Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Tackle and Tactics
Mike Ladle


Information Page


In the past if you mentioned flies to a "sea angler" he (or she) would have thought that you meant mackerel feathers. Nowadays even the good old feathers have become more sophisticated, with Hokkais and Muppets of various sizes readily available. Many of these "flies", although they can be very effective when jigged on heavy gear, are much too poorly made to fish on fly tackle, being tied on big crude hooks hooks with rank barbs. They are often too heavy to cast nicely and too coarse to stick in with a light fly rod.

From the word go my pals and I have used flies which are much better suited to fishing on conventional fly tackle. The first flies I fished for bass were "Waddington" type salmon flies and home-made tube flies. Of course even these, although they are better made than traditional feathers, are often on the large side for sensible fishing on 'trout' gear. It was not long before we began to tie flies which were lighter weight and much more effective for bass fishing.

Of course, at the same time that we were developing bass flies the methods of fly fishing for mullet were being explored. This was a totally different business and the early mullet flies were tied to float and to resemble little white maggots. For "maggot flies" we tried hooks ranging from about size 8 down to size 16. It soon became apparent that it was possible to land not only mullet but good sized bass on these little hooks (yes, bass often eat maggots too). This accidental success encouraged us to refine the bass flies still further.

Nowadays, any decent, mail order, fly fishing supplier will list a whole range of "salt water" fish, shrimp and crab imitations (designed for the American/Tropical-sea market) - at a price. It is probably better, certainly cheaper and definitely more satisfying to make your own. If you are as ham fisted, as I am, you will find it easier to tie bass flies than trout flies and even the least artistic creations are likely to work well. If you don't want to embark on a fly tying career a small Delta eel, a similar silicone rubber "fish" or even a thin strip of mackerel, slipped onto a size six or eight fine wire hook, will probably out-fish most feather and fur constructions. Fortunately sea fishing is not hidebound by hundreds of years of prejudice, myth and legend like fresh water fly fishing. Hopefully it never will be.

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.

Tube and Waddington type 'salmon' flies.

These were some of the first flies on which we caught bass.

Maggot flies used for mullet.

These little flies, fished 'dry' on the surface have caught many bass as well as the mullet for which they were intended.

A selection of Mylar tubes on single and treble hooks.

Mylar looks as much like a small silver fish as more complex flies.

Pollack and coalfish take flies well.

These fish were caught for bait but they give excellent sport on fly gear in the early part of the year.

A good bass caught on a simple streamer fly.

This fish was caught first cast.  Catching a schoolie on a maggot fly had prompted me to switch to the streamer.