, 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).

Back to the sea - twice!

I haven't done much sea fishing since my last Saltwater page in June. In fact Ive been nursing my back injury back to health by a few gentle trips to the river bank. Anyway, I had a few perch, pike and trout plus a really nice, accidental salmon. Now I'm feeling a bit bolder and this week I had a couple of trips to the coast. I'd been encouraged by reports from a couple of pals of a lot of small bass and mackerel attacking shoals of bait fish at various places along the Purbeck shoreline.

My first trip was to a local tide race - easy fishing on the right tide. It is just a matter of flicking a lure into the fast flow and hoping for a bite. I arrived at about 05:00 hours. It was a lovely sunny morning, not much wind and an almost flat sea, several gannets were fishing close to where I stood - presumably catching mackerel. In fact there was not much doing but I could see fish striking at surface well to the south of the ledge (far out of range). I guessed from the splashy disturbances that they were school bass. Soon after starting I had a few plucks aand tugs at the unweighted EvoStix lure. None of the fish were hooked so I guessed that they were probably small scad, pollack or garfish; even little bass generally give a more positive take. After a while I decided that the it might be better if the lure was fishing a little deeper in the fast flowing water; so I slid a small cone lead onto the nylon mono trace and retied the lure. Almost at once I found myself playing a bass which gave a good account of itself in the torrent before I slid it ashore. I put the bass back and continued fishing but it was still slow and I only had one more bite which proved to be another school bass similar to the first one. Still, it was a lovely morning and at least I'd managed to catch something.

A 'tiderace' bass battling to the end.

Another bass from the fast water on a weighted, weedless softbait.

My next trip, a couple of days later, was to a deeper water, rock mark. I'd arranged to meet my pal Richard but we didn't fix a time. I couldn't sleep that night so I was up early and on the shore by just after 03:00 hr. I was hoping to catch a few mackerel for use as bait over the next few months, so even though it was dark I started with a single-hooked, Toby spoon - nothing! I picked up the fly rod and had a few casts with the same result. Ten or fifteen minutes had passed by now but it was still pretty dark so I replaced the lure on the spinning rod with one of my green, luminous-bodied spinners. First chuck I was into a fish which turned out to be a scad.

After this it was scad mayhem with lots of fish landed and many others dropped off as I swung them up. I kept a few to be wobbled for pike when I go to the river, and returned most of the others - certainly more than thirty but it was hard to keep count. Amongs the scad I had three school bass, all of which took close in by the rocks. They certainly fight harder than scad. For five or ten minutes I switched to the fly rod with a white Delta eel on the end. This produced two more scad but it was much less effective than the spinner.

Again I picked up the spinning rod and after a couple more scad I hooked a mackerel then a second one. Then I dropped a big mackerel which wriggled back into the sea before I could grab it. I replaced the spinner with a weedless EvoStix lure in hope of a better bass but it produced nothing. At this point I heard Richard's voice and turned to find him behind me. He began spinning with Yo Zuri popper but after missing a few feeble strikes he switched to a little sinking lure which closely resembled the sprats that the fish were scattering. At once he began to catch mackerel and bass so I went back to the bag and switched to a size 4 silver Mepps. Now we both caught fish but after a few more mackerel I packed in leaving my pal to it. Richard was still catching as I scrambled back up the cliff path. In all I'd managed lots of scad, three schoolies and six mackerel. Richard emailed to say that he'd totalled 8 bass to about 2.5lb, and 10 mackerel. Towards the end the mackerel shoals were coming and going every so often. All in all a pleasant morning.

An in-the-dark scad on the fly. The flash doesn't do the colours of the fish justice.

A schoolie on one of my 'lumilures'.

A bit better view of the lure. Most of my scad took this lure in the dark.

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"