Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle

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09 May 2005

'The Italian Job.'

Periodically I am dragged (by my wife) round the Mediterranean to look at sites of historical and archaeological interest. Usually we are near the coast for at least part of the trip and there is some water for me to play in. This time however we went to Tuscany, north of Rome, and although I took a rod, I knew that there was little hope of any fishing. In fact on one day we stopped for lunch at a place called Baratti and I was able to venture down to the beach for an hour. First I walked towards the most likely spot - a small marina - but I found that there was no access to the only worthwhile stretch of beach (I saw shoals of sand smelts and one or two damsel fish but 'private no fishing!') so I set off towards the other end of the bay. By the time I got there I was left with only five minutes plugging before it was time to tramp back to the coach. Needless to say in the middle of the day with blazing sun I saw nothing. I say nothing but the beach was all sand and there were lots of sun-tanned bodies to step over and round. It looked as though there may well be bass or barracuda at dawn and dusk.

For the rest of the trip I was unable to wet a line. We stopped briefly at a couple of lakes which contained fish. The first was a large and spectacular volcanic crater lake. It was windy and rough and no-one was fishing but a notice showed that the lake contained pike, perch, tench and introduced North American sunfish and catfish. In a nearby town a fishmonger's stall was displaying both fresh and saltwater species for sale.

The second lake was (very) artificial and our visit was a brief one on the final day of the trip. The water was more or less round with muddy trampled edges. I was told that it contained trout and carp. There were lots of anglers fishing by their cars which were parked around the edges of the lake. Many had their families with them and some were involved in barbecues and frisbee games as well as fishing. It was mid-day and the whole scene was so horrible that I had no heart to take a picture.

The credit side of the trip was that Lilian really enjoyed seeing the archaeology. I have to admit it was spectacular but to be honest I saw enough painted tombs and old pots to last me a lifetime. However, as you might expect there were lots of wonderful wild plants in flower - peas, vetches, orchids, marigolds, cyclamen, etc. etc. In addition and perhaps more surprising were the birds. I thought that the Italians were prone to shoot everything but I saw storks, buzzards, kites, falcons, harriers, larks, finches, swifts, swallows, martins and lots of other types. The air was constantly full of birdsong with several different warblers (including a number of nightingales) leading the chorus. Fantastic!

Anyway, all in all it was a good week, I only hope that next time (there will be a next time I'm sure) there will be a bit more sea.

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 -


Although there were plenty of small fish in the harbour area I could not fish here.


Sole, bass and gilthead bream on the slab - sorry about the reflection off the glass.

More fishmonger.

Mackerel, tench and pike for sale.  The pike were marked differently to any I have seen here.

Volcanic lake Bolsena.

Must have potential!

A notice by the lake.

It says that the introduced fish are probably a bad thing.

Lady orchid.

I'm not too hot on orchids but I think this is what it was.

Cyclamen repandum..

A fantastic, deep pink spring flowering cyclamen.