Estuaries and their secluded harbours offer the very best chance to catch grey mullet. They are resident from April onwards with the best period from August through to October. They are a shy and nervous fish with a reputation for being hard to catch but with a logical approach and the right tackle you’ll stack the odds in your favour.
Mullet are usually easy to see if on the surface as they leave an obvious wake when cruising about. If the fish are deeper in the water column, polaroid sunglasses are an essential tool to help you locate the fish and give you an idea at what depth to start at. The sunglasses also help you see how the fish are approaching your bait and if they are looking but shying away indicating they realise something is wrong and you need to adapt to catch them.
BIG DOG POLAROID SKATE SUNGLASSES | RRP: £24.99
Mullet rods needs to ideally fall between 11 and 12ft in length. Look for a softish tip section but with quickly increasing power into the mid and butt section. Big mullet fight hard and you’ll need that power lower down to work the fish and steer it away from snags.
Rods with two or three alternative tips are popular nowadays as they can cover both ledger and float fishing with the different tips designed to cast different weights. Soft tip sections give better bite indication, but more importantly, they cushion the initial pressure the mullet can feel when it sucks in the bait, and this can increase your catch ratio.
TRONIX BANZAI MULLET TRIPLE TIP 12FT 2-4OZ | RRP: £119.99
Fixed spool reels in the 4000 to 5000 sizing are perfect for virtually all mullet situations. Look for a line capacity in the 4000 of around 240yds of 0.28mm line (8/10lbs) and a little over 200yd of 0.35mm (15lb line) for the 5000. The 4000 is the best all-round choice, but if you need to ledger fish or use bigger, heavier floats at longer range into harbours and bays, then the 5000 will help gain that extra distance.
PENN FIERCE 111 4000 | RRP: £97.99
MAINLINE & HOOKLENGTH
For general float fishing use a fluorocarbon mainline of about 8lbs. Mullet have excellent eyesight, and this is one situation where the fluorocarbon’s ability to hide better in the water is a major advantage. For ledger fishing in deeper water or at longer range, use 15lb braid, but add a short 6ft 15lb to 20lb fluorocarbon leader depending on the lead size being cast. The hook length should also be fluorocarbon.
Six pounds is a good starting point but be prepared to drop to 4lb if bites are difficult or the fish are sucking in but spitting the bait out quickly with minimal float movement.
BERKLEY TRILENE 100% FLUOROCARBON 8LB 50M RRP £7.99
Freshwater loaded carp Waggler floats are perfect for mullet. The longer versions rated to 3g are good in choppy conditions, but in calm seas look to a smaller lighter clear insert Waggler carrying say 1.2g.
They also take a couple more additional shot on the hook length, and this allows you to space the shot apart and slow or speed up the drop of the bait through the water column. At longer range, cigar shaped floats with a round-ball weight to position them work well but need to be weighted right down to minimise the pressure needed to pull them under for good bite detection.
DRENNAN CRYSTAL WAGGLERS | RRP: £2.15/2.45
Use rubber float stops either side of the Waggler float and add a small size 10 swivel to connect the hook length to. Then add shot to weight the float correctly as required. The rubber stops let you adjust the depth the bait sits below the float.
Use two stops above the float if you need more grip when casting into wind and so on. The cigar floats need a bead above them, then the float, another bead and a swivel tying in place. Above the top bead tie in a separate Grinner knot from mono or Powergum to act as a sliding float stop. Add your hook length to the swivel.
An easy ledger rig is a small swivel link sliding on the mainline stopped by a bead and then tie on a swivel. The hook length should be 6lb fluorocarbon around 15 to 18in long. Play around with the length of the hook length until you get bites.
Look to the freshwater market for hooks with one of the most popular, the Kamasan B980 in size 6 to 8 being the go-to pattern. This sizing is ideal for presenting bread and small worm baits, also small fish strips.
If you’re struggling to connect with delicate mullet bites, reduce bait and hook size to a 10 or 12, and reduce the hook length breaking strain to 4lb. Both these adjustments can make a huge difference.
KAMASAN B980 SPECIMEN EYED HOOK 10 PER PACKET | RRP:£1.95
Cheap doughy loaves work for mullet. Break off a piece about the size of a 50p piece, fold it over the hook, crimp the edges down making it look much the same as a pasty. Small chunks of king rag are good, especially over rocky, muddy areas.
Maddie rag work well too, especially ledger fished and popped up with a flat bead just off the bottom. Mullet respond well to groundbait.
A simple mix of bread crumb mixed with a couple of tins of sardines/pilchards or a mackerel that’s been allowed to soften and then crushed up with the hands and added to the bread mash. Put this in a small mesh bag and hang it in the tide flow or throw it in as small balls to break up on the seabed.