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Mullet Fishing: Golden-Grey ID

Mullet Fishing:
Golden-Grey ID

    

 

With the (arguably) improved communications afforded by social media and the internet in general, there are an increasing number of reports of large golden-greys being captured. Sadly, the supporting photographs almost always do very little to confirm the ID, one way or another. Here are some checks and photo suggestions which are intended to supplement the information contained in the 'mullet ID' page.

 

1. Examination

The 'quick route' is to say that if it looks like the two photos at the bottom of this page, then it's a golden-grey.

The 'quick route' is to say that if it looks like the two photos at the bottom of this page, then it's a golden-grey.

Otherwise, please note: the features described next are typical of the majority of specimens of each of the mullet species, but each individual identifier may or may not be present; it is probably the presence of a number of positive identifying factors and the absence of negating factors which will give the best level of confidence that a correct identification has been made.

 

Check Result Notes and Caveats

Does it have papillae ('warts') on the upper lip?

Does it have papillae ('warts') on the upper lip?

Y

It's a thicklip; very few thicklips have no papillae, and they are not present in the other two species.

Does it have a notably thick upper lip?

Y

It's a thicklip.

Is it particularly slimy, especially when out of the water for a short while?

Y

It may be a golden-grey; other species also produce slime, but usually to a much lesser extent than a golden-grey.

Is the pectoral fin notably curved / scimitar-shaped?

Y

It may be a golden-grey; this is often a feature of that species, but NB, some golden-greys do not have fins that are particularly like this, bearing very little difference to the fins on a thicklip. Sometimes, a photograph can suggest a curve, purely due to the position of the fin, so it's important to look at the actual fish prior to release.

If the pectoral fin is folded gently forward, does it cross the margin of the eye?

Y

It may be a golden-grey; this is also listed in the British Sea Fishing ID guide as being an indicator for golden-greys, stating "Another identifying factor are the pectoral fins which are longer than in the above two species and will reach the eyes".

Does it have a gold spot on the gill cover?

Y

It may be a golden-grey, but the other species can also have gold markings on the gill cover, and these are present on a significant number of thicklips; it is sometimes vastly reduced or even absent in golden-greys. This ID feature is generally considered to be unreliable, if taken purely in isolation.

Does it have a black spot at the base of the pectoral fin?

Y

It is very possibly a thinlip, but NB not all thinlips have the suggestion of a black spot.

Does it have a strong gold or orange tint in the eye?

Y

It is very possibly a thinlip, but NB there may be some degree of colour / tinting in the other species.

Is the jugular space fairly narrow?

Y

It is very probably a thicklip, as the jugular space is larger in both of the other two species.

 

2. Photography and Verification

To verify your catch later, preferably after it's been safely released, a good photograph of the head will greatly assist.

In short, try to get a couple of photos that look something like these, both a full-body image, and particularly, an image that clearly shows the pectoral fin, head and lips.

 

     

 

If you wish, you can email a photo to the National Mullet Club, at   thenationalmulletclub@gmail.com   - care will be taken to offer the best possible identification based on the image provided.

If you wish, you can email a photo to the National Mullet Club, at:

thenationalmulletclub@gmail.com

- care will be taken to offer the best possible identification based on the image provided.

 

Sources - but please note that some misleading information is present in the non-NMC websites:

National Mullet Club ID Guide

British Sea Fishing

Planet Sea Fishing

 

 

Last updated 28.11.21