Fishy Tales from the Emerald Isle –

Terry’s Travels Grey Mullet

A reasonable fish, nearing the magic 5lb barrier

As the autumn draws to a close, our Mullet days are numbered for another year, particularly in the north of Ireland where sea temperatures are somewhat cooler than the southern shores. With this in mind, Andy Wolsey joined me in an attempt to persuade one or two of these silver torpedoes into giving us some end of season sport before we hang up the Mullet rods and break into the pike gear!

These Inland Fisheries “measure mats” make life easy.

I decided to take Andy to one of my “secret location” mullet areas. The secrecy is necessary, not to protect the mark from other anglers, who practice catch and release, but from un-scrupulous nets-men in the area. This, unfortunately, is a problem throughout Ireland, as Mullet are sadly afforded little protection.
Although the weather is beginning to break down, sea temperatures are still quite high, as is the chance of finding one or two decent specimens on this venue, with qualifying specimen weight being 5lbs. We stalked the wary shoals for half an hour or so, before spying the tell-tale dimples and bow-waves on the surface of one particular sheltered bay. Stealth is of primary importance on this mark, Mullet are not used to movement at the water’s edge. With patience and a little luck and we soon had fish feeding on free samples of flake and crust.

Andy fools the first feisty fish

Almost there!

As any Mullet angler knows, once they readily accept free samples, a “hook-up” is almost certainly on the cards. Andy found the first fish of the day, and after a lengthy battle, guided it safely to the landing net. A long fish, but the slim girth kept it just the wrong side of 5lbs. Still, a cracking start none-the less.
Our following piece of action was a double hook-up, with both rods bent into reasonable fish. With a bit of skill, and some Irish luck, both fish made the landing nets at the same time, giving a great double-shot photo opportunity. Again, none breaking the 5lb barrier, this stamp of fish were like peas in a pod, all weighing in around 4lbs 12oz-4lbs 14oz. It will be nice to run into this shoal next year!

Nice to get a double shot.

This final burst of activity was enough to annoy the fish sufficiently and they cruised out of casting range. A move was called for, and we stalked further round the coast-line. The day was wearing on, with wind speed increasing making fish-spotting quite difficult.

At 4lbs 15oz, so close to the 5lb barrier, but no cigar!

With the rain now making an appearance, conditions were breaking down fast. Spotting a slight surface disturbance, it was worth one last shot at glory. A few free samples were catapulted into the wind lane, and were quite quickly intercepted. Following suit with a carp controller and hook bait, it was now or never!
The surface exploded, with line ripping from the spool, singing under tension in the breeze. You can’t beat the power and sheer determination of this species on balanced tackle, amazing stuff. Eventually, I steered my prize to the landing net, weighing scales confirming the 5lb specimen barrier had been broken. It is always extremely satisfying to finish on a high! Hopefully the weather will allow us to return for one final crack at this extremely addictive species before winter sets in.

Determination pays off, with a 5lb specimen.

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