Bass v Mullet


I’m lucky enough to live on a houseboat in the River
Adur estuary at Shoreham. I am also lucky enough to have a very understanding
wife therefore I tend to spend a lot of my spare time from mid April to October
on the banks fly fishing for Bass and the occasional Grey Mullet which I’ll come
back to later,

2010 was for me the hardest year for fly fishing for
Bass and I only landed 10 fish for the season compared to 76 fish for 2009. By
the way this is just from the river Adur and not the Hot Pipe! I’m pretty sure the very cold start to last
season didn’t help matters. It seemed to keep the fish out at sea in the warmer
depths. Even the coastal fishing boats reported a drop in catches and had to get
well off shore to make up their catch. I tried fishing away from my favourite
spots with different flies and different tide times to try and locate the fish.
I finally had a word with myself and decided “the fish just ain’t there so you
ain’t gonna catch ‘em”.
Bleeding obvious I hear you say but the thing is I’m used to fishing blind for
the Bass if they are not showing. Usually having a good Idea when they should be
headed up or down stream should give you the edge. Ok, like most wild fish they
are unpredictable but there is a limit to how much water flogging one does. I
decided after writing too many blanks in my log book than catch returns, to
knock it on the head. This is where I get back to the Grey Mullet- a fish that
that enters the river in April and comes and goes with each tide until
October. They are in abundance, one of our best fighting fish and you can see
them. The Grey mullet is mainly a bottom feeding fish and as many of you will
know can be very difficult to catch especially if they can see you. Here are a
few tips I hope will help:

They might seem
unbothered by a fly being repeatedly pulled past their noses but if you are on
view forget it therefore being stealthy and using your river crafts are going to
increase the odds of a hook up.

Then the flies,
which should be fished on or close to the bottom and when mullet are in shallow
water usually in and around the margins in the evening is best.

A small box of maybe 4 or 5 patterns should do. Green
gold head nymphs, Czech nymphs or anything that looks like a grub or shrimp. The
Weed fly which resembles a tuft of green weed can be very good and the Bread Fly
which resembles (you guessed it).

This season I am
going to experiment tying most of my Mullet flies on cranked hooks so as to flip
the fly over so it can be twitched along the bottom and not snag so easily. This
method should also increase the chance of a hook up too as you are more likely
to connect with the top lip of the fish. More often than not the Mullet will
suck in the fly; you strike and just pull out the hook if it is pointing down.
So tying on cranked hooks should work as the fish’s top lip is tougher and
larger than the lower. You could try Kamasan B810
extra long for this purpose. Or try making make your own cranked hooks using
trout extra long lure hooks and a pair of long nosed


Ok, will report back after testing the new flies. Any
thoughts?   Drop me a line at



Tight lines




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