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).

Fishing again at last.

Thank heavens for my pals. The injured calf muscle (see the last page) has almost healed after two weeks of ice packs and physio. I can now walk without pain and even climb over gates and fences, with a little care. I have not yet plucked up the courage for any rock-hopping down on the coast but the last two evenings have seen me flicking out a plug, in the gloom, in search of seatrout. Before I get to that I must mention the recent trip made by Bill Fagg, one of the most persistent and successful, bass-lure anglers I've ever met (just about on a par with my late pal Harry Casey - and that's saying something).

About four weeks back Bill had a spectacular session, in stormy conditions, when the bass were going berserk at the spot he chose to fish. Anyway, to cut to the chase, he's done it again. If anything the conditions were even more unpleasant than the last time he made his catch. He started fishing at about 06:30 and fished for five hours using his old faithful Sluggill and a 'Drift Lures, 'Shoal-Stick' lure. Both of these are white, eel-like, weedless, soft plastics.

Having met one of our pals, Mike Jelley, they fished the same area for a long time to no avail and Bill was on the point of leaving. At 08:30 it was, apparently, still pouring with rain and he'd had no bites which (he says) was surprising given the conditions. He also comments that, by then, he had a very wet crotch because of a leak in his waders. Now, Bill's almost as keen on fossils as on catching bass, and his secondary intention was to look for Jurassic bones. So, having, fished with Mike until 09:15 he set off to do some fossiling - but it was just as fruitless as the fishing. As he trudged along he came to the ledge where he'd made his good bag in July. He thought that the conditions looked similar to when he'd caught the ffish. Anyway, he couldn't resist a chuck. Immediately he could see "There were bass doing cartwheels and somersaults in the foam." Two casts and he was into his first fish and they kept coming for the next hour-and-fifteen-minutes. His best fish was 68cm and he landed ten in total. Eight of the bass were over 50cm. In his words, he was "In shock!" It was a well deserved catch having braved the strong winds and big surf.

A real cracker for Bill.

To return to my own (less spectacular) exploits. I decided to 'test' my leg with a gentle stroll along the river bank. I avoided any climbing or jumping about and was pleased to find that, apart from a slight pulling sensation on the left calf, I was able to fish in relative comfort. I used the simple, 7cm, jointed Rapala and slowly worked my way downstream (I was under orders to be back in an hour or so). On perhaps the tenth cast I felt the tug of a small fish, but it was not hooked. Still it was encouraging. A little further on I reached the tail of a pool where the water was beginning to speed up. I cast diagonally downstream and the lure dropped only inches from the far bank. I closed the bale arm and waited for the line to draw tight before inching it back upstream. A big bow wave appeared behind the position where I expected the lure to be working; the 'bulge' followed it for several metres (but not close enough for me to get a look at the culprit). It was almost certainly a decent seatrout. Even more encouraging. I flogged on, and by the time that I checked my watch to see if it was time to make my way back, I'd had a total of six 'tugs or follows'. Just a few more casts, I thought. At this point I was fishing a deeper, slower-flowing stretch. I cast, and retreived just fast enough to make the little lure begin to work. Wallop - I was in and a silver shape hurled itself into the air. A couple of minutes later I was able to take a picture of my catch and return it to the river. Excellent!

The following morning we had lots of rain but I assumed that it was unlikely to have affected the river much, if at all. That evening, buoyed by the activity of the previous day, I decided to fish a different stretch (again I had been limited to an hour or so). This time I tried a 9cm Rapala (well it has worked in the past - seatrout definitely like to eat smolts which are a decent mouthfull). Being short on time I only cast into those spots I thought most likely to hold fish. after perhaps five minutes I hooked a seatrout of similar in size to the one of the previous day. I landed it, took its picture and popped it back. After that it was slow, only one tentative plucker, until I reached the most downstream run. I fanned the casts across as I worked downstream. About half-way (10m) down I had a pull which was missed but didn't feel any bigger than the one I'd caught. Three more casts, I thought. The first two were untouched by fishy mouths. The 'last' one was a long one, to the extreme downstream end of the run. I'd just begun the retrieve when there was an almighty heave on the rod and a massive boil at the end of the line. Then nothing! Again I'd failed to connect - and that was that. Still at least I am fishing again. Perhaps the next fish will be a big bass? I can always hope!

My first seatrout.

....and another one the next evening - pity it wasn't bigger.



Written with Alan Vaughan. NEW PRINT OF THE ORIGINAL: 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.

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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"

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