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Warsash mullet

Written by Mick Donnelly, on 01/01/2010

Conditions looked favourable on this early August morning with High tide of 4.3 meters predicted for 12:47pm BST. I arrived about 9:45 am and started off upstream from the car park. It was quite a fresh morning with 90-100pm estimated cloud cover. The cloud reduced after about an hour and a half and it became quite sunny in the afternoon. At around 10:00 am I noticed a shoal of large Mullet, estimated size 4-6lb, close to the bank in the deep water about 40 yards downstream of the wooden bridge. It was evident, because of the close weed cover and steep bank, that I would need a net to land them. Even so I threw some bread in at these fish and a few fish accepted below the surface. I had my Sugar-Puff set up and made a few casts but the fish soon disappeared. Maybe because the water level was still quite low and so anyone on bank was at a relatively steep angle compared to the fish and therefore plainly visible against the sky.

mulletI made my way back to the car, about a mile away, and picked up the net and handle. No sign of the fish when I returned but some people on the bridge had reported seeing fish swimming into the salt marsh. I continued upstream until I reached the Lulworth Cafe with no signs of fish. I hailed an angler in the spot I was going to try, "Any luck?" He replied in the negative. Just as I retraced my way back I noticed a large shoal of small Mullet under the open pontoon bridge. I shot some video of this shoal and tried to get them interested in bread but they were spooked by the bread I threw in and moved steadily away from it. I continued downstream until at about 1:00 pm I noticed quite subtle signs of fish in an area where the ebbing tide flowed into the bank. I wasn't sure what size the fish were as the water was quite high compared to the bank so I couldn't see into the water. I tossed some more bread into the water and after a while I noticed a definite take sub-surface from what looked a decent size mouth although I couldn't make it out clearly.

After a short while at least one fish started taking from the surface. The current was pushing into the bank and the wind was following so I was getting quite a large bow in the line. I had one take that I missed on the surface. Cursing my luck, I kept the bread going in steadily as the feeding became consistent. Again I got take on a quite a large piece of bread on a size 8 hook. I wound in and tightened the line on the fish. At first nothing happened as I had a significant bow in the line but then I connected with a solid lump. I still wasn't sure what size fish it was but I could see a huge tail breaking the water while playing the fish. That, together with the weight and huge flashing side, lead me to believe it may be quite large. The fish made several runs that seemed shorter than the kind of runs I get from Golden Grey's but there was a sense of real power behind them. After what seemed like 10 minutes I eased the fish into the net, which it only just fitted into and heaved it ashore.

"Nice Bass!", said a voice from over my shoulder.

"Mullet". I corrected the guy.

"Oh, right. Bread?"


An older couple arrived as was unhooking it. It was quite lightly hooked on the top lip, it's mouth quite different from the mouths of the Mullet I've been catching Sussex. The mouth on Thick Lips seems to be inverted so that the inner surface continues outside the mouth and the thick band of keratin on the top lip seems absent or reduced. Perhaps this is the where the 'soft lips' thing comes from. Anyway after this I was on a bit of a cloud and I rushed the pictures.

I suppose I should have got the couple to give me a trophy shot but I wasn't thinking straight, my knees were like jelly. The fish just kept on getting heavier as I looked at the scales and bottomed out somewhere between the 4lb 14oz and 5lb marks. I placed the fish into the water and he made off without needing any time to recover. Unlike me.

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