An April Mullet Against the Odds

On Friday 17th April IFI published clarification that we are, after all, allowed to go fishing during the covid lockdown as part of our exercise regime. The inevitable conditions attached are rather limiting though ... only for brief periods, walking to a venue within 2km of home. A "brief period" is defined on their website as not more than an hour or an hour and a half.


This allowed just a chance that I might be able to keep my monthly mullet record going, but only a slim chance. The mullet don't seem to arrive in the bay here particularly early in the year. The earliest I've seen them is mid-April and the earliest I've caught one is well into May. So I wasn't expecting much over the next few days as I used my dog walks to check out some possible spots. Indeed nothing at all was showing along the rocky shore; the chances of an early mullet showing were probably being further diminished by a nagging easterly breeze.


I did however see some encouraging swirls and bow-waves in the brackish lake east of the village, 1.1km away from home measured on Google Maps. It's not a venue I've fished much as it's mostly only inches deep, and though it looks the part and there are usually half-pound size mullet to be seen, it's rare to see more than an odd bigger mullet in there. It's also very badly affected by heavy rainfall though the mullet must be able to survive the sudden plunges in salinity as they can only get in and out on the biggest couple of tides each month when the lake tops up from the sea.


I waited a few days for the east breeze to die away. Then on the 23rd I printed off the IFI poster in case anyone objected and set off with Fern collie and fishing tackle ...

I headed for the inlet, an area of the lake that seems to be favoured by mullet whether or not there'll be a sea-water top-up on the day. Happily there seemed to be a few mullet there today with fins and tails cutting the surface of the shallow water and the odd swirl and bow- wave away when a fish spooked. Even more happily, at least some of the mullet seemed to be a half-decent size, maybe around 2lbs.


I tackled up with the smallest size of Puddlechucker float and set it to fish a bait just eight inches under which, even so shallow, was still catching bottom every now and again.


I was getting interest right from the off, though the depth wasn't enough for the mullet to pull the float under - instead it would mostly dink part way down and move a little sideways. I struck a few such bites and missed, but after a few minutes connected with a fish. It splashed out of the water on the strike - it looked a couple of pounds - and put up a stubborn scrap that just seemed to go on and on. I couldn't believe it when the hook pulled out just as it was coming closer ...

The disturbance seemed to have dispersed most of the mullet but fortunately there were still two or three grubbing around. Soon I was in again - a slightly smaller fish but still a good fight with it zipping around through the shallows.


I held my breath as it finally tired and I drew it towards the net, but no problems this time with the hook firmly in its scissors. 


It was a pretty fish I'd think just shy of two pounds, I didn't bother with weighing it.

Nothing was showing now but I fished on and after a few minutes started seeing mullet moving in the swim again. The float dipped and I was briefly in contact with another one, but it threw the hook almost straight away amid a lot of splashing. No matter - job done anyway. I looked at my watch. My ninety minutes was just about up and it was time to walk home.

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