SUMMER NIGHTS

A gentle surf pushed into the beach as I strolled in the shallow water enjoying the coolness in the late afternoon heat. I searched the water for the fish I had been told would be there amongst the bathers. Amongst a slightly foamy coloured band of water, I found what I was looking for hundreds of mullet darting to and fro apparently feasting up on an algal feast.

I cast expectantly with a team of flies designed to attract the wily mullet. As the waves turned mullet could be seen in the small waves some of them a decent size. I suspected that many were golden greys though the size of some indicated that thick lips were amongst them.

A couple of times the line zipped tight but contact could not be made. As the tide started to flood the activity increased with swirling mullet all around. I cast repeatedly trying slow retrieves, quicker retrieves and static drifts. Frustration grew, the tide flooded and all of sudden they were gone.

The following night I stood upon a boulder strewn shoreline armed with a lure rod. A surface lure was cast out and worked back across the still water. The sun was descending as the day faded a golden glow of fiery light. A large swirl behind the lure gave hope. Hundreds of fish could be seen dimpling the surface. Mullet again! The fly rod was in the van but I was too lazy or too focussed on the bass to switch tactics. Another night I will return with a few bread flies and some floating crust to get them feeding. Some would say that’s cheating; but perhaps we sometimes make things too difficult for ourselves.

As the light faded expectation grew as the tide gently pushed in. An hour after dark I heard a swirl in the calm water. Next cast my soft plastic was seized, a welcome jolt of life through the line. A bass of a couple of pounds saved a blank.

The moon slowly rose above the hill, lights reflected in the mirror calm sea. The cool night air, the aroma of seaweed and fresh sea air. These summer nights are to be cherished for all too soon autumn and winter will descend bringing different challenges.

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The Frustrating Mullet

September is one of my favourite months for fishing and grey mullet are high on the agenda though they can often live up to their difficult to tempt reputation. This has certainly been the case over the past week with three sessions bringing little success. The first session saw me spend three hours in a favoured spot at the right state of tide. Not a bite but the fish and chips were good as was the sunset.

The next trip saw me visit a local harbour that gave shelter from the strong North East Wind. It was one of the biggest tides of the year and I arrived a couple of hours before the top of the tide and started getting rattles on the rod tip straight away. I assumed the fish were mostly small mullet. As darkness fell I missed the bite of the night prompting a couple more last casts.

Two days later I was back at first light and enjoyed two hours of the flood tide with barely a rattle on the rod tip. The morning sun lit up the bay and boats bobbed upon moorings illuminated by the light. A North East wind is seldom good and was my excuse as passing walkers enquired if I had caught.

As the tide began to ebb the fish switched on and the tip began to rattle frantically as soon as the bait touched down. A tiny mullet was swung to hand could this be classed a saving a blank? Next cast the tip thumped round with a proper bite. A decent mullet of perhaps three pounds gave a spirited tussle before throwing the hook!  “”******************

Small mullet swarmed in the shallow water but no more decent fish could be seen. I packed away twenty minutes later reflecting on the frustrations of wily mullet.

Angling Milestones

Two North Devon Anglers set significant personal miles stones this week in different angling disciplines.

Dedicated mullet angler John Shapland spends many frustrating hours targeting grey mullet a species with a reputation for being difficult to tempt. John landed his 100th mullet of 2020 this week!

Ian Blewett is a keen all-round angler with salmon top of his agenda for much of the year. Ian took advantage of perfect conditions on the Taw to land the 100th Atlantic salmon of his angling career. He followed the feat up during the same session with his 101st!

Its time for specimen mullet

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Grey mullet fishing can be excellent from now right through into the winter months. Those prepared to adopt a little finesse can enjoy some battles with these hard fighting fish.

James Gugg Fradgley tempted this fine specimen of 5lb 1oz whilst fishing a popular North Devon mark. Dan Welch also enjoyed success with the species catching two fish from different marks on consecutive evenings the biggest scaling 3lb 13oz.