Tackle and Tactics
Mike Ladle


Information Page

Winter sport.

The trickiest part of my season is the late Autumn. In early spring the river coarse fishing season is over and it's not worth carp fishing fishing so, even though the coast is dicey I go go bass fishing. In summer the wind, tides and weather dictate what I do but by late Autumn lure fishing in the sea is patchy and I'm torn between having a last attempt or going to the river to fish for pike or grayling.

Last week my mind was made up for me when Roy Smith rang and suggested a grayling session. Knowing that Roy was going to try fly fishing for grayling I thought I'd give the pike a go with a spoon. As it turned out the pike were keen but not quite keen enough. I fished my big spoon through all the likely pools and three different fish had a go (one five times) - none of them managed to hook themselves. I was not too bothered because none of the fish was over ten pounds or so and at least it gave me a clue where to fish next time.

Roy worked his way down the far bank with the fly rod. His point fly was a reddish thing looking a bit like a Hydropsyche caddis larva and the dropper was a little goldhead. After he had caught three decent grayling I decided to pack in spinning and see if I could get a picture of Roy catching a fish. Of course when he did get one it was tiny but, interestingly, again it took the dropper. Even small grayling are beautiful fish and I thought it was well worth a photograph.

A few days later I went to the same stretch with Nigel. This time our sole object was pike. We did some spinning and this time both landed one or two fish on spoons giving us the incentive to come back with float fished baits and see if we could get anything bigger.

We started well when I had a six pounder. Then we both hooked fish simultaneously. Nigels was a double which he landed but mine was bigger and came unstuck after a minute or so of tearing about the pool. We moved on down to the next pool and at this point we were down to our last baits. Mine was only about five inches long but I thought it was worth persevering. Nigel was a few yards upstream of me and I was near the tail of the pool. There were two patches of floating watercress about a metre apart just to my left and I worked the float and bait into the little bay of slack water between them. The bait was quite near the surface as the little cork slowly drifted in the breeze. Suddenly a huge pike emerged from one patch of weed and lunged at the bait, missing completely. Now it's easy to misjudge the size of a fish in the water but this one spanned the gap between the two weed clumps so it was at least twenty pounds and possibly a good deal more. I though it was bound to return for another go but, try as we might it never showed again. Something for next time?

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


Winter sport.



A mild day with no wind - perfect for fly fishing.

The small grayling.

Well hooked on the goldhead fly.

One of Nigel's spooned pike.

The spoon is almost an antique but still effective for pike.

My six pounder.

This one took by the bank just under my feet.

Nigel in action.

While he was playing this one I lost another fish in the same pool.

Close up.

Note the circle hook used to liphook the bait - very effective.