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 four 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. 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).

20 June 2005

Discretion - the better part!

It was beautifully calm and the last two days had been hot and sunny. Summer at last!. Must be perfect for an early morning go at the scad/bass/mackerel/pollack with my fly gear I thought. Down to the coast at 03.30, out of the car, put the rods together and hurry down the cliff path in the gloom. As I reached the cliff top and had my first view of the sea below I was startled. Instead of the mirror surface I expected it looked sort of lumpy and blotchy - hard to describe but anyway, not what I anticipated. I reached the climb down to my chosen ledge and I could see that there was a bit of a swell breaking against the base of the cliff. I was a little apprehensive and decided to wait and watch for five minutes before climbing down.

It was as well that I did wait. After two or three minutes I noticed a couple of unusually large swells approaching across the sea. The first one reached the ledge, broke and washed across it then the second one totally swamped the spot where I would have been standing. I sighed, muttered a curse, turned and began to tramp back to the car, No point taking any risks like that.

How could I save the morning? Pity to let a good dawn go to waste. I dismantled the gear and hopped back into the car. It was only a short drive to Swanage and I might be able to fish in the more sheltered east-facing bay. Sure enough when I got there it was flat calm. I walked down to the sea carrying the fly rod and the spinning rod, the latter armed with a shallow diving 11cm plug. I walked along having the odd cast here and there. Out on the point there was quite a big swell rolling in from the SW. Too tricky to get out and fish the best spot. I stood and began to cast from the rocks. It was tricky, even the very shallow diver I was using was constantly dragging through weed beds. However, it did not look like getting hung up so I had another cast. Again I could feel the fronds of seaweed plucking at the plug. I yanked to free it and as I did so something yanked back the other way. The bass must have taken my lure as it lay tangled in the weed.

I landed and released the fish after a bit of a tussle to get it through a gap in the rocks. I was well chuffed. The sun was coming up now and I had no more bites. A waved slopped into my wellies - what a cold feeling - but I didn't really care. On the way back to the car the sandwich terns were feeding on sandeels so I tried a few pictures - just to see if I could track them and catch the instant that they plunged in. Lovely morning!

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 -

Nice fish.

Even in the gloom the fish looks more or less scale perfect.


A tern plummets in.  The pictures are a little bit fuzzy but I had to track the birds and press the shutter as they dived.


Completely submerged after its dive.

... and up again.

Airborne again.  I tried a few casts to where the birds were fishing - to no avail.