Southern Australia’s beaches, especially the more sheltered ones, come alive each autumn and winter with a reliable run of yelloweye mullet (Aldrichetta forsteri).
This species occurs from New South Wales south, including Tasmania, and west to the central coast of Western Australia.
It is a popular recreational fishing species in South Australia.
The yelloweye mullet is different from most other mullet in that they readily take meat baits.
Almost any beach might produce yelloweye mullet, but some beaches produce more than others and tend to fish well every year.
These fish also show up in creeks and estuaries but it is the beach fishing that usually produces the bigger fish, and beach fishing is arguably the most enjoyable way to catch them.
Weed rafts on the shore suggest good fishing as wave action washes in seaweed worms that mullet eat.
As the tide comes in the mullet move close to shore.
Berley can bring the fish in, with mashed up bread with a couple of pilchards mixed in is as good as anything.
Use the lightest tackle that you can fish from a beach, typically around 4kg, with a mono bottom end.
Use fine hooks smaller than size eight, as mullet have small mouths.
Yelloweye mullet take baits such as cockle, worms, peeled prawns and even mince.
You’ll get plenty of bites if the fish are around and they can come on quite suddenly.
They can also turn off quickly as the tide changes.
Hooking them is hard as they are very quick with baits.
They are also quite adept at getting bait off the hook.
A paternoster rig with two hooks above the sinker gives you two chances to hook a fish and also gives a good direct link from baits to trigger finger.
Use the smallest sinker that does the job.
If the weed is thick collect seaweed worms for bait, otherwise use cockles or minced meat threaded onto the hook.
Yelloweye mullet are a good food fish but clean them quickly and ice them.
Freezing is not suitable for this fish, unless they are for bait.
Mullet fillets smoke well.
Salmon trout, or juvenile Australian salmon, are another fish commonly caught off Adelaide beaches, and they show up along with the mullet, good fun on the light mullet gear.
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