Dan Welch has enjoyed some great sport with the wily thick lipped grey mullet tempting fish of 4lb 3oz and 3lb 11oz on recent sessions along the North Devon Coast.
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.
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!
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.
Combe Martin SAC member Daniel Welch has been enjoying some great summer sport from both boat and shore. Fishing from his private boat he has boated several tope to forty pounds along with some quality Huss. He also scaled down to apply a little more finesse tempted a thick lipped grey mullet of 4lb.
Mullet enthusiast John Shapland tempted this fine thick lipped grey mullet on his latest trip to a North Devon estuary mark. The fish came close to emptying Johns reel of line!
Bidefords 24 hour results
Andrew Clements landed superb brace of mullet to secure victory in Bideford & District Angling Clubs 24 hour rover.
1st Andrew Clements – thick lipped mullet 5lb 2.25oz 128.516%
2nd Andrew Clements – thick lipped mullet 5lb 0.5oz 127.344%
3rd Nathan Clements – smooth hound 9lb 13 98.125%
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.
Rob Scoines had a weekend to remember landing two personal best fish whilst fishing in the clubs pairs match with only one fish counting per angler his second fish did not count in the competition but a thick lipped grey mullet of 4lb 7oz did and combined with my meagre dogfish of 1lb 13oz won us the pairs competition. Rob also secured the individual best fish prize with the mullet.
(Below) Mark Jones landed a fine brace of fish including a smoothound of 9lb 2oz and a thornback of 10lb 6oz.
(Below) David Jenkins enjoyed sport in the estuary landing a brace of bass scaling 3lb 5oz and 3lb 2oz.
( Below) Ali Laird and his brother Ian Laird enjoyed a good session outside of the club match landing bull huss, conger, a codling and a bass. Best fish of the session was a bull huss scaling 10lb 1oz to the rod of Ali Laird.