Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle

Information Page


09 May 2005

Do you just want to go fishing or do you want to catch fish?

It is the day after we returned from Italy. The weather is nice, if a little cool, and the wind is from a northerly direction. It's ten-to-four in the morning and my alarm clock is ringing. I decided last night that I would get straight back into my sea fishing by going down at dawn and trying out my new fly reel. It's still a bit early in the year so I'm not all that confident of a catch. I decide to take the spinning rod with me - just in case!

Damn! Looking out of the window I can see the first light of dawn in the sky. I'm going to be too late. I rush to grab the gear, pull on my wellies, jump in the car and set off. By the time I reach the coast car park it is pretty light, still ,there's no point crying over spilt milk. Pick up the rods and the bag, walk down the steep path, scramble down the rocks and I'm on the ledge ready to start. The tide's right out and there is not much of a swell so, apart from the rapidly developing dawn there's not much wrong.

I tied a fly on last night so nothing to do. I pull off a couple of metres of line and flick the fly onto the water. Five minutes of flicking out and retrieving and I'm beginning to wonder if there is anything about. Was that a pluck? Was that another one. If they were bites it must have been tiny little pollack. I shift along the ledge, fishing as I go and after another five minutes I feel another pluck. This time there is a swirl and a flash behind the fly so it was certainly a fish. Missed again!

By now the sun's coming up behind the cliff. Not a hope of a pollack and no signs of anything else. I decide to try a bit further out with the spinning rod. Back to the bag, lay down the fly gear, tie on a Toby, belt it out to sea. Fourth cast I feel a slight bump, then another and another. The next bump is hooked and tears away with that typical violent tail wagging pull of a decent mackerel. I land the fish, take a picture and slip it back into the sea. Satisfaction! No more bites so home for breakfast.

If I'd left the spinning tackle at home it would have been a total blank. The mackerel would have been more fun on the fly rod but I'd never have had a sniff of it. Of course it is a bit of a pain carrying two or three rods for miles but experience has taught me to ask myself (on every trip) "Do you just want to go fishing or do you want to catch fish?" The answer's always the same.

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 -


The sun is coming up behind the cliff so not much chance of a pollack now.  Time to pick up the spinning rod for a final chuck.


The first of the year.  That ripple-marked back is wonderful.

Get it back quickly.

Well hooked on the Toby.  So much more fun than catching them on feathers.