Fishy Tales from the Emerald Isle –

Terry’s Travels An Evening Session for Mullet

a five-pound plus specimen

I didn’t think I would get the chance of a few hours Mullet fishing after work, but just on the off chance, threw the pre-assembled rod in the jeep anyway. It’s just that the tides were perfect, and with the window of settled weather we have been experiencing these last few weeks, it seemed a pity not to! That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. As things transpired, I managed to get through the work-load with time to spare. Pedal to the metal, I made a bee-line for my favourite local hot-spot.

playing a Mullet in perfect sea conditions

The sea looked fantastic, almost mirror-like, and I knew that no ghostly greys would be able to hide their tell-tale bow waves, and give-away “spiky” tails and fins under these favourable conditions. Carefully stalking the bays, I spied a large shoal, the dimples on the surface betraying their whereabouts. These guys were feeding heavily on shrimp, always a bad sign when all you have is a loaf of bread! I cursed myself for forgetting to bring the fly rod, yet again. I could always nip home for it, but decided to persevere; feeding small fragments of sliced bread upwind, watching each piece drift closer to the feeding shoal.

a small fish, approximately 4lbs

My free offerings were ignored on the surface, so a back-up tactic came into play. Adding a little water to the crumbled bread allowed most of it to sink. Catapulted quietly amongst the shoal in small enough amounts not to frighten them, it was impossible to tell if any were tempted, but with their heads down and tails breaking the surface, I know they couldn’t avoid seeing it. I had to assume it was being accepted as part of the menu!

a small split shot “pinned” the flake to the sea-bed

If this was the case, there was no point in trotting a piece of floating crust or flake over their heads, so I added a split shot a couple of inches from the hook. By over-casting a couple of yards, and stealthily retrieving back towards and into the shoal, the flake would settle, “popped-up” a couple of inches, Carp style.

This did the trick, as the float shot to the right, and steady pressure set the hook. Mullet give such a fantastically spirited fight; I know I was grinning like the Cheshire cat throughout the entire battle. Safely in the landing net, I never bothered weighing my catch, but estimated it at four and a half pounds, what a great start! Unfortunately the disturbance had scattered the shoal, Mullet are extremely wary on my local marks, and I didn’t expect them to do otherwise. It is usually a case of well done, nice one, now go hunting again!

close-up head shot for identification

Approximately fifteen minutes later, I spied a small shoal, so close to the margins, I could almost reach over and pick one up! These looked sizeable enough, and using the gentle breeze, cast a bow in the line that dragged the float-fished bread flake into the path of my un-wary prey. Flicking a couple of free samples over their heads, they supped them up willingly, and seeing this, I was almost fit to burst. I know other Mullet “nutters” will have experienced the same feelings when a take is imminent.

Pic7 another five-pounder, great stuff

The float slipped under, and within a nano-second, line ripped from the reel under steady pressure. Eventually to the net, this one required accurate weighing, and pushed the scales past the five pound barrier, my first specimen Thick-Lipped of the year. In a bid to out-smart the small shoal in front of me, I fed small amounts of bread whilst playing the fish, in the hope of keeping them interested. It happened to work on this occasion, fish could still be seen feeding while I quickly photographed and released my specimen.

careful release, once recovered

If I could just manage one more cast towards the shoal, I may be able to manage to squeeze one more fish out, before they got too upset. Very next cast, the float disappeared, and I was back in action. Mullet heaven! After a thoroughly enjoyable cat and mouse battle, hitting every piece of bladder-wrack in the near vicinity, I finally slipped the net under fish number three. The scales confirmed another five-pounder, and, even though the shoal had had enough and cleared out I was on cloud nine. With the tide ebbing fast and no signs of further pods of fish, I called it quits and headed home. Short evening sessions such as this are a perfect remedy to soothe the pain of a days’ work, long may our “Irish Bonefish” continue to patrol our shores.

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