F### it’s February

Having just read my February blog from 12 months ago I had to chuckle, I could just copy and paste it for this year. February really is my bogey month. I was determined to make more of it this year, it was a leap year too so I even had an extra day! But alas, the coughs and colds and down right nasty, persistent bugs swept through the family and that really knocked us for six. Coupled with the fact it was one of the wettest February’s on record, I don’t feel so bad for catching absolutely nothing.

I did give it a try though. In my little notebook I wrote down at the start of the year when considering a few goals, “mullet, in winter, at night, on the feeder”. Mullet are traditionally a summer fish around most of the British isles, but in Cornwall, they never leave. I don’t generally target them through the dark winter months because I’ve only ever fished for them in the way I love to, with a float or sometimes with floating bait. To do either of these you need to be able to see and, my available time to go fishing is either before or after work which, in the winter, is dark. So mullet never get a look in. But, if I could catch one using a feeder, just like I do for my winter roach, I could catch them in winter. Game on!

Whilst mullet are not as abundant around the coast during winter, well, they might be but it’s normally rough as hell so how would you tell, mullet aren’t hard to find here in winter. The estuaries are good spots to find them away from the big swells on the open coasts. The only trouble here, and it can be a big one, flood water can make the fishing, well, unfishable. So, winter mullet isn’t without its challenges but it was going to be something different and I just love catching mullet.

Finding them was easy, the numbers and average size was really encouraging. At this point I felt like this might actually be quite easy. Armed with my feeder rods and some crumb bread (I even bought a secondhand blender to make good crumb) I plopped the baits into a likely looking slack. And then, nothing. I’ve got enough mullet experience to know this is the norm. You can fish and fish and nothing happens and then, flick a switch and they all go silly and the fishing is easy. The trouble I was having was getting the bait delivery right. The feeder wasn’t emptying as I wanted it to so I wasn’t feeding effectively. I chopped and changed and got things how I think they should be and then, it rained, and rained and all the optimism left me. Packing up I felt I’d learned a bit but no joy so far.

Next chance was after a big spring tide which forced me to another part of the estuary. I’d caught mullet here before in the summer so it seemed a good spot to try. There’s actually a water pumping station and storms drains here. I’d never seen them active though. I fished the tide up without any bites but at least it wasn’t raining. At the top of the tide on slack water as things became very calm, there came a rumble which sounded like a big wagon on the road. I looked around, no wagon but the rumble rapidly grew louder and then a huge gushing of water. It sounded like something from Hollywood and for a brief moment I thought a Hollywood style wave was about to wash me from my spot! I scrambled up the bank to see what was happening. The storms drain we’re running at full bore and whilst it wasn’t exactly the tsunami I pictured in my head, the fishing spot was definitely f#cked. It was getting late, the water was raging past, another evening without a bite and I’m heading home again.

And then the rain came. The weather was dire, the health in our house was pretty grim (hanging!) and that was February done with. Well, not quite, I did get out with my son in a mild, dry, weather window and had a brilliant time. I played gillie whilst he put his Christmas present (new rod and reel) to good effect. It’s such a pleasure watching my kids developing their love of the outdoors. It was a couple of hours fishing in the cough and cold free, fresh air, I dearly needed!

I hope next year’s February is a bit more fruitful and I can crack those feeder caught, night time mullet. Now it’s time to see if March is a little more giving. A bit of dry weather and sunshine would be most welcome. And who knows, maybe I’ll catch a fish!

Good luck!

February fun, at last!