A Personal Best Mullet for Mark
Mark Wintle puts his roach fishing skills to the test with big grey mullet, fish that fight like bonefish!
Big grey mullet can be the most frustrating of fish; incredibly hard fighting, shy biting and possessing the ability to melt away, it’s hardly surprising that few rise to the challenge of the grey ghost. I’ve long enjoyed fishing for them on an occasional basis as it combines my roach fishing float skills with playing something more akin to bonefish!
I’ve been catching them from Dorset waters since 1972 yet beating my long-standing PB from 1981 of just 4lbs has remained a dream until last weekend.
The omens were good; a couple of weeks ago I had a nice thick-lip over three pounds plus a smaller thin-lip on the Stour. Then on Thursday, I had another thick-lip of 3-10 from Poole Harbour, which was a new second best. Early Saturday morning, armed with plenty of bread, including a bag of liquidised, I yomped out to the joint estuary of the Stour and Avon near Christchurch hoping for mullet.
The incoming tide brought loads of dace and roach but no sign of mullet. As the boat traffic increased, it was time for a change of swim to quieter waters. There were signs of mullet in a quiet backwater that looked promising. Patient feeding with mashed bread brought the first tentative bites on flake on a 12 but it was an hour before I saw action. Not on my rod though! Another nearby angler took twenty minutes to subdue a big mullet. A couple of minutes later though and it was my turn.
The waggler float slid under and I found myself attached to something big and unstoppable. Attempts to pump it back in were only partially successful as it tore off to my left. Then the worst possible outcome as the mullet kited round towards the bank and a big Norfolk reed bed.
At first, it kept moving before going solid. It was time for a clear head. Lifting the line clear of the reeds, I walked to the other side of the reedbed and managed to get the mullet free. After a few more trips in and out of the reeds and realising that the landing net was still at my fishing position I persuaded the mullet to swim back out into clear water before retreating to where my net was. I then pumped the mullet, which had kited back into the reeds, back to the original fishing position, utilising every last ounce of power in the match rod. Everything held and I netted the mullet first time.
A quick weigh registered 5lb 11oz, then a photo, and back she went.
I vowed to use more than 3lb Maxima main line with 0.12 Silstar Matchline hooklinks in future!