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).

Give up gardening Mike!

I know that I've been very remiss about posting new web pages recently but there's a reason for it. Mostly it is gardening related. Im quite keen on the garden and with the recent hot, dry spell I have needed to water a number of plants. Anyway, a week or two ago I was carrying a full can of water up the garden and caught the sole of my slipper (I know, I shouldn't garden in my slippers) on a step and almost wrenched my right arm (the good one that I use for casting etc.) out of its socket. It was painful and it has still not totally recovered so I am reduced to casting like a crippled penguin and minimising any fly fishing or spinning activities. To add to my gardening woes, this week I was using a pair of scissors to trim a few dead bits off some plants at about knee height. I leaned forward to snip a piece off and clearly I leaned too far, because I felt a sudden spasm in my lower back, almost as though I'd been struck by lightning. I knew at once that this was an aggravation of an old injury which, years ago, laid me up for months. A few days of care, rest and gentle excercise have almost solved the back problem, so now it is simply a matter of trying to nurse my arm back to full use. Also, this week my wife was afflicted with vertigo (she's better now) and I had to attend to her needs as well.

That's enough of my excuses. Sadly, there was a series of good spring-tides during my lay off and, frustratingly, I knew that the local beaches were piled with weed after recent storms; so it seemed likely that there would be lots of Coelopa maggots, and consequently lots of surface feeding mullet and possibly also bass along some local beaches. My pals, unrestricted by horticultural injuries, had a couple of evening at the coast and the results (from my point of view) could have been worse (they could have caught more - although I'm still envious). Here's what they reported -

First, on the 7th, Bill, Nigel and Phil went down. Phil and Bill stuck to spinning with lures while Nigel also took along his new, lightweight, fly rod. The sea was flat calm, and there were good weed deposits but the tide didn't reach the weed middens. Lots of mullet were ‘sun bathing’ as usual – but they didn't appear to be feeding, just hanging around. Nigel stayed where the best weed piles were and flung in some maggoty weed before Bill and Phil got there.

Eventually, at long last, a very small school of mullet arrived in Nigel’s weed slick, by then Phil had concluded it wasn't going to be a bass night and headed on. Bill was about to follow when Nigel hooked a mullet, so he stopped and took a few photos as he played it and slid it onto ‘dry’ land. Just in the edge, the hook fell out and a small wave helped the fish to swim off the beach before he could grab it to have its picture taken. After his pals left Nigel had two more mullet of about the same size - less than 2lb, and he lost a couple of others.

The following evening Nigel went again with another pal, Richard. They described it as calm with loads of maggots. This time Nigel managed five mullet on the maggot fly, 4 of them less than 2lb and one fish of about 2.5 that just did Not want to come in on the 4wt rod. Interestingly, Nigel also had a fish take the fly whilst handlining the last ten feet of line in to re-bait the maggot-fly with fresh maggots!

Fishing with a white X-layer, at the end of one retrieve Richard held it just in the coloured water and had a great take that shot away and promptly came off. They also saw one huge bass (?) porpoising on maggots - well out of range of the fly.

Bill's picture of Nigel, rod well bent, into his first mullet on the 4wt fly gear.

Nigel, fishless but no doubt happy, after the fish made its escape.

In the absence of fish pictures, I couldn't resist putting a picture of a similar mullet caught on the fly, by me, ages ago.

A close up of my mullet on a maggot-fly.



Written with Alan Vaughan. NEW PRINT IN PAPERBACK. Copies available from all good book shops RRP £14:99 - "Waterstones"


Copies can now be ordered (printed on demand) from Steve Pitts at £34.00, inc. Royal Mail Insured UK Mainland Postage.

To order a book send an E-MAIL to -


Written with David Rigden. Copies from "The Medlar Press"


Written with Steve Pitts this is a SEQUEL TO THE BESTSELLER "Operation Sea Angler" IT'S AVAILABLE ON PAPER FROM - "Veals Mail Order" AND ON PAPER OR FOR YOUR KINDLE FROM"Amazon"

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 -