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).

Time for an update.

It is well over a week since I did an update on the blog; not because I haven't been fishing but simply that I haven't caught anything worth writing about. As everyone knows, all sea anglers are slaves to the conditions. If you are to be successful, not only do you have to choose the right place according to the conditions on the day (wind force and direction, phase and timing of the tide, time of sunrise and/or sunset, etc.etc.), but you also have to consider the recent 'history'. For example, in the previous week (or so) were there any storms? what direction did they come from? have they deposited lots of weed on the beach or in the margins of the sea? will the water still be coloured? My pals and I each try to select our venues by considering these, and many other complexes of factors and the way that they are likely to interact. To cap it all of course, where you go and what you do will depend on the season (time of year) and the known behaviour of the fish you are trying to catch. Anyway, I got it wrong a few times recently, and consequently had a few blanks or near blanks.

After going at the crack of dawn yesterday, only to find it unfishable because of rough water and drifting kelp fronds, I was a little despondent. However, I am nothing if not persistent, so I checked the tide tables, the weather forecast and the time of first light, for a place that should have been relatively sheltered from the strong westerly wind of the last couple of days. It meant fishing well before dawn, but you can't catch fish by laying in bed, so I set the alarm clock for an early start.

The following morning, as I took the rod from the car it wasn't p***ing down so that was a good start. I tramped along the shore in the dark, using my headlamp only when needed, to avoid a broken ankle or a smashed rod. The moderate breeze was blowing from behind me as I walked, another bonus! In one or two spots I had to plunge through weed middens well over a metre in height - clearly there had been some stiff, onshore blows in the past few days. As I approached my first choice of marks I could hear the crash of heavy surf on the rocks and even in the dark it was possible to see lines of white water where the waves were breaking on the reef. Now I make no bones about it, I'm old, I'm nervous about being swept off the rocks and I'm not foolhardy. So, after standing for ten minutes in the dark and watching the waves batter the ledge that I wanted to stand on, I chickened out. I decided to walk back the way I came to a small, sheltered gritty beach and see whether there were any bass there.

I had already clipped an unleaded, white, EvoStix lure onto the line and, with the wind behind me, saw no reason to change it. For ten minutes or more I cast and retrieved in the darkness, slowly making my way along the short stretch of beach and then back again. I made a long, diagonal cast ahead of me and began the usual slow, steady retrieve. The rod bucked, the clutch zuzzed and I was in. Suddenly all was right with the world. The bass fought gamely and actually took a bit of line as I played it in. It wasn't a monster, but nor was it tiny so I was well pleased as I took its picture before slipping it back into the sea. I fished on for a few more minutes but there were no more bites. I checked the time; there was still the best part of an hour before it would be light. I decided that with the tide falling quickly it might now be possible to safely fish from my first-choice spot. I tucked the hook into a rod ring and set off along the shore to reconsider the conditions.

Sure enough there was less water than ther had been half-an-hour earlier, but there was still quite a big swell foaming against the rocky ledge. I watched for a few minutes and decided that at least it was worth a few casts. I paddled out onto the rocks and scrambled along to a point where I could safely dump my heavy bag above the reach of even the biggest waves. It wouldn't be possible to reach 'position A' but, by standing on a high point a few metres further back, I decided I would be easily able to make wind-assisted casts into the seething water. Sure enough I managed to fish in safety with little more than the odd mouthfull of seawater from the largest breakers. I began to cast, varying the length and direction to (hopefully) cover all the likely bassy spots. It was still pretty dark so I'd no idea exactly where the lure was splashing down, but most of the time it was surely landing in 'the zone'. For perhaps ten minutes I was biteless. I began to think that I might be wasting my time. Perhaps just another half-a-dozen casts.

The lure stopped; was it caught on weed? I lifted the rod and it was almost pulled out of my hand. What a strange take! Several good, current assisted runs later I had a nice, plump fish on the rocks and was able to take a couple of pictures before releasing it. A few more minutes and then quite a few 'last casts' before I gave them best and walked back to the car, reasonably satisfied with my two bass in well under an hour of actual spinning.

The first bass caught from the beach (note the pebbles). It's a bit on the skinny side.

Beautifully hooked round the maxilla on the texposer.

My bigger and fatter fish taken from rough water around the rocks.

Again it was nicely hooked. Neither fish looked like coming unstuck.

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 -



"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"