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).

A second chance. How about that?

A week or two back I lost a really good bass from a narrow gap between two rocky ledges. Todays page is a sort of sequel to that trip. Firstly I'll repeat the paragraphs I wrote last time; up to this point it had been a fairly fruitless session:-

I was still using a weedless, soft plastic EvoStix lure so as a parting shot I decided to return to the base of the ledge and fish between the two ledges. The tide was roaring through the gap between the ledges and because of the swell I couldn't venture to where I would have liked to fish. Anyway, I started flicking the unweighted lure up current and winding it back. After about ten minutes I had a good take and the fish simply tore away against the fierce flow (several knots) and my tightly set clutch. I was elated - but not for long. After a few seconds the fish (clearly a really good one) ploughed through a gap in the far ledge (only five or six metres across the race from where I stood) and pinged the tightly stretched braid on the rocks. Needless to say I was gutted.

I thought about it afterwards and decided that it was probably my fault. I hadn't expected to hook anything and certainly nothing big. When you are into a good fish it goes against the grain to 'let them go with minimal resistance' but maybe that is what I should have done? With luck the bass might have crossed the ledge into the open water beyond. Perhaps by holding the rod high I could have played it out without snagging the ledge? Of course panic set in and it's easy to be wise after the event. If it happened again I don't know whether I'd behave any differently. First time I've been broken by a bass in some decades. BUGGER!

Now this morning's tale:- Yesterday was incredibly stormy; eighty-mile-per-hour gusts of wind and a torrential downpour. The tide that morning would have been exactly right for fishing the place where I lost the bass and I'd intended going again. I was woken by my alarm clock, got up, dressed, opened the door. shut it again and went back to bed. So, I didn't go fishing. As the day wore on the wind dropped and the rain stopped. The met office said there was a 50% chance of rain the next morning but I wasn't going to be put off for a second time.

The following day I got up at the crack of dawn and drove to the coast. There was a hint of drizzle in the air but it was mild and windless - well worth a go, so I walked to my chosen spot. The tide was about an hour later than on the previous day so when I reached the ledges the water was still too high to venture out onto the prime places, a fact emphasised by the remains of yesterdays's swell breaking over the rocks. I chose a safe stance and began casting my unweighted, weedless EvoStix lure into the breaking waves. Nothing! After about half-an-hour there was a hint of light appearing in the eastern sky and I no longer needed my head torch to avoid stumbling over the rocks.

I switched to a larger softbait but it was no more productive than the EvoStix eel so after ten minutes I switched back again to my first choice; thinking that if I had a bite from even a modest bass it would be nice to have a good chance of hooking it. Now the tide was falling, the light was improving quickly and I could see where the lure was landing. I decided to have the last half-hour fishing the gully where I'd been embarassed by the big bass.

I was casting up-current between the two ledges being nervous about venturing any further out in case of the odd big swell. For twenty minutes or so nothing happened then I decided to try dropping the lure on top of the ledge which I stood on and allowing it to be swept by the waves into the gully. First cast the lure rolled off the rocks and the line went tight. Snagged on a rock? ...but no, the rod pulled round and I was in!

As on the earlier occasion the fish set off uptide at a rate of knots, stripping line from the reel as it went. If I hung on tight I knew exactly what would happen (I'd had a dummy run); the braid would contact the rocks and I'd be left fishless and swearing again. For once the plan was clear in my mind. Loosen the clutch so as not to restrain the bass and hold the rod high in the hope that the fish would thread its way through the jagged rocks. My heart was in my mouth as the line poured out under just enough tension to avoid metres of billowing slack braid. A few seconds passed (it felt like years) and the bass was through. With my long spinning rod held at arm's length above my head (thank the gods for my old fashioned preference for long rods) the line was angled over the far ledge and the fish was now in open water. With my left hand I tightened the clutch to avoid being spooled. Four or five times the fish ran out towards the race and every time it stopped and I managed to regain some line.

Bass usually fight it out near the surface and I prayed that this one would be true to form. After five minutes of give and take I could see the line angling back shorewards towards my right; the fish was tiring. I'm thinking 'please don't let the hook come out'. I picked my way back over the slippy surface towards the calmer, shallower water. I reached down with my right hand and grabbed the nylon trace before sliding the fish ashore. Success! Of course the real satisfaction was not just landing a good bass but the fact that my plan for dealing with the conditions had worked perfectly. If it ever happens again I expect I'll try the same tactics because I know that the alternative 'hang on and hope' doesn't work. Could I be so lucky for a second time - perhaps - perhaps not?

A big, fat 73cm bass in mint condition.

The scratty little EvoStix still in its mouth (why don't they make a bigger version - I'd buy it anyway!).

My grip and grin shot - something to smile about this time.



"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 -