There was a time just a couple of decades ago when winter mullet were not considered a worthwhile winter target unless you fished the far West of Cornwall or the Channel Islands. Things have changed though and recent seasons have seen North Devon anglers landing mullet throughout the winter months. Just to clarify I am talking about thick lipped grey mullet and not thin lipped mullet that sometimes shoal up in large numbers in certain locations.
I set out this afternoon in search of an elusive thick lip but my optimism was lower than normal after receiving reports that the mullet were very scarce. On setting up I peered into the clear water hoping to glimpse a mullet but none showed. As the tide pushed in the rod tip trembled a couple of times; if there had been the slightest breeze I would not have seen the indications but on bringing in the baits the fluffy ends of the bread were gone a sure sign that mullet were present?
I followed the tide in and my confidence was boosted when I glimpsed a silver flank turning. Mullet were present! The light faded and I peered into the clear water beneath the street lights a couple of shadows drifted across the rocks. I Lowered a baited rig with two flakes of soft white. A good sized mullet swam up to the bait and proceeded to play with bait. I watched fascinated as the mullet was joined by another fish each nudging the bait that seemed to occasionally disappear from view. Striking too early can often spook the fish better to wait for a positive movement of the tip. After 15 minutes of so I had probably cast to the mullet ten times with the fish removing the fluffy tail of the bait each time leaving a small piece on the hook each time. The mullet were feeding right beneath my position and I could watch them as they moved the bait causing the tip to tremble occasionally pulling round an inch or more causing me to strike in vain. Eventually I hooked the mullet and it splashed on the surface for a second or two before coming off the hook.
It was now almost high water and I thought my chance had gone. I moved down a few yards and flicked my baits out before walking back to the shallows to see how many mullet were present in the beam of my head torch. None could be seen and I thought they had moved out with the ebbing tide. I wonder back to my rod and started to dismantle my net. The tip trembled slightly! I put he net back together and watched the tip. As I put the net on the wall the tip surged over and a fish was on. Ten minutes later I was weighing a pleasing winter mullet of 4lb 2oz.
Fellow CMSAC Members John Avery and John Shapland have been travelling to marks on the Cornish coast to tempt some fine winter mullet John Avery landing a fine specimen of 4lb 14oz and John Shapland a new personal best of 5lb 1oz.