Windows of opportunity

Standing in mid river I cast my fly across the current and encouraged it to drift tantalizingly across searching for that illusive salmon or sea trout. After a couple of hours fishing through the beat
I had come to terms with the fact that the river was not full of fresh run migratory fish.
I had arrived once again at my favourite pool; or perhaps more to the point most productive.
The light was starting to fade and as I reached the pools prime resting spot my expectation grew. A pair of kingfishers flashed past downstream their electric blue plumage still vivid despite the fading light. A good omen perhaps?
Seconds later the line tightens, the rod is raised followed by a flurry of spray, there is that delightful weight on the line. Then in a second or two it’s gone. A fleeting connection with a sea trout or grilse perhaps my last chance to avoid a blank salmon season as the end draws nearer.
The following day and its early morning at a local harbour, grey mullet of all sizes are visible as they swim to and fro where river meets sea. John Avery and I both have bread flake baits tethered and watch frustrated as grey shapes drift in and out of sight twisting and turning in the current. John tempts a small mullet of around a pound but that’s all for a while. At times up to a dozen fish can be seen swimming around our baits seemingly oblivious to them. No wonder many believe these fish to be un-catchable.
High water passes and the tide begins to ebb. We move down with the ebbing tide repositioning the baits. Small mullet frequently nibble at the baits causing the rod tip to tremble. The bigger fish seem to have no appetite. Almost half an hour after the top of the tide and my rod tip signals a positive bite; a mullet is hooked and battles gamely for several minutes before being safely netted at 3lb 2oz it is a welcome catch. Back out goes the rig and within seconds the tip is bouncing. Again the rod bends into battle and a good fish surges to and fro. After around ten minutes John is able to net a handsome mullet that tips the scales to 4lb 6oz.
We fish on for another hour before heading to the café for a full English.
It’s then off to a rock mark fifteen miles down channel to spend a few hours float fishing for mullet. The introduction of ground bait soon has mullet swirling at floating bread. Our floats dip a couple of times but we fail to connect. At low water we head back up channel to spend a while casting soft plastics and surface lures in murky water for bass without success.
We eventually call it a day with close to twelve hours fishing effort behind us. A day when two fish took the bait on consecutive casts such a brief window of opportunity when the fish switched on and took the bait. How true that old saying being in the right place at the right time!
The 4lb 6oz mullet secures victory in a match jointly organised by Combe Martin SAC and Lynton and Lynmouth Football Club. A profitable cast!

About piscator2

An all-round angler I fish for fun and enjoy sharing my experiences and adventures at the waters edge. Each week I write a column for the North Devon Journal and occasional articles for various publications.
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