Targeting Mullet on the new VX Prodigy Specialist Rod from Greys
After my recent and extremely enjoyable Tench session, it was now time to switch my attention to salt-water, and to see how the Prodigy VX stands up to the power of a Grey Mullet!
Although strong north-westerly winds were going to be a major problem, the tides were perfect, and I thought I would make the most of this opportunity for a Mullet bash. The wind can be problematical as most of my Mullet angling is carried out through stalking. With an extremely heavy “chop” on the surface it is almost impossible to find pods of fish before they see you first, and saunter off out of casting range.
To combat this, a new approach is called for. Rather than walking and stalking along a stretch of shoreline looking for the tell-tale signs, small bow waves and glimpses of fin, I would have to settle in to a mark that I know from experience, fish would usually pass through. This session would have to be a waiting game!
In position, and with tide beginning to push, I played the stealthy waiting game. It is important to travel light, and I carry a rucksack containing spare tackle, weighing scales and sling, camera, and spare loaves of bread. I have a boilie pouch that holds a catapult and a few slices of bread for hook-bait, which also serves to hold my landing net and a small bucket of pre-chopped bread as loose feed.
As every Mullet session is different, I began to wonder if my tactics would prove successful. Something broke the surface, was it a dorsal or tail fin? Was it a piece of bladder-wrack? Then a small bow wave, the adrenaline began to flow. I’m sure I saw a small piece of bread slip below the surface, so difficult to tell under these conditions.
By this stage I hadn’t even wet a line! A gentle cast up-tide, and up-wind to prevent tangles and continue the stealth approach, allowing the float to trot naturally down towards the disturbance. The rod casts so well, with bait still intact. Hold back a little to straighten the main-line and hook-length, and let go again. I doubt I had taken a breath in over a minute. Float rips sideways, a quick lift and we are in, time for the VX to show its true colours.
With the forgiving tip section of the VX, I could really bend into this feisty fish, and dictate the fight to some extent. Great mid-section power without losing any of the sensitivity, making the usual prolonged Mullet battle as enjoyable as possible. Even so, with a sizeable fish it is always advisable to have the drag set correctly, if you cannot give line, you WILL lose these powerful fish.
Safely to the net, this was a great start, although only an average size at around 3-4lbs, so quickly released. I could actually see the occasional piece of bread being sipped under whilst playing my first fish, and was eager to have another fresh bait drifting down towards the shoal. In again, and with twenty yards or so ripped against the clutch, it felt a little bit meatier! This was more like it, and after a good six minutes or so, another worthy fish was safely in the net.
To the scales, and it pushed the dial past the 5lb barrier, and the VX was now christened with its first specimen, and my first Mullet specimen of the year, lovely stuff. The powerful and enduring battle had now scattered the feeding shoal, and so it was decision time. Normally I would simply move on along the coast in search of fresh shoals to pester, but with such inclement weather, stalking is definitely out. Decision made, nip into shore to answer the call of nature (it’s an age thing!) then quietly back out to the mark for another shot. For the Mullet newbie, you will find these fish extremely addictive!
Standing as patiently and motionless as a Heron waiting on his lunch passing by, and feeding a continuous conveyor belt of Kings Mill, little but often tactics, I could once again determine some interest down-tide. A change in surface ripple pattern, a small boil, a snout breaking the surface. Tell-tale signs that, under these harsh conditions, were enough for an experienced eye to suggest we were back in business. Slow down the feed process, keep them keen, and follow with a freshly baited hook. These are the moments when the adrenaline is at its highest, the anticipation is such that everything else becomes blocked out, noise, wind, chill factor, nothing else is apparent only the full focus on the distant float and the white speck of bread directly behind it.
In an instant, bread disappears, float rips sideways, and we are in again. Honestly, there is little to match this when it comes to float fishing. Line tearing against the clutch, rod tip doubled over, and a bar of silver powering through the shallows, leaping on occasion and totally refusing to roll over and submit. This has to be one of my favourite shore species, and I am now convinced that the Greys VX is my favourite equipment to tackle them. Finally to the net and tipping the scales at 5lbs 4oz, what more can you ask for. A double shot of specimens in one session on a very rough day in Northern Ireland, I’d take that any day of the week!
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