Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle

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Freshwater Fishing

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).

Grand slam!

Winter must be on its way! I've had a couple more trips to the river this week. The first time I was after pike with livebaits and it was fairly uneventful. I used a paternoster with a size 4/0 circle hook and a weight of about half-an-ounce. The two spots that I tried each produced a pike - one of about eight pounds and the other nearer to twelve. The first one was nicely hooked in the edge of the upper jaw but the larger fish needed the pliers to remove the hook (successfully) from the back of the mouth. This isn't common with circle hooks but every so often it happens.

My second trip was much more interesting. My wife was at a meeting all day so after I'd had my lunch I decided to try spinning for perch. Now the place I went to contains lots of jack pike as well as chub and trout/seatrout and I didn't want to catch lots of tiny perch so I opted for the size 4 Mepps that I've been using this year. The gear was hefty (by perch standards) - my Teklon rod, Mitchell reel, 16lb Nanofil with a trace of 15lb clear Amnesia and a short, knottable wire anti-pike trace at the end. There are three reasons for the meaty tackle. Firstly the need to avoid break offs if I should ping the lure to the far bank or into a bush. Secondly, just in case I hooked a big pike and needed to keep it out of the snags. Lastly, and mostly, because I'm pretty unconcerned about tackle and it's more or less the same gear I tend to use when I'm spinning for everything of modest size - bass, pollack, mackerel, perch, chub, seatrout, etc. etc.

I started off in a perchy spot where there was quite deep water at the head of a weir pool. In the first five minutes I had one follow, one tap and then finally I hooked a small perch about twenty centimetres long. The bites were slow to materialise so after another five or ten minutes I shifted to the shallow tail of the pool. The first cast across resulted in a hard take and a splashy fight which proved to be a trout of about 500g. On looking at the picture it could well be a small seatrout. Anyway, it was a bit of encouragement. I fanned out the casts until I was flicking the lure straight upstream, close to the reeds along my own bank. This resulted in two pike on successive casts. Neither of them was a monster but they put up spirited shows in the shallow water before I was able to take their pictures and release them. Excellent! After I'd 'cleared out' the pike from the margin I began to catch perch and in all I landed six nice stripey fish with the best one well over a pound. Not bad! At this point I began to think that my personal 'grand slam' of trout, pike, perch and chub might be on the cards. I waded downstream through the shallow water to a tree lined shady stretch. The first and deepest pool produced absolutely nothing, not even a follow from a tiny perch, so I moved on downstream. Now I was still under the trees standing in water up to my knees upstream of a wide glide.

Normally if I wanted to catch chub I would change the lure from a spinner to a plug but before I switched I thought I'd have a chuck with the big Mepps down and across. I had scarcely begun to turn the handle of the reel when there was a wrenching bite and a heavy weight on the rod. My first thought was 'another pike' but the fish didn't fight. I could tell that it was a fair size but it simply allowed istself to be wound slowly upstream until I could see that it was a big fat chub. I drew the fish into the gravelly shallows by my bank and wrestled the camera from the pocket of my bag. Click! click! Put the camera away and remove the hooks before weighing the fish. It pulled the scales down to 3.1kg (six-and-three quarter-pounds), a real beauty. I slipped it back and cast again to roughly the same spot. Bang! This time I knew it was another decent chub (just over five pounds) and the whole scenario was repeated.

Well, that was that. Almost two hours fishing with my Mepps. Twelve fish in all. Seven perch, two pike, two chub and a trout - a very satisfying afternoon's fishing and another grand slam of species.

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 - docladle@hotmail.com

Dace caught.

My first pike caught on paternostered bait.

Another pike.

Another poor selfie.  This was the second, larger pike.

Circled.

The hook is well set in the jaw of the fish.

Small seatrout?

This one took first cast into the shallow water.

Spun pike.

They fight hard but are a nuisance because you must use wire.

Best perch.

This was the largest perch I managed on the spinner.

Whopping chub.

A picture to show how fat the six pounder was.

Ready to unhook.

It was deep in the body as well as fat.

A bit smaller.

This is the lesser of the two chub caught on successive casts.