The ion energy in a silver ablation plume for fluence in the range of 0.6–2.4Jcm−2, typical for a pulsed laser deposition (PLD) experiment has been investigated. In this fluence range the ion fraction of the ablated particles becomes gradually dominant and can be utilized to characterize the ablation process. A silver target in vacuum was irradiated with a Nd:YAG laser at a wavelength of 355nm and detailed measurements of the time-resolved angular distribution of plume ions were made. In contrast to earlier work, the beam spot was circular such that any flip-over effect of the plume is avoided. The angular energy distribution of ions in forward direction exceeds values of 500eV, while at large angles the ion energy tail is below 100eV. The maximum for the time-of-flight distributions agrees consistently with the prediction of Anisimov's model in the low fluence range, in which hydrodynamic motion prevails.