Cornish Gold


Dark skies mist and murk greeted us upon our arrival in Penzance. Waves surging against the shoreline answered the question before I rang the “Chippy” the skipper of Bite Adventures. There would be no sharking trip next day.

Fortunately James and I had a plan “B” to fall back on and would not waste our time in Cornwall’s far west. I was told that golden grey mullet resided in the harbour at Newlyn along with bream, thick-lipped mullet and bass. Float fishing using light tackle and hooks baited with mackerel flesh would be the tactics most likely to succeed.
Next morning we arrived in Newlyn and acquired half a dozen fresh mackerel. No problem sourcing fresh fish as several fishmongers were open there shelves lined with recently landed fish. No stinky dull eyed produce here. We were even given a bag of off-cuts to use as groundbait.

We set up in what we had been told was the hotspot but after an hour with only a couple of bites our confidence ebbed with the tide. James is not a lover of low tide suggested we take break and go for wander around Newlyn and then nearby Mousehole where we could browse the shops and take a few photo’s. The next couple of hours saw us wondering the Newlyn harbour and Mousehole beneath blue skies and late summer sunshine.


After a pasty and a coffee it was time to get back to fishing. I tried to get permission to fish from the harbour pontoons but was told that these were now out of bounds as a results litter left by anglers. The same old story a few spoiling it for the many.
We ambled over to the old harbour quay where we could fish the foreshore until the tide reached the walls base. After twenty minutes or so my float dipped and a strike brought a pleasing curve in the rod as a mullet of a couple of pounds surged to fro. This was followed minutes later by a small bream. Another mullet followed by another mullet of a similar size.

The tide soon pushed us up onto the ancient harbour wall where fishing was made difficult by a combination of height and gusting wind. We glimpsed a few mullet from our lofty perch but decided upon a move to the mark we had fished earlier in the day.
The weedy rocks had now dried off and were no longer so wet and treacherous. The tide flooded and soon my float once again dipped and another thick lipped mullet darted to and fro on the line. With the score now at four nil to me James was getting slightly frustrated and downhearted.
After one missed bite James was suddenly holding a well bent rod as powerful mullet tried to distance itself from the force that had suddenly appeared. I grabbed the camera instead of the net and captured the bent rod moments before the fish came off.

Not long after James was in action again and this time the fish came safely to the waiting net. With a prominent golden spot on its cheek and a slimy feel I felt sure he had struck gold and if correct it was a pleasing specimen at 1lb 11oz. Slight damage to the pectoral fin made 100% certainty difficult to attain.

Another mullet soon followed for James at a couple of pounds and then another couple to my rod the best over 3lb along with another tiny bream. Fishing in this style reminded me of many hours spent as a teenager on holiday to Looe in Cornwall where I had put identical tactics to good use close to forty years ago.

As the sun sank lower in the sky and high water passed we decided to head back to our B & B before heading out for a meal and drink. As we walked back from the pub via the harbour in Penzance the waters of the harbour erupted in a frenzy of spray. Thousands of mackerel were feeding in a cauldron of life and death. Never before had a seen such activity the whole harbour seemed to be full of mackerel and their prey.
The next day we headed back to Devon via Falmouth where we viewed the Tall Ships in dock prior to the majestic Tall Ships Race.


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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