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).

One scrawny bass and two fat ones.

I haven't fished much over the past week or so, for various reasons. My last 'successful' trip started, in the dark, at 06:10hr and lasted for about an-hour-and-a-half. I spent the entire session spinning with either one of my Slandras or with an unweighted, white, EvoStix lure fitted with a Texposer hook. There was a stiff breeze from the south west and the water was calm and gin clear everywhere, with no drifting weed at all. Probably not the ideal conditions. I tried several spots with no sign of a fish until I reached a place where two parallel ledges, roughly three metres apart, ran staright out to sea. There was probably not much more than a metre of water between the ledges but I've had fish there before so I was sure it would be worth a try - despite the shallow, clear water. The seabed between the ledges is littered with big boulders and has a fair growth of wrack, so at this point I'd just switched to the EvoStix lure. Even though it was calm there was a bit of a swell rolling in and this caused a good surf to break over the ledges. On my first cast I felt a pluck which was certainly a fish - probably a garfish I thought. I persisted and in the following fifteen minutes I missed a few more touches before the rod was jerked round as I hooked into a bass. It wasn't a very big fish but it fought well until I slid it ashore, took its picture and popped it back. Despite its lively struggle my schoolie was on the skinny side. After that I missed a couple more ? gars before I packed in and went for my breakfast.

A few days later I thought about going again but when the alarm sounded I chickened out - unusual for me. However, the next day I had an email from my pal Nigel who was made of sterner stuff and had ventured to the beach the previous evening. Here's his account::-

Hi Mike

The trip was a spur of the moment decision to use up the last mackerel in the freezer and to make the most of the weather window. I chose to fish the edge of the open beach, just up from the stone groyne rather than my usual spot at the other end of the shingle. There was no wind and only a 2ft swell, with high water predicted for 21:35. As I only had the one mackerel, hook size and baits were on the “compact” side to begin with, but they were soon being ripped into by small fish, and on the second or third cast a culprit was beached; a conger eel not longer than 45cm, luckily it came off the hook without drama and slid back into the waves. I really do not like touching the things!

Having used up one fillet as fish food, it was ripe for a change as prime time ( just gone HW) approached . An 8/0 circle hook (there's nothing like a good sized hook, that's my boy) on a two foot trace (less tangles) was loaded with the head and guts of the mackerel. The rod was placed high in the tripod to keep the line clear of the shore dump, and the bale arm opened with line lightly tucked under the line clip. I had turned away from the rod for some reason and when I looked back it was keeled over and instantly sprang back as the line cleared the clip.

What occurred then was pure “operator error” – after letting the fish stream out line for 20 seconds or so I closed the bale... except I didn’t close it properly, and the hook just annoyed the fish rather than take hold and was dropped.(that happens to me so often if I 'fumble' the bale closure!) On retrieval the mackerel bait, now minus guts, looked to be OK, so after a squeeze to get a bit more “ooze”, it was lobbed back out just behind the breaking waves, and 10 minutes later another steaming run. This time I was prepared, the hook was set and a plump 4lb ‘er was beached – photographed and returned, the mackerel head was crushed a bit more and lobbed back out again! – why not, I thought.

Another stop, start run left me with a bare hook, so now I had to resort to the remaining fillet and, before I had chance to pour some cocoa, the line was again sprung from the clip. By the time I had organised myself the fish had stripped loads of line which was now “billowing” along the beach, after retrieving the slack a feisty 3lb bass was engaged. That was the last of the good bait, but a hook full of “bits” was sent back out. It only resulted in a couple of hard, pull-down bites after that; not sure if the fish had gone away; or if the dog walker with a Volvo head lamp for a torch scared them away. Anyway, it was late, I was cold and I had run out of bait. So,they weren’t very big fish – but it was an entertaining evening.

Well, there you have it. The smallest, thinnest fish was the one on my lure and the two meatier ones took nigel's baits. Probably not surprising, but we were fishing venues several miles apart.

My scrawny but spirited bass..

Nigel's four pounder Nice and plump..

... and another nice fish, beautifully hooked, for my pal.

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"