Monday, 13 July 2015

6/7/15 Back To My Roots

Firstly, an apology. As my good friend, Roger from the marina kindly reminded me, I've been rather neglecting the blog of late and failing to keep up with my entries so hopefully within the next hour or so, that will all be remedied and I'll be bang up to date.
I make no excuses for this situation apart from the fact that, like so many retired 'folk', it would seem that I just don't have the time! LOL
Mullet, and in particular, the thick lipped variety, lie at the root of my obsession with angling and were the specie that got me back into all this 'mullarkey' around the turn of the century.
In recent years, with my growing enthusiasm for inshore boat fishing, I've rather neglected this superb fish but, it has to be said, that if I was forced to fish for just one sea specie alone, then I would without a doubt, choose the thick lipped grey mullet.
No other fish fights so hard, pound for pound, nor challenges the angler so much. It rightly deserves its rather grand nickname of 'The British Bonefish'.
Its a ten mile run downstream from the river boat mooring to the stretch where I know for sure that mullet frequent. It's entirely possible that they could be found further upstream but, with my recent fishing form being a little on the 'dull' side, today was not the day to experiment. I needed to recharge the old batteries and put a bend in a fishing rod.
Precision timing is required to gain the optimum efficiency of the tide with our little river boat as its only got a maximum theoretical hull speed of about eight knots. I left the mooring just as the tide turned to ebb and completed the journey in a blisteringly quick, and technically illegal , fifty minutes!
Work out the maths for yourselves!
The river speed limit is 5 1/2kts but I can assure the reader that the little boat created absolutely no wash whatsoever on its journey towards the 'salt' and its tiny engine remained barely above 'tick over' for the duration.
My intention was to fish some of my old, but not quite yet forgotten, 'banker' marks and the first is known as the 'lower mud flats'.
Actually its a shallow section of river with a firm gravel bed, but that's not the point. It's produced well for me in the past and is nowadays completely inaccessible from the land. As I anchored the boat in just a couple of feet of water, and barely a rod length out from dry land , a bold mullet whelmed in the neighbouring shallows almost teasing me into casting a bait across his snout.
As there was a dry stretch of river bed between the boat, and this character I decided to leave him well alone, and concentrate on the clear swim in front of me, but at least I knew that mullet were about.
A bucket of Tesco's finest white bread was mashed to a soggy pulp and introduced sparingly to the swim with a plastic spoon whilst my home built cork on quill trotting float followed closely behind.
It didn't take very long for a few mullet to give their presence away in the swim and the first bite to materialise....which of course, I missed.
A few trots later and the float buried itself just a couple of rod lengths downstream from the boat and this time there was no mistake. The swift 'strike' was 'spot on ' and I was connected.
 Not a big fish at all (2-3lb) but could I get the damned thing in the net!! It just would not give up . Eventually I won the battle but the 'scrap' reminded just how powerful, and how much fun these little fish are, especially when afloat.
The activity waned after the disturbance so I allowed the boat to drift a few yards downstream and in effect fish a 'new' swim. It wasn't long before another similar sized mullet was 'on' but this time, the mullet won ..slipping the hook within netting range.
A move downstream was in order and some whelms were spotted at the end of 'Carp straight'- so called because I hooked a beautiful, fully scaled mid double common carp from this swim several years ago- a fish that had me convinced that I'd secured my best ever mullet for about twenty minutes until it's bronze back finally broke the surface and gave away its true identity.
Again I managed to get the boat very close to some moving fish-curiously they seem far less worried by a relatively huge lump of fibre glass on the water, compared to a human form walking the bank. Its very difficult to get so close to them when fishing on land.
A spoonful of mash was sent on its way and literally on the first trot down with the float, within seconds of sending it on its way, a mullet took the bait and was successfully boated- a slightly bigger fish this time of around three pounds.
As the tide slacked and started to flood I relocated to a swim known as the 'Upper mud flats',,,,which in this case, are extremely 'muddy' and a perfect refuge for mullet as the tide floods being one of the few places where the river defence retreats back into the surrounding land creating an area of almost still water.
However, separating the flats from the main river is a rocky vertical 'wall'  about four feet high and this mark consistently produces a fish or two before the water creeps over the main mud area.
Today was no different and yet another fish was taken just inches from the rocks, before I was able to gradually 'drag' the boat by the anchor on to the  mud  as the tide crept in.
After a brief respite of about half an hour where I didn't actually fish, a change of tactics was undertaken and a liquidised bread feeder was cast in to the ,by now fully flooded, swim.
Once again the activity and bites soon materialised as the mullet moved into the area and before long, the rod tip registered some interest and I managed to 'hit' the bite and score yet another fish.
As the tide slowed reaching its high point, it was time to head for home 'gaining' on the flood as I motored upstream.
I'd been out almost ten hours , it had been a superb day all round getting reacquainted with an old friend. lets hope we see some more this season.

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