Guest post by Colin Macleod
The truth is that mullet are not that hard to catch! The myth of ‘uncatchability’ which pervaded just a few years ago has been well and truly busted. There really is no need to wrap mullet in the same cloak of mythology which applies to permit, the Holy Grail for saltwater fly fishers, where many anglers get themselves so worked up at the prospect of casting a fly to a permit that they literally go to pieces and failure is practically guaranteed.
With the correct approach, the mullet fisher simply needs to relax and let the flies do their work. Techniques are, of course, important but for the moment we will park them to one side and concentrate on the real stars of the show, the flies. Since my initial attempts at chucking fluff to mullet in 2009, I have created around 15 mullet patterns, all of which have proven to be effective. All of these flies have their day and several are highly specific in their application.
Here are my 5 top flies to serve the angler throughout the mullet season.
Romy’s Buzzer – A pattern which borrows the Romy’s Sand Shrimp’s golden livery and is designed for early season, when mullet tend to be lethargic as waters warm and fickle of diet as the food chain slowly develops. The Romy’s Buzzer has a slim profile which quickly cuts through the water column to reach deep lying fish, where a quick, short strip will often illicit a response.
Romy’s Mud Shrimp - It is a simple fact that mud and mullet go hand in hand, no doubt a source of frustration for the mysophobic amongst us. Mullet are regularly seen rushing in to shallow water as the tide floods the mud flats, in search of Corophium volutator, the common mud shrimp. Mud can certainly represent danger to the unwary angler and caution must be exercised at all times. But the rewards can be great and the introduction of a Romy’s Mud Shrimp amongst feeding fish places mullet in peril too. When fishing mixed ground, pair a Mud Shrimp with a Romys Sand Shrimp to cover all bases.
Spectra Shrimp - I first saw the Hends shellback and spectra dubbing used in the tying of this fly advertised in a fishing magazine and was instantly attracted to them. Thankfully the mullet followed suit. On its first cast in the UK, the Spectra Shrimp claimed a thick-lipped mullet of 8lb 12oz, which is recognised as a UK record on fly. The fly is most effective when dead drifted to thick-lips feeding in a current but it is also one of the few patterns which mullet will chase with conviction, on a speedy retrieve. The latest version sports a fluorescent red tag and chartreuse butt, in common with the majority of my patterns, which has taken the fly’s potency to another level.
Romy’s Sand Shrimp – This fly was developed to represent the sand shrimp commonly found in areas of sandy shallows, whether the enormous surf beaches of South Wales and Cornwall or the intimate sandy bays of Hampshire and Sussex. It proved to be an instant success with all three species of mullet falling for its charms. Golden Grey Mullet seem particularly attracted to a Romy’s Sand Shrimp and my first fish of the 2022 season was a Golden Grey of 3lb 5oz, a new PB.
The retrieve should be a fairly long, quick strip. Imagine a shrimp trying to escape the attentions of a hungry mullet. Team the fly with a Spectra Shrimp on the point of a 14 feet fluorocarbon leader of 0.22mm diameter and expect fireworks.
Blue Romy’s - The new kid on the block! First tried and trialled early last summer, when taking its first dip in the Mediterranean, the results were astounding. Flathead mullet swimming as individuals had proved to be impossible to tempt in the past but now attacked the Blue Romy’s with gusto. The fly’s first swim in the UK produced four mullet in four casts, including a beautiful thick-lip of 6lb 2oz. The fly is equally effective on the drift or retrieved at medium pace.
The Blue Romy’s comes with a word of warning….Hang on tightly to your rod!
Thick-lipped mullet seduced by a Blue Romy’s