The Red Mullet is one of the less commonly caught fish. They tend to live near the seabed in small shoals and are easily disturbed. Hunting Red Mullet is a fairly opportunistic affair, there are only a few places where they can be routinely caught. Red Mullet are small fish, and do not grow to any great size, but are highly prized nonetheless.
The best time of year to catch red mullet:
Summer months; June to September
Where to catch red mullet:
Over flat sandy seabeds, often in rocky gullies which have a sandy bottom. All along the south coast of England but favouring warmer and less turbulent waters.
Behaviour and hunting:
Diving for Red Mullet
Red Mullet are found in small shoals or individually. They tend to grub in sand and shale, using their two chin feelers to find prey buried in soft seabeds. Despite their appearance they are skittish fish and will bolt at the first sign of trouble.
The best way to catch them is make an oblique approach. As Red Mullet are always on the seabed, on spotting one, it is worth diving away from it, at 45′ until reaching the seabed. Then carefully turn round for a flank shot, if the RM has not spooked. Even better, on spotting them in a gully, dive and use cover to get to the same level as them and take a flat trajectory shot straight out of the weeds from their flank. Do not approach directly or from above as the fish will not tolerate this.
‘On the surface in shallow water, moving silently through the kelp on the edge of the gulley, I spotted five red mullet grubbing in the shale between the rocky walls. I carefully removed my snorkel and pulled myself down on a kelp stalk to place myself more or less on a level with the wary fish. A precisely aimed shot at the lead fish hit home and stoned a fine 2lb Red Mullet, the rest of the shoal dispersing into cover in an eye blink’
9/10 Red Mullet are very highly prized and taste somewhere between Grey Mullet and Salmon, a very unusual and delicate flavour. Due to the small size, these are best grilled whole.
Weapon of choice:
Rob Allen Caranx 90