Mullet Fishing 2017: Fishing Days
Latest: 09/11/17: 5lb 8oz - possibly the most memorable fight of the whole season. Hooked in shallow water, this one grumbled about in close for a while, before it absolutely 'went', with an alarming burst of energy. There was the usual 'boil', far away from the bank, which I'm sure the mullet do just to increase any feelings of despair that the idiot on the other end of the line may be feeling, at this point. Any line retrieved was very hard-won, and the fish would just run again, and we were back to square one (or worse). As is often the case for a fish of this size, it pretty much ignored any side-strain and just carried on in the direction it was going, eventually following the line of the bank past a corner, and towards some rotted woodwork sticking out of the water. There were some very uncomfortable moments, heaving it away from the snags and back towards a viable netting position, but eventually, when I'd convinced myself a) it was never giving up and b) it was almost certain to shed the hook, it showed the first signs of tiring. After a few duff attempts, I finally got the net under it, and was mightily relieved. Superb.
06/11/17: 3lb 13oz - placed the float next to a disturbance, probably a fish turning just below the surface. Waited for a while until I was sure it had moved on, then the float just wasn't there any more, and the usual 'controlled chaos' ensued.
23/10/17: 4lb 7oz, 1lb 5oz, 2lb 7oz, 2lb 8oz - the first was a right greedy blighter, and having thumped uncompromisingly into some drifting surface bread, it did pretty much the same with the piece hanging under my float. After some severe and uncomfortable rod-bending, there was some even more uncomfortable head-shaking and tearing about close to the bank. Later in the day, a bit of light relief, with a smaller, lively mullet, then on to a third venue, which yielded a couple of ornery 'two-and-a-halfs'.
19/10/17: 3lb 15oz - a
right drama, this one. The reel started to seize up earlier in the day, and despite
my best efforts to circumvent the problem, the situation worsened, until at times, I could hardly turn the handle. That, of course, would be the ideal
time to hook a sizeable mullet, and so it was. The float buried, and with no operational (rear) drag, my only option was to open the bale arm and control
line loss by hand. Once I had the fish under some modicum of control (yeah, right), I was going to have to reload the spool by turning the housing
manually, not very efficient. There were moments when by applying considerable force, I was able to get the reel to turn, and all the while, the fish
was giving me some real grief. Managed to get it close to the bank, and shortened the line enough to make netting a possibility. Thankfully, on this
occasion, it was in the string bag after a few attempts - utter relief.
14/10/17: 3lb 6oz, 2lb 0oz - the first fish hit hard and stripped a lot of line, bolting across the shallow water covering the mudflats. It boiled, a long way from the bank, and then ran again. There was a lot of uncomfortable heaving involved, and for a while, it fought like a much larger fish. Having coaxed it back into the shoreline, there was the usual drama each time it saw the net, and once landed, I couldn't believe it hadn't come off - there was just 1cm of lower lip in the hook bend. Encouraged by this early success, I moved to another river, one that I haven't visited in 2017, and was very pleased to put a bend in the rod again, when a lively mullet headed off into the strong current.
04/10/17: 6lb 4oz - finally fished a spot that I've looked at and walked by a few dozen times this year, each time thinking there might be a good few mullet there. Started with a quickly-lost fish, then another very fast bite almost immediately, which I missed. Third time's a charm, as they say, and I banged into something very solid. This was a very strong mullet, and gave the fairly tight-set clutch a proper workout. Attempts to get it in the net were unsuccessful, despite MarkS' admirable best efforts, and at one point, the fish moved left suddenly, and the line flipped his sunglasses into the water. Eyewear successfully retrieved, we had another go at landing the mullet, and I was very relieved to see a fairly large fish laying in the 'tea strainer'. Huge thanks to Mark for helping with this one, which was not far short of unmanageable, at times.
02/10/17: 0lb 12oz
30/09/17: 4lb 2oz, 1lb 12oz - the first being an almost identical and highly satisfying repeat of the fish landed the day before. It was good to get the second fish; although much smaller, it was just what I needed, as my nerves were a bit frayed by now.
29/09/17: 4lb 10oz - hooked at long distance, right by a pontoon, and the first priority was obvious. Having heaved it out into open water, and hoping the act of doing so hadn't damaged the hook hold, it was then a case of wearing down a strong and determined fish that was keen to put me right back where it all started, and some. Very relieved to see this one in the net.
25/09/17: 4lb 12oz - after holding the rod continuously, as is the norm, and watching the float almost unblinkingly for several hours, I checked a message on my phone, received earlier in the day. Having just cast out a fresh bait, the rod was now lying on the ground, with the line to the float almost tight. As I put the phone in my pocket, there was an alarming splash, with a large chunk of mullet bursting dramatically from the water in a shower of spray, and the rod was heading off to join him in the shallows. Getting a grip, not just on the rod, I leaned into it as hard as I dared to slow the blistering run, with the clutch working overtime. This was a fight that just seemed to go on and on, with very little initiative or line being re-gained. Eventually, it finished up a total 'kick each other in the nads' street-fight in the very shallow water over the slipway, and just as the last light was fading, there was success. By the time the camera was out, it was impossible to take a photo without the flash.
22/09/17: 0lb 11oz
20/09/17: 2lb 3oz - a location sadly neglected in 2017, so I was particularly pleased to have a mullet moment involving this chap. I'd seen a disturbance (in the force) and threw and opportunistic cast in the direction of, muttering something along the lines of 'go on, you <insert epithet>', and right at that moment, darn me if he did. Odd little blighter - instead of running out into open water, he did his best to stuff me up in the heavy weed growth along the shoreline, which could have worked, but didn't on this occasion.
16/09/17: 2lb 5oz - one of very few fish from this venue during 2017, but despite its lack of size, it gave a very good account of itself - certainly made me smile
11/09/17: 5lb 5oz - still brooding over a potentially large lost fish from a few weeks back, I decided to try to put that to rest by fishing the same spot / same method. When the float went, in precisely the same patch of water, it was like an exact rerun, but without the (very) duff ending. After a gritty but enjoyable fight, I eventually decided to call 'time' and wrestled it unceremoniously to the bank.
09/09/17: 3lb 8oz - for once, I was able to closely approach some mullet feeding at the top of a slipway without spooking them. Managed to get a bait in the water, and still no signs of alarm, until the float buried... At that point, all hell let loose, and the hooked fish tore away down the line of the slipway in a series of short, powerful bursts, ultimately reaching the open channel, about forty yards away. I managed to gain some line, but by now, it had gone deep, and we were in the bladderwrack... Best efforts failed to dislodge anything resembling a mullet, and drastic measures were called for. Having waded out until the water was well above my belt, I managed to get the rod tip vertically above the fish, at which point we were 'on' again. Soon after that, showed it the net, and despite the dunking, it was a very good outcome.
06/09/17: 4lb 14oz - chose this location on a whim, and soon had some moderate-sized mullet feeding, or so it seemed... After a few missed bites (idiot / incompetent), I felt a solid 'thud' on the strike, and the water erupted. This one wasn't giving up easily, and we did the dance of worry until eventually, I managed to use its own power to kite it to the bank. Another encounter that left me feeling pretty pleased.
04/09/17: 0lb 15oz
31/08/17: 2lb 6oz, 3lb 6oz - the first was at the absolute limit of the 4g float's casting range, making for a difficult long-range strike following a very quick bite. The second was quite the opposite, with a fish hitting a surface bait almost within a rodlength from the bank; this one made for some very nasty moments, having the benefit of woodwork immediately adjacent
29/08/17: 4lb 10oz - another excellent opportunity to see how much I could bend the rod without actually snapping it, or the line. Gladly, didn't think of line abrasion or knots strangling until I was holding this hefty full-bodied scrapper in my shaking hands.
24/08/17: 1/14, 3/14 - a small but very welcome one to start off with, after several feeding fish had confounded all efforts to tempt them with a hook bait for some considerable time. Later, on to a new venue, and was very pleased to arm-wrestle a lively and powerful mullet onto the flooded sedges after thoroughly enjoying all of the customary pre-net drama.
20/08/17: 6/02, 3/12 - best fish of the year, so far, from a horribly confined swim. When I saw the size of it, I could hardly believe that I'd dragged it out of there successfully, albeit with some severely uncomfortable heaving. Really pleased to enjoy an entirely less stressful encounter with the second fish, which still put up quite a scrap, later in the day. Another memorable day's fishing.
14/08/17: 2/05, 3/02 - another 'pontoon hugger', with all of the usual inherent perils, then a move 30 miles up the road, buoyed by the early success. Just after high tide, an unexpected bite, and a strong fish thrashed the surface. At first, it tore off directly away from the bank, then kited left towards the best concentration of weed available on the day. I may have over-indulged this one's rambunctious outburst a little, but eventually, it was helped out of the water after only two or three momentary snaggings - pretty much par for the course.
12/08/17: 3/07 - this one hammered into a surface bait like a Great White ploughing into a baby seal, and the float never moved... Gave it a couple of seconds to see what would happen next, then struck anyway. At that point, quite a large lump of mullet erupted from the water and had a protracted tantrum, fuelled particularly by the offer of the net.
10/08/17: 1/07, 2/15 - both hooked in dodgy places, particularly the second, which was feeding in a narrow channel. A day when the mullet played fair, and both were reluctantly agreeable to a sporting scrap in open water.
05/08/17: 2/02 - hooked very close to a mooring post, and despite its lack of size, it did its best right from the outset to 'do the nasty' and snag me up. Was able to show it the error of its ways with the aid of some side strain, and then enjoyed a hectic disagreement with it close to the bank.
02/08/17: 4/10 - new venue, and a very fine mullet early on in the day, before the monsoon set in and made any further endeavour into a bit of a misery. Pretty chuffed with this one.
31/07/17: 4/08 - another strong fish that decided to tear off downstream towards the next pontoons, in preference to leaving me tangled in some nearby ropes. For a moment, I think it was actually under a pontoon, but thankfully, with a good bit of heaving, it was persuaded to fight it out in open water.
29/07/17: 1/07, 3/12 - as the very predictable optimal catch window arrived, it was still surprising to hook these two within the space of 15 minutes. Even more surprisingly, the larger fish neglected the opportunity to mess me up in some nearby ropes, for which I was very grateful.
22/07/17: 3/03 - during a day when everyone and everything was subjected to a proper soaking due to the frequent and horrendous rain showers, it was very good to see DavidM capitalise upon an early opportunity to put a 2/04 mullet on the bank. Many hours later, I was pleased to put some additional polish on the day by having a sporting disagreement with one of my own. A surprisingly enjoyable trip, despite the grim weather, and good to see NMC members Andy, Jerry, Reg and Alan on the bank, hear of other fish caught on the day, and talk 'mullet stuff'
20/07/17: 1/07, 4/00 - the 'four' made me think of the film director, Sir David Lean; I had to lean on it to get it away from the pontoons, then I had to lean on it to get it out from under a boat, had to lean on it some more to prevent the whole cycle repeating (about three times), and then had to lean on it to get it to the bank. Uncomfortable, with the rod bent right round for most of the fight, but ultimately ended with a huge grin (on me, at least - the fish, maybe not so much...)
10/07/17: 2/02, 2/06 - arrived later than I'd hoped, but a few mullet were dropping back with the falling tide. A couple of fish started taking surface bread, and were soon persuaded to have a go at the sinking bits. In the space of half and hour, these two made the unfortunate mistake of grabbing one with the hook in it.
07/07/17: 2/13 - a bright day started even more brightly with a very greedy fish getting itself hooked whilst pigging out on floating bread fragments.
25/06/17: - an unusual capture, a very small mullet
23/06/17: 1lb 5oz - a very welcome fish from a new venue - an entirely new river, in fact. Managed to get itself hooked after I had inexplicably missed innumerable 'rocket' bites
21/06/17: 3lb 3oz - this greedy blighter hit a 'crouton' of unsunk bread three times, then my sunk bait twice, and finished up on the bank after a comedy of errors on my part. Having weeded it close to the shore, I lifted it with my (rubbish) left hand; at that point, it suddenly got a bit lively, and flipped back into the water. I managed to get the tension back into the line without jarring the fish off, and was very relieved after a few more nasty moments when I dragged it through the weed for the second and final time
20/06/17: 4lb 0oz - another turn round the dance floor, the weedy shuffle again, with another unhappy customer. Large enough to give me some real grief, but thankfully, it eventually finished up in front of the camera
16/06/17: 4lb 2oz - keen to 'make hay' while the mullet co-operate, and thought to continue a run of good luck today. Hooked a hefty mullet right against a pontoon, and almost had it under control back in the channel, when it went full-on medieval and disappeared under the moorings. Despite plunging the rod tip under the water, (s)he snapped me off on something unwieldy - never even felt the line touch an obstacle, but it was neatly cut. Probably a good '4', at least - not a good moment. Went elsewhere and had three or four sizeable mullet feeding aggressively on surface bread, but still no joy. On to a third venue, 30 miles away. Nack-all happening for a long while, until a 'rocket' bite, then real fireworks. After a dogged fight, this became the second consecutive fish at that location that's got me snagged in a heavy growth of bladder wrack that extends all along the shoreline. Determined not to lose this one, it was a 'dunker' scenario. One very wet backside later, we were back online, and it thankfully ended well - managed to grab it behind the pectorals when I got it close to the bank, inside the weed line. Waders full of water, and would settle for that result any day.
15/06/17: 5lb 0oz - frustrated by surface-feeders under and behind the pontoons again, but stuck a shallow bait very close to the gap between the floats, and banged into a good-sized lump. Another hard, protracted fight, and discarded the net to avoid the usual adverse reaction, in favour of drawing it into the shallows. Thought it might just go '5', maybe 5/02, and wasn't far wrong - very pleased with this one, the first 'five' for some time.
13/06/17: 4lb 5oz - a powerful mullet that gave me some truly anxious moments, including the perilous navigation of an extremely belligerent and unhelpful fish between the innumerable clumps of bladder wrack close to the shoreline. A very fine example of a 'thicklip', that made for a really good photo.
11/06/17: 2lb 12oz - a fish in good condition that put up an excellent fight, especially at any suggestion of the net, despite having a (previously) badly-damaged lower lip. It was almost certainly (?) the same already-injured fish that was caught by ScottG in 2014, about 4 miles downriver - we were able to compare the photos, and although the lip had healed, there were still a number of key identification points in common. It was encouraging to see that it had been feeding well, putting on some weight, and was still going about its business in a good / normal way. Had to speculate, what are the odds - catching it twice, between just the two of us?
05/06/17: 2lb 8oz - another hugely-enjoyable mullet encounter. Difficult to believe, even after hundreds of mullet landed, how much a fish of this size can still tick all of the boxes - magic.
29/05/17: 3lb 6oz - a return to a venue that had fallen out of favour, to a degree. On arrival, the amount and type of activity appeared to be on a par with what I would have expected when I visited a few years ago, and so it seemed there were a worthwhile number of opportunities to pursue. Eventually, there were a few boils close to the bank - the float was duly deployed, and soon disappeared. The usual drama ensued, and it all ended well.
27/05/17: 1lb 6oz golden-grey. Strong winds put a bit of 'chop' into the mix, and at one point, I saw a mullet 'surfing' through the peaks and troughs, coming directly towards some floating bread crusts. After some time, there were a few more boils close to the unsunk groundbait, and the float dived away. Wasn't expecting another 'goldie', so the lively fight came as a pleasant surprise.
25/05/17: 2lb 2oz - a very welcome appearance, right at the end of the day. Definitely a lively one - leapt clear of the water and made a run for it, the first time I lifted the net under it.
24/05/17: 3/09, 3/06 - a good day. The first was later in the tide than the expected 'catch window', maybe due to the amount of colour still in the water. Fought hard amongst the weedline, but apart from a brief snagging on some bladder-wrack - the devil's seaweed - it ended with a fish on the bank. Couldn't decide whether to stop on a high or give it a bit longer, but conditions still looked very good, and there were fish boiling on the surface fairly frequently. Bumped into the second fish about 45 minutes later, another real fighter, and the second strong candidate of the week for the South East Pie Eating Trophy.
22/05/17: 3/03 - whilst fishing in open water, there was a mullet loudly taking stray pieces of unsunk groundbait as it disappeared under a pontoon. After a few unsuccessful attempts to place a bait near enough that would be taken, I went back to 'plan A'. Throughout the session, there were frequent impressive 'boils' under and adjacent to the same pontoon, and in the end, I could bear it no longer. A bit of pre-baiting, then a 'Hail Mary' cast, which landed only inches from the last swirl. The usual wait, becoming convinced that the fish would ignore the bait and the float would drift out of position, then there was no float, and the rod tip pointed me to where the fish had gone. A strong fighter, with the usual ill-tempered performances each time the net was offered, but all ended well. A mullet that had clearly 'eaten all the pies' - and this time, enormous thanks to Charlotte for taking some very steady photos, while my hands were still shaking
As a footnote, I was trying out a new approach / location later in the day, and hooked up with a greedy little chap, only 10oz, probably too small to 'count' in the year's total, but I wouldn't have insulted him by letting on, and I took his photo and weighed him to show due respect
21/05/17: 2/06 - towards the end of a long and uneventful day, having already visited a few locations, there were finally a few encouraging 'boils' where fragments of bread floated. Set a shallow bait, and it wasn't long before the float buried and mirth ensued, as the fish stubbornly refused the net (nothing new there). Many thanks to ScottG for netting the (almost) un-nettable - maybe should have tired it out a bit more?
19/05/17: 2/03 golden-grey, which could only be described as 'mental'. This one tore off like a scalded cat, took me from the channel where I hooked it over a slipway and into a lagoon the other side, then back into the channel again, and for a while darted backwards and forwards across the margin between the two. The frantic zipping about should have given me a clue, but for once, I didn't once think 'goldie' and only realised as I drew it to the net, with its distinctive pectoral fins raised and gold spot catching the light. Definitely 'went' like a larger fish - magic. Many thanks, Betty, for the photos :)
18/05/17: 4/02 - this one hammered away for some time, circumnavigating an interested swan (Boris, you donut....) and a small boat, complete with occupant (who asked if I'd hooked the bottom when he saw the rod bent over). Happy ending; 'things landed' stats - mullets: 1, swans and boat persons: 0
13/05/17: 1/08 - another day which looked like ending without a fish, then this lively little chap stepped up. Darted about so rapidly that I thought at first that it might be a golden-grey, until I got a proper look
09/05/17: 3/00 - the first from a new venue which had showed some promise earlier in the year. Apart from a nasty moment with some bladder-wrack, it was a pleasure to trade insults with a strong fish in open water
23/04/17: 3/05, just when it was starting to look like it wasn't going to happen, despite the glorious weather conditions. This one mumbled about a bit, then woke up spectacularly, still taking line against a fairly tight-set drag. Started tiring, and then helped me out by wrapping some algae around its snout as I drew it towards me. Many thanks to NMC's PaulR for loading it into the net
Later, moved to another nearby location, and was tormented for a long period by a greedy fish that was very shy of the hookbait. Convinced that this was how it would continue (and end), I was very surprised when the float disappeared. In a confined space again, but it all looked under control - until it suddenly made a determined dash under a pontoon and fouled a rope. Believing it was all over, I gave the fish some slack line, to no good effect. Tried again, and the fish bolted under the pontoons, further than before. Buried the line under the surface, and realised that we were very much 'game on' again. Dragged the mullet out into open water fairly unceremoniously, wary of further potential disasters, and it put up a strong fight in front of me, before I drew it into the shallows (not sure where the net was at that moment). Bizarrely, another 3/05, carefully re-weighed, just to be sure
14/04/17: 1/00 - just a nipper, a consolation fish on a difficult day - pleased to accept the positive
09/04/17: 4/05 - saw the bow wave as this one surged towards a floating bait with its fins breaking the surface, just before the float buried. Managed to get it quite quickly out of a confined space, then some fireworks when it wouldn't go in the net. After a few attempts at that, it ran strongly back up the narrow channel, and I was fortunate to maintain some control. Very relieved to see it on the bank, and noted that it was hooked in the lower lip - could have ended badly, given the strength and determination of the fish. Pretty pleased with this one
07/04/17: 2lb 9oz - off the mark in 2017, four days later than in 2016, but very happy. After a few suspiciously mullet-like bites, there was something solid on the end, which took a while to wake up. On realising how close it was to the bank, it had a bit of a strop, but thankfully, all ended well. This is the 250th mullet landed since I resumed mullet fishing in 2011, and like all of the others, it was released safely and swam away strongly
|Last updated 24.07.20|