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Back to basics, fishing for mullet

by Jarrod Day on 16 Apr 2013
No wonder they get the name "Yellow eye mullet". Jarrod Day
Yellow eye mullet may not be much to look at or be known for their fighting ability but one thing is for sure, they are a great species to target for children.

Yellow eye mullet are greenish-brown in colour with brown fins, silver or yellow on the belly, and a distinctly yellow eye.

Quite small in size, they grow to around 40cm and 1kg while their cousins, the sea mullet have been known to reach five kilos in weight.

Yellow-eye Mullet are commonly caught around beaches, estuaries, jetties and from rocks adjacent to sandy areas from South Australia to Northern New South Wales.


On the plate, the flesh of this species has one of the highest sources of the 'good oil' omega three fatty acids. To further improve the eating qualities of this fish, it is highly recommended that the black stomach lining be removed prior to cooking as it will cause the flesh to become bitter.


Finding mullet:
Mullet are a schooling fish and are often found in the thousands cruising along the bottom. They mainly feed close to the sea floor where they can find small potential meals to satisfy their hunger. Those fishing surf beaches around the coast often encounter mullet when using small hooks. In Victoria, most of the mullet encountered are in the shore break on the surf but in Western Port and Port Phillip Bay they are found over the sandy areas and can be quite sizable.


For those wishing to get into the mullet action, land based locations such as the Stony Point Pier, Stockyard Point, Balnarring beach and along the bass coast surf beaches are common areas for mullet while from a boat, the Middle Spit, Tortoise Head Bank and Coronet Bay areas are prime locations.


The right setup:
Mullet don’t require the latest and greatest of tackle to be caught but are great fun on lighter tackle. A good all-round outfit may consist of a 1000 or 2500 series reel with 7ft 702NT style rod. If you’re looking for something with a little bit more class, then try a 'Blue Steel' 7’ Estuary spin with 2500 series Shimano Sedona. This outfit is more than enough to tangle with mullet and can be used from both the land and boat.

The rig itself can differ slightly and when it comes to boat fishing it is suggested that a paternoster rig tied from 10lb trace be used. Mullet only have a small mouth whereby a long shank size 10 hook will benefit.


Should you be fishing with children, boredom can set in quite quick which is where a float rig will benefit. This can still be tied from a similar strength leader and hook size used but with an added float will keep the children entertained as they can watch it go under the surface when a fish takes the bait. It is imperative that the float be weighted correctly with split shot sinkers so to suspend the bait mid water or just off the bottom.

Top baits:
Mullet are a scavenger and will take any bait offered. Though this may be the case, baits still need to be kept small enough that they can easily be swallowed. Small pieces of pilchard fillet and pipi are by far the most favoured. Live bass yabbies can also be used if you want to go to that much effort.

Berleying methods:
While mentioned earlier that mullet are a schooling fish, the best way to bring them to your fishing location is with the use of berley. Ideally, the perfect scenario is to use a small berley bucket with small holes. This can be filled with pellets and tuna oil or just a simple pollard mix which can be purchased from tackle stores. The bucket can be filled with the berley mix and placed on the sea floor with a rope. After a short while, casting your baits into the trail will bring success. If this is a little too much work, then simply by breaking up pieces of bread and tossing onto the water’s surface can do the job. The only downfall to this is that if fishing in a tidal area, the bread will be carried away before it washes along the bottom, subsequently you may go home empty handed.

Yellow eye mullet can be a lot of fun if you get the set up right and if you have young ones that you want to introduce into fishing then there is no better species to pursue.

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