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).

Temperature change matters - even for pike!

My pal Steve Pitts arranged to come down for a spot of pike fishing last week. The weather had been relatively mild and everything looked good for the day that we'd arranged. The night before our session was due the sky cleared and the temperature dropped like a stone - not ideal, I thought. Anyway, we'd made our arrangements so we went ahead with the plan. t's a decent drive down from Bristol, but Steve arrived before mid-day and we were going to give it an afternoon on the river. In fact it was a pleasant, sunny day and we were both enthusiastic as we tackled up. We started off by trying to catch a bait or two - it was soon apparent that the sharp fall in water temperature had put paid to our chances of a suitable natural bait; so after a short, biteless session we both attached lures. Steve was using a large, single hooked, soft-plastic shad and I clipped on one of my unweighted, 'Slandra' bass lures. It wasn't a total waste of time, as we each had fish showing interest, but neither of us hooked anything. A pleasant afternoon - but a blank.

That evening it was much warmer (typical English weather) so I decided to have another go the next day. I didn't bother trying to catch any sort of bait because I only had an hour to fish. To start with I lip hooked a large frozen pilchard on a 4/0 circle hook. Within minutes of drifting it down the near bank I had a take; I waited for a few seconds before tightening but although the fish pulled for a while it wasn't hooked. The bait was torn a bit but still usable, so I crossed a bridge to the opposite bank and lowered the pilchard into a slack area close to the overhanging vegetation. It was taken almost immediately by a nice pike. This time the hook was well set and after a spirited struggle I landed a fish in the middle-teens of pounds. This time the bait had gone and typically I'd only brought one with me (jeez I'm tight-fisted). So, I replaced the fish with a Slandra and started to spin. After three or four casts a pike of perhaps eight pounds swept out and missed the lure. A couple more casts but the fish showed no further interest. I changed the lure to a large, silver spoon. First cast and the pike appeared again, grabbed the spoon but wasn't hooked. I looked at my watch - already time to pack in, so I did. Four attacks from three different fish in an hour what a difference to the previous afternoon. Clearly, changes in temperature can make a difference to pike activity.

The pike in my net..


The 4/0 hook neatly in the scissors much better than a mouthful of trebles.


Too much contrast on the selfie and a speck of slime on the middle of the lens (also present on the previous picture).


Encouraged by my partial success, the following afternoon I went to another stretch of river, with pike in mind. This time I decided to try for a bait using float fished maggots, but all I could catch were minnows. I put a couple of minnows in the bait bucket and set up a paternoster with a small circle hook for an attempt to catch perch. An-hour-and-a-half of dangling a minnow into all the perchy spots I could find proved futile. As I walked back up to the car I removed the weight and tried free-lining a minnow. With the weightless set-up I could fish even the shallower water and I actually had one, tuggy bite which i missed (probably a small trout?). Ah well! I was a pleasant afternoon.

One of my fine minnows.


Just to finish off and to supplement my (few) pictures my longstanding pal Paul has recently been fishing for pike and perch around his own patch (a bit further north) and has had some success with both dead baits and lures. We, rarely meet but occasionally exchange information; he's one of those rare anglers who always has something of interest to say about his fishing.

Fifteen pounds plus for Paul.


Another nice double.


A good perch on Paul's plug.


... and another double figure pike.


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 -