Mike Ladle


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Tackle and Tactics.

THINK LIKE A FISH Part 26 Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I shall be away for a couple of weeks over the New Year period so here's my Christmas letter to be going on with until I get back. Overall it was a moderate season for bass down here. Early on in the year there were quite a few decent fish about on the patch that I fish and once again mid-summer produced lots of schoolies feeding on maggots. However, for the second year running it was total crap for mullet, I don't know where they can have gone. In the past there would normally have been ten mullet feeding on the top for every bass but the situation seems to have reversed. About one in five of the bass I caught was a decent size (4+?). The best one I saw was the ten-pounder caught on squid during the Dorset 'fish in' of BASS (the national bass fishing club).

From my own point of view I would probably have caught a lot more fish if I had not been testing the poppers against my usual lures. I fished with poppers for the entire season. As far as I could tell the plugs are certainly more productive than surface lures for much of the time but there is no doubt that 'popping' is very exciting fishing. I also put in a lot of unproductive effort with both poppers and plugs on a local tide race. It was quite good early in the season but after June I might as well have stayed in bed. Still, unless you try you never know. I shall certainly give it another go in 2003.

As usual I fished the Stour with plugs (mostly black and silver J9 Rapala) and caught a lot of pike, perch and chub but not so many trout as in recent seasons. The best pike was just under 20 lb and took at my feet as I was wading up to my thighs; I almost had a heart attack. Most of the (many) perch were on the small side but one or two were over a pound and a half. The majority of the chub were of a good size. In between the sea fishing and river fishing I filled in with carp at a local club water just five minutes from my house. All my fish were free lined on dog biscuits (mostly) or luncheon meat. Some of them fought like stink and one fish that I lost pulled harder than almost anything I have ever hooked - I never saw it so I don't know how big it was. I had a few of around twenty pounds (not big by modern standards, from what I see in the magazines) and it was very enjoyable.

I'm pike fishing now (best fish from the Frome, so far, 18lb on a spoon and a couple of similar sized fish on wobbled dead baits) and will continue to do so until the spring (probably March) but the bassing at that time will no doubt depend on the weather more than anything. It should be fairly consistent by May.

Anyway, we're off to Tobago with our third son, Richard, at the end of December so hopefully it will be barracuda and bonefish instead of bass for a couple of weeks. In March next year we are expecting to go to Australia for Dan's wedding so perhaps I'll get a chance to catch a few more exotics while I am there - I fancy catching a barramundi or a few bluefish (I think they call them 'tailors' down under). Next piece mid-January

All the best to you and yours.


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


Think like a fish.

All the best!!!.

Have a good Christmas.

I know it's poisonous but it does look Christmassy!.

March - Nigel's Pike.

Well worth another look.

April - A nice thinlip.

Taken on a lead-bodied, rag-baited spoon.

May - A bass on a popper.

This one took a Skitterpop lure.

June - Plugged chub.

One of many caught this year on plugs.

July - A perch which took a Rapala.

Most of my perch were on the small side.

August - Viper's bugloss.

The fishing comes first but there's always plenty of other things to see.

September - Fly caught thicklip.

One of the, relatively, few thicklips taken off the top this year.

October - Tailing bass.

The bass came in to feed on Idotea when the sea was coloured and weedy.

November - Grayling.

A fish caught on legered maggot.

December - Spooned pike.

Back round to pike again.  HAVE A GOOD 2003 - MIKE and DAN.