Mullet are typically a summer fish, but there are still a few about throughout the winter months if you know where to look. As the temperature drops, the odds are definitely not in favour of the angler, but then again, I rarely take the orthodox approach when it comes to targeting specimens! I thought I would take this opportunity to put the Shakespeare Mach2 rod and Mach2 reel through its paces again.
I invited Glenn Drennan of the Pike Fly Fishing Association along to see if I could find him yet another new species that he hasn’t caught before. He certainly enjoyed his recent introduction to Tope fishing. With a little luck, maybe I could put him in contact with another fish that fights every bit as well on balanced tackle.
By “balanced tackle”, I am talking about a standard 13ft Match rod and reel, main line of 4lb-6lb and size 10 hooks. This type of float rod should have a soft, forgiving tip section to cast and present delicate hook baits. It also provides a cushioning effect against the powerful “runs” and lunges that Mullet are so well known for. At 13ft, the rod length is beneficial when mending line to aid bait presentation and setting the hook at distance. The Mach 2 combo meets all these requirements.
Armed with a couple of loaves each, we crept along the water’s edge in search of our target species. It is a great deal easier to spot fish from a height, but on my local hot-spots I do not have that luxury. Shallow water with a fair surface ripple makes fish-spotting almost impossible and we managed to scare a couple of wary shoals out of casting range with our initial efforts. Un-deterred, we continued the hunt and managed to see a tell-tale break in the surface ripples, indicating the presence of one or two fish on the move an inch or two below the water line.
The secret is not to barge in but stay back from the water’s edge and flick a few small samples of bread slightly upstream or upwind. They will quietly drift down to the un-suspecting fish. A small maggot catapult can be excellent for this and with a little practice is extremely accurate. Once the Mullet rise to the free offerings, the battle is half won, and you must then do the same with a baited hook.
We soon had this shoal accepting the offerings and Glenn was so keen to hook into a fish he was fit to burst! I could hear him swearing under his breath each time a Mullet passed within inches of his float, taking the free samples and frustratingly ignoring the hook-bait. Whilst watching Glenn’s float in all the excitement, I had taken my eye off my own, and was rudely awakened when the tip of the Mach 2 bent round, line ripping off the pre-set clutch! Although I had missed the excitement of the float going under, I certainly wasn’t complaining as the Mullet did all in its power to shake the hook.
These really are dogged fighters and the Mach 2 proved it was up to the job in successfully playing a specimen without line snapping or a hook pull. Unfortunately, all this commotion had scattered the shoal and put paid to any hopes of seeing another Mullet for a while. We could sit and wait for their return, but it is much quicker to go on the hunt again, and this time I would take a back seat in the hope that Glenn would get his opportunity.
Further along the shoreline, we spied a second pod of fish, luckily before they could spot us. In fairness to Glenn, he insisted that I fish too, and I didn’t argue. In reality Mullet are way too much fun to just stand back and watch! On this occasion we ended up with a double hook-up which was fantastic but absolutely useless for taking a photograph.
As the winter sun nestled into the horizon, our time had almost drawn to a close on this adventure, but one last cast! There is always time for one last cast. This resulted in fish number four, which eventually gave up and I was able to lift it from the shallows as the sun disappeared completely. Mullet probably feed into darkness, but with four fish landed, four hooked but lost and just as many missed takes, it was definitely a Mullet day for Glenn to remember. He had a fabulous insight into what it takes to target and land these elusive, much misunderstood species, and I had the perfect opportunity to put the Mach 2 Match rod and reel through their paces, which performed perfectly well, yet again.
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