Glenn Kilpatrick

Mike Ladle Bass Fishing


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Mike Ladle Bass Fishing.

Bass Fishing Question And Answer Session With Mike Ladle

After local angler Dave Adamson from Scarborough had news of his personal best bass capture published on Mike Ladle’s website, we decided to approach the UK bass fishing expert about the possibility of him doing a question and answer session for the bass fishing members of the Whitby fishing forum. After a few hours a return email came from Mike and he was very keen to help out.

bass fishing questions mike ladle

I therefore sounded out the members of the forum whom I knew had an interest in bass fishing and we came up with a set of questions to put to Mike. The following is a list of those questions accompanied by Mike Ladles answers.

1. Question From Forum Member ? “NewDave” – Now the weather has well and truly settled into winter mode the winter cod are showing in numbers which is keeping everyone busy. but I am sure that Bass are still there. how would you target late season fish now the water is murky and cooling down.

2. Question From Forum Member ? “Baramundi Bob” – “During winter In The North East we get the odd bass showing up off the beaches/rocks in small numbers, does this mean the bass stay right through winter or could it just be the stragglers bulking up before migrating off to deeper water ?  If so would it be worth while targeting bass with lures through winter ?

Answer From Mike Ladle – I?ll answer these two questions together as they deal essentially with the same problem.  I haven?t fished in the North East for over forty years and when I was up there bass were as rare as hen?s teeth (apart from a few warm water outfalls like Blyth power station).  Essentially the bass migrate in November-December to the South-west approaches (off Cornwall) and return in March-April.  However, the small, immature fish often hang about all winter and a few big fish will straggle and may turn up at any time in the winter. I put winter bassing in the same category as winter carp fishing ? and don?t bother ? stick to the codling!  To be honest you are likely to catch the winter bass on big cod baits anyway.  Lure fishing is painfully slow in winter and unless you are obsessed with freezing your nuts off while trying to catch a bass on a lure, wait until it gets warmer before you get out the spinning rod.  I guess it might be worth spinning for coalfish and cod in winter ? have any of you tried it?


3. Question From Forum Member ? “Quint” – As you know our bass stocks in Yorkshire seem to be increasing each year. With this in mind how do you feel regarding anglers killing bass for the table. As catch and release is becoming more popular, I am concerned that anglers that subscribe to this are increasingly becoming alienated.

Answer From Mike Ladle – I kill the odd bass to eat myself and have no qualms about doing it. However, as a longstanding member of the Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society I am concerned about conservation of the species and don?t think that we should be killing more than we need for our own use and certainly shouldn?t be selling them.  If we are conservation minded as anglers it puts us in a stronger position to make demands for reduced commercial exploitation and bigger size limits.


4. Question From Forum Member ? “Dav” ? What is the best method for targeting the bigger bass ? And, how do we get involved in tagging ? I’ve been very interested in bass for a few years now and the idea of tagging really gets me thinking. Is it possible to tag bass successfully ? If so how do we go about taking part in a tagging program ?

Answer From Mike Ladle – If you want to catch big bass consistently then livebaits (mackerel is good) and BIG deadbaits (crab, squid, fish) are the way to do it. As always, finding the larger fish is the problem ? look for snags, shallow water, strong flows, coloured water, etc.. Of course big fish will take lures and I?ve had many on plugs and poppers but lure fishing is not very selective for the big ones.

With regard to tagging, B.A.S.S. had a very successful tagging programme a few years back and if you contact John Leballeur on jrleleballeur@hotmail.co.uk he?ll tell you what the present situation is.


5. Question From Forum Member ? “Bucko” – “In your experience, how suddenly do bass switch from the usual bottom food such as rag and crab to the sprat and whitebait once they arrive? And does the water temperature have much of a bearing on how high they feed on said foodstuffs”

Answer From Mike Ladle - Bass will feed on the whole range of foodstuffs throughout the season although they will (like most species) concentrate on the most abundant food sources. In the warm weather they seem more inclined to chase fish in the hours of daylight and to feed on the bottom in the dark (you can always find exceptions). Essentially they are shallow water and near surface feeders and dusk and dawn (change of light) are the prime times for catching them. I think that they are more susceptible to surface lures in warm, calm weather but NEVER neglect rough conditions for lure fishing, many of my best catches have been in November storms..


6. Question From Forum Member ? “Ramrod” – I have recently become fascinated with catching Bass, or more to the point trying to catch them on poppers. I’ve had limited success “popping” it must be said but I’ve put it down to 3rd rate plugs. Well that’s my excuse, but now I’ve invested in every top popper in the land it’s all down to me now. The water I fish from the shore is mainly shallow and I’ve had a good deal of success with the Maria Chase BW. I like a few other lads on the site have acquired a kayak which also gives us access to deeper water albeit very close to the shore. Would you think it is feasible to draw Bass up to the surface with a well worked popper even though they are not particularly feeding on the surface, or in your experience would I be wasting my time. Regards, Ray. (Ramrod)

Answer From Mike Ladle - Poppers represent a very exciting method of catching bass. In my opinion they are less productive than sub-surface plugs BUT they are probably the best way of targeting fish in shallow very snaggy conditions and may actually select for somewhat larger fish than diving plugs. Chug Bugs, Skitterpops and Yo Zuri Sliders are all very effective and the best one to use may depend more on how far you need to cast and how much splash you think might be needed to attract the bass in the prevailing conditions. The fish will take poppers in deeper water and it?s certainly not a waste of time.


7. Question From Forum Member ? “Lobbers” – Do you think bass fight harder when caught in surf as apposed to calm water conditions.

Answer From Mike Ladle -The ?fight? of bass (and other fish) depends not only on the power and vigour of the fish but on the flow of the current or the strength of the undertow. In a strong tide the fish has only got to open its mouth to rip line off the reel (it?s like playing a bucket). On the whole I?d expect them to give me more of a tussle in a strong surf. Individual fish vary a lot in the sort of struggle they put up even in still water.


Along with the members of the Whitby fishing forum I would like to thank Mike for taking the time to answer our questions.

This page is linked to this topic in our forum – Mike Ladle Bass Questions

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