With Michael Fish promising an imminent end to the current heatwave, Joe Walker and I hurriedly rearranged our midweek mullet session for Monday.
This was also an opportunity to introduce Joe to the finer arts of float tubing, which I am sure will prove to be a stealthy and successful means of sneaking up on the Grey Ghosts feeding in shallow water.
With strong sunshine and temperatures forecast in the high twenties wet wading was the sensible option and at times it was a relief to immerse oneself in the cooling briney. Conditions were nigh on perfect, a gentle but hot breeze wafting from just the right direction and water clearer than triple distilled vodka. What could go wrong?
For a start, mullet numbers were well down on previous visits and those which were present were spookier than an alter boy at a priests convention. It soon became obvious that this would be a tough session. The normally productive ebb period passed without a sniff. Joe and I consoled ourselves with the comforting thought that the fish normally come on the feed once the flood starts in earnest, creating an all important, food carrying current. This was still an hour or so distant so Joe decided to launch the U-Boat and I must say that he took to it like a swan to water. In fact, the mullet must have assumed Joe to be a swan with exceptionally large feet for they carried on feeding despite his near presence and Joe soon made contact with his first fish but the union was short lived.

The current failed to materialise and the shoals failed to form. An air of desperation now hung in the balmy breeze. It was time to go looking or the fish rather than waiting for them to come to us. A canoeist passed behind me, roughly 100m away. His passage disturbed a shoal of fish and I allowed them a few minutes to settle before wading quietly over. The mullet were circulating on a slightly raised bank and at first ignored my flies. Before long they began to move between the bank and the adjacent deeper water, becoming quite animated. Two strips of the line produced a thumping take to a tagged Romy's mud shrimp and the blank was avoided.

Fish began to move behind me as the flood progressed but they showed no signs of feeding. Joe joined me in repeatedly covering these fish, without a single touch. Suddenly a small group of more boisterous mullet made their entrance and a tagged Romy's sand shrimp claimed the second fish of the day.
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All too soon the tide claimed the shallows and time was running out. A large shoal appeared along side a small sand bank, darting from around twelve inches of water to grab shrimp in just three, forced to turn on their sides so shallow was the water. I waded into position behind the shoal and cast the flies to the very edge of the tide. The mullet were undisturbed by the presence of the flies but were similarly unimpressed. Once more a pod of noticeably active fish appeared and a tagged Bach was slammed in four inches of water by an incredibly strong and energetic thin lip. Persuading it to enter the net was no easy matter but eventually it capitulated and a tough session suddenly felt that little bit more relaxed.
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Key to the day was identifying those fish which were sufficiently animated in their feeding to the point they would take a fly. And of course the three amigos.....the tagged Romy's sand shrimp, tagged Romy's mud shrimp and the tagged Bach. Between them these three flies alone have produced 49 mullet so far this season.