As the weather was fairly good today I went for a walk along our the local River Douglas, a tributary of the River Ribble that is easily accessible from an anglers point of view at Hesketh Bank. Although the river is very close I hadn’t been along it’s banks for a while as it tends to get very muddy in the winter due to the banks flooding with the higher tides, cows grazing on the salty grass and the sheer volume of water the low lying banks seem capable of holding.
I started my investigation at Douglas Boat Yard where I was hoping to get a look at one a completed Predator 165 – their newest small, purpose built angling boat, but it being sunday everything was locked up. Never mind – I continued along the public footpath that runs along the bank, heading North towards the Ribble.
I know that in the past Thick-Lipped Grey Mullet have been caught in the Douglas and the Ribble using a net from a boat, drifting with the tide and netting the fish as they travel upstream. As far as I’m aware this method of fishing is no longer done hence giving the angler with a rod a chance at catching these fish, if they still travel these waters. The other thing that gives hope (what would anglers be without hope?) is that Mullet have been caught during the past few summers in the River Mersey – which is only just down the coast a few miles.
What I was looking for was a bit vague – even to me.
I was looking for a place to ambush the Mullet as they nose upstream looking for food. Somewhere that I can lay down some bait on a regular basis to draw the fish to a specific area so they get used to food being there. Then when I fish for them, at least I’ll know they’re there – at least that’s the theory. Now the problem is the Douglas has a strong tidal current so any bait put into the river will be washed out almost straight away so I was looking for a creek or eddy – somewhere that would look interesting enough for a fish to investigate and be made more interesting with the additional of some mashed up bread and Mackeral into the area.
Mullet are deceptive and take small baits and hooks as they sift through the mud looking for small worms and shrimp so oily fishy bread fished using light float tackle with a small hook is going to be my weapon of choice.
Walking up the river I managed to find a few such areas as can be seen in the photographs – as well as coming across a few anglers fishing for our old favorite – the Flouder. The guys I spoke to seem to have been having a good afternoons sport with up to half a dozen fish weighing up to 1.5 pounds – all caught on Black Lug.
I can see a few lazy days are going to be had spent on the banks of our local River Douglas. Even if we don’t manage to snare a Mullet, at least the Flouder will be there. Now all we need is some sun to dry the banks out a bit.