An unusual work shift meant that I got an unexpected most of the day off yesterday, and instead of dawdling on where to go I had already made up my mind. To be able to offer clients the best service and fishing options available I am making sure I have experience of catching as many species and using as big a range of techniques as possible. I decided that I was going to try for a mullet, a species I’ve caught a few times in the past by accident but targeted sessions have only ended in frustration.
Another benefit of a mullet session was that I would be fishing close to home and raiding the reduced bread section at the supermarket meant the session would be cheap on bait. I dug out some smaller floats and split shots from the pile of gear I’ve got at home, and off I went down to Felinheli. Here there is a small marina that goes direct to the sea and another boat park area that is separated from the sea by a lock gate. After a bit of walking and driving around I decided on fishing the marina, though with the tide on its way out I thought my chances were a bit limited.
I set up with a 3lb hooklength ending in a size 10 barbless hook, pretty standard affair if you’re coarse fishing, set at 5ft depth under a self cocking float. Saving half a loaf for hook bait, the rest of the bread and a whole mackerel was mashed up with a bit of water to make a sloppy groundbait mix which I would spoon in at regular intervals. The groundbait soon worked its magic, as about half an hour in I could see shoals of fry, sandeels and smelt coming up in the water column, and soon I spotted the first mullet cruise past just a bit out of reach.
Over the next hour or so I continued to see mullet appear at the surface, but frustratingly either they were too far away, or were already swimming away from the baited area. They obviously weren’t very confident of coming too near the bait, and I thought perhaps prebaiting the area for a few days in advance would encourage them to try the bread.
I was repositioning my float closer to a pontoon as all the floating groundbait started drifting that way, when two mullet appeared at the surface, closer than they had done before. One swam away, but the other inhaled a big piece of floating crust right under my feet. Immediately I lifted the line so my breadflake bait was now dangling just under the surface, the mullet took one look and sucked in my bait. I waited a split second to see if it would spit it back out. It didn’t so I struck, the rod bent over and I was hooked into a mullet!
With the hard part of getting them to feed over, I just had the relatively easy task of landing the fish. Not having a landing net meant I had too beach it on a slipway, get my feet a bit wet and grab it, hoping that the 3lb hooklength held on. I took my time playing the fish, although it didn’t make the runs I expected there was a lot of head shaking and if it did make a short burst I had to let it go due to the light line. Eventually the fish tired and I eased it onto the slipway. I was able to push it out of the water slightly and get my feet behind it so it didn’t roll back in. There it was, a mullet I had targeted I had also now landed. Fortunately there were a few passers by, keen to see the fish and one of them was able to take a picture for me.
The fish was exhausted so I gently held it in the water a few minutes before it was strong enough to swim away. As I expected, the commotion spooked the rest of the fish and there was no sign of anymore mullet around me for the next hour, despite heavy groundbaiting.
Overall though I was ecstatic with even hooking never mind landing one and I rate it up with the shore tope and 9lb bass as best catches of the year so far. This gives me more confidence in taking clients out in future who wish to specifically fish for mullet. A little break now and depending on the weather, next up will be another try for a tope on home soil.