Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mullet, mullet, mullet! What's all the fuss about?!

My mate Jake's been catching a few mullet recently. He had a session catching them whilst I was away down south getting soaked and freezing my ass off with fellow fishing addict Martin Allison catching our first Zander and after a second successful session he'd had I just had to get myself into a few mullet too so I could see if they were as much fun as Jake's raving accounts made them out to be! I've caught them before but the methods employed to catch and then lift one up a 50ft Portuguese cliff don't really allow you to experience how they fight so armed with feeder rods, floats, bread and a few cans of sardines off Jake and I went. We arrived at the mark and after making up some groundbait and throwing it in the mullet soon started appearing and worked themselves up into a feeding frenzy. It didn't take long at all for them to start bashing our bread flake hook baits around and after a bit of movement on my stick float I soon had one hooked after resisting the temptation to strike until my float had gone under for a second or two. Drag set very lightly the little fish had us both laughing as it put up a very spirited fight and made run after run only stopping to thrash about wildly. Letting the rod tip and drag do all the work I played it out a bit before guiding it into a gully and using a wave to land it.

My first ever golden grey mullet. Lovely looking fish and put up a great scrap for its size.
Golden markings on the gill plate give this species its name.

Shortly afterwards I caught a second golden grey mullet which also gave me the run around before being landed, again using a gully and wave to assist me. The mullet were giving Jake the run around and perhaps my decision to employ a tiny #16 treble hook had aided me in hooking the fish. Jake's persistence with the #10 Drennan Specialist soon paid off though when he hooked one of the better fish that we had spotted amongst the shoals of smaller golden greys. After carefully playing the fish for about five minutes, during which time I nipped and got my landing net, the mullet was ready to be netted, or so we thought before it made another run! It did this a couple of times and this seems to be indicative of mullet. Where they get the stamina from I don't know and it's hard to think of another species that has such tenacity. They just don't know how to give up! Obviously the light tackle you must use to protect your light hooklengths prevents you from applying any sort of pressure but even so the fight you get from them is superb. 

Finally in the net. A nice thick lipped mullet for Jake.
A satisfied angler!

Next it was my turn to hook a slightly better fish. Once again I had to be very patient playing the fish and allowing it to take line freely when it wanted to. Again the spirited nature of the fight had us both smiling and this time the fish also made a few attempts to get down to the rocky bottom directly below us, presumably to try and throw the hook, so I had to lift the rod tip up and tighten down ever so slightly to stop it in its tracks. Jake's turn with the net and after a couple of failed attempts I slipped the fish over it.

I've caught them in Portugal before but this was my first U.K. thick lipped grey mullet.
Thick lipped.

That would be the last mullet of a great fun filled session. Catching these two mullet species added to my species tally for the year so that was a great bonus too. Once the tide flooded over the platform we had been fishing from the mullet disappeared. Jake turned his attention to bass but had no luck. I on the other hand discovered that blennies love bread too, catching eighteen of them in about an hour before we headed off.

A few days later we returned for another fix but this time from another spot as we were fishing over high tide this time. Once again it wasn't long before we had the mullet feeding on our groundbait and a few free crust offerings. I was first of the mark with a nice thick lipped mullet. This one was a bit tricky to land as we were fishing from some large boulders and it made a few attempts to get into them every time I brought it close. Jake readied the net and after a few nervous moments the fish was in it. After that though we struggled for a while until Jake decided to drop hooklength from 8lb to 4lb and try one of my deadly little trebles that I had been using. This would see him catch three thick lipped grey mullet in fairly quick succession.

My smile says it all! But why the hell didn't we do this sooner!
Jake's hat says it all. Mullet are best, f**k the rest!

Well now I know why every now and then Jake has raved about mullet and even more so since he started catching a few! I now understand how frustrating it can be yet how thoroughly enjoyable it is fishing for them! What I don't understand is why in over a year of fishing together we never actually targeted them until now! I guess we just got a bit too focused on our lure fishing, something that I've tried to address over the last few months as I still enjoy bait fishing. I hope Jake won't mind me saying that whilst he normally isn't interested in bait fishing he's definitely glad he decided to replace the Slug-Go's with a few loaves of Warburton's Toastie bread and couple of cans of sardines for a session or two targeting the hard fighting mullet and whilst he says he wants to target them on the fly whether or not he can resist the addictive and almost hypnotic nature of staring at a float waiting for it to go under is another matter entirely!

Tight lines, Scott.

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