Tackle and Tactics
Mike Ladle


Information Page


In the previous section I showed pike, perch and wrasse caught on baited spinners but the fish which are tailor made for this method are thin lipped mullet. The close resemblance between these fish and their thick lipped relatives is misleading. While thicklips will occasionally take baited spinners thinlips often go mad for them.

The first thing to note is how the fish react to the lures. A shoal of thinlips can be minding their own business, grovelling away on the river bed. You cast your lure out and retrieve it past the shoal. No interest! Do it again and again and one of the fish looks up from its mud sifting and follows the spinning blade for a short distance. A couple more casts and the entire shoal is rushing after your lure, jostling to get at the bait.

If you watch carefully you can see an individual fish following just behind the trailing ragworm and vibrating its lips, presumably to sense the chemical signals which are being released. The fish may take the worm in its mouth and apparently suck at it giving a nudge on the rod tip. Two or three times you may feel similar taps on the rod then suddenly the fish turns away and the rod bends to its weight as it hooks itself.

When the mullet are close to the spoon, because of the position of their eyes, it seems unlikely that they can see the ragworm. Consequently it is a good idea if the worm trails out straight behind. Secondly, because the mullet 'suck' at the end of the worm it is best to have a hook positioned right at the back end of the bait. It is often effective to reel as slowly as possible, letting the lure hang in the current although at times you can reel as fast as possible with or across the flow and the fish will bow-wave after the fast moving spinner before taking.

Sometimes the fish are suicidal and you can catch one a chuck. On other occasions they are distinctly fussy and you will get countless unhookable knocks. Whatever you do DON'T strike. The fish will hook themselves if your hooks are sharp and correctly positioned.

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 - docladle@hotmail.com


Spinning from the shore.


An electric-fished thin lip on the measuring board.

These fish are slow growing and a five pounder could be thirty years old.  Slow growing fish are particularly vulnerable to overfishing.

An early model baited spinner.

Now I make them with bodies of different materials to adjust the weight.

A spinner caught thinlip.

This is a plastic bodied lure and can be fished slowly in still water.

Steve Pitts with a spoon caught thin lip.

Unlike thicklips these fish swim right into freshwater in spring and late summer.

The mouth of a decent thinlip.

So much for soft mouthed mullet.  The forceps are an essential if you use barbed hooks.