, nylon leader Mike Ladle's Fishing Diary

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).

Now some lure fishing.

Spinning then and now!

The clothing I wear for spinning is identical to that mentioned in the fly fishing features. The basic idea is to keep as warm and dry as possible while still having the freedom to walk for miles and, if necessary, to wade into the sea (or the river). It is clear from looking at most other anglers using spinning tackle that they are all clad more or less the same. Of course, as in most walks of life, there are some who wear economy kit (like me) and others who spend quite a lot on 'custom made' gear but the principles are similar for everyone.

The most difficult thing is 'temperature control'. You can NEVER get this right because if you wear enough shirts socks, jumpers etc. to keep you warm and to keep the wind out while you are wading and fishing you will always be too warm on a long hike - that's life!. So, I settle for comfortable chest waders, warm clothes and a light waterproof jacket.

To make comparison of the changes easy, I shall use red text for things I no longer do or lug about.

Most 'roving' anglers carry their tackle in some sort of bag (in my case brightly-coloured so it does not easily merge into the background and pretend to be a rock or a tree stump when I take it off). Depending on your taste this can range from a small 'bum bag' with a few spare lures and link swivels, to a massive rucksack which would phase a trained S.A.S. veteran. My bag is a compromise - a medium sized haversack which holds (I hope) bits and pieces for every possible contingency.

My ancient, lurid, yellow and black bag - long gone. Didn't like the webbing pockets, they catch hooks.

Forceps attached.

Son number three Richard, toting another of my defunct bags, this time red.

Forceps attached.

My problem is that I like to be prepared to fish for anything, freshwater or salt; without carrying a different set of gear for every type of angling. This would mean duplicating (or even triplicating) lots of items. Knowing me I'd be bound to pick up the wrong set of gear. I compromise by having (at home) a rod and reel set up for each main approach:- Fly, floating line, nylon leader (to catch trout, mullet, salmon, bass, mackerel, scad etc.): Light- float; fine nylon, small hooks (to catch baits etc. e.g. minnows, dace, roach, sandsmelts, mullet); Lure, 20lb braid, 15lb mono trace +/- wire (for pike, bass, pollack, mackerel, scad, chub, perch, etc.), Freeline for carp, 20lb braid for freelined crust or dogbiscuit, no trace, strong C hook; Freeline for bass or pike, 30lb braid, 20lb mono with or without split cork float, +/- wire trace, 4/0-8/0 circle hook. So the bag contains all the bits and pieces needed to adapt any of these outfits for the specific fish or conditions. Its various pockets hold my digital camera, pliers, braid scissors and permits (in a poly bag) and a small, flexible tripod (for occasional selfies).

When I decide where I'm going (and what I'm going to do) I just pick up the appropriate rod, grab the bag (and bait if needed), sling them in the car, and go. All my rods are permanently set up, and in years gone by I often carried several rods on a trip. This is a fag and restricts where I fish, so now I rarely do it, although there was a good reason for the practice. For example, at the coast, if I left the fly rod at home sod's law meant that the mullet would be feeding on the top. If I had no bait rod the sea would be murky and just right for bottom fishing. If I went without the spinning gear for certain the bass would be going mad. No float rod and the mullet would be feeding sub-surface. Even if the sea was unfishable I could pop to the river and so on. As a result, I took everything. Now (a) I'm old and lazy and (b) I no longer agonise about what I might have done; but the habit of taking everything that I might need in one bag remains.

Rods at home, ready to go. It's an old picture - note the baitrunner reel (I never liked it!).

Forceps attached.

Now, I'll run through the contents of my bag past and present, remember red means it is no longer there.Knife for cutting bait (I now take it ready cut and if needed trim it with my scissors). Gardening glove (rarely used) for handling really toothy fish. One or two spare, made up wire traces armed with either 4/0 circle hook for pike; or a size 6 (for chub/perch=anti-pike); or with a small clip for spinning (pike or anti-pike). Small orange plastic box (came with fishing mag years ago) with partitionscontaining assorted trebles, crimps, float rubbers, ultra-light plugs, size 12 hooks, white thread, strips of polyethylene foam and piece of luminous rubber for fly tying. Small plastic fly box with mullet flies, streamers, Delta eels and shrimp flies. Plano-type box (about 7"x10"x2") with partitions containing plugs, poppers, spoons, wedges, soft-plastics, Mepps etc. This box slides down the back of my bag and acts as a shield so that nothing else digs me in the back. Also a smaller box with a few little lures, floats, clips, swivels and coiled, made up wire traces, mullet flies, Delta eels and shrimp flies, a few corks for floats and a tape measure.

An old bum bag also fits in the haversack and contains some old child proof pill tubes (the lids don't easily fall off and shed the contents). The tubes contain- small weights, spare trebles, large circle hooks of various sizes, This bag also holds spare nylon for traces, knottable wire (expensive but invaluable) and small tubs of split shot

Large box with hardbaits, spoons, wedges, spinners and sharpening stone; plus my pliers, scissors, tripod, measuring tape and camera.

Other side of large box with softbaits and mullet spinners (gadgets as before).

Small box with small lures,floats,corks,'flies',swivels, clips, traces, etc; plus spare trace materials, weights and circle hooks

As you'll see the actual gear hasn't really changed all that much apart from the braid, softbaits and circle hooks. Next time I'll say something about the changes in how we fish and how my pals and I fish. Much more interesting.

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 - docladle@hotmail.com



"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"