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Ronan's report

Wednesday 7th August, 2013

Again I have been studying mullets for another 7 days and when and how they take (or mostly refuse to take) my flies. I have been changing size, colour, material, weight and of course the movement (different retrieving techniques or no retrieve at all) of my flies. After all I am close to conclude: Mullets almost never (maybe never at all) take my flies, because they think to grab something (they already know or in other words: that I am imitating) to eat!

First of all we have seen a lot of mullets swimming just next to all kind of natural bait like shrimps, Gammarus oceanicus, very small herrings, sand eels, little crabs and a lot more. Yet we have never seen a single mullet grabbing or just reacting on any of these bait at all!

Personally I think that depending on how I retrieve my fly at least some predatory (species of) fish may find an imitation of some of these bait in my flies. But who knows, I may be wrong here!?

The big question to me is: Why do mullets indeed react on my flies, while never reacting on all these bait swimming next to them? What makes the difference? I shall add: We also almost never have seen mullets grabbing some green or brown weeds of the surface either. So I also don't think they take my (often green coloured) flies, because they think it to be a piece of weed.

We have come to agree that mullets are simply curious about our flies suddenly showing up in front of them. The interesting thing is, that sometimes they ran into my flies from a distance of 2-3 meters like they would chase a fast running bait fish. Then in another situation they grab my fly of the ground or take it while it's just sinking down in front of their nose.

The most interesting reaction to me was: Very often they were running into my flies without opening their mouth! That means they just (fast and straight) swim right into my fly and will have it on their mouth without opening it. Some of them then have been swimming with my fly on their mouth for some meters and then shake it of again. This also explains why we sometimes hook the mullet just outside the mouth (which we never count as having caught one). Its seems crazy: The mullets ran right into my fly, I couldn't see the fly anymore and when I hit it, the fly was hanging outside the mouth. Of course, if a fish runs fast into my fly it often is pretty hard to see, if it opens its mouth or not. And then when my fly is gone for a second I of course try to set the hook.

Now, if mullets would be fooled to take my flies while believing it to be something to eat, than why would they show all these weird reactions instead of just opening their mouth and deeply inhaling the fly - which they hardly ever do. Very few mullets will have the fly deeply inside. Usually when they take the fly in their mouth, the hook will be set just a few millimetres inside of it. Quite different from many fish I have been fishing for.

Back to my main question about what makes the difference, why mullets do take/chase my flies but refuse to chase all natural moving things around them. The only difference coming to (my) mind is: The smell! I start believing that mullets get curious about the smell of my flies. After having presented my flies to thousands of mullets now for quite a long time, I have learned how to get them curious about my fly and how to make them taking it. I have learnt a lot of different strategies. But yet I haven't learnt anything about how they use their sense of smell and what different smells on my fly would mean to their reaction. That is because we fly fishermen usually refuse to experiment with chumming, flavours and all kind of bait-additives on our flies.

And that is why I personally think: It's not only about mullets. We still have no clue why most fish really take our flies! Yes, I know most of you will tell me, that the fish take it, because they think it to be an imitation of their natural food. But how can you be sure, if you haven't even studied their sense of smell and how they use it or don't use it and how the react on different smelling flies? I think those of us not having studied this field at all, don't know very much about why fish really take the fly. That may not belong to all fish, but I think to many fish.

If you think I am wrong here, please tell me your theories about whatever fish you fish for. I am a sexylooper and I am here to learn!:-)

Hopefully I could offer you some interesting minds about mullets again.

All my best,

Pic of Day



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