all my sea angling but there are some places that I just love to fish. One of these is a tide race which is only safe to fish from about half-ebb and if the wind and waves are favourable. On a good day, as dawn breaks, with the tide roaring along like a torrential river it can be wonderful to stand on the rocky ledge and flick a lure into the racing water. Even if it is fishless, which is sometimes the case, it is exhilarating to work a lure through the tidal flow. Often, as the light improves, there will be gannets patrolling in their search for mackerel or terns plummeting into the slack water behind the ledge after fry or sandeels. I've watched good bass swim up over the ledge with their prickly fins exposed to the air and it is common for fish to strike at the surface, particularlyin the eddy formed just behind the point of the projecting rocks.

As the tide falls it soon becomes apparent that the underwater scene is a dense jungle of kelp and thongweed and at low slack water it can be really tricky to fish at all. Certainly no lure with a projecting hook or hooks is going to remain attached to the line for very long. As a rule I start off with a surface popper/slider which will generally skate above the clutching leathery strands or these days I'm more likely to try an unweighted weedless Slandra or Slug-Gill lure which generally slithers through even the thickest weed without becoming caught up. Wonderful stuff!

The other week I arrived when conditions seemed perfect. I trudged to the mark in the dark and for ten minutes I hung about waiting until the sky lightened a bit as I was wary about wading to the ledge before I could see where I was placing my feet. Eventually I took the plunge and struggled up onto the rocks. Now it was easy. I dumped the bag and prepared to fish. I still had a small weedless shad on the line from my recent bass/mullet session (see previous web page). It was probably the third cast when the rod hooped round and a fish began to take line. To be honest even schoolies will put up a fair old struggle while they are in the main flow. After landing six fish - all of one-and-a-half to three pounds in about half an hour it was getting pretty light and the weed was beginning to show above the surface. I decided to have a final go with a slider. First chuck I hooked a bass but it was no larger than the ones I'd had before. Ten more minutes without a bite decided me to pack in but as I waded back I noticed that there was still a strong flow in the narrow gap between the ledges. I couldn't resist clipping on a weedless Slug-Gill lure and flicking it up-current. A fish took it as it hit the water and I steered it clear of the rocks before walking it ashore and sliding it onto the weed for a picture. The next two casts produced two more bass in exactly the same manner but by the time I released the third fish the tide had dropped so far that the bass - presumably wary of being stranded - were gone.

After catching ten fish in an hour or so I was keen to try again. The following morning I raked myself out of bed once more, thinking that it would be even better. No chance; the wind had swung round and conditions were rough and dangerous. I managed one bite which produced a tiny bass. Can't win 'em all eh?

At low water it can be almost unfishable because of weed - cheers for weedless softbaits.

One of my first bass on the little weedless shad.

This time on the slider but no bigger than the others.

... and one of the last three from between the ledges. Each fish had to be walked ashore.



"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 -