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).

Seatrout time.

I regard seatrout as a bit of a challenge. This is not because they are particularly difficult to tempt nor because they fight especially hard - I don't think they do. However, these fish are incredibly lively and they will shake the hooks out for a pastime when they thrash and jump. They're not quite as bad as tarpon but sometimes they can be very frustrating. This season I've fished for them a few times and most of the bites have resulted in nothing more than a couple of seconds contact, a big splash and a string of curses from me. I was beginning to blame the rod and that's always a bad sign. Anyway, last week I had an evening session which only lasted about three-quarters-of-an-hour and resulted in the usual tug, splash and nothing. While I was fishing I did see a couple of good fish move - I guess that you'd call them 'rises'. Although they gave away their positions these fish showed no interest in my lure but I noted that they were both in a deep steady glide - not the usual tail of a pool.

Yesterday evening when Lilian sat down at the computer to edit her latest archaeology text I decided to have another hour after the elusive seatrout. I armed myself with the little Teklon Concept rod, Mitchell Mag Force reel and fine braid - easy fishing. On the end of the braid was a length of 15lb clear Amnesia, a short wire anti-pike trace and a J7 black and silver Rapala - it fishes nicely above the streamers of Ranunculus. The sun was just going down as I started to fish at the upstream end of the stretch, a nice pool above a strong riffle. On about the fourth cast into the tail of the pool I found myself playing a seatrout and wonder of wonders - it didn't come unstuck. I slid it ashore without using the net (nets and trebles don't mix so I only net fish when it's necessary). I reckoned it was about two-and-a-half to three pounds so an excellent start.

A few more casts produced nothing so I began to walk downstream until I reached a glide similar to the one where I'd seen fish on the earlier trip. I suppose it was about a couple of metres deep and smoothly flowing. There was a stiff breeze blowing towards the far bank so it needed care to avoid casting onto the bankside vegetation opposite. To avoid getting snagged I tried to flick the lure into mid-stream and then retrieved against the current. After about five minutes I felt a tap as I started the wind but I kept the lure moving and clearly the fish followed because suddenly there was a heavy pull, a big swirl and a splash and then nothing. The air turned a nice shade of blue but because I'd already caught a fish I wasn't too upset. Anyway, two bites in ten minutes was pretty encouraging so I continued on downstream. I'd only gone a few metres when I saw a bow wave move off as my presence disturbed yet another decent trout. I fished across where the movement had occurred but I didn't expect the fish to bite and I was right.

Now I was near the bottom of the glide and thinking about moving on to the next deep stretch when the lure was grabbed by a good seatrout. This one was very lively and spent a minute or two splashng and leaping before it settled into steady swimming upstream. I picked up the long handled net and reached down from the high bank. I'm always conscious of getting the lure tangled in the meshes while the fish is still outside the net so, instead of drawing it over the rim head first, I held the net downcurrent and let the trout slide backwards into the folds. Got it! Photographed, measured (60cm), weighed (5.5lb) and returned. Excellent! In high spirits I pressed on downstream. Now it was getting really dark so I had to be wary about stepping off the bank. Although I had a head torch I didn't want to use it in case I scared any fish. The next glide produced nothing but again my activities disturbed a decent seatrout. Now it was quarter past seven and I couldn't see much. Just a few more chucks before packing in. I made a long cast down the middle of the river and began a slow retrieve. I could feel the little plug wiggling along nicely. Wallop! The rod bent the reel screeched and I was into a fish. This one felt a good deal bigger than the last one. Could it be an after-dark salmon? I hoped not. After five minutes of leaping about in the dark I had it close to the bank. Now I needed the headlamp. I switched it on and the big spotty flank told me that it was no salmon. Again I slid it tail first into the net. Taking the pliers I unhooked it but the plug was already tightly progged in the net and I left it to be removed later. This time after measuring and weighing the fish (68cm and well over eight pounds) I took a couple of pictures and released it. Three nice fish landed and one lost in an hour, that made up for one or two recent blanks.

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 first seatrout of the session. Not a monster.


Note the J7 and Breakaway Minilink attaching it.


It's already getting dark. The second seatrout, they are rather spotty at this time of the year.


At last the biggest and best. The plug's still in the net.


I should have smiled and switched off the lamp I suppose.