Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle

Information Page


19 May 2004

First light.

It has been a bit of a slow start for me. In truth I have not done as much fishing as I would have liked (do I ever?) what with visiting children and grandchildren, shopping, gardening etc. etc. Last week I had a couple of afternoon carp sessions and landed three carp of no great size. Then, as the spring tides approached I decided to try and catch a bass so it was up at three-thirty (It's light at four now!) and down to the coast with the plugging gear and the fly rod (I always take both - just in case).

When I arrived at my chosen spot it was still quite dark so I clipped on a J11 and began to cast and retrieve. These lures are excellent for fishing in poor light because they make such a vibration at the rod tip that you can feel the movement as soon as you start to wind. The advantage of this is not so much in 'fish attraction' as in knowing what is going on at the end of your line when you can't see. Even the smallest bit of weed on the hook will alter the feel of the lure and the braided line telegraphs this to your hand in an instant.

Now I'm sure that I've said it before but I OFTEN get a bite just when the light becomes good enough to see the plug plop into the sea. Of course I've caught lots of fish in total darkness and in full daylight as well but the number of bites which come as the light changes rapidly is totally out of proportion the time spent fishing. Anyway, it happened again. After ten minutes of cast and retrieve I saw the plug 'splashdown' and when it was almost back to my feet 'wallop' I had a bass. Not a monster but a satisfying bit of reinforcement to my hypothesis about fishing at the crack of dawn. I had another two bites which I missed and then moved elsewhere to fish. The move was futile and despite walking miles I had no more sign of fish.

The following day I was up early again and decided to try fly fishing from another spot. The walk was longer than I anticipated so by the time I started fishing it was already the 'witching hour'. For half-an-hour nothing happened and it was getting quite light. The little Redgill on my flyline was wiggling beautifully as I pulled it back. I made a longish cast (unusual for me) and as I began to raise the rod there was a sharp yank and a fish was hooked. Line screamed off the reel and it was two or three minutes before my first fly-caught mackerel of the year was on the rocks. I took a picture (never easy with flapping mackerel) and unhooked it as gently as I could before slipping it back in the water - excellent! There were no more bites that morning but it was well worth the early start.

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 -

Carp number 1.

This was the best of the three and was double figures.  It managed to engulf a huge lump of floating bread.

Carp number 2.

The smallest of the three which took a bit of crust literally under the rod tip with about 30cm of line out.

and the third.

In between the other two in size and with very few scales.  In truth none of the carp put up much of a fight on my 'bass' gear.

First light bass.

This fish was well hooked and battled harder than any of the carp.

The best fight.

Mackerel are something else!  It would be nice to hook a ten pounder (if they existed).