Mike Ladle


Information Page

Tackle and Tactics.

THINK LIKE A FISH Part 40 Fish Selection.

If you come across an angler standing on the seashore and attending to his rods the conversation is likely to go something like this.

You - "Anything doing?"

Angler - "Not much, only small stuff."

You - "What are you after?"

Angler - "Anything that comes along."

Of course the two answers to your questions are closely linked. If you simply stick a bait on a hook and toss it out to sea in the hope that something might take it you will probably be disappointed. It is usually much more effective to 'Target' a certain species. Also there is a great deal of satisfactioon to be had by catching the fish 'that you are after'. I have always been fascinated by the idea of using a particular method to catch a certain type of fish. When I first read John Garrad's "Sea Angling with the Baited Spoon" the possibility that you could select for a species from the diverse community of sea fish was brought home to me. Garrad was able to pick out flounders, bass or eels, all on ragworm baits, simply by the way that he presented the worm.

There must be all sorts of possibilities for choosing what you want to take your bait. Of course none of them will be 100% effective. There will always be the odd surprise whatever method you use but I thought it might be interesting to list a few selective methods. Likely accidental catches are given in brackets. Starting with Garrad's findings -

Big silver spoon baited with ragworm and trolled with the current (in summer) - big flounders. (bass)

Small white spoon, with or without worm bait, trolled or spun - school bass. (thinlipped mullet)

Big silver spoon baited with ragworm and drifted against the flow in mid water (in summer) - silver eels.

- and my ideas -

Mepps type spoon spun with the flow in estuaries or lower reaches of rivers - thinlipped mullet. (flounder, perch, pike, sea trout)

Crayfish type plug spun over wrack beds in shallow water - ballan wrasse. (bass)

Popper or slider fished over 'bassy' ground - bass.

Polyethylene dry fly baited with maggots and fished near piles of rotting kelp - thicklipped mullet. (bass)

Shrimp or woodlouse fly fished near weed 'salad' in rough weather - bass and thicklipped mullet.

Rubber eel or natural eel spun over deep water and rocky ground - pollack and coalfish (bass)

Bread bait floatfished or legered on lightish tackle - thicklipped mullet.

As I say none of these methods are 100% selective but in most cases it is unusual to catch anything but your target species. Notice that bass, which are above all opportunists, may be caught as 'accidentals' on many of the methods mentioned. Also, any sort of artificial lure is likely to attract such out and out predators as pike and perch, if they asre present. I am sure that there are many other highly selective approaches if we were to give the matter some thought.

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.


Thinlip on rag-baited spoon.

In south coast river mouths nineteen out of twenty takes on this type of lure are likely to be thinlips

Weed pile.

Weed piles attract seaweed flies which attract fish to take the maggot fly.

A small bass on a surface lure.

I'm sure that other fish may take them but as yet I have never caught anything other than bass on poppers fished in shallow salt water.

A wrasse on a rebel.

It is worth replacing the tail treble with a smaller one if you want to catch wrasse.  Crayfish imitations seem to be even more effective for these fish.