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).

Try somewhere else for a change.

The tides along the Purbeck coast where I fish are not very big. Even on the best spring tides it only has a range of about 2.5m between low and high water. On a small neap tide there may be hardly any movement at all. Despite this, the phases and states of the tide can make a huge difference to the best way to catch a fish or two. In addition, the timing of high water along the coast from Weymouth to Poole can change dramatically: so it can be crucial to choose the right combination of venue, tide and time of day. Quite often the detailed information that you need to make your selection can be obtained from surfer's websites.

About a week ago I fancied an hour's fishing so I opened up the computer and clicked on one of the more reliable tide predictions. Some of my favourite marks were no gos because the access was closed. Of the places available at first light (my preferred time) one stood out, I knew that even it wouldn't be ideal, but it would have to do. It would be a fast ebbing tide and I expected that there would be a couple of rock ledges that might give me access to the race for a spot of spinning. Decision made! That evening I put my chesties and waterproofs by the front door, retied the 15lb nylon trace on my spinning rod and clipped on an unweighted EvoStix lure. The eel was the standard 145mm size (I wish they were more like 200mm but beggars can't be choosers) in what the mnufacturers call 'Natural Mackerel' pattern but I doubt that it makes much difference to the bass - it doesn't look much like a mackerel anyway. I intended to fish the lure unweighted, apart from the Texposer hook. I didn't need it to sink quickly and knew that it would cast easily on my braid and work well in the fast flow - I'd done it all before.

The following morning the alarm went off and I was up and dressed by about twenty-to-five. Stick the rods in the car, drive to the coast and hike along to my chosen spot. It was still pretty dark when I arrived but as far as I could tell conditions were reasonable. There was a bit of a breeze, quite a chop on the water but there was way too much depth and flow for me to access the place that I'd hoped to fish (I should have realised, but I've had quite a long lay-off from my shore fishing). Anyway, I picked a spot where I could stand without being washed away and began to cast. For half-an-hour there was no sign of anything and I was beginning to lose confidence. By now I could see reasonably well so I decided to shift to where it was possible to fish into a gully with the water rushing through between two ledges. First cast, was that a pull? It could have been. Two or three more casts and suddenly I was in. The bass was no monster but it put up a decent show in the fast flow before I could slide it ashore, take its picture and release it. Excellent! I picked up the rod and cast again to the same spot. Two or three more casts and I was in again with a bit smaller bass. Still, two fish in ten minutes was better than a kick up the backside. The tide was dropping now, but it was clear that I wasn't going to be able to get to the 'best' places before it was time for me to pack in. I decided to give it another ten minutes of casting uptide and retrieving with the flow. At about 06:20 I watched the lure hit the water and as I closed the bale arm the rod was wrenched round as a good bass took the lure. This was more like it.

This fish was stripping line against the strong current and a pretty tight clutch so I opened the bale arm and let it swim unhindered, until it had cleared the rugged ledge and was swimming in open water beyond it. Whoopee! I'm thinking - I'll catch this one. For several minutes the battle continued but I wasn't regaining much line and it did not feel quite right. Suddenly everything went slack, the fish had gone. I think that the line had been dragging round the forest of kelp fronds and this had caused the hook to pull out. Certainly there was no sign of damage to the lure or line when I wound it back in. I tried for a little longer but there was no sign of any more fish.

Have a look at my Saltwater webpages 633 and 636 for October 2019 to see why I reacted as I did. Almost exactly the same thing had happened to me back then. Of course the following morning I had to try again but this time there was no sign of anything - I suppose that's fishing. Perhaps next time?

Not bad for starters.


Nicely hooked on the Texposer hook.


... and a smaller one on the same lure.


The one I caught in 2019 - I guess the lost one might have been similar - sad eh?




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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