Sunday, September 06, 2015

It's a small world.

Having not been out fishing since I got back from Spain two weeks ago looking at the weather forecast for my days off last week I wasn't going to bother going out but on Tuesday afternoon I decided to throw caution to the wind with some float fished bread flake as well for good measure. Golden grey mullet were the target and conditions weren't ideal with a bit of swell rolling into the gully where I prefer to try for them to the right of Torness Power Station's outflow area. After a while, and having introduced a few generous handfuls of groundbait, there was no sign of any mullet and I had all but given up so I took a break and got talking to another angler. I could tell from the tackle he had and the lack of a postal worker's shoulder bag that he wasn't one of the regulars there. It turned out Nathan had driven up from the North East of England to try to catch a bass for a species hunt he was taking part in. As we chatted it became apparent that I had watched a YouTube video he'd uploaded recently of a session he'd had along the coast beneath Fast Castle that my mate Dimitrios had sent me a link to only a couple of days previously. It's a small world! Anyway, trying to be helpful I suggested he fish a soft plastic rigged weedless close to the bottom instead of fishing metals and hard lures as he had been and he went off to try it. I decided to hang around and see what the sea state was going to be like when the tide came in a little further to find out if it would be worth trying for mullet again. To pass the time I amused myself with the resident blennies.

Not sure what the collective noun is for blennies. It should be a gang because despite looking rather cute and innocent here they are in reality a vicious bunch of nasty little hooligans. Bass would probably call a group of them breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Nathan wades out onto the submerged rocks and tries for a bass on a soft plastic that looked fairly close to a blenny being long, slender and brown. He caught one on his third cast. It's always nice when advice you offer helps another angler catch fish.

Once there was enough water in front of the sea defences I put in some groundbait and pinched a flake of bread onto my #10 hook. By this point Nathan had joined me on the rocks and when my float went under and I hooked my first mullet of the day he grabbed my net to help me land it. This was slightly premature however as despite my patience playing it with a soft tipped rod and a loosely set drag, the fish threw my hook. I wasn't surprise as my experience catching them means I've come to expect roughly a fifty percent success rate in landing them. Really it just depends on how well they are hooked. After loosing a second fish Nathan netted the third which was well hooked in the corner of its mouth.

Third time lucky. Mullet really are great fighters.
Thick lipped grey mullet are the only UK species that have the pronounced nodules on their very thick upper lip. They also sometimes have a faint golden area on their gill plate just to confuse. Also note when their mouth is closed the maxillary bone is very visible (the small white diamond shaped structure at the corner of the mouth).

I asked Nathan if he would like to borrow a float to join in the fun but he declined saying that he would prefer to try and catch one on a lure. After helping me land a second thick lipped grey mullet I remembered that I had a modified Mepps in my bag and he had a go with that, threading a piece of Isome onto the small hook on the short piece of fluorocarbon tied to the back of it where the treble once was. It had been grey all day but the sky eventually opened and it rained for a while. My float kept going under briefly but I didn't hook anymore fish for a while. Nathan didn't have any luck slowly spinning the Mepps/Isome rig and after watching me briefly hook and loose a couple more fish he decided to head off, wishing me luck with my search for a golden grey mullet as he went. I carried on fishing away and was just about to call it a day when my float disappeared again, staying under and taking up the slack line a small mullet was soon thrashing about just under the surface. It fought a little differently and when I first got a look at it I got a bit excited as it had a slightly different profile to the other two fish I'd caught. Now on my own I grabbed my net but just as I was about to slip the fish over it a wave rolled in and lifted the fish away from the net, dropping it down in between the rocks I was standing on. A brief heart in my mouth moment followed but dropping my net and slowly lifting the rod up much to my relief the fish was still on and I gently swung to hand my first golden grey mullet of the year.

Another angler kindly came over to take a photo for me. The spray from a wave breaking on the rocks soaking me as he did so couldn't stop me from smiling. This was my forty second species from Scottish saltwater this year.
Golden grey mullet have a much more vivid golden gill plate marking. They lack prominent teeth on their upper lip and their maxillary bone is small and almost completely hidden when their mouth is closed.

Mission accomplished I packed up and headed home to dry off. Having nearly not ventured out I was very happy that I had. It was nice meeting Nathan and catching a few mullet is always great fun. As well as moving another species closer to my target of fifty, catching the golden grey mullet also means that I won't have to visit the outflow again in a hurry either which is good as there are so many other places I'd rather go fishing.

Tight lines, Scott.


  1. Well done mate! Looking forward to the next blog post!! Good luck tomorrow

    1. Thanks mate! Should hopefully be up to date with the catchreport before I head to Cornwall on Sunday. :-)

  2. Well done Scott, well on your way up that species count!!