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).

Three trips and only two small bass.

It is a very long time since I fished with my pal Bill. Anyway, we’ve both had our double Covid jabs and feel that it should be pretty safe for us to wander about on the shore together, more or less socially distanced. A couple of days ago we arranged a joint trip in search of a bass. I’m still nursing my shoulder and reluctant to do a lot of casting, so I spent most of the time free-lining a pilchard. Bill spun with either a Swim-Senko or an Albie-Snax.

We saw a fish fairly early on as we walked along the shore, and Bill flicked his lure out past it. Amazingly, the bass followed the lure in but didn’t take. Altogether we fished for about two hours and although Bill missed one bite on his Albie and had a couple more followers, I saw no sign of bass, and neither of us caught anything. Still, it was good to have a natter and catch up on what has been happening.

I knew that Bill was busy the next day but, before we parted I said that I would try another spot the following morning and let him know whether it was worth a go together, on the day after that, while the tides were still OK.

The next day found me tramping the shore again, this time alone and armed with the spinning rod and a white EvoStix soft plastic lure (I can’t give up spinning for ever, and I knew that with a strong ebbing tide it would be possible to simply ‘dangle’ my lure and let it work in the current). I began fishing at about ten-past-five and for perhaps fifteen minutes there was nothing doing. The sun was already well up over the horizon as I made another cast and watched the line swing across the tide – was that a pluck? I was fairly sure that it was, but decided that it must have been a garfish as the lure position, on the hook, wasn’t even slightly disturbed.

Two more casts and I was in. The rod bent well, but even in the fast flow the fish didn’t take much line against the clutch. However, the bass splashed and wriggled a fair bit and when it opened its mouth the drag stopped me reeling in quickly. It was probably a minute or two before I slid it ashore, neatly hooked in the scissors. I took a couple of pictures before slipping the fish back into the sea and starting to spin again. Almost at once I hooked a second fish – unfortunately once more it was a tiddler about the same size as the first one. This time the bass flicked off the hook as I skated it over the wet weed onto the ledge where I stood. I grabbed the camera and took another picture before it was put back and swam away.

I fished on until 06:00 hr but apart from one or two tentative plucks I caught nothing else. That evening Bill rang, neither of us thought it was worth trying the same place the following morning just to try and catch a few more small schoolies. instead, we opted to go to the place that we'd been to on our first morning session. We set off a bit later, so as to be fishing on the first of the flood. Again, as we walked over the rocks towards our chosen place we saw a couple of modest fish shoot away from the edge of the sea - encouraging!

This time I'd only brought one rod, baited with a decent sized fillet of frozen mackerel. After we'd gone some distance Bill pointed out a place where he'd often seen bass tailing at low water. I decided to stay there and give it a good bashing while my pal pressed further on to spin with a soft plastic and possibly a surface lure. I settled my bum (protected by chesties) down on the wet, wrack-covered rocks, flicked my bait out perhaps five metres, into about 40cm of water and settled down to wait for the tide. It was calm and the water was clear so I hoped to see anything that was moving. It wasn't too long before my hopes were fulfilled. About fifteen metres out and a little to my right I noticed a movement. As I watched the dorsal fins and tail of a good sized (?6-7lb?) bass broke the surface, heading with the slight tidal flow in my direction. I watched and after a minute or two there was a swirl only a couple of metres to the left of my baited hook. At this point my heart probably stopped, at least it felt like that. I held my breath and waited - but nothing happened. Over the following half-hour or so, before the tide began to flood over the rocks where I sat, I saw several more decent bass moving in the shallow water. One was almost on top of my bait and I felt sure that it would pick it up and move off - but NO! Nothing happened.

After a while with no more action and the tide now flowing fairly fast, I decided to move back along the shore and try another spot. Nothing! Eventually, Bill reappeared and said that once again he'd had a few following fish but no bites on his lures. Ah well, perhaps next time?.

My first bass of the second session - nicely hooked..

The second bass, virtually the twin of the first one.



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


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


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