Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle

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25 October 2004

Rough weather!

Before I get into last week's fishing just a word about the website. I'm constantly being asked for a look at the archived (previous) pages. The problem, in the past, has been sheer lack of space. I'm told that I now have unlimited web space and can put the whole lot on there. In the case of the 'tactics' pages this should not be too difficult - simply a matter of the time it takes to download all that stuff. The weekly catch fish will take me a bit longer as I shall have to create an index and to renumber the hundreds of pictures that I have used.

I suppose I should have resorted to finding shelter and fishing bait this week. Most of the time it was blowing an onshore gale. On Saturday afternoon I was desperate for a 'fix' and decided to have a session. When I got to the coast it was difficult to open the car door because of the wind so I was under no illusions about what I would find. I walked half-a-mile to a spot where the bass often gather under rough conditions taking both the spinning rod and the fly rod (yes the fly rod!) with me. When I got to the sea - rough wasn't an adequate word. There was NO shelter at all. It was almost high water and huge waves were pounding the rocks.

The spot I would have favoured for spinning was totally inaccessible so I had a few desultory casts with a plug and wandered along to the east looking for somewhere that the wind would allow me to cast more than a few metres. Then the rain started - it absolutely p****d down. Even under my water proof I was wet. The bag was wet everything was wet. I'd had enough. I tottered back towards the path, leaning into the gale, as I neared the place where I had started I noticed a few blackheaded gulls battling against the wind and picking scraps from the water surface. Experience told me that it was worth a last look. In the heavy surf, running out at right angles to the shore I could see a 'wind lane' of scummy foam and bits of weed. A few minutes observation revealed dozens of mullet mouths at the surface in the narrow strip of foam.

There were two problems. Firstly, getting close enough to the fish to reach them, without being swamped, and then waiting for sufficient lull in the wind to actually cast at all. I suppose I managed about ten casts in all. In the process a big wave did 'roll me over' and dump me on my backside. If possible I was even wetter (and certainly saltier), when I managed to regain my feet, than I had been before. About the third cast I felt a pluck which I failed to hook. A few casts later the rod whacked over as a fish took firmly.

I had just looked at my watch before getting the bite so I now know that I played the mullet for almost half-an-hour. At one stage I was well down into the backing and it must have been over twenty minutes before I caught a glimpse of the fish. I tried desperately to steer it clear of the drifting kelp but it refused to go and kept plunging back into the heaviest swell. Eventually we were both tired and I managed to bring it close in on a big wave, I grabbed the cast to stop it going back with the undertow - and it popped off and disappeared from view. It deserved it. The following day it was slightly less rough and I went down with Nigel. This time there were no mullet but several big bass were tailing in the weed as they foraged for Idotea. We did not have a bite!

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 -

A lull in the sea.

Force eight, straight into your face.  It seems unbelievable that fly fishing was the only way to get a bite.  When it was like this I managed the odd cast or two.

-and again but rougher.

It always amazes me how the fish are totally untroubled feeding in such heavy seas.

'Here's one I caught earlier!' (on another occasion).

Obviously not the one I lost (at least as far as I am aware) but this is what it looked like and I though that you'd like to see a fish even if I didn't catch one.