Book Reviews

Operation Sea Angler - Mike Ladle

Book Title: Operation Sea Angler

Author: Mike Ladle

Publisher: A & C Black - London

ISBN: 0 7136 2369 1

Published in 1983 and revised in 1986

Here we have Harry Casey, Mike Ladle, and Terrence Gledhill (a scouser and two yorkshiremen) contributing to a book on Sea Angling based in Dorset. They worked together in the area for a latter day DEFRA equivalent in a professional capacity as either a zoologist or chemist. As you’d expect technical study and tables abound, but this supplements and supports their everyday fishing escapades. They caught a lot of fish, and some good ‘uns too.

Early in the book there is a chapter on “What fish eat”, it embraces the spawning of lug and king ragworm, the breeding of shore-crab and the molt. So, if you want to understand more about what to bait up with, this book should help.

“On tides and weather” is well written and idiot proof and goes in to the right level of detail for the newbie regarding tidal ranges and the effect of the wind.

The next chapter provides an insight into the growth patterns of ray’s and the correlation between age, sex, size and lifecycle.

My favourite part of the book is “who’s been swimming on my reef” (Plugging for Bass). Although dated (this review is based on the ’86 print) a lot of the approach still holds true. The photograph of the lures used is interesting, and includes the good old ABU Toby (one of my favourites) and a lot of sandeel shaped patterns. Even in those days they used to take a fly rod, just in case!

There is a lovely account of a 40lb conger from the beach and nine pages are dedicated to “Conger from the Beach”. Chapter 12 is dedicated to flatfish and a must read for any flatty aficionado.

Finally, there is a précis of 4 years of hard fishing which in a table. These guy’s put the time in I can tell you. Perhaps the summary of “good” fish to “man hours” fished would make us all appreciate how difficult it is to catch quality fish off the beach (even in the good old days!) and how cyclical it can be.

This is a good book and written by a team of “thinking anglers”. I’ve been over it a few times and enjoy it every time I pick it up, although some might find it a bit heavy in places. It is particularly useful if you fancy a cast in the Dorset area. There are several references to the marks fished, notably Poole Harbour and Chesil.

Overall a thoroughly recommended read.

It's on my wish list now Nigel, thanks for a brilliant report