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Fly fishing for MULLET


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Ronan's report

Wednesday 19 June, 2013

When being six to twelve years old I often went on sailing trips with my grand parents. In summer time this was sailing along the coast of the Baltic sea. Angling in all the harbours we visited, I often could see HUGE (3-5Kg) fish (a 5Kg fish in fact was really HUGE - almost unbelievable - to me in that age) swimming slowly around the ships and feeding seaweed and stuff like that of them. Those exciting fish were mullets!

Right from the beginning these fish always have been kind of magic to me. They are strong and very powerfull - especially when being spooked of, which young Bernd was pretty good at! The only problem was, that I had no clue how to catch them. For about many years I tried to, but never succeeded. Then I saw a Danish angler catching one by putting a piece of bred on his hook and throwing it right in the middle of a swarm of mullets. Holy moly, that moment on I knew they were catchable. I think you can well imagine what that meant to me!

But to shorten this, I never managed to catch one myself before I became a fly fisherman in age of twelve. And there is no doubt catching them on a fly is much harder than catching them on a piece of bred! Anyway I never gave up and many years after seeing that angler catching that mullet I indeed managed to fool one to take my fly! That was when I definetly realized how magic those fish can be for a fly fisherman.

Mullets usually feed on plankton and seaweed. Sometimes they may feed on small snails and very small crabs, too. All of the usual food of them is very hard - almost impossible - to imitate for us fly fisherman. And then I am pretty sure they mostly use their excellent abilty to smell, when searching up the ground for food. And it's exactly that what we fly fisherman keep ignoring and probably ever will. Well, at least I don't want to have further experiments with putting different smells on my fly. I have done it a very few times just to figure out about the differencies on different fish.

Now you may want to ask me for the right strategie to catch a mullet though. And indeed there are lots of strategies, which help to increase the change of catching one significally. Like all fish we of course can fool them to take flies in their mouth, even if they are not going to eat it - just like Atlantic salmons in the rivers.

To write down all different strategies I have come across during all those years, would fill a book and be far too much for this front page. But let me offer you a few essential keys to success:

1. You have to believe in catching one being possible!

2. Never make a cast without seeing them. It is SIGHT fishing (and sight fishing only), otherwise your change is almost about zero.

3. Never waste your time trying to catch one of those doing what they did in the last picture in the pic of the day section. Those are almost completely inpossible to catch. Sometimes you may find a huge school swimming like that. Simply look for a different school.

4. Use a 4-5wt. floating line (6 or more often spooks them off too easily). A one and a half rod lengths leader having a 0,20-0,22mm tippet will be a very good choice. A soft rod matching the 4-5wt. fly line works well in order not to break the thin leader when (strongly) setting the hook.

5. If they are moving shallow, then drop a weighted fly in front of them and start stripping it away of them. A 45° angle (to their path) might work well often.

6. If they are moving near the ground, I put a single split shot (on a side arm) in front of an unweighted fly. That way my fly drops pretty fast right in front of their nose and stays there. The correct depth is adjustable by where you position the sidearm exactly. If you get tangled in the bottom, you just loose a single split shot! Again a 45° angle to their path is a good way to start.

7. If they move slowly, strip slowly. If they move fast, strip fast. Simply strip in the same speed like they are moving. The fly should move in the same height as the fish are.That has worked well for me often, even so there are other strategies, which might work better sometimes.

8. When they start following the fly, speed up a little and finally make a long strip to set the hook.

9. You may want to have a look for some flies I use in the pic of the day section.

10. If you are faced several mullets swimming parallel along the same direction, that is when you may want to strip your fly pretty fast in a 90° angle passing them right in front of their nose. It seems to me as if this is, when sometimes everyone of them wants to be first on the fly. It's this situation I caught most of my mullets in.

It may take a while before a mullet will take your fly. No doubt they can be very tough to be fooled to take a fly though. But when they do, it may be a serious magical moment!? I have done it myself a few times... For those of you, who like eating a fish here and there, it might be worth knowing: mullets taste really delicious. Myself I haven't been eating one for a long time now - simply because it feels as magical to me to release one as it did catching it.

Hopefully I could give you some inspiration to try catching your first one soon. I know Paul would love it since it is SUMMERtime fishing always! ;)

All my best


p.s.: Fly fishing for mullet is among my personal favorite kinds of fly fishing I have done yet!

edit: The last three pics in the pod section are from yesterday - tactics worked perfectly out though! Ok, to be fair, catching THREE in one day, is very special always. ;)

Pic Of Day



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