Saturday, December 06, 2014

Under my nose the whole time!

Having done a fair amount of research into identifying UK grey mullet species, thick lipped and golden grey varieties in particular, I was already aware of a few key distinguishing features that can be used to tell them apart and the reality is they are actually quite distinct from one another. On Thursday night however I stumbled across a diagnostic method that I'd not heard about before. According to a post on an online forum discussing mullet, golden grey mullet have a two tone caudal fin which has a darker band on its edge that is visible when the fish is in the water whilst the caudal fin of a thick lipped mullet appears monotone. This immediately had me quite excited. Every session I've had down at the power station outflow there has been lots of very small mullet around and I was pretty sure that they had this dark tail edge. Early this morning I set off armed with my usual mullet gear along with some 2lb fluorocarbon, a packet of #18 hooks and a 3mm bread punch to try and find out if I was right. When I arrived the tide had just started to flood and the wind was no where near as strong as the forecast had predicted. It was actually fairly pleasant and when the sun appeared over the hills to the south east it was quite a sight. 

What a lovely way to start the day.

I quickly made my way down to a long gully in the rocks and made up my groundbait using two loaves of white bread, a couple of cans of sardines and some sea water. A generous amount was thrown in and then I waited for the small mullet to arrive. It didn't take too long and they did indeed seem to have the dark edge to their tail. I flicked my tiny bait past and then slowly drew my bolo float back in amongst them. After a minute or two it dipped under but I missed the bite. Reeling in my tiny bread plug was gone so I put another on the hook, casting back into the feeding shoal it only took a minute or two to go under again and this time it stayed under. Fish on and being only a few ounces it was very quickly brought to the surface and swung up into my hand. Was it a golden grey mullet though?

Yes it was! My one hundredth species from saltwater in 2014. Mission accomplished!
The golden spot on the gill plate is much more clearly defined on a golden grey mullet. They have a much more streamlined body too. Various other features were also quickly checked just so I was sure. 

Needless to say I was quite pleased to catch the little fish and shortly afterwards I caught a second. I was however slightly annoyed with myself that I had seen these fish every time I had been down there and hadn't tried to catch one to see if it was a golden grey. In truth had I not stumbled across the forum post I probably wouldn't have tried either. Anyway, the wind started to pick up and put a bit of chop on the surface of the water making things difficult so I decided to head up the road to get ready for work. With most of December left I don't think I'll be setting any new goals but I'd really like to catch up with a few of my fishing mates before the year is out so a few trips are in the pipeline. The fishing will be relaxed but if I'm lucky another species or two will get added to my tally before what has been an epic year comes to and end.   

Tight lines, Scott.

10 comments:

  1. Very intresting reading ;) It is a matter of time untill another mullet species is caught in Sweden. We only have the thick lipped on rod so far.

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    1. Thank you. Good luck tracking other grey mullet species down. Once located they are easier to hook than some would have you believe. Landing them is usually the hard part!

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  2. Congratulations with 100 species in a year, very impressing!
    Haze, that's something for you to beat ;)

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    1. Thanks Patrik. It's 125 from saltwater and freshwater. Might add some more before 2014 is over. :-D

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  3. Great going there Scott, well done on the century. Have you any plans to come this way next year? A giant goby is on my most wanted list. I'm a bit of a canal addict too though and there's never enough time to fit everything in.

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    1. Thanks Russell. Yes I do. I will probably visit the south coast for two or three days with a couple of mates. Probably in July but I'll keep you posted. Giant gobies are pretty common on the south coast despite there protected status. In Devon the rockpools at Wembury hold quite a lot of them and if you were to try and catch blennies you can't avoid them ;-). Use the tags to the left to find my report on it. :-)

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  4. Top top effort Scott, no stopping you when you get a target in your sights

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    1. Thanks mate. Three bearded rocklings look out! :-D

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  5. Congrats on hitting the century mark and meeting your goal! I've enjoyed the ride (er...read)!

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    1. Thanks mate. Glad you've enjoyed the blog.

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