, 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).

Stumped by a seal

I pondered over the tide tables earlier this week and decided that I would be best to go for a general spot where there was a chance of several species. Having selected the place I made an early start - pre-dawn - and opted to take three sets of gear. Now I have to say that it is a pain in the backside lugging three made up rods plus my faithful bag of everything but the kitchen sink, however, with the options of scad, mackerel, pollack, small bass, and large bass I didn't want to find that I had not brought the appropriate tackle. The big advantage was that I knew, once I had arrived at the shore I was unlikely to be moving about much. this inertia is not typical of me, but because the rocks are hemmed in by cliffs and there is nowhere to go.

I was ready to start fishing by 04:50hr and it was still dark. I left the fly rod and the livebait rod parked by my bag and began to spin. One of my favourite lures when it is dark is the home-made luminous spinner; a sort of Mepps with a shining green body that usually works well for bass or scad at night. The lure doesn't weigh much so long casts are not an option, but they are not usually necessary.

The first ten minutes were biteless, slightly disappointing, but almost on the dot of 05:00 I felt a tap on the lure - a fish! The next two or three casts were also blessed with bites but I failed to hook any of the takers. I'm thinking "small scad?". The next bite was of a different type, fast and ferocious and within seconds I was sure it wasn't a mackerel or a scad as it tore line from the reel in a series of short, fast runs. It had to be a bass. Sure enough when it hove into view I could see that it was a reasonable bass, by no means a monster but a nice fish. I played it to a standstill before lifting it onto the rocky ledge to have its picture taken, to be measured (52cm, so quite a big one for lure fishing at that place), and to be released.

That was a pleasant if slightly unexpected start so I continued with the 'lumilure'. Within a few minutes I had another bite and the rapid throbbing of the rod suggested that this time I was into a mackerel. Excellent, it would allow me to do a spot of livebaiting for the larger bass which sometimes crop up at that spot for those tactics. I carefully unhooked the mackerel (fortunately it was only progged on one point of the treble hook) and transferred it to the large circle hook on my other spinning rod. I lowered it into the sea and away it swam - perfect!

I held the rod and payed out line as my bait forged its way out to sea. I was feeling quite optimistic to be baitfishing already. Then, out of the corner of my eye I noticed what, at first, appeared to be a pot buoy about fifty metres out. I hadn't noticed it before so I looked more carefully - in fact it was the head of a large grey seal which clearly had evil intentions towards my bait. The last thing I wanted was a wrestling match with a seal so I quickly retrieved my mackerel, unhooked it, and popped it into my bag as a future dead-bait.

Now it was back to the spinning rod and quite quickly I had another mackerel. This was good but, for some reason it now went dead. For perhaps ten minutes I didn't have a sniff so I decided to try fishing further out than my little spinner would reach. I scrabbled in the bag and picked out an old YoZuri slider. The sea was flat and clear which is generally ideal for these lures and they cast like rockets.

On the second cast when the lure had almost chugged its way back to where I stood it was found by a small shoal of mackerel and on about the fifth attack one hooked itself and was landed. I tried again but it had clearly been a 'flash in the pan' as no more mackerel appeared. Before packing in I tried a few casts close to the base of the cliff and on the third chuck the lure was taken by a bass a bit smaller than the first one that I caught... and that was that. Not too bad for just over an hour's fishing.

The bass taken on my 'lumilure', which was well down its mouth..

A different angle to show the lure.

The first mackerel which I briefly used as live-bait..

A better view of the lure in the mackerel's mouth, and showing the iridescent colours of the fish.

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"