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).

Carp for a change.

I've had three short sessions fishing for seatrout last week and caught a decent salmon each time (I'll put some pictures on the next freshwater page). Now you might think that this would be good and to be honest it was very exciting but I wasn't after salmon and it's always a bit of an ordeal trying to make sure that they swim off fit and well after being landed.

Anyway the upshot of the salmon fishing was that I'd had enough of catching them and I thought I'd like a change. The tides and weather were not very suitable for bass or mullet fishing so I decided that I'd try and catch a carp. My two previous attempts at carping had been failures with the fish not even taking the odd crust freebie that I threw in so I wasn't too confident. I tackled up as usual with a size six strong hook tied direct to the end of the braid, I bought a small, farmhouse loaf from the local bakers (1.13 these days but for three lots of bait I suppose it's not too bad). The bread was chopped into match-box sized cubes, I picked up the net and the bag and away I went.

It didn't start well. I walked round the lakes and didn't see much movement so I opted to fish under a large, trailing bush where I'd seen carp on the previous trip. It was warmish, windless and overcast when I started. I baited up and flicked the bait out so that the line lay across a trailing twig. Shortly after I'd cast out four nice carp cruised past the bait without looking at it. Could they be more interested in sex than food? I wondered. I waited and waited but although I saw several more nice carp they showed little interest in my crust. I dropped one or two freebies in the gaps between the bush and the bank to see whether there were fish close in. After about twenty minutes one of my free crusts was slurped down and then, a little later, another one was taken.

Now, I always find it difficult to reposition my bait. As sure as eggs are eggs if I reel in and cast to another spot the original bait will be eaten by a carp. I steeled myself and rebaited before lowering the bait about six inches from the bank. I was slightly concerned that if I did have a take the fish would plough into the submerged branches. nevertheless the first thing was to try and get a bite. I put the rod down on the ground, tightened the line and waited. It was probably five or ten minutes before heavy ripples and shaking iris leaves suggested that a carp was approaching my bait. I was holding my breath - as you do. The rod tip bobbed a couple of times then it bent over as a fish careered away. I was in!

In an instant the rod was in my hand and line was streaming off against a tight clutch. The fish swam to the right - away from the snags - and before long it was in my net flapping its tail and showering me with smelly mud. I took a picture or two, removed the hook and slipped it back - success!

I looked at my watch. There was still an hour before I had to leave so I walked back to one of the spots that I'd seen on my arrival. The water was quite shallow and there was a patch of waterlilies perhaps five metres across a few metres out from the bank. I baited up with a big crust and lobbed it out beyond the lily bed, reeling in until the bait rested against an unopened flower bud. Lay the rod down again and wait. It was only five minutes before a decent carp emerged from the reed bed further out. It was swimming in the direction of my bait. The anticipation was intense. It approached the crust and with little hesitation sucked it in, hooked itself and rushed off as I grabbed for the rod.

The fish fought like stink but it was probably only a couple of minutes until I had it in the net. Lift it out, take a picture and back it went. Good session!

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

First carp.

Perhaps ten pounds but a nice chubby fish.

Second carp.

A bit bigger than the other one and very similar in appearance.