Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle

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31 May 2005

Maria! Maria!.

No I'm not mad (well no madder than usual anyway). And I'm not auditioning for "West Side Story". Marias are Japanese plastic lures and seem to be very effective fish catchers. In fact over the past week or so I've used one exclusively and it hasn't been outfished (or even equalled) by anything used by my fishing pals.

I first came across these lures a year or so ago when I used one over the flats in Tobago and and caught houndfish, barracuda and bonefish on it in a single session. The one I had at the time was called (wait for it!) an "Angels Kiss". I don't think the fish care about the name but its huge advantage was that it fished only inches below the surface. Now there are many excellent floating/diving bass plugs available but most of them labelled as 'shallow divers' go down at least eighteen inches. In most circumstances this is fine but there are plenty of situations (low tide, flat ledges, weed beds) where the depth of water is too little for J11s, Bombers, Rebels and many of the other standard lures.

Of course you could use a surface popper in the same spots. Anyway, to cut a long story short. After my near success on the 24th May (Page 23) with another 'Maria' plug (called 'The First' and I believe, already discontinued) in shallow water casting into a strong wind, I decided to stick to it for a few sessions to give it a real try. I have to say it has been excellent in everything from rough and mucky to flat calm and gin clear. Although, as I say, this plug is no longer available, there seem to be several other ones of this make which are designed for really shallow water. The only ones I know of which compete with them are the old Storm Thundersticks and my own Rapalas which I have doctored to fish very shallow.

I've now had ten fish on the same lure this week including four in a session (when I missed lots of others that were too small to hang on to the lure). I could have caught more small ones on a J9 or a J7 but I was well satisfied with the results.

I'll leave this comment from the 24th May for the early risers who want to hear a bit more about mayflies - BBC Radio 4 Sunday 26 June 06.35am

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 pollack on the plug.

Steve Pitts had this one on a 'Maria Chase' (they do have weird names).

Steve's pollack.

By Purbeck standards this is a decent fish.

'The First'.

Shortly after Steve caught the pollack I had this small bass on my 'Maria The First'.  Note that being a small fish and a big lure it took the tail treble.  Note again the violet nail varnish stripe I painted on to make it look like a real baitfish - I'm sure it makes no difference to the bass.

A better bass - in the gloom.

This fat five pounder took the same lure during a dawn raid with my new friend Mike Haze (I landed a second and lost another decent one in the same short session).  I was fishing one of Mike's marks that I had never seen before.