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).

Bill's bass!

I’m going through one of those spells when I fail to catch anything and begin to wonder what I’m doing wrong. To be honest it’s no great disaster because with Covid etc. I haven’t managed to do that much fishing. One or two of my pals have been out and generally haven’t done a lot better but my good pal Bill, who is a lot younger (and possibly even keener) than me, has given the lure fishing a decent go and has been (modestly but deservedly) rewarded for his efforts. He has kindly allowed me to use some of his pictures and give an account of his efforts. Both of us have had a few blanks but no one wants to read about them, so here’s Bill’s first few bass of the season.

In the second week of April Bill was down on the shore by 06:30. There was a stiff, north-east breeze and the sea temperature was only 9oC – not ideal. He hiked a fair way over the rocks, fished for four hours and tried three lures (a Sluggill, a Swim Senko and an Albie Snax) in the course of his efforts. Fifteen minutes after he started he caught a bass of 2lb on the ‘old faithful’ Sluggill and was delighted (I would have been). He fished on, for half-an-hour, at the spot where he had the fish before pressing on to try other likely places. As he said “I’ve waited a long time for that bass!” When he fished on, he saw a few surface feeding mullet and one or two mullet jumping further out. As usual he fished his way back to the car but had no further bites.

Bill's first of the year - a fat little fish on the Sluggill.

The following day, encouraged, he tried again – the wind had gone round to the west and he blanked.

A few days later me, Bill and a couple of other pals all tried, independently, to repeat Bill’s success along the same couple of miles of coast. It was often flat calm and gin clear but all that any of us saw were mullet – often in vast shoals. I lost a couple of decent fish on the fly, but no one landed anything, and bass were still conspicuous by their absence.

It was the last week in April before there was anything else of note. I’d tried a couple of finger-freezing hours, using free-lined baits of mackerel, with no response; then Bill went lure fishing again. This time he started a little earlier (06:00hr), the sea temperature now was 10oC and it was blowing hard from the east. Shortly after starting at 06:15 he landed a 2lb bass from the place where he’d succeeded earlier in the month.

Bills second two pounder of 2021.

After a while he plodded on along the coast fishing as he went. Rounding a corner of the cliff he saw lots of birds in the water close in shore (most had flown off by the time he took the photo); the waves kept making them fly into the air and then they'd land back on the water.

Black headed gulls feeding on maggots - always a good sign (of something).

He says “It looked like the birds were expending energy to stay in that spot so I went over for a look. There was a small patch with a scum of maggots in the water. Before I started to fish I sat on a rock and watched and was sure I could see swirls on the surface but it was difficult to tell in the chop.”

“I started to fish and within five minutes had a strong bite from a good fish. I managed to get it in a bit but then it got stuck behind a rock. With the help of a wave I yanked it up and onto the rock. It was a good 5lb and for a second I stopped winding mouth agape: as I watched the lure just dropped out of its gob, a wave came in and then the fish was gone. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. If I’d kept winding I may well have landed it! I continued to fish, at times I could see three or four sizeable bass, in a small shoal, gulping in the maggots, and on another retrieve I had a second good bite. This time I wrangled the fish onto the beach, I went to yank it up and the line parted with a ping. Perhaps I had damaged the braid in the rock-incident. I have every faith in my knots.... This one wasn't going to get away, I landed on the fish and pinned it with both hands to the beach (soaking rod and reel in the process) as the next wave came in, I got a good grip and lobbed it up the beach. It was quite a nice fish at 56cm but it looked a bit deformed with a very stubby nose.”

I fished on for another half-hour then I headed back. The period between the first bite and the fish leaving was only 10 or 15 minutes at most.”

Bill's snub-nosed, four-pounder.

The deformed bass 0n the tape.

Presumably Bill's 'noseless' bass should have been longer (and so a bit heavier) than it measured. Anyway, as usual, there are fish to be had if you are in the right place at the right time. Sooner or later I will get the time and place right and it will be my turn (I hope). Meanwhile, well done and thanks for the entertaining story Bill!



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