Review of 2013
Activities and Objectives
Mullet Fishing 2013: Fishing Days
Latest: 16/11/13: A very cold start, zero degrees, but soon the sun was up, and it was getting warmer. A purposeful bite, and I was into the 'Big Mac Meal' of mullet. To explain that, mullet of a certain size are large enough to be very satisfying and totally enjoyable, but with a side order of boats, ropes and pontoons, there are still a few moments when you start to feel the McSweats coming on. After several very determined lunges towards the various snags, I was pleased to get the net under a strong 3lb 5oz mullet - maybe the last of the year? Certainly any further chances were hampered by swans, bass and eventually, a damned-blasted seal, which surfaced right over the groundbait. Thankfully, it had no mullet protruding from its gob...
03/11/13: Saw signs of a few fish moving about just below the surface, and soon they were stealthily taking some of the bread, one from along the keel of a moored boat. Resisting the urge to recast for some time, there was eventually a careful but positive take and all hell erupted. This was a strong fish in a worryingly confined space bounded by boats, ropes and pontoons - no room to let it run itself out. After a short but explosive short-range fight, where I daren't give any real amount of line, there was a good fish in the net, 4lb 1oz. This one needed no time to recover, and was off like a torpedo as soon as I got it back in the water.
02/11/13: For November, a beautiful day, and I was surprised how mild it was, especially after the gales and rain of the previous weekend. Started with a few fish on the surface, and soon hooked into a spirited 2lb 7oz mullet - a very good start to the day. Despite a lot of attention from the usual pair of attendant swans, I picked up a second fish close to high tide - only a small one, but a joy nonetheless at 1lb 0oz. The winds were picking up a bit, and I decided to take a look at another venue. I could instantly see a few fish moving about just beneath the surface, and some would breach - I saw 75% of a very fat bronze / silver fish rise up out of the water only a few yards out. After a few casts, I thought they had been spooked, but then feeding recommenced further out in the channel. At the exact moment when the rain suddenly came hammering down and bouncing off the surface, the float disappeared and it was definitely 'turbo time'. This was a heavy and powerful fish, and took some real convincing not to plough across into the open water behind a mooring post. Anyway, the hook seemed to be holding, and so I leaned on it a bit, and the fight continued 'up close and personal'. After what seemed like an age, I managed to kite the fish into the net, a good fish of 5lb 0oz. By now it was really p***ing down, and I was soaked through but elated, experiencing the added joy of seeing my worthy opponent swim off belligerently with a flick of its large tail.
27/10/13: Even stronger winds today, with the added bonus of another downpour early on. Started off the best way, with the smaller of the day's fish early on, at 1lb 7oz, an appetiser for what came later. There was the minor irritation of a bass of 1lb 14oz at one point, and the not-so-minor irritation of four blasted swans vying for territory right in my 'front and centre' for a large part of the day, but then the float disappeared, the line tightened and combat was once again joined. Another lively, strong fish of 3lb 7oz - would never complain with one of those on the bank. A really enjoyable day, despite the truly horrendous weather and nearly being blown into the river twice by unexpectedly strong gusts.
26/10/13: The forecast winds proved problematic, but then a heavy downpour really put the lid on it - wasn't looking forward to the next trip, when even stronger winds were expected. Started with a bass of 2lb 2oz, which instantly reminded me of the truly fortuitous dimensions of the dinner plates at home... The tone of events took a distinct upswing later on, when a strong fish of 3lb 14oz gave me a few uncomfortable moments, plus a near heart-attack when I saw how little of the fish was actually in the hook bend. Very happy to finish off with a lively 1lb 9oz golden-grey mullet - a very good outcome given the truly miserable conditions.
20/10/13: A repeat of yesterday's strategy, and after a real soaking during an unexpected downpour (again), was very happy to go a few rounds with an enjoyable and lively mullet of 3lb 1oz. Just as I was releasing it, a couple of chaps in a boat appeared, announcing that they were conducting a survey (of the river?) and suggesting I could just 'pop off for a cup of tea for a bit'. Couldn't string together a reply in my head that wasn't comprised entirely of real A-list expletives so I decided to say nothing. They did their survey, I did some more fishing, no boats were sunk nor surveyors drowned - an unexpectedly good outcome under the circumstances.
19/10/13: Fished a different method from the usual - a float set-up, in deep water - and picked up a couple of smaller mullet, at 1lb 11oz and 1lb 3oz - very enjoyable.
05/10/13: Another oinking take, followed by a prolonged and exciting fight with an extremely dogged fish. Not wanting to lose this one, particularly due to the presence of a small group of onlookers on a nearby pontoon, I agonised as the fish ploughed towards the boats time after time. Very relieved to see a good mullet slide into the net, which weighed in at a pleasing 4lb 9oz. I decided to stay a while longer, and was rewarded with another monster take and a similar fight from a second mullet - this time 3lb 12oz. Couldn't be happier - a nice pair of fish.
29/09/13: Difficult to keep the float in place due to persistent winds (again), but the tentative bites eventually delivered up a very welcome 1lb 13oz golden-grey mullet, a delightful fish to offset the misery of the swans and school bass which plagued me throughout the day.
27/09/13: Despite a lot of mullet taking the free bread, I was struggling for a bite, and the strong offshore flow was pushing them further out into the lagoon. The winds were making bite detection difficult, and the long cast plus the drift meant that the float was soon a worryingly long way away. I was just thinking that I didn't really want to hook a fish at that range, when there was an unmistakeable (and apparently unmissable) take, which I hit hard. This immediately became the fight that I had been dreading, with a strong fish taking off loads more line. I was able to gradually recover ground, and then the fish would run again, even further out into the current of the main channel. Even when it eventually started to tire, it kited a long way to the right, and there was nothing I could do to prevent it taking the line around a rusty post, encrusted with barnacles and weed. This, I thought, was going to be the end of it, but surprisingly, the fish turned back and was in front of me again. My only thought was that the line would be damaged, and I expected a sickening break at any moment. To compound my misery, the fish went around the post for a second time, and all remaining optimism dissolved. Again, the fish moved back into open water, then went towards the post for a third time, but this time I realised it was inshore of the snag. I was able to keep it moving in the direction it was headed, and soon then steered it into the net, totally exhausted (and so was the mullet). Given the drama and energy of this one, I was surprised to be holding a fish of only 3lb 8oz - a truly epic fighter. As a footnote to this episode, the height of the tide at this time was truly fortuitous; the line was crossing the mooring post at the exact height where there was slime on the rusty metal, with no barnacles or bladder wrack - above or below would have been an instant disaster.
26/09/13: Always good to have three in a session, and today I was very pleased with this combination - 1lb 15oz golden-grey mullet, 2lb 10oz, 1lb 06oz - a truly enjoyable morning.
25/09/13: In circumstances very similar to the day before, I very much enjoyed a strong fight from a fish of 3lb 2oz at the same state of the tide as MarkS' fish.
24/09/13: Good to see MarkS. again, and after I'd landed an energetic 2lb 9oz mullet, he later followed it with a good fish of 3lb 4oz.
23/09/13: A lively fish, very similar to yesterday's, but from a different location - 2lb 3oz - another good day.
21/09/13: Very good to meet Scott and pick up some valuable tips about legering techniques. It looked like I was going home with a dry net, but then there was a sudden take and a 2lb 4oz mullet that didn't want its photo taken gave me a few good moments. Went home happy, determined to have a serious go at legering for mullet.
08/09/13: 1lb 8oz
31/08/13: 1lb 0oz
26/08/13: A very early start, and there were definitely some mullet out there in the dark, feeding cautiously and hardly rippling the surface of the water. After a short while, the float slid away, and the water erupted as a large mullet felt the pull of the line. This was a heavy and powerful fish, and to try and keep it in close was arm-aching stuff. Despite all the head shaking and ploughing towards the channel, it was eventually in the net, a good fish of 5lb 08oz. Continued for a while longer, and as the light started to come up, another greedy mullet gave me a lively few minutes - this time 2lb 10oz. A good days' effort and well worth getting up at 'silly o'clock'.
23/08/13: 1lb 05oz, 1lb 14oz
22/08/13: The recent run of 'not quite 4lb' fish continued, with another strong fighter of 3lb 13oz. Although a larger one is always a bonus, I could happily catch fish like these all season - magical stuff.
19/08/13: 1lb 07oz
17/08/13: I was into a hard-fighting mullet 3lb 11oz when GlenF. arrived, and after the usual drama, I was grateful when he slid the net under it. A quick picture, much easier with Glen to do the honours with the camera, and then on to the next venue. Enjoyed a dogged fight from what felt and looked like a larger fish, much more solid in appearance, which unexpectedly weighed in at 3lb 12oz, only one ounce in it. Couldn't be happier - a good pair of fish and an excellent day of fishing.
11/08/13: Fished close after high tide in a lagoon where I've previously struggled to get a bite, despite fish feeding enthusiastically on may occasions. This time, in the dark, I banged into something that wasn't at all happy at our meeting, and it gave me a real hammering whilst I held on grimly, not able to see where it was. Had some real problems getting it near to the net, but was eventually able to gently run it aground in the shallows. Very pleased to see the scales read 4lb 06oz. As the light levels continued to increase, things reverted to the usual state of affairs - plenty of fish mopping up the free bread, but no takes at all. Tried a second location, and soon had 2lb 03oz of mullet tearing around near the shoreline - a really good fight from a mullet of moderate proportions. Very happy with both fish, and the '4' was a real bonus.
10/08/13: A very welcome fish that took the surface bait with a huge swirl and then went totally 'Norman Bates' - totally happy to be holding this stocky 2lb 15oz fish after a struggle punctuated by spectacular runs and some alarming head-shaking.
25/07/13: Made some changes to the tackle for this trip, which then seemed to produce more bites at the chosen venue. After the misery of losing the first fish of the day after a few minutes, when it just seemed to throw the hook, I was relieved to land an almost-matched pair of mullet of 3lb 09oz and 3lb 03oz . Both fought hard and energetically, and given the earlier loss, I was very happy to see each of them safely on the bank.
24/07/13: 2lb 01oz golden-grey mullet
22/07/13: Good things come in threes? Another real scrapper from amongst the pontoons and boats, this time 3lb 07oz
13/07/13: Seven days on, and much the same story; a powerful fish, and identical problems - boats, pontoons, and this time, a couple of overly-interested swans getting in the way. This time it all ended well, with a 4lb 02oz mullet on the bank - excellent.
06/07/13: Another memorable fight from a great big tail with a fish attached, this time 3lb 05oz - it took a lot of heaving to keep it out from under the boats, and I was very relieved that it stayed on.
26/06/13: It seemed ages before the bite came, but when it did, there was no messing about. This one fought long and hard, and in front of more than a few interested onlookers, I must have totally worn out the mullet anglers' 'please don't come off' prayer. Whilst struggling with the fish, I managed to answer a large number of questions about bass, mullet, and their relative merits as fighting fish and on the dinner plate. As always, I was keen to emphasise the truly disgusting eating habits of the mullet and the effect that might have on the human digestive system / expectations of longevity etc. Anyway, on this occasion, the mullet decided not to embarrass me and acquiesced to being lifted in the net after some worrying thrashing about in the shallows. It had fought with every last dram of its 3lb 14oz, but still put on a good show for the non-combatants, showering me in muddy water as it surged away from the shore - good times.
24/06/13: 1lb 14oz
23/06/13: 2lb 12oz - I was pleasantly reminded of my first ever mullet, which was also this weight. Today's went like a rocket, hardly surprising when you see its streamlined shape and the tail on it...
22/06/13: 1lb 14oz
15/06/13: Another ghastly windy day, this time with some heavy rain early on. After deciding to give up and go home (for at least the twelfth time...), there were suddenly a few fast-moving mullet in close under the rod tip, mopping up some loose crumbs I'd thrown to the fry. I quickly rebaited and dropped the line back in, and nothing happened ... then the float went absolutely oinking under - a very good moment. A lively fish gave me the run-around for the next few minutes, fighting mostly near to the surface. This was largely counter-productive as a) it didn't snap the line and b) it didn't spit the hook out, so it then opted for 'plan B' which involved it leaping repeatedly out of the landing net. This was probably the most enjoyable fight so far this year, so I was very pleased when it ended well. Weighed at 3lb 10oz and photographed, it was good to see it recover properly and swim away with plenty of attitude still intact.
27/05/13: Started disastrously, getting seriously stuck in the mud - not a good moment at all. Later on, more shy bites, but this time it was a golden-grey mullet - only 15oz, so despite being a bit lively, it was soon in the net.
18/05/13: Another tentative bite that looked like small fish plucking at the bait, then the float disappeared and there was some wriggling at the other end - maybe a bass of a pound or so? Then, and it should come as no surprise to me by now, it went off like a rocket, pulling the rod down and taking line, and we were into some mullet. At 2lb 10oz, not a large fish, but every last one is a good 'un - totally happy.
07/05/13: It all started with an unusually gentle bite, then having hooked a fish in a small 'box' enclosed by pontoons, I was keen to get it into open water - that went surprisingly well, and at one point early in the proceedings, I had it a few yards in front of me. It must have woken up at about that time, and next, it was off across a small 'lagoon', heading for the next pontoon. I managed to hold it for a while, during which time it had a prolonged tantrum, and then started to slow down. It kited to the right and I thought it was just short of some boats, taking the angle of the line into account, but that was where things took a turn for the worse; by now, it had already gone under a few ropes and was stuck solid. After a lot of heaving, the plan was that GlenF, my new (and excellent) partner in crime for the session, would get into one of the boats by the pontoons and scoop it up in the net (dead easy, right?). At the first attempt, he nearly had it, and we could see it was a good fish, but then it went deeper and was impossible to see. Sadly - and this is where it all went down the crapper - Glen couldn't get back from the boat to the pontoon, a feature of the unusual arrangement of ropes keeping it in place. After a brief but fruitless discussion, and to my great surprise, the next thing I knew he was over the side and into the grubby water. Thankfully, he was soon safely up on the pontoon, absolutely soaked and still fully clothed. This is where I offer my sincere thanks and admiration for his superb efforts, and express my embarrassment for the events that led up to this. Anyway, I was still reluctant to let it go at that, also fearful that the mullet might still be snagged, so I pulled up on all the ropes, and after some serious straining, I was able to see the fish and get it in the net. Very happy to have a lean 5lb 1oz on the bank today, but on this occasion, the result was nothing compared to the saga. As a postscript, Glen righteously cemented his 'total legend' status, many thanks my friend :)
06/05/13: After all the grim weather, the season finally got underway today. A bite which I was sure was going to be a small bass, and then felt like not very much on the end of the line. Ten seconds later, everything went totally 'wango-tango', and after a determined fight from a strong energetic fish, I was definitely 3lb 6oz happier. There were still some fish feeding, and after a while I thumped into another one; this put up a long and dogged fight, accompanied by some alarming head shaking and repeated strong runs. It felt like a better fish, and weighed in at 4lb 4oz. A good start to the year, and a great day to be out on the river.
|Last updated 24.02.17|