Ground Baiting for Mullet

A shoal of mullet attracted to a ground baited mark

As mentioned in the recent article on fishing for mullet, many anglers use fresh water tackle and light line to tempt this species of sea fish. Ground baiting is common in fresh water locations and the same tactics are employed by the mullet angler.

Mullet criss-cross harbours and move along rivers and estuaries with the tide and often need to be contained at a particular mark by diverting their attention away from their natural habit of feeding on micro live feed. A mullet angler will often study tidal marks at low tide for signs of likely spots to try his or her luck. Indentifying a gully leading from a tidal stream to the river or estuary bank, one method is to bury handfuls of bread along the gully like a paper trail that the fish can follow. If the shoals are large then a generous amount of bread can be placed at the angler’s mark to hold the fish long enough to catch one or two. If their numbers are small then don’t over do the groundbait or they might not find the hook bait.

Mullet are easily spooked and often when one is hooked the rest move to another location. Adding more groundbait might hold them or perhaps attract another shoal.

When fishing the deeper water from marks with fast moving tides a good ploy is to mimic what the shark angler does by employing a rubby dubby bag. Fill an onion bag with mashed bread and add some bits of old fish like mackerel and sardines or drops of fish oil and suspend it just below the surface with a length of string. This both stops the groundbait from being taken away on the tide but also creates a slick of scent that the mullet could follow back to the mark and the baited hook.

In harbours without rapid currents then simply crumble a few slices of bread so it sinks and let it settle on the bottom. Use a light float and fish deep but keep watching the float as gentle mouthing of the bait gives only minor clues of activity. If a fish decides to take the bread bait then the float will dive. Use a measured strike rather than being over aggressive or the hook could be ripped out of the soft lip.

If there are signs of the fish near the surface then throw loose bits of bread so they float and set your hook just below the surface or freeline the trace with a lightly crimped hook bait and let that float along with the surface ground bait. Watching a mullet stalking and then taking the bait can be a sight to behold.

In an effort not to spook the other fish…play the hooked mullet deep and gently ease it away from the mark. Play it out and enjoy the experience rather than being in a rush to land it and when it finally tires slip the landing net underneath and gently lift it from the water.