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).


I'm just back from a week looking at Hadrian's Wall. Probably not my choice of a holiday and the weather was unkind but we really enjoyed it nonetheless. Anyway, we're back and I can go fishing again - so I did. To tell the truth it's been one of those weeks. I blanked fishing a local tide race and it was only made bearable by watching a gannet and some terns fishing with as much success as me. Then I tried a dawn sortie on the rocks and only managed one bite in my hour's fishing - it was a decent fish but it came off so I don't know what it was. Then I lost two seatrout on the river - they released themselves by cartwheeling through the air. To try and get the feel of something (anything) on the line I took a small bag of crusts to a local lake and tried for a carp. It was a hot, sunny afternoon and as I always wear a light waterproof (carp slimeproof) jacket and anti-nettle trousers I was a bit warm. The first couple of spots I fished produced nothing, even though I could see a few carp on the move, so I decided to try a big patch of waterlilies.

I progged a big crust on the hook and stood for a while watching for movement of the lily leaves. When I saw signs of a carp I flicked the crust into a gap in the leafy carpet, close to the movement, layed the rod down on the bank and waited. It was probably ten minutes before a carp approached the bait and sucked it in. I grabbed the rod and hung on as line was ripped from the reel - then it all went slack! I reeled in to find that the hook had simply come out, a pretty unusual event with carp. I muttered a few oaths and although the hooked fish had caused quite a disturbance I decided to have another go. This time I cast beyond the lily patch and drew the crust back until it rested on the far edge of the leaves. Close the bale arm, lay down the rod and wait. Almost at once there was a swirl and the crust was taken - I was in!

This carp was well hooked and instead of ploughing back into the lily bed it shot away into open water. My line scythed through a few reed stems and it was soon in a clear area. After that it was no contest even though it took me a while to get it into the net. Camera in hand I slid it ashore and took a quick picture then a second one with me holding the carp and back it went. The fish was an 18.5lb common in beautiful condition. I fished on in a couple more spots after returning it but that was my lot. No complaints though. The session was enlivened by seeing kingfishers, a heron, several jays and a deer which decided to hop into the water and have a drink opposite where I was fishing.

Lilian was busy digging at 'her' Roman Villa again today so, since it was the first day of the local river coarse fishing (the clubs appear to have lost the game fishing on several stretches which is a bit of a pain), I decided to try a club stretch of the Stour. The weather was even hotter than when I went carping so wearing chesties was exactly like being 'boiled-in-a-bag'. I started by wading upstream and casting ahead of me. The water was a lot deeper than usual because the heavy weed growth was backing it up and it was hard work pushing through all the streamer weed. I saw a couple of trout following my little Rapala but they didn't take and then the plug started to behave oddly and I discovered that it had lost its lip. I switched to a DL Minnow plug which is roughly the same size and after fishing for a while I emerged from the river and set off downstream.

Blimey it was hot trudging down the fields. I came to a place where the river divided round an island. There was heavy tree cover on the far bank so I flicked the plug up into the narrow strip of open water. The grass and nettles were so high that I couldn't see the lure. I gave it a twitch and crash! It was taken. I put all the pressure I could on to prevent the fish from getting tangled in the tree roots and although I managed to stop it I now had the problem of getting it out without a net. When I'm wading I don't usually bother with netting fish as they can be unhooked in the water. I carefully slid down the treacherous bank until I could reach the chub (it was a decent fish) and with care I was able to lift it ashore and take its picture before returning it. Five-and-a-half pounds, not a bad way to start the season. I didn't catch any more chub but when I switched to a Mepps I landed several perch up to over a pound so, despite being cooked I regarded it as an excellent afternoon's fishing.

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 eighteen pound carp.


A decent selfie with the fish.


A 'guest' which interfered with my fishing for a while.


My plugged chub.


One of the best perch.