Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle


Information Page

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).

Mixed fishing.

The weather now seems to be set into the typical winter series of depressions. The rivers barely have time to clear a bit before the next day's rain colours them up again. Anyway, on a couple of occasions I've managed to do some fishing while things were settled. The first time Nigel and I went. He trotted for grayling while I decided to look for a pike. In retrospect I should have copied my pal because he had several good fish up to about two-pounds-and-three-quarters while I struggled to find a pike.

In fact I did eventually manage to locate a couple of fish. I was wobbling a dead grayling for bait and it was probably an hour before I had a take. The water was pretty cold after an overnight frost so I waited a few seconds before tightening. The fish was on and it tore off taking line, I eased it towards the surface and saw that it was a nice one in the mid teens before it opened its mouth and released the bait - it hadn't been hooked.

I assumed that the cold water had slowed the fish down and that it never turned the bait properly. Having found a pike after a longish fishless spell I was naturally keen to try and catch it so I persevered. Three more times in the next ten minutes the whole procedure was repeated. Each time I waited a little longer in the hope that the pike would be hooked - it wasn't! After the fourth take I simply gave up and moved on.

In the very next pool I had another take and this time the fish was hooked. Sod's law dictated that it was much smaller than the first one - and that was that.

My second trip was again on a cold afternoon following a frosty night. The sun was shining and this time I had no bait so I decided to try one of my Slandra soft plastics. The lures are weedless and can be fished at snail's pace hopefully giving even a cold fish time to line up and have a go. As it turned out I was in within about five minutes of starting. I'd cast across a long, slow glide and had a good pull and a swirl which I missed. It was about five more casts before the fish took again and this time was well hooked in the jaw. Despite the cold conditions the pike fought hard but was eventually landed to have its picture taken.

It was another hour before I managed another take. This time as I approached the river I saw a wake move away from the bank when I was still several metres back. "Bugger!" I thought. I assumed that I'd scared a pike and that my chance had gone. Anyway, I cast the Slandra up the pool and slowly inched it back. As the lure approached the spot where I'd spooked the fish there was a crash and a splash, the rod pulled round and the fish let go. Despite ten minutes more effort and even a change of lure it wouldn't come again. Never mind, it was only about the same size as the one I'd caught.

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 -

Small pike.

The one I managed to land on my first session.

Nice one.

Nigel prepares to unhook his largest grayling.

Well done!

It's a beauty but he had an even bigger one a day or two later.


No monster but good fun.

Close up.

You can see why you MUST use a wire trace.  The wire's folded back into the teeth.