Time for bass and mullet

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John Shapland landed this fine thick lip of 4lb 4oz on a recent trip. The next couple of months are without doubt my favourite time to get out fishing with a wealth of fish to target. Bass and mullet have to be close top of the wanted list and reports would indicate that there are a few about.

2 BITES TODAY!!!  Johns exciting report.
“first pulled the tip around hard and kept on going took the rod from the rest and into the water!!! time I got to it I lifted into nothing!!! heart beating like mad and shaking like a leaf, rebaited and re-cast then bang!!! tip right around and fish on!! followed the fish down stream but my landing net was miles away by now, a great scrap ensued with some awesome runs. I managed to beach her on the shallows and carried back to the landing net for a rest then release and weighed in at 4lb 2 oz
most happy with this old warrior.”

Rob Scoines enjoyed a session at a local rock mark ctaching several bass to 4lb 2oz and a small bull huss.

Thin Lips giving great sport

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Thin lipped grey mullet are giving some superb sport in the Taw and Torridge Estuary with good numbers of mullet tempted on baited Mepp’s style spinners. There is speculation that the recent ban on netting in the estuary has resulted in an upsurge in catches. The settled weather conditions have also played a part I would imagine. John Shapland has banked three thin lipps over four pound in the past month.

(Below) John Shapland with a 4lb 2oz thin lipped grey mullet

(Below) Dan Welch also enjoyed success spinning for mullet landing several during a session with CMSAC member Ross Stanway.

Catch a Mullet on a fly!

Grey Mullet are a challenge especially so on the Fly. Jeff Pearce shares his success with the bonefish of Britain.

Like many I imagine, I have caught Mullet on a float rig with ground baited bread since a child, as well as a few on a baited spoon. More recently perhaps over the past 10 years or so I have started fly fishing for bass. Transferring my 40 years of fly fishing experience to bass was relatively straight forward as long as I found the right location, not too difficult as I have been lure & bait fishing for them from shore and boat all of my life.

So two seasons ago I decided having seen Mullet at every bass venue I fish that they should be a target, armed with every blog on the subject and suitably tied Mullet flies I set out catch them, how difficult can it be to catch a Mullet on a fly!
No cheating, no bread flies or ground baiting, just getting amongst them using flies to imitate shrimps, invertebrates & seaweed flies… The first season resulted in lots of small Bass to 3lb, they love small flies in the shallows too, but not even a sniff from the cruising
Grey ghosts, they are just there to frustrate the life out of me! Last year I managed a bit better a decent fish over 5Lb but I was actually Bass fishing on the beach with small flies in the surf, can’t take this as success, so the quest continued, more
research more walking the river and beaches. Find them on the feed and you’ll be in, so the story goes, not so easy, searched everywhere for genuinely feeding Mullet.

Anyway, perseverance has paid off, I think I have cracked it, resulting in my first Mullet this season genuinely taken while fishing for Mullet as they fed on the beach with the incoming tide.

I had been watching the tides, weather and wind for days, I needed a reasonably good low tide to springs, an offshore breeze and nice weather, bingo the last two weeks have been good on more than one day.
I set out very optimistic as always when I go fishing, on the way its which fly shall I try, how many in the team, what combinations etc. I arrive at the beach, its glorious, sun is high in the sky although its relatively early and what a bonus, the carpark attendant isn’t ready so free parking it is.

I set up and then head out on the long walk to the low tide mark, I’m a little early, another 30 mins to low tide and maybe an hour before things start to liven up as they begin to move in and feed with the tide. I see huge shoals of Mullet just playing in the shallows, although I know,
they don’t take a fly unless they are feeding Im going to try anyway, irresistible to see fish up to 6Lb plus cruising flashing and jumping in the shallows just off the surf. Obviously no interest, I knew really as I presented my patterns time & time again, then the small schoolie Bass move into the shallows, I hook 3 at once, causes a right mess and puts paid to the non feeding Mullet. Lets fix the leader and wait for the tide!
The tide starts to flow along the beach the Mullet now start to get their heads down, turning into the current and things start to look promising, a couple of small plucks which I miss, are these mullet takes or more small Bass I ask myself, then it happens, I feel a pluck and instinctively lift the rod, everything goes tight & before I know it I’m down to the backing and I know Ive hooked a Mullet. 15 minutes later, this lovely bar of Ghost silver is on the sand beside me, it took my Glass bead head Diawl Bach with a red tag, many have said this is a good Mullet fly, I’m now convinced too.

Just one on this occasion but the number of plucks & misses suggest I’ve cracked it, maybe I should quit while i’m ahead, as I’m sure every Mullet taken naturally on the fly will still be a challenge, but a huge thrill with unbelievable satisfaction!

Thin lips giving good sport

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Ian Laird caught this thin lipped grey mullet in the Taw Estuary using a baited spinner. These hard fighting members of the mullet family can give great sport and can also prove frustrating as they follow the spinner to the bank turning away at the last minute. Thick lipped grey mullet are also present in the estuary’s in good numbers but require a totally different approach with bread the top boat presented on float or quiver tip tactics. In the past huge catches of thin lipped mullet were made using float fished harbour ragworm a tactic that is seldom used today.

Sea Angling sport update

Sea anglers are enjoying mixed sport along the coast with bass, mullet and smoothound. It is also good to hear reports of  a few mackerel and herring from the boats.

(Below)Nick Job enjoyed a good night fishing with his mate Ian Hooper targetting smoothound they landed several hounds the best this fine specimen of 12lb 4oz. Ian landed hounds to 8lb 13oz.

(Below) Nick Phillips was targetting grey mullet when this 7lb 12oz bass seized his bread hook bait.

(Above) Nathan Clements caught this fine grey mullet on his first attempt after the species this season.

Daniel Welch took his daughter Effie fishing for grey mullet and they both enjoyed success with Dan landing the above mullet of 4lb 4oz whilst his daughter enjoyed success with a nice mullet of 3lb 3oz.

Some of this weeks Sea Angling Highlights

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Autumn is a prime time for the sea angler with a wide variety of species to target. The past week has seen local anglers enjoy success along North Devon’s rocky coast. Dan Spearman (Below) was among these anglers landing a bull huss of 9lb 3oz and a conger of 18lb.

Fellow Combe Martin SAC member James Thomas landed good pollock of 2lb 13oz along with numerous conger whilst fishing a rock mark near Ilfracombe. (Below)

Kody Chugg landed a small eyed ray (Below)

I targetted grey mullet that are one of my  favourite sea fish and tempted a specimen of 4lb 13oz using quiver-tipped bread flake.

Sea Angling round up and prospects

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Combe Martin SAC member Ali Laird fished a local rock mark and was rewarded with a fine 11lb3oz smoothound and a 10lb 5oz Bull Huss.

October and November are in my view the best two months of the sea angling year with a wealth of species to target before the real chill of winter descends. Smoothound have been a welcome addition to autumn sport in recent seasons with specimens showing right up until Christmas and beyond.

Paul Lorrimore had a short session after work hoping for a bass and hooked a hard fighting smoothound of around 5lb. It was his first of the species and put a good bend in his light weight bass rod.

Grey mullet are one of my favourite species and provide some exciting sport. I used to think that after dark mullet fishing was unproductive but I have learned this to be untrue with several sessions in recent seasons proving this to be  wrong. This hard fighting 2lb + mullet was tempted from an Ilfracombe mark two hours after high water. Many marks produce their best results on the ebbing tide well after many have packed away their rods believing the water to be too shallow. Bass and mullet will feed in very shallow water.

(Above) Even small mullet can give a good account on light tackle. (CMSAC member James Thomas)

The estuary will soon start to come into form for flounder fishing though there is also every chance of a big bass. The lower estuary could also throw up a surprise gilthead bream if any is prepared to try something different.

Rob Wheaton has just landed a potential British Record gilthead bream of 12lb 3oz whilst fishing a South Coast Mark.