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Mullet Fishing 2015: Review

 
 
Suddenly, it was late December, and so it was time to look back over the 2015 mullet fishing year.

Highs and lows     (in no particular order)

 

 
  • Starting with a 'positive', all fish were released safely and successfully, again

  • Landed the 200th fish since I restarted mullet fishing in 2011 - 3lb 0oz, on 03/10/15

  • This has been a very difficult season, with reported numbers of mullet apparently well down at many venues. Some discussion also suggests that there has been a lack of larger fish in the rivers. Experienced mullet anglers have struggled for success, and reports in general suggest that half the normal number of fish have been encountered, for the same (or more) trips and hours spent

  • Of the many highlights this year, I was pleased to land a number of five and six pound fish in keeping with previous years, despite the overall lack of fish. The best of these, at 6lb 4oz, was also the latest of any year so far, on 12/12/15. This was closely followed in weight by a mullet of exactly 6lb 0oz on 20/10/15, a fish from a new venue

  • For the second year in a row, managed to catch the largest mullet landed during the NMC's 'National Rover' competition, which ran over the Bank Holiday weekend of Sat 29th / Sun 30th / Mon 31st of August - 5lb 10oz this time - an unexpected result, given its moderate size, but entirely symptomatic of this year's challenges

  • Landed a few more fish over 5lb - 5lb 2oz on 06/06/15, 5lb 6oz on 18/07/15, and a 'rocket' 5lb 12oz on 19/10/2015, plus a good number of 4lb+ mullet, and a very satisfying number of '3s'

  • The overall 'spread' of fish weights, i.e. the proportion in each weight band, was almost identical to 2014

  • I was unable to start catching mullet earlier in the year than in 2014, with the first fish finally landed on 03/05/14 - 2lb 8oz - and I was very relieved to be up and running at last

  • In a year where it was difficult to build up any momentum and a degree of despondency had to be overcome, I spent less time at the river, with fewer trips than 2014 (by about 25%) and even a few less than 2013, plus fewer hours spent per trip - maybe by about as much as 50%, for the most part

  • The large golden-greys of 2014 didn't reappear in 2015 (although I heard positive reports from elsewhere) - maybe I was just in the wrong place, or in the right place at the wrong time. Hopefully, they will make a welcome reappearance in 2016

  • There were still many truly wonderful fishing days to be enjoyed, irrespective of the actual numbers of mullet being seen

  • Despite occasional rain (and a few truly biblical soakings), there were no real periods where the river water was overly coloured, and so fishing was not interrupted in the manner we had seen a few years ago, during 2012.

  • The main counter-contributory factor this year was the wind, which seemed to appear with some force even when the forecasts were favourable. The only positive from this is that I've developed more pragmatism and greater determination when faced with windy conditions

  • Caught my final fish of 2015 on 12/12/15, at 6lb 4oz - in a normal year, I certainly wouldn't be expecting a mullet at all in mid December

  • Caught far fewer mullet than in 2014, by a considerable margin - only 56% of the 2014 total

  • The best 'run' was 19 consecutive mullet without a lost fish, only a small improvement over past years

  • Achieved only some of the key objectives set

  • Improved upon last year's 'top 5' weight by a small margin, and also exceeded other years' 'top 5' totals by at least 2.5 pounds in each case

  • Improved upon the last three years' average weight per fish, by a small margin again

  • The proportional number of successful trips was significantly reduced when compared to the last two years

  • Caught far less fish at the most favoured venues than in 2014, particularly at two venues that had fished exceptionally well last year

  • I was unable to match last / best year's monthly catch figures, with a few minor exceptions. The largest deficit was in August, which was an exceptionally good month last year, and also November, where no fish were caught and there were hardly any trips in 2015

          Apr -3, May -0, Jun -0, Jul -3, Aug -21, Sep -1, Oct +1, Nov -8, Dec -0

  • The ratio of trips to fish caught was very poor, when compared to the last two years

  • Landed a much higher percentage of the mullet hooked, with only five fish lost all year

  • I was again engaged in a number of epic fights, all of which ended well (the few fish which evaded the net were lost within seconds of being hooked)

  • Managed to avoid falling in, getting stuck in the mud, or having to wade in, this year - a first, although there were a few very nasty moments, as always

  • Caught mullet at five new venues, two of which produced a couple of the year's best fish

  • Continued to develop knowledge of the most productive states of the tide that can be fished, including several new venues

  • With increased knowledge, was able to catch fish at venues which were previously unproductive

  • Idiotic boat owners plus inconsiderate dog walkers and selfish kayak enthusiasts made for some very grim moments and an end to several otherwise enjoyable sessions; in such a vast expanse of river, surely folks can enjoy their day without adversely affecting the enjoyment of others? - although some seem too ignorant to realise that's what they do

  • Haven't revisited all of the targeted venues - to be continued in 2016

  • Still haven't caught a single thin lipped mullet - must try harder

 
  Other Notes

This year I've again used two rods (but only one at a time); the Drennan Power Carp Waggler continues to be favourite for most occasions, and I added a Drennan Series 7 Avon / Quiver during 2014 for venues where legering is an option / necessity.

I've used a couple of reels this year - mainly the Shimano Aero Super Match XT-7, but also the ABU 506. Both have benefited from the regular use of generous amounts of Gibbs Lubricant, which has miraculously brought the Shimano in particular back from the inevitable one-way trip to the landfill on more than a few occasions.

I would say that the catalogue of techniques and the understanding of when to apply these has significantly increased again this year, also knowledge of the tidal states and optimal feeding periods etc. - again, there are some new locations where the appearance of a fish can be predicted with almost unbelievable accuracy.

Unlike previous years, the numbers of thin lipped mullet visible at some of the venues have reduced, although I've still seen them throughout October, even. I made no determined attempts to catch a thin-lip this year, and so that will remain an objective in 2016, albeit low priority.

The 'swan situation' continued in line with last year's expectations, with one particular pair continuing to be a very welcome sight, and a delight to be around, and all of the others being an absolute curse.

It's with a good deal of regret that I have to say that I'm probably 'done' for this year. It seems only weeks ago that I was readying for the 2015 season, with high hopes following the successes of 2014, and the year has now passed by, almost in an instant. Despite the difficulties, there have been some truly magical mullet fishing moments, and I look forward with great anticipation to the warm days next spring when the first fish will be gracing the net.


 
Last updated 24.02.17