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 several 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. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. 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).

Yet more minnows (and worms).

I've always had trouble hooking fish when I use live minnows for bait. Many years ago when I used to fish the River Tyne I recall getting fierce bites on live minnows (on J hooks of course) cast into shallow water and striking to find nothing on the end of the line. I always assumed that it was not just my incompetence but largely due to drag. The fish (in that case trout) take the minnow fast (they've little choice as it is whisked along by the current) but immediately feel the resistance of the dragging line and reject and eject the bait. The same thing has happened to me on a number of other rivers down here in the South of England. Has anyone got a solution?

Of course not all the fish get away but I was reminded of the problem during a recent session using live minnows hooked on small circle hooks. I had been catching lots of perch but the bites were beginning to slow down (not surprising considering the number I'd caught from one small eddy). Anyway, I decided to walk on up the shallows casting the minnow ahead of me. For ten minutes there was nothing doing then suddenly I had a bite and as I tightened the line a trout was on. It fought hard jumping and thrashing about and it was a little time before I could take its picture and unhook it. The fish was well hooked in the jaw so I was pleased. On a subsequent trip I tried the same thing and this time I missed several good bites both casting upstream and also when drifting the bait downstream - so I still don't know how to fish effectively for these fish.

On my second session I returned to the 'perch hole' which was alongside some overhanging willows. I'd scraped together a few worms from the stony soil in my garden so I put a bunch on and gave them a try. The first bite proved to be a nice perch of about a pound which unhooked itself as I groped in the bag for my camera. After another, smaller, perch I had a good bite and hooked a beautiful chub - no monster but in mint condition. Then I'd run out of worms so it was back to the minnows and small perch. After catching dozens more I packed in and went home for my tea.

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 trout.

This one hooked itself on a minnow cast upstream into the fast water.

Nicely hooked.

The circle hook had lodged nicely inside the lower jaw of the fish (you can just see the eye).  I couldn't catch another despite several decent bites.

Decent perch.

This one took a live minnow.  Dead minnows seem to be nowhere near as attractive.


This is the one that took a pathetic bunch of worms.  If I can get some decent worms I expect I might get barbel as well as chub.

Lip hooked.

I wasn't sure about circle hooked baits for the rubbery mouths of chub but the two that I've caught so far were both lip hooked.

Another perch.

Small perch are almost as big a nuisance as small pike when you're fishing for chub etc.  They'll engulf the biggest minnow or worm you can lay hands on.