Combe Martin SAC members ventured to Portishead Marina in search of the large mullet that reside within the sheltered waters. The day commenced with heavy rain falling and a bitterly cold North wind that ensured that breakfast the first item on the days agenda.

Fortified with full English and hot coffees members explored the confines of the marina. The mullet proved elusive with John Shapland securing the only fish of the day a superb specimen of 4lb 2oz.


            I joined fellow members of Combe Martin SAC on a trip in search of grey mullet in Portishead Marina following reports of some good fish being tempted from the complex. Unlike many marinas it seemed that angling was permitted and even encouraged. Hopefully this state of affairs will continue providing those who use the area respect other users and leave no litter.

            The trip had been planned at the turn of the year with timings based upon knowledge gleaned from fellow anglers and members of the National Mullet Club. Stories of mullet to over 7lb certainly inspired. Though I think it fair to say we all knew that hopes and reality are often far apart.

            It seemed that fortune was on our side with the Met office forecasting warm sunshine, temperatures up to 20 degrees and light winds. We met up in Barnstaple at 6:30am and loaded the gear into Nicks truck. Dan and his son Solly would meet us at the venue. It was a little overcast and chill in the morning air but by 10:00 the sun would burn through the clouds and we would bathe in the warmth of the late spring sunshine!

            Two hours later after a smooth and uneventful journey discussing the trials and tribulations of life and those fishing trips of past and future we stepped out into the bitter chill of reality. A bitter cold North East Wind was sweeping down through the marina making us all ponder upon our gullibility in actually believing the promise of warm sunshine!

            We were in contact with Andrew Burt of the National Mullet Club and were grateful for his offer of expertise and venue knowledge. Especially for his tips on where to find a good full English at a reasonable price. ( Ocean Café Port Marina Portishead).

            The marina is in fact a large venue with plenty of water to explore and by the end of the day we had managed a couple of laps. We found a relatively sheltered corner to start proceedings and set up with both float and quivertip rods. The nearby Costa offered access to a toilet at the cost of a coffee.

            There were several anglers fishing around the marina and it seemed that most were targeting bass and flounder. We witnessed a decent sized flounder requiring a landing net within the first hour.

            The water within the marina is surprisingly clear considering it is fed from the turbid waters of the Upper Bristol Channel. When the lock gates were operated it was clear to see the murky influx of water that flooded in.

            The first couple of hours proved uneventful and rather chilly. That full English seemed ever tempting and at 10:30 we headed for the café and joined Andy Burt and his mate from the NMC.

            Fully nourished after breakfast and banter we headed back to the water’s edge to try our luck. Dan and Solly had found a few mullet and were getting regular bites with Dan landing a good fish of around 3lb along with a smaller fish. John Avery, John Shapland, Nick Phillips and myself wondered around the marina trying different promising looking spots.

            I missed a good bite on the float and had a few indications on the quiver tip. Slowly the mist burnt away and that warm sunshine beamed down from a brilliant blue sky. The marina abounded with life as dogwalkers, joggers and strollers went about their day. Luxury yachts cruised in and out and it was apparent that the area enjoys a degree of affluence. Waterside bars, restaurants and coffee shops certainly seemed to be buzzing with life.

            Our piscatorial adventure was not however living up to expectations and our hopes of specimen mullet began to fade. Though in fairness connection with just one fish could have totally changed that.

            Mid afternoon my quiver tip plunged over and I made contact with a powerful fish. The plunging on the rod didn’t really feel mullet like but with mullet on the mind that is what I expected to see. Instead of the expected mullet a large eel appeared writhing on the surface to be safely scooped up into the net. At around 2lb the slimy creature highlighted the surprises that reside within these urban waters.

Slippery as an eel !!!

            It would certainly be well worth exploring the venue with LRF tactics as I am sure it holds a few surprises in addition to the bass, pollock, flounder and mullet.

            By late afternoon we had all had enough and with a two hour journey home we waved goodbye to Andy Burt and his mate as they float fished from their boat using their knowledge of the venue to build  a catch of small bass and mullet.

            I feel sure we will return to the venue again later in the year for that connection with an outsize urban mullet.