Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Tackle and Tactics
Mike Ladle


Information Page

This is the last piece before we go away on our holidays. Back soon!


My tackle is no criterion of what is best for fly fishing in the sea or even what is suitable for the purpose. However, I can say that it is possible to catch good fish on this gear along the coast of Dorset.

Over the years I have had a few fly rods and reels. The original rod was a split cane 'sea trout' rod which had lost a few inches of tip - so it was a pretty hefty instrument. I always prefer a longish (9.5-10.0 ft) rod to help reach over the waves and weed. The fly lines are always floaters because most of my fishing is for surface feeding mullet. In this type of fishing you need to keep everything (line, cast and fly) on the water surface because (a) that is where the fish are feeding and (b) you can avoid most of the submerged weed and rubbish. Thirdly, my eyesight has never been good so I prefer to watch the floating line as my 'bite indicator. Some of my pals are able to watch for the fly being taken but this has never been easy for me.

My present rod is a, well worn, D.A.M graphite made to cast a number 7/8 line and I use it with a number 7, weight forward floater. The fish are usually pretty close in so casting distance is rarely a problem. If there is a very strong head wind and/or the fish are out of range then, in my experience, it is best to use a different method. On the end of the fly line is needle-knotted a couple of feet of ten pound nylon and to the end of that another six feet or so of six pound nylon. The hooks, flies, etc. are tied on the end of the nylon and I shall deal with them on another occasion.

My fly reels have been (and are still) pretty basic bits of machinery, trout size with a two way ratchet. I have never aspired to a custom made salt water fly reel although I am sure that there are some beauties about. Similarly, I have become accustomed to playing my fish straight from the reel and never felt the need for a clutch of any sort. It can be disaster to let coils of line lay on the weed piles or in the water when you fish in the sea. Most ordinary fly reels are made of aluminium alloy and after a year or two any chips or scratches become coated with white powdery corrosion - this does not cause any problems if the reels are well lubricated (mine is stuffed with Vaseline). Never leave them in the car boot or fishing bag. Mine always stays on the rod propped up in the corner of the room. It's nothing to be proud of but I once had a reel which seized onto the rod because the reel fitting had corroded and fused to the reel seat.

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 -


Fly fishing from the shore.

How to dress.

A recent picture of my current fly reel and line laying on the shore.

Many Portuguese Men O War are washed ashore in some summers.

Looking for fish.

Geoff's fly gear is custom made for sea fishing and much better than my own..

Paul Froom fly fishing for bass.

When the fish are close in, as they often are, there is little need for long casting.  It is much more important to spot the fish then to cast a long line.

Mullet gear in the early days of our fly fishing experiments.

Note Terry's automatic fly reel which, as far as I am aware is still functional.  The rod is fibreglass (before the days of carbon).

The whole caboodle - rod, reel, line, net, 'bait' and fish.

This is the same rod and reel as in the first picture.  The reel is just about due for replacement as I had to adjust two rivets (with a hammer) to make the check function at the back end of last summer.