Poddy mullet are one of the most versatile and effective baits for use in our south coast estuaries. They are also, arguably, underutilised. This is partly because most people don’t realise how easy they are to catch.
Here’s a simple poddy mullet trap you can make out of household materials that will be effective in most situations. Get a clear, 2-3L bottle. Juice bottles are perfect for this. Make sure there are no labels, as this may spook the fish. Where the bottle starts to narrow (i.e just above the top of where the label should be), make a cut around the entire bottle to end up with 2 sections. Invert the section with the mouth of the bottle so that it sits inside the main cavity. This is your basic trap.
A few small modifications are necessary. A rock should be inserted in the chamber to help it stay on the bottom. Next, use a stapler to secure the two bits of plastic together. Punch a few small holes into the plastic chamber. This will allow the bait/berley to escape (but not too big or the fish will escape too). A small length of twine can be added if you want to stake your trap, but this is usually unnecessary.
Next, get some stale whitebread and crush it up. With a little gravel or sand, place the bread mixture into the trap with a few bigger pieces of bread. Some people recommend microwaving fresh bread until it’s rock hard, making it easy to crush into a fine mix. This sounds like a good idea but I haven’t tried it.
Find a spot in no more than a foot of water, where you know the poddys frequent. Place the trap in the water and try to make it look natural. You can do this by digging it in a few centimetres or placing some seaweed or rocks nearby. Berley in the few metres in the immediate vicinity, and check every 15 minutes until you have enough bait.
It really is that simple. The best way of rigging poddys is through the back of the fish, about 3/4 of the way down the fish towards the tail. Be sure to only hook the back of the fish, as if you hit the spine it won’t survive for long. Hooked in this way, you will secure a good hookup when a fish swallows the poddy head-first. I find circle hooks to be really effective for this. Having a lightly weighted live mullet drifting along behind the boat, while casting plastics out the front and sides, is a very effective method for flathead. You might also catch some big bream, pinkies and tailor when using this technique. Have fun and remember to only take what you need!
Photos to come…one day.