Monday, May 22, 2017

Perry St Pond - League 4 - 21st May 2017

The Perry St low section was my destination for round four after another cracking breakfast at Millfield café and I was really disappointed to pull out peg 1, it's a corner peg but hasn't done much in the first three matches. Picky drew peg 10 and the Tart was on peg 3 which won last week so once again my pound coins were in grave danger. When I got to my swim, corner peg 20 opposite wasn't in and I didn't think it would do me any favours as the fish would have loads of space to back off into. What was also worrying was that there were only odd fish cruising about and loads of rain yesterday might have put them down.

The usual three rigs were assembled, an in-line dibber for fishing shallow, a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp for the five metre meat line and a margin rig. On the side tray I had 6mm pellets, 6mm meat (with added Liquid Plum), maggots and 8mm Bait-Tech Juice Dumbells. I was set up in plenty of time and even had chance to tie a few hooklengths before going up to have a quick chat with the Tart, I was soon joined by Picky and Mike and the Tart was loving all the attention and even offered to sign items of clothing! (yep, that's why he's called the Tart!).
My view for the day
On the whistle I fed some meat at five metres and pellets, maggots and meat in the margins to my left before starting at 11.5 metres with the shallow rig and a banded 6mm pellet. Despite the pond being flat calm and not many fish showing themselves I still thought I'd get a few. The Tart had one on the deck quite quickly as did Bish over on peg 17 and when Chilly on 19 hooked and lost a fish, I thought it would only be a matter of time before I had one.

Mark on my left had a couple of fish from his inside line and then just before the first hour was up, I hooked a fish and straight away I knew it was either a big fish or foulhooked and after giving me the run around, unfortunately it turned out to be the latter as the rig came back with a scale on the hook! As well as pinging pellets on the longer line, I was also firing a few down to my right at 11.5 metres (where the lilies are in the photo above) and tried it periodically but never had a bite there. The five metre line and my margin were tried with the same result.

Nobody was bagging as it sounded like the pond was fishing really hard, Mark had a couple of fish and I'd seen the Tart net two or three, Bish was still on one and Chilly had hooked another carp only for it to find a snag in open water and he lost it. I'd originally set my sights on catching two carp an hour but after two hours I was still blanking and putting three nets in might have been a tad optimistic!

I kept trying all my lines and even had the odd go at mugging (despicable!) but they just didn't want to know. As we approached the half way point, Mark and the Tart probably had five or six apiece and apparently Bushy and the Hoff were catching but I honestly thought I was going to blank. Chilly hooked his third carp and this one found the same snag and he lost that as well and wasn't a happy bunny! I tried a Juice Dumbell but the odd cruising carp didn't want to know them either, after three and a half hours, I stuck on two more sections and went 14.5 metres past the lilies on the right with a dumbbell on but I wasn't hopeful.

I was just about to give that up as a bad job when the pole was wrenched round and after trying to ground me in everything it could find, I finally netted a very angry 3lb carp - phew! I had a second fish about ten minutes later but any thoughts of a comeback soon disappeared when no more indications were forthcoming. I tried both of the shorter lines again but not so much as a sniff, back to 14.5 metres and the rest must of done it some good as I had two more fish in quick succession and started to think I could still get decent points as there was over an hour of the match left. I should have known better, time was ticking by and although I had my fifth carp I thought I needed a couple more.

With ten minutes to go I missed three good bites and thought my chance had gone, Chilly hooked another carp, this time from his inside line and it tore off up towards Bish and this was snapped him, there were a few choice words and I'm sure I saw steam coming out of his ears. My float flew away and the elastic came out as Les signalled the all out, I shouted 'Fish on' but it was already in the lilies and snapped me - bugger! I just knew that fish would be costly as Mark had six, the Tart was admitting to six and he said Picky had the same number as well.

After packing up the scales started with me and my fish went 21lb 10oz and then Mark pipped me with 23lb 4oz, the Tart actually had seven carp (lying git) and weighed 29lb 4oz to take another nugget off me, then Bushy had 51lb 14oz from peg 5 although he'd lost quite a few as well, Hoff came close with 51lb 4oz from peg 7 and then Wing Commander had a bad day to weigh a level 9lb, that just left Picky who had 25lb 4oz and my loose change was dwindling rapidly! I was cursing not trying 14.5 metres earlier as one more fish would have been worth two more places and two fish would have been enough for third in the section.

Oz won the other section with 35lb 8oz from peg 11 followed by Geoff with 23lb 2oz from peg 13 and Les with 21lb 4oz of carp on the waggler from peg 14, then the weights dropped off and it certainly looked like the majority of the fish were in the top half of the pond as Chris had 18lb from peg 15, the sexy Chanter didn't weigh from peg 16, Bish had 9lb 8oz from peg 17 and Chilly blanked in 19.

 The guys at Sadborow arrived back and that had fished a bit harder as well although Howard still did 72lb 4oz from peg 6 and Shane had over 60lb from peg 9, Exeter Mike was third in the section with 24lb from peg 8. As Janders was sixth in that section (the same position as me) we called our side bet quits.

Perry High
1 - Steve Osborne (Chard) - 35lb 8oz
2 - Geoff Young (Torquay) - 23lb 2oz
3 - Les Braunton (Chard) - 21lb 4oz

1 - Howard Watts (Torquay) - 72lb 4oz
2 - Shane Jeffery (Chard) - 60lb 2oz
3 - Mike Hosgood (Nr Exeter) - 24lb

Perry Low
1 - Steve Bush (Chard) - 51lb 14oz
2 - Mark Hollister (Chard) - 51lb 4oz
3 - Brendon Ions (Torquay) - 29lb 4oz

In the league, Howard leads with 5 points followed by Shane with 8 and already they are pulling away from the chasing pack, Bushy is in third place with 13 points followed by several anglers on 14.

Ilminster AA had their second Summer League match at the pond and although the weights were down on last week, the top three all still had double figures. John Dursley had 25lb 2oz of bream and skimmers on the short pole from peg 10, Frank Woodard was second with 11lb 10oz of skimmers on the feeder from peg 7 and next door Baz Morgan was third with 10lb 11oz of skimmers from peg 8.

Next up - Summerhayes

Coming soon - Another great interview

Check Out - My latest review (below)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sodafloat Review

The Sodafloat was the brainchild of Paul Jessop following a frustrating match when the carp were out in the middle of the lake by a central rope, out of the range that Paul could accurately catapult his pellets and he caught very little. After a couple of sleepless nights and a week tinkering around in his garage, the Sodafloat was born!

Basically the best way of describing the Sodafloat (and if you're wondering it stands for Self-Opening Displacement Action float) is a new type of feeder float. It enables you to fish and feed accurately at any distance you can cast. Over the years there have been several attempts at creating a float that delivers loose feed right next to your hook bait, everything from floats with a blockend swimfeeder for a body to bagging wagglers (which actually work quite well), so why is the Sodafloat different?
The Sodafloat
The Sodafloat is loaded and because of it's unique design, the weight of the free offerings in the float have no effect on the buoyancy and it will not delve too deeply. The action of the Sodafloat then ensures your hook bait is accurately surrounded by free offerings (see photo sequence below).


It will work with any particles (as long as they will fit in the float) or groundbait but obviously the use that stands out is fishing beyond conventional pellet waggler range where you can deposit half a dozen pellets right by yours.

I also think it could work for those pesky mullet with flake on the hook and either liquidised or mashed bread as feed, making a lovely cloud around your hookbait as you trot down in the flow. It could also work really well in Thailand for Siamese carp and Mekong catfish, maybe there's scope for a stepped up version!

Check out the website - Peejay Tackle where there are several really useful and informative videos along with details of stockists. The Sodafloat is the first innovative product released to market by Peejay Tackle but apparently there are more in the pipeline and I for one will be waiting with interest to see what Paul comes up with next.

The Sodafloat retails at £5.99.

All images courtesy of Peejay Tackle.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Sadborow - League 3 - 14th May 2017

It was back to the Chard AC league at the weekend and I was really looking forward to fishing Sadborow pond for the first time since 2007! The club have done loads of work out there over the last few years and it's been fishing really well with over 100lb needed to win the last three matches. After another excellent breakfast at Millfield café we headed to Perry St to do the draw, as we had a little way to travel, Les got us underway first. The hot pegs at Sadborow have been 4, 5 and 6 by the island and peg 8 in the corner so I was a little disappointed when I pulled out peg 2 in the open water which had done 20-30lb and finished well down in the first two matches.

The Tart had drawn peg 6 which won the last match with over 100lb and Picky was behind the island on peg 5 where Les had won the first match so my pound coins were in grave danger already. After a short drive we reached the pond and it looked pretty much how I remembered it although apparently it's a lot deeper now. There was loads of floating crap on the surface which was bound to be a bit of a pain but on the plus side, there were lots of dark shapes cruising around and I really fancied I'd get a few shallow today.
Sadborow Pond
First rig out of the box was a little in-line dibber for fishing up in the water, as people around the pond were plumbing up, the depth was taking lots of people by surprise and there were quite a few 'add ons' taking place (having to add more line to a rig), with that in mind I got a rig out that I use at Harry's before shipping out into the abyss and luckily it was nigh on perfect. Last rig was a Carpa 2 for fishing up the edge to my right. Quite a full side tray this week with some micros I'd soaked the night before, 6mm pellets, meat (with added Liquid Plum), red maggots (dead and alive) and a pot of 8mm Bait-Tech Juice Dumbells.
Peg 2
Somehow the Tart had taken over timekeeping duties from Group Leader Smith and got us underway at 10:30, I cupped in some meat at five metres and micros and dead maggots down the edge before starting with the shallow rig (surprise, surprise!) with a 6mm pellet in the band, I was just about to ship out when a pod of carp headed my way. I flicked the rig in front of them and watched a carp suck the pellet in before striking into thin air as I pulled the hook straight out again! I went out to ten metres and started firing out half a dozen pellets regularly and lifting and dropping the rig.

Exeter Mike on my left was into a fish straight away, followed shortly by the Tart, Wing Commander Smith and Hoff up on peg 4 was flying, then I hooked into one and safely landed a 3lb carp. I then pulled out of one and everywhere I looked there was elastic streaming from pole tips, I had a few more shallow but the early leaders were Hoff and the Tart who were bagging and Exeter Mike was catching well from his meat line and up the edge. After an hour I had ten carp but it was hard to gauge how well I was doing.

The floating debris was nightmare and at times it was a job to find a clear patch to lower your rig in, Bushy, Field Marshall Smith and Mark G had it worse than me although the island pegs didn't look to have it as bad. Things slowed up for me in the second hour and I only added another five carp, Mike next door had a run of fish from his meat line and said he had them lined up, he should have known better as the fish fairy then paid him a visit, Hoff was still catching really well but Picky around the other side of the island was struggling a bit.

Plenty of carp could still be seen swimming about and along with getting the odd one fishing shallow, it was difficult to resist the odd bit of stalking and I started to close the gap on the Tart and Hoff, Mike was still getting odd fish from his meat line so I tried mine for the first time after feeding it for three hours but never had a touch and as for my margin line, it was a waste of time as there was a thick carpet of floating crap right where I'd been feeding.

I kept trying the Juice Dumbells and had quite a few fish on them, including a good skimmer around 2.5lb and some nice silvers were being caught Admiral Smith had a chub pushing 5lb, Mark had a big tench, the Tart had two big skimmers and Mike and Picky both had one as well. It was a gorgeous day and there was plenty of banter going around the pond, especially when Brigadier General Smith mentioned the hounds that were used to hunt otters in the olden days, apparently there used to be several packs of 'Hotter dogs' in the area in the days of yore!

Going into the last couple of hours most people had slowed up but I was still getting the odd fish by stalking, I did pull out of one which made the Tart chuckle but then dropped the rig in front of another pod and hooked one straight away, much to his disgust! Every time a fish was stalked/mugged there were cries of 'despicable' but everybody was trying it, even Bushy and Exeter 'Mugger' Mike. My clicker was reading 31 (30 carp and that skimmer) with 90 minutes to go and I really thought a big weight was still on the cards but then the whole pond seemed to switch off.

The Tart then had one fishing really shallow, then another and then another, I tried it and had one but during that last period of the match he must have had eight fish whereas I only had two, Colonel Smith also had three of four and when the whistle went I had no clue who had what although I didn't think the Tart would be far off. Typically as I was packing up there were loads of carp in front of me again and it's almost like they know the match has finished!

We started the weigh in with the Tart and after several weighs, his total was totted up and came to 103lb 14oz, next was Mark who had 49lb 6oz, then Captain Smith had 90lb 12oz which included that lovely chub at 4lb 14oz. Bushy weighed 81lb 2oz and then it was my turn, my skimmer was 2lb 10oz and my carp went 91lb 12oz to give me a total of 94lb 6oz to go into second place.
The Tart had 103lb 14oz
Mark had 49lb 6oz from peg 7
Section Commander Smith had 90lb 12oz which included this cracking chub
Bushy with part of his 81lb 2oz catch
I had a lovely day and weighed 94lb 6oz
Exeter Mike then weighed 83lb 7oz and the Hoff had 63lb 8oz from peg 4, Picky was last to weigh and had 36lb 4oz, he handed over a nugget which I gave straight to the Tart. So a pretty close match with plenty of bites and a good laugh as well, a really enjoyable day.
Exeter Mike had 83lb 7oz
Hoff had 63lb 8oz from peg 4
Picky struggled behind the island for 36lb 4oz
Back at the results and Glenn (standing in for Howard) won Perry High with 60lb 10oz from peg 16 with Shane in second from peg 11 with 56lb 11oz. I didn't get Glenn's second name so asked the Tart and Les what is was only to be told Campbell and Hoddle (think about it!). Bish had the top weight in the other section with 48lb 10oz from peg 3 followed by Chilly with 42lb 10oz from peg 4. Mike Collins had the best silvers weight with 5lb 6oz from peg 17.
So the Tart won it and I was called out in second place and had a nice pick up of £85 plus a pound off Janders and Supreme Commander Smith was third. Les said that as we'd all now fished Sadborow, he was going to change the payout as it was dominating the individual payouts and you just can't compete from Perry St and I think he's made the right decision.
In the league Howard is currently leading with 4 points followed by Shane with 6 and then Bish and me on 8.
1 - Brendon Ions (Torquay) - 103lb 14oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 94lb 6oz
3 - Mike Smith (Torquay) - 90lb 12oz

Perry High
1 - Glenn (Torquay) - 60lb 10oz
2 - Shane Jeffery (Chard) - 56lb 11oz

1 - Mike Hosgood (Nr Exeter) - 83lb 7oz
2 - Steve Bush (Chard) - 81lb 2oz

Perry Low
1 - Steve Bishop (Chard) - 48lb 10oz
2 - Andy Winters (Chard) - 42lb 10oz

 Mike Collins (Chard) - 5lb 6oz

Ilminster AA had their first match at Dillington on Sunday and some brilliant weights were recorded, Bill Hopping drew peg one and had an amazing day catching big chub, bream and skimmers for 58lb 12oz which is a new match record, well done Bill. John Dursley had 23lb 3oz of bream and skimmers for second place, Gordon Aplin was third with 17lb 14oz from peg 15 and Rich Studley had the last frame place with 15lb 5oz from peg 5.
Section wins went to Ashley Tomkins with 11lb 14oz (peg 18) and Adie Bishop with 7lb 10oz (peg 2).
I must admit that when Ashley set the match record a couple of years back with 48lb odd, I couldn't see it being broken but now nothing would surprise me, a cracking venue.
I also had some great feedback during the week, I followed someone on Twitter and they returned the favour and then sent me this direct message which made my day,

‘Hi Jamie, thanks for following me. I've been reading your blog for ages. It's always a great read and I like what you are doing now with the guest blogs and reviews - it's the best angling blog out there in my opinion.’

It's always great to get feedback and I always on the lookout for guest blogs (so far I've had some fantastic ones) and I love to see photos of your catches, so submit them via the contact form or the Facebook page and I'll feature them on the news page (like these from Steve Hurford's recent pleasure session at Dillington - News, reviews and match reports )

Next up - Perry St Pond

Coming soon - My next review

Check Out - My quick tip (below)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Quick tip - Hemp with a twist

Whenever I fish natural venues I always like to have some hemp with me and I normally split a large tin of Bait-Tech Super Seed hemp into three bags and freeze it, that way a tin lasts me three matches which is great value!

Along with the Natural hemp there are also Chilli and Aniseed varieties and with the arrival of all the new Bait-Tech additives and glugs, it got me thinking, why stop there? So the next time I bought some hemp I decided to give it a twist.
Nutty Glug, Super Seed Hemp, Liquid Plum and The Juice
Adding some Nutty goodness!
Make sure you split the hemp equally between three freezer bags (including the liquid) and then add your chosen flavouring, I used The Juice, Liquid Plum and Nutty Glug and a couple of squirts or capfuls should be plenty. Before sealing the bags, make sure the additive is distributed evenly (which is where the liquid the hemp is cooked in comes in handy), then tie a knot in the bags and pop them in the freezer by the following day you have ‘Juicy hemp’, ‘Plum hemp’ and ‘Nutty hemp’.
Juicy Hemp, Plum Hemp and Nutty Hemp
The freezing process really helps the hemp take on flavour and colour and although hemp itself is a fantastic bait and attractor, by doing something a little bit different, you might just give yourself an edge. You could even feed several lines with different flavours and see which one produces the best results.

Check out all the new Bait-Tech products here

Monday, May 08, 2017

Summerhayes - Open - 7th May 2017

This weeks match was a rover on all ponds with the exception of Longs which was booked for a club match, so given that I hate Lily lake and have only fished Willow once, I would be a praying for a fairly early choice so I could pick one of the pegs on the far side of Sellicks, namely 15-21 although 11 or 13 have been okay as well. I picked Janders up and we got to Bridgwater nice and early only to find the car park was already rammed with spaces at a premium! We paid our pools and there were 25 booked in for today which would mean an early choice would be essential to get on Sellicks. In the end there were a few no shows but we still had 21 fishing. The first job was for someone to pick a golden ball and Chris M pulled out twenty first choice and then when it was his turn to draw he pulled out first choice so both ends of the spectrum then!

Janders went into the bucket next and came back with choice number four, I stuck my hand in and my ball had the number 18 on it which meant I was up against it already. After everybody had drawn it was time to choose your pegs. All the ponds and pegs were on the whiteboard and there were a few stipulations, only odd numbered pegs could be chosen and we had to fit around a few pleasure anglers insuring they had a spare peg either side. Predictably, all the favoured pegs on Sellicks went early on with 23 (Chris), 17 (Roger), 13 (Jeff S), 19 (Janders) and 11 (Gary) being the first five pegs chosen, in fact by the time it was my turn, there were no pegs left on Sellicks and only one left on Willow, there were spaces on Lily but I wasn't going there so it was either a gamble on Perch Pit which I'd never fished before or go on peg 11 on Willow and in the end, that's what I went for.

I'd only ever fished Willow once, a few years ago, and had quite a nice day catching lots of little tench along with the odd skimmer and small carp. Asking around the general consensus was that 10lb of silvers would be a good weight on Willow and I thought that might be enough to sneak in the frame today. My peg was on the far side and there was just me and a pleasure angler over there with five anglers on the near side.
Peg 11 on Willow
I set up a 10 x 11 MW F1 Slim for fishing three longer lines and a 0.3 gram NG Mini Gimp for two five metre lines. On the whistle I cupped in some micros at 8.5 metres, two lines at 10 metres and two at 5 metres before starting at 8.5 metres with a 4mm pellet on the hook. Bites came quickly but two small roach in as many chucks wasn't the start I'd hoped for. I switched to the central 10 metre line and had to wait longer for a bite and the result wasn't a small roach but a 2lb carp which wasn't what I'd hoped for either. I had another and then hooked a fish which didn't feel like a carp but it came off and when I shipped back there was small scale on the hook and I was already getting a sense of how this day was going to go!

I moved to the right hand line but small fish were ragging the soft pellet, as the first hour came to a close I managed a 6oz skimmer from middle 10 metre line and Adie Bishop had netted one as well so at least there were a few better silvers about. Alvin Jones on the end peg was catching carp well and the land on the other end peg was getting a few but the angler opposite me was really struggling and I hadn't seen him catch yet. I had another slightly better skimmer but those small fish were being a real nuisance and I was starting to wish I'd brought some maggots as I reckon I could have caught a fish a chuck.

Adie shouted across that Alvin had landed a near 2lb perch and Jess Jordan next door had a decent one as well and I was pretty sure he was using chopped worm and caster. I was switching between the three longer lines but all I could catch was the odd small roach so a quick rummage in the carryall resulted in some pots of soft pellets which are a bit more durable than expanders so I put one on in a bid to deter the small fish. It worked to a certain extend but now I was having to wait ages for bites, I did manage another 6oz skimmer, one around 2oz and a 4oz perch! I was also still getting the odd carp and netted a couple around the 5lb mark.
Another 5lb nuisance!
Then I hooked a fish which turned out to be a little tench but with only a couple of hours to go I probably didn't have 2lb of silvers yet! Adie had a big perch and then added a decent eel and with the bankside grapevine hinting that some of the better silvers pegs on Sellicks were struggling, I thought he might have a chance of sneaking in the frame. I hooked another carp that lead me a merry dance before going under the pallet and after much faffing about, I lost it, the rig was in a right mess and I wasn't enjoying myself very much at all. The highlight of the day was seeing a white egret land by the island, you can just about make it out in the photo below but my photography skills were probably on par with my silvers catching skills today!
Plenty of time for birdwatching today!
The lad opposite packed up with an hour to go and during the last sixty minutes I only added a few small fish and a couple of carp and was ready for the all out when it came. I took my kit back to the car and when I caught up with the scales the far side of Sellicks had already been weighed in, Roy Hughes was leading the way with 105lb 12oz from peg 21 which included 12lb 9oz of silvers, Roger Russell and Janders had 3lb 10oz and 3lb 9oz of silvers and then Jeff Sparkes had a lovely net of tench, skimmers and crucians weighing 17lb 15oz from in-form peg 13.

There were only three anglers on Lily lake which hadn't been great with Scott Cousins and Steve Kedge not bothering to weigh and Bill had 79lb 6oz from peg 11. Willow was next and Dave Chidzoy had 71lb 9oz from peg 9, Adie had 6lb 12oz of silvers, Jess had 4lb 1oz and then Alvin had 83lb 6oz to go into third spot. I only weighed my silvers in for the sake of the side bet and my meagre catch was 2lb 14oz so I lost that as well to finish off an uninspiring day. I chucked back my ten carp which would have gone 20lb or so.

The only angler brave enough to go on Perch Pit was John Barker and he had 4lb 8oz of silvers before the scales party headed back to Sellicks, young Karl Aplin had 26lb 6oz from peg 7 and then John W had 83lb 9oz to pip Alvin by 3oz, last but certainly not least was Gabe Skarba on peg 1, fresh from setting a new match record on Sellicks on Wednesday, he won again today, this time with 183lb 8oz.

1 - Gabriel Skarba (Mosella) - 183lb 8oz
2 - Roy Hughes (Summerhayes) - 105lb 12oz
3 - John W (Summerhayes) - 83lb 9oz
4 - Alvin Jones (County Gardening) - 83lb 6oz
5 - Bill Hopping (Summerhayes) - 79lb 6oz

1 - Jeff Sparkes (Summerhayes) - 17lb 15oz
2 - Adie Bishop (Summerhayes) - 6lb 12oz
3 - John Barker (Summerhayes) - 4lb 8oz
Great leading weights again today
So a really disappointing day and I should have taken a gamble and gone on Perch Pit, still at least the weather was nice! Next Sunday, I'm at Sadborow, which I haven't fished for a long, long time and its been fishing really well but there are two or three hot pegs so lets hope my drawing arm returns to form by then!

Next up - Sadborow

Coming soon - My next interview

Check Out - My quick tip (below)

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Quick tip - Pepping up your pellets

Pellets straight out of the bag catch an awful lot of fish but in this day and age where the fish have seen it all on busy commercials, what can you do to give yourself an edge?

I like to prepare my micros the evening before a match and I add two extra levels of attraction, firstly I flavour the water used to soak the micros (in this instance I used Bait-Tech’s Liquid Plum) and then cover them for a few minutes before draining the water off and then I add a liberal helping of groundbait (I thought I’d try the new Pro Feeder Dark). The addition of some groundbait does two things, it helps to separate the micros and also gives them a light dusting so when you cup them in they give off an enticing cloud. Give the bait tin a good shake and put them in the fridge overnight and in the morning you will have lovely soft micros.
2mm Carp and Coarse Pellets, Liquid Plum and Dark Fishmeal Pro Feeder
Add your chosen flavour to water
Cover the pellets and allow to soak for a few minutes before draining off
Add some groundbait
Feed pellets with an edge
It's good fun experimenting with the almost endless combinations of groundbait/flavours the Bait-Tech range offers and you can tailor them to suit different water conditions i.e. dark groundbait for clear venues.

Check out all the great new Bait-Tech products here

Monday, May 01, 2017

Summerhayes - Open - 30th April 2017

After some lovely weather, the temperature took a dive and there was even snow reported in some areas during the week! The forecast wasn't great for today either although when I picked Janders up it was dry albeit a tad windy. We got to Bridgwater and as we parked up, the pegs in front of the car park (37-39) look fairly sheltered and I said to Janders I'd love to have 38 today. After paying our pools, Pete said it would be a rover today and he was paying the top two carp and silver weights.

The draw was announced and Janders pulled out choice number three, Bill had number two which was also the golden peg and then I grabbed a peg and when I looked, I'd only gone and got first choice so I got my wish and went for peg 38. Janders decided on peg 4 with Bill on 2, John Barker was on 33, Jacko chose 31, Steve Kedge went for 10 and Jeff was the only angler on the bottom bank on number 17.
First choice saw me pick peg 38
My peg looked nice and I set up a 10 x 11 MW F1 Slim for fishing two lines at 8.5 metres and another at top two plus one and also a 0.3 gram NG Mini Gimp for fishing on the inside to my right. Bait was just some micros I'd soaked yesterday and 4mm expanders for the hook. On the whistle I fed all four lines with some micros before starting on the inside line, I had a few knocks before the float sailed away and I hooked a lump which turned out to be a 5-6lb carp, next chuck I lost a carp and when the next bite resulted in another carp, it was time to try another line.

I had to wait a while for my first bite at 8.5 metres but it was carp number three and after half an hour, I hadn't had a skimmer yet! I finally got off the mark with a couple of small skimbobs but as the first hour came to a close, it had been a less than inspiring sixty minutes. From what I could see, nobody looked to be bagging, Bill had landed a couple of carp and I'd seen Janders catch a few small fish but that was about it. The second hour was more of the same with just a few 2-3oz skimmers and a couple more carp to show for my efforts as I swapped between the two longer lines.

Going into the third hour it had started raining, the wind had picked up and I hadn't put much in my silvers net at all! Then a bite on the right hand line saw a good skimmer come leaping out of the water and I safely netted my first decent fish. A couple more smaller skimbobs followed along with the inevitable carp and Pete asked how I was doing, I said I was struggling and he said John on 33 was only admitting to 2lb or so although Jacko had landed a few skimmers but nobody was really bagging on silvers.

Then I hooked a fish which didn't feel like a carp (but then half the time the carp don't feel like carp when you first hook them!) and a lovely crucian popped up, things got even better when I had another next chuck and although I only had around 3lb of silvers as the half way point approached, at least I was starting to get the odd better fish. The weather was now pretty miserable and I was regretting not putting my wellies on as my feet were soaked. Janders went to use the loo and stopped to ask how I was doing, I told him and he said he had a tench and a few small skimmers so he was struggling too.

I tried the inside line again and had two more carp but then disaster struck when two of my pole sections got stuck together which made trying to fish the shorter lines very awkward! I could see John Barker was starting to catch skimmers quite well and Janders netted two decent ones in quick succession whereas all I could catch was carp and the odd little skimmer. With around two hours to go, the weather eased up a bit, the pole dried off and I was finally able to get the two joints apart. The wind had also dropped and I could see carp blowing on all four of my lines - great!

I had another nice crucian and a decent skimmer from the short line plus a couple more carp and then hooked a fish which I would have sworn was a crucian or tench until a little 10oz carp came up! Going into the last hour, the rain returned and after yet another carp I tried the longer lines again and had two 3-4oz skimbobs come off shipping back. Bill was now bagging on carp and even had a couple of good skimmers and a big perch!

With fifteen minutes to go I was back on the short line and I had my fourth crucian followed by a little skimmer and then another good leaper to finish with a flourish. As Pete signalled the all out, Janders was playing a carp and he gave it some stick only for it to turn into a decent tench! I ended up with 24 silvers (4 crucians, 3 good skimmers and the rest small skimbobs) for about 6-7lb and at least 15 carp. Jacko walked up and said he thought he had 9lb of silvers and that John Barker had more than him so I thought that was that.

John was first to weigh and had a nice bag of skimmers weighing 13lb 2oz and had caught well after a slow first couple of hours. Jacko had 7lb 14oz of silvers and 61lb 13oz of carp, next up was silvers specialist Jeff Sparkes who had 7lb 12oz and I thought I wouldn't be far off that weight. Steve Kedge then plonked 138lb of carp on the scales to go into the lead and as we walked up to weigh Janders in, he was admitting to 8lb but weighed 9lb 2oz and I knew I didn't have that. Bill also broke triple figures with 109lb 5oz and I was last to weigh, my carp went 49lb 10oz and then my silvers fell just short as I weighed 8lb 7oz and Janders won the pound thanks to his last gasp tench.

Back at the results and after a very welcome cup of coffee, Pete announced the winners and Janders looked very happy with his envelope for second in the silvers, well done mate.
Janders almost smiled!
1 - Steve Kedge (Somerset Angling) - 138lb
2 - Bill Hopping (Summerhayes) - 109lb 5oz

1 - John Barker (Summerhayes) - 13lb 2oz
2 - John 'Janders' Anderson (Donyatt) - 9lb 2oz

We're back again next week and its a rover on all ponds except Longs although I'm not sure I'd like first choice again as the last couple of times I've had it, I haven't done very well. Hopefully the weather will be a bit better too!

Next up - Summerhayes

Coming soon - My next interview

Check Out - The latest guest blog (below)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mullet Fishing by Pete Bluett - Part 2

In part 2 of Pete's excellent article he explains the methods he uses to target mullet.


The following methods are those that I currently use to catch thick lips. They will almost certainly seem impossibly crude to seasoned coarse anglers, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my years chasing mullet, it’s to keep it simple. I have found no value in messing around with fancy rigs or any more bits, bobs or widgets than is absolutely necessary.

Before getting into the nitty gritty, a general piece of advice would be to not get obsessed with fishing for fish that you can see. Mullet are highly visible a lot of the time but often the ones you can see are just sunbathing or mooching (as we say down here in Cornwall) and will not look at a bait however well it is presented. Because of the mullet’s reputation for visibility, lots of people fall into the trap of believing that if you can’t see them, they aren’t there. More often than not, this is just not true, and since I learned to trust my instincts and fish ‘blind’, my catches have at least doubled, probably tripled. 

Pete with a lovely fish of 4lb 9oz from the River Camel
I guess the ‘purist’ way to catch mullet is on the float, and whilst I would never call myself a purist, it is still the method I find most rewarding. Most of my float fishing these days is done with a sliding waggler setup. My current float of choice for this is the unloaded version of the Drennan Puddle Chucker. The float is fished bottom end only sliding on the mainline and I use a rubber float stop above the float to control the depth. Of course a sliding stop knot could also be used and has the advantage of passing more easily through the rod rings. Below the float I attach a trace of 4lb bs fluorocarbon of about 3-4ft in length using a small swivel. I bulk the shot on the mainline above the swivel but may also add a dropper shot onto the trace if I’m fishing in flowing water and need the bread to sink more quickly and not drag behind the float – you would be amazed how long a piece of bread flake can take to sink when unweighted. Using this setup, I have caught lots of mullet in depths of 3ft right up to about to 20ft. The beauty of the sliding waggler lies in its sensitivity, but this can also be its downfall as it is no good in fast flowing and/or turbulent water because it constantly gets dragged under by the flow. When this is the case I will use a Drennan Loafer, either fished as a slider or fixed with float rubbers. In many open water locations it is necessary to use floats of up to 5SSG or even more, and this is where the bulky and buoyant loafer/chubber style floats come into their own. They are also very effective in fast shallow water. I have a number of very shallow swims on my local river where I catch mullet with a 2SSG loafer run through with the bread no more than a foot below it.  
The author's partner, Jenny, with a cracking fish just shy of 5lb caught in Ireland
Up until about 12 years ago I had never legered for mullet, believing wrongly that they could only be caught by float fishing. Then one warm September day, I took the plunge with a leger set up, caught 5 in a session and have never looked back. These days I catch probably as many legering as I do on the float. My favourite method is probably touch legering and I am fortunate in that a lot of my summer spots are conducive to this method. The rig couldn’t be simpler – a snap swivel running on the mainline to which the lead is attached, then a trace of about 5 or 6 inches of 4lb bs fluorocarbon attached with a small swivel. I rarely use leads of more than ½ oz for this and often as light as ¼ oz. I simply cast into an area where I have seen fish, or think fish might be lurking, tighten down, hold the rod and feel for the bites with the line over the forefinger. Sometimes the bites will be so gentle you can hardly feel them, sometimes they’ll all but wrench the rod out of your hand. This is also a great way to sight fish, just cast in front of patrolling fish and watch them take the bread. Well that’s the theory anyway! 
The author with a stunning fish of 6lb 3oz caught somewhere in Snowdonia!
The other main way I leger is with a quiver tip. This is most often employed at larger venues such as Christchurch Harbour where it is necessary to cast longer distances and where there can be long waits between bites. For this I use the same set up as above but with 1 oz in line method feeders running on the line in place of the lead. Alternatively you can use a lead, such as the 1.1 oz Korda gripper leads, and mould the crumb around that instead. I use a 50/50 mix of white and brown breadcrumb moulded round the feeder and usually fish two rods. Hook bait up until recently was the usual bread flake, but a good friend of mine has turned me onto crust on the hook. Simply pass the hook through from the flake side, turn it and insert back through the crust side so the point is in the soft bit. Inserting a small piece of grass between the bend of the hook and the surface of the crust prevents the hook pulling through and allows you to cast surprisingly long distances without it coming off. Crust has the advantage of popping up off the bottom out of any weed and away from crabs. The fish really steam into this and it is not unusual to have a ‘shy biting’ mullet pretty much drag your rod in. I think it’s fair to say that the adoption of quiver tipping has revolutionised legering for mullet.
Quiver tipping
The third method is to paternoster. I rarely use this nowadays but have done well with it in the past when fishing straight down under the rod tip, usually right in the margins at high tide. I just tie it up very simply with a three way swivel and the usual fluorocarbon trace. The difference being that this time the trace is at 90 degrees to the main line.

A quick paragraph on groundbait. As mentioned above, for quiver tipping I use a 50/50 mix of brown and white crumb which I make myself from sliced loaves with a kitchen blender. As well as what goes on the feeder, I also catapult the odd loose ball into the swim. For all other applications, I use the same 50/50 mix but watered down so it just about holds together. This is introduced into the swim little and often either by hand or with a large spoon. For harbour or lower estuary/coastal locations, I usually mash some tinned pilchards into the bread mash. This adds scent but has the disadvantage of sometimes attracting ‘nuisance’ species like mackerel and garfish. The jury’s out though as to whether fishy groundbait catches any more mullet and it is quite likely the case that plain bread is just as good. The whole issue of groundbaiting for mullet is often a matter of personal preference and can often be very venue specific. Indeed I fish a lot of places where groundbaiting seems to make no difference at all and I don’t bother with it. For the novice mullet angler it will be a case of trial and error.

Fishing bread also throws up the occasional surprise like this 5lb gilthead bream
As I said these are the methods I currently use. I intend to have a serious go at fly fishing for them this coming summer but at the moment am in no way qualified to give advice on that. Likewise surface fishing which can be deadly on occasion but with which I have almost zero experience. As a final thought it is well worth giving night fishing a go. I have had many experiences where fish that had been unwilling to feed during daylight go absolutely berserk during night time.

The politics and a plea

Mullet are slow maturing and slow growing fish. It is also thought that they only spawn every other year. These factors, allied to their tendency to occur in (often highly visible) shoals in inshore waters and estuaries, makes them particularly vulnerable to commercial exploitation. As numbers of other species, notably bass, have declined, mullet have been increasingly targeted by commercial fishermen. All available evidence suggests that mullet numbers have crashed as a result, and my own catch records and observations lead me to believe that the mullet populations in my local waters are a pale shadow of what they were even a short while ago. Fellow mullet anglers around the country report the same and mullet are currently rated by the Marine Conservation Society as 5 on their scale of unsustainability – ie the highest level, or least sustainable. Although things are changing thanks to the efforts of the National Mullet Club and the Angling Trust, mullet still do not enjoy as much protection as many other species and will therefore continue to be vulnerable for years to come. It is therefore vital that catch and release is practised wherever possible. These beautiful fish have far more value as a sporting quarry than on your dinner plate.

Catch and release
Further information/reading

Mullet angling interests in the UK are represented by The National Mullet Club Although a very small club in terms of membership, it’s hard to imagine a more passionate or knowledgeable group of people. I have been a member for many years, including performing the role of catch recorder since 2009, and in that time have improved no end as a mullet angler thanks to the exposure to different ideas, venues and methods, not to mention the best mullet anglers in the country.

For a good read on how to catch mullet, you could do worse than pick up a copy of the recently published ‘Fishing For Ghosts’ written by Mike Ladle and my very good friend David Rigden. What these two don’t know about mullet and mullet angling isn’t worth knowing.

*All images courtesy of Pete Bluett

Monday, April 24, 2017

Summerhayes - Open - 23rd April 2017

It was back to Summerhayes and back on Sellicks this Sunday, I was really hoping for a draw on the other side but when the bucket reached me there were only two pegs left and Gabe Skarba said he'd have the last peg so I went in and peg 5 wasn't the result I'd hoped for and Gabe ended up on peg 11. Every other peg was in today, so my nearest neighbours were Bill on peg 3 and Janders on 7 so I'd be able to keep an eye on him with regards to our side bet, Alvin Jones also said he wanted a pound on silvers as he was going to fish for them for an hour!

The pond was flat calm which wouldn't do us any favours and I thought 7-8lb would be a good weight of silvers today. I set up a 0.4 gram Malman Pencil for two lines at 10 metres and the usual 5 metre line and bait was nice and simple with just 4mm expanders and some soaked micros on the side tray. On the whistle I fed all three lines with half a pot of micros before starting on the right hand line, I missed a couple of indications before hooking a carp which turned out to be a nice orange ghost/koi of around 2-3lb, nice but not what I was after.
Peg 5 on Sellicks
I lost a foul hooked carp before finally opening my silvers account with a 2oz blade but that was it for the first hour! Bill had landed a few carp but from what I could see on our side, not a lot was happening. At the start of the second hour, the float sailed away and as soon as I struck I knew I'd foulhooked a carp, I gave it some stick and it was a case of come in or come off but then a nice crucian around a pound and a half popped up, hooked in the wing and I gratefully netted it. I added a little tench soon after and Janders also landed a skimmer but it was slow going.

I was swapping between the two ten metre lines but all I had from the right hand swim was the odd carp and I lost several foulhookers too, I did have one on for ages and it gave me a right run around, even going under my pallet, much to Janders amusement! In amongst the carp I did get a slightly better skimmer from the left hand line but I just couldn't string two silvers together. Janders had a couple of small tench but I thought I was still just ahead due to my skilfully caught crucian (cough, cough!).

I left the shorter line for three hours before trying it and yep you guessed it, the first bite resulted in a carp! I know I've said it several times but it was amazing how many times I hooked into a fish that I would have sworn was a skimmer only for it to turn into a carp when I got down to my top kit! Bill was still catching quite well and from what I could see, Roy Hughes on peg 9 and Gabe on 11 were both catching carp so I stuck at it although I was sure somebody would find some skimmers on the other side.

With around an hour to go I had a nice tench about a pound from the short line and then had a 6oz skimmer but then it was back to hooking carp. Alvin shouted across from peg 21 and held up a nice skimmer so it was looking like I'd be paying him a pound. I stayed on the short line for the remainder of the match but didn't add anymore silvers and it had been really hard work today. On the whistle I only had nine silvers (one crucian, four tench and four skimmers) for 3-4lb and about fifteen carp!

After packing up, the scales started with Bill who had 78lb 8oz of mainly carp to set the pace, I was next up and my carp went 49lb 13oz and my silvers weighed 4lb 14oz, to give me a total of 54lb 11oz and I was only a fish or two short of my best Summerhayes weight ever! Janders didn't weigh his carp and had 3lb 5oz of silvers, then Roy had 62lb 7oz which included 3lb 13oz of silvers and Gabe needed one more fish as he weighed 76lb 1oz.

Scott Cousins was on peg 13 and after he weighed his three nets of carp, his total was 85lb 10oz to go into the lead and he'd thrown back three small tench so he could use that net for carp and said he'd hoped that wasn't going to cost him. Jess Jordan had fished for silvers on peg 15 and when he pulled his net out, he had a lovely bag of skimmers and tench for 12lb 10oz. Rich S didn't weigh on peg 17 and then Mark Jones just pipped Scott with 86lb 8oz which included a tench of 1lb 14oz and Scott was regretting throwing his back!

Alvin had 75lb 12oz on peg 21 and his silvers weighed 3lb 2oz so I was another pound up and still hanging on to second in the silvers with just Adie Bishop left to weigh on peg 23, he had 57lb 13oz but only 1lb 12oz of silvers.

Back at the results it was confirmed Mark had won and Scott was second so some money back to help soften the blow of putting his foot through his number six section! (so quite an expensive day!), Bill was third, Jess won the silvers easily and I sneaked second and picked up £17 to help pay for the day.
Close weights overall but not in the silvers!
1 - Mark Jones (Summerhayes) - 86lb 8oz
2 - Scott Cousins (Summerhayes) - 85lb 10oz
3 - Bill Hopping (Summerhayes) - 78lb 8oz

1 - Jess Jordan (Summerhayes) - 12lb 10oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 4lb 14oz
I sneaked second in the silvers
We're back again next week and it's on Longs so hopefully we'll get a few bites although the carp are starting to wake up now so come back to see how it goes!

Next up - Summerhayes

Coming soon - My next interview

Check Out - The latest guest blog (below)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mullet Fishing by Pete Bluett - Part 1

My latest guest blog is one I've been looking forward to for a while now, regular visitors to the blog will have read about my efforts at trying to catch mullet over the years without a great deal of success so I was well chuffed when National Mullet Club Catch Recorder, Pete Bluett, agreed to pen an article about mullet fishing for me. Loads of great info and some stunning fish photos.


There are many myths around grey mullet, such as they’ve got soft mouths (not true) or that they’re impossible to catch (also not true). The one word used to describe them that definitely is true though is ‘enigmatic’. Indeed, I’ve often said to myself as a fish swims past my bait totally ignoring it for the 20th time ‘my word, these mullet sure are being enigmatic.’ But like all other species, provided you use the correct tactics and tackle and put the time in, results will follow. And it’s worth it, pound for pound there are fewer, if any, harder fighting fish in our waters. They are not known as the ‘British bonefish’ for nothing.
The author with his pb mullet of 7lb 5oz from Christchurch harbour
There are three species of grey mullet in UK waters. The golden grey mullet (Liza aurata) is the smallest and rarely grows over 3lb in weight. Unlike the other two they are a coastal species found only in high salinity conditions either on the open coast or the very lower ends of estuaries or in harbours. In most parts of the UK they only occur during the high summer months and are not found as far north as the other two species, being confined to the southwest, south coast and southern Ireland. The second is the thin lipped grey mullet (Liza ramada). The upper size limit for thin lips is debateable but anything over 5lb would be considered an exceptional specimen. Like golden greys, thins are predominantly shoal fish, but unlike goldens they can and do tolerate a wide range of salinities. They are often found above the tidal limit in pure freshwater. Thick lipped grey mullet (Chelon labrosus) are the largest of the three. The British record is 14lb but specimens of this size are exceptionally rare. The National Mullet Club describes fish of over 8lb as ‘leviathans’ and probably the realistic upper limit for most anglers. Thick lips are found in a huge range of locations and environments – in some areas they will happily tolerate pure freshwater, can be caught on a large range of methods and baits, and are therefore the species most often targeted by anglers. It is thick lips I am obsessed with and spend 99.9% of my angling time chasing.

My own mullet fishing life started as a kid in the late 1970s growing up next to the River Camel in north Cornwall. Back then the idea that mullet were uncatchable by conventional means was still widely believed, and the local method of choice was to deliberately foul hook them with very heavy gear and strings of large trebles (known now as ‘snagging’ or ‘ripping’). The river was full of mullet that were nearly always visible and many fell victim to this rather barbaric practice. However the local tackle shop owner and rod builder, the late great Keith Appleton, grew fed up with witnessing this and decided to offer annual prizes for mullet caught properly. Armed with this incentive, myself and one or two others set out to learn how to catch them with bait. Our tackle was crude and we were really making it up as we went along, but eventually I started to have some success ended up taking home that trophy four years running! Thus began the obsession that still grips now, over 35 years later.

Since I started mullet fishing all those years ago, perhaps the biggest advancement has been the adoption of coarse fishing methods and tackle. Because the mullet is a ‘sea’ fish I think for a long time there was a tendency to try and catch them on completely unsuitable sea fishing gear, contributing to the ‘uncatchable’ reputation. But the mullet’s diet and feeding habits are much more akin to coarse fish so it stands to reason that a coarse fishing type approach is the way to go. Thick lipped mullet, as the name suggests, have a pronounced thick fleshy upper lip and much harder lower jaw. They feed predominantly by grazing algae and diatoms, or sifting through the sediment in search of invertebrates or other very small food items. The lower jaw is cleft and they often leave tell-tale parallel tracks in the substrate giving away their presence.
The business end of a 6lb thick lipped mullet
Scrape marks left by feeding mullet
More scrape marks
Fortunately for the angler, ‘thicks’ are opportunistic and as well as their natural food will often investigate anything else they think might be edible. As such the variety of baits that have taken mullet over the years is almost endless, but the one that has stood the test of time and caught vastly more fish than any other is good old sliced bread. Most prefer plain white but I have also had a lot of success with Kingsmill 50/50 or Hovis Best of Both. Thin lips and golden greys are more predatory in their feeding habits and are more often taken on fish or worm baits. Both require a more specialist approach, and as I’m not an expert on either, it is thick lips I’ll talk about from here onwards.
Tackle (disclaimer – I am not affiliated to any of the companies mentioned below, they’re just what I happen to use)

As mentioned above, coarse tackle is a must if you want to have a realistic chance of success. I use ‘avon’ style rods because they are versatile and can be used for all of the three methods I employ – float fishing, touch legering and quiver tipping. Others may use either specialist float and leger rods, it is purely personal preference. My rods are all 12ft in length – a lot of the places I fish preclude using anything longer. Once again though other mullet anglers prefer longer rods, often up to 15 or even 17ft in length. Probably more important than length is the action. I use softish rods that bend right through to the butt – my main three are 0.5lb, 1lb and 1.5lb test curves. Mullet are very powerful fish that run long and hard and in my opinion too stiff a rod is asking for hook pulls or breakages.
The author with a mullet on
For reels I use fixed spools in 2500 size. Whether you prefer front or rear drag, a quality drag mechanism is imperative. Not only are they going to be used in salt water, but a decent mullet will expose a poor drag in no time at all. For years now I have been a fan of Shimano Supers and Stradics and see no reason to change any time soon. Very recently I have started using a centre pin for a lot of my float fishing. It’s far too early for me to comment on that but guys who are much better mullet anglers than me absolutely swear by them and I’m looking forward to experimenting more during the coming summer.

For mainline I use bog standard 6lb bs mono, usually Daiwa Sensor Black. When mullet fishing your line takes a pounding and I see no need to use anything more expensive. In 2016 I dabbled with braid and had some success with it but will probably stick to mono for most of my fishing for the time being. If I need to use a separate trace or hooklink, 4lb bs fluorocarbon fits the bill.

When it comes to hooks, the barbed vs barbless debate rages among mullet anglers. For me personally 90% of the time I use Kamasan B981 in size 8. This is a standard barbless J pattern and has caught me hundreds, if not thousands, of mullet. For me the advantages of barbless far outweigh any perceived disadvantages. The other 10% of the time I use Kamasan B983s in size 10. This is a wider gape pattern with a whisker barb and can be better for legering. 

I use two main types of float – Drennan Loafers from 2SSG up to 5SSG and Drennan Pudddle Chuckers (the slimline unloaded ones) again in various sizes. All of my fishing is done sub-surface so I’m not qualified to comment on controller floats etc for surface fishing! The leads I use are simple bombs in 1/4oz, 3/8oz and 1/2oz sizes plus 1.1oz Korda gripper carp leads. For swimfeeders I use in-line method feeders in 14g and 28g sizes. Other than that, high quality small swivels – barrel, snap and three-way, a selection of split shot and a plummet. More generically, a fish-friendly landing net is a must. Mullet have large scales that detach very easily and must be handled with great care. Good quality polarized sunglasses will also protect your eyes and help immensely with fish spotting!
Drennan Loafers and Puddle Chuckers
Leads and feeders
Seasons and Environments

Thick lipped mullet are traditionally thought of as a summer species and indeed for most parts of the UK this holds true. Along the bulk of the south coast the season is nominally May to October or possibly into November if the weather holds. The further north or east you go, the shorter the season. But way out west in Cornwall and also in south west Ireland and the Channel Islands, it is possible to catch mullet throughout the year. I have caught fish in west Cornwall in the depth of winter with sub-zero air temperatures, and all the puddles and the sand on the beach frozen solid. In terms of range, they occur all around the southern part of the UK and up the western side at least as far as the Clyde system in Scotland. How far they range up the east coast of the UK is debateable but probably at least as far as the Scottish border. They are also prevalent all around Ireland during the summer, and indeed southern and south west Ireland offers some of the finest mullet fishing to be found anywhere.
Even the sand was frozen!
As mentioned above, the variety of environments and locations where thick lips can be found is almost endless. Any inshore area of salt or brackish water will almost certainly have either a population of resident mullet or visiting mullet. And in my local River Camel in Cornwall they will often happily spend the summer miles from the sea in what is effectively fresh water. Estuaries are the classic place to find and fish for mullet. If the water is deep enough, they may well be present at low tide, otherwise they will appear as soon as the tide floods and make their way upriver with the filling tide. Harbours, especially working harbours, are also very attractive to mullet because of the relatively easy pickings on offer. Likewise, some of the very biggest mullet live in marinas, but sadly angling is prohibited in the vast majority of these nowadays. Rocky coastlines can also be productive, although that can have a feeling of searching for the needle in the haystack! Bizarrely, given what they eat, mullet often find sandy surf beaches very attractive and sometimes shoal up in very shallow water in big numbers. More often than not though, they will be found near structure, be that man-made or natural. For example piers, boats, rocks, bridges and especially weed beds.

Mullet likes structures!
In part 2, Pete takes us through the methods he uses.