Mullet Fishing - Fate, Circumstance and Luck
Neil Maidment recounts a red letter day when everything came together in the capture of a stunning fish despite everything else going very wrong.
Sometimes, perhaps often, fate, circumstance and luck end up conspiring to produce negative events and results. But every now and then everything seems to fall into place in a very positive manner. Earlier this week I encountered a series of events and circumstances that should have signalled I’d have been better off staying at home. But as fate would have it, I ended up hooking and landing a glorious specimen mullet weighing 7lb 3oz.
I’d met up with my good friend Nigel for what now seems to be our annual trip to Christchurch Harbour. Like last year we headed for the Stanpit Marsh area of the renowned estuary fishery with the intention of fishing from way out in the middle of Grimbury Bay.
Chest waders on and armed with our normal fairly light float set ups, we carefully made our way to within reach of the favoured channel area. Within minutes I had the unwelcome sensation of a wet right foot; it seems my waders had developed a leak. Water wasn’t exactly pouring in and once wet there’s not too much you can do, so I carried on. I sort of got used to it after an hour or so and as Nigel had already landed two fine Mullet I was very happy to keep going.
But then my little Stradic reel decided to play up. At first I thought the line had wrapped itself around the spool but it turned out to be a terminal failure of the gear mechanism. So off I waddled to the shoreline to change tackle. Squelching about on the gravel I realised I had left my centrepin at home; I had deliberately reduced my tackle to the minimum because of the lengthy walk from the car park.
My only option was a larger fixed spool reel packed with the unlikely intention of pairing it with my 12ft Drennan quivertip. The reel was a bit too big for the float set up and would have been a bit of an unbalanced dog to handle in the wind. So I made myself a cup of coffee and watched Nigel, in the distance, land another Mullet and a Sea Trout as well as a Flounder!
The quivertip option was a last minute thought brought about by re-reading last year’s article. I had been amazed and somewhat puzzled when witnessing Nigel set up a rod with a method feeder and popped up crust! Not the usual Mullet tactic but it certainly paid dividends for him last year. So, not so keen to get back into the water, I opted for the method fished back into the now rapidly flooding bay.
First cast produced a screamer of a line bite as the tip wrenched round. The same happened second cast, at least there were fish out there! A short while later I hooked and lost a reasonable mullet after the tip dropped back, but that just heralded a long period without so much as a tremble.
Nigel made his way back to shore for some refreshments and decided to join me on the feeder front. It was just then that the tip smoothly and positively just kept going. At first I wasn’t even sure it was a mullet, it kited right towards the massive reed beds, then turned and slowly went back the other way. I casually remarked to Nigel “don’t reckon it’s particularly big” but I was just pleased to be attached to a fish at last.
But it soon became apparent this was a very decent fish as I just couldn’t make any headway with it and the large swirls and occasional glimpses of back and fins in the generally shallow bay were clear evidence of something a bit out of the ordinary. It was not until, perhaps 15 minutes later, that I finally got the fish close to Nigel’s outstretched net that we both appreciated how big it actually was.
A couple more minutes passed and it finally lay in the net to a chorus of expletives from Nigel. Carefully watching the needle on the scales travel round the dial and settle beyond the 7lb mark was very satisfying. A couple of quick photographs and the beauty was last seen powerfully heading back out towards the middle of the bay. I’m pretty confident the method feeder wasn’t a key factor in this capture, or at least not the contents, as the majority of my mix resolutely stayed intact throughout the lengthy fight! More work required there then!
Whatever the reasons and circumstances, that day was one of those red letter days made all the better by the fact we were just two mates fishing.
I had one more mullet on the method and Nigel added a fourth to his day's tally, so all in all a good day out.