Published Jun 1. 1998 - 25 years ago
Updated or edited Mar 11. 2023


The mullet I will be discussing here is commonly known as the grey mullet or the thick-lipped grey mullet. This fish is normally known as a Mediteranian fish, but has been known to travel to Denmark and the Baltic Sea in spite of the big difference in salt levels. The fish are even known to enter streams and rivers.

Mullet (Mugil chelo (Labrosus)) in the Danish area


The mullet I will be discussing here is commonly known as the grey mullet or the thick-lipped grey mullet.
This fish is normally known as a Mediterranean fish, but has been known to travel to Denmark and the Baltic Sea in spite of the big difference in salt levels. The fish are even known to enter streams and rivers.
What these fish seek first of all seems to be warm water. Some theorize that they come to spawn, and fish caught in nets have been known to be fertile containing eggs or semen. Most people do agree though, that the fish do not spawn here.

The typical thick-lipped mullet slender and almost triangular in cross section.

The mullet is deceptive fish - it is actually more like a coarse fish than any of the well known Danish salt water species. As one of the few marine fish to occur in Denmark it seems to basically be a vegetarian - which makes it a hard quest for the fly fisher.
Mullet grow big and the average size seems to be in the range of 2-4 kilos (4-8 lbs.), but seeing fish that can be estimated to 10 kilos (20 lbs.) is not rare.
The mullet is not only a strong fish, but also sturdily built. It has a small mouth and small teeth, but hard lips - hence the name - and thick hard scales.


An ordinary Danish coastal tackle will be fine for mullet. For the flies and the tippets used an 8 weight might seem overkill, but for the strength of the fish it will be adequate. The mullet can be tamed on a 5 or 6 weight which indeed is more suitable for the small flies.
The reel needs to be strong and contain lots of backing. Mullet are also known as the bonefish of the north, and they will live up to this name. A 3 kilo (6 lbs.) will easily take your whole fly line and more backing than you want to imagine.


Mullet are vegetarians, but add smaller invertebrates to their diet, which makes way for the fly fisher.
A key to success with mullet seems to be small flies. Small will here mean hook size 10 or smaller - which is extremely small for fish that can grow up to 10 kilos (20 lbs.).
The successful flies are typically quite without character - mostly nymph like dubbed flies in light green or white colors. Many of the flies are weighted to bring them to the bottom, but some Danish fishers prefer to fish for mullet with emerger like floating patterns.
A lot of the well known patterns for stream fishing will probably be well suited for mullet - larvae, nymphs and emergers - even scud patterns.
Specific patterns that work are flies like the Green Revenger, Red Tag, GYMF and various other small wet flies and nymphs. More patterns and tips are listed in the article Our first mullets.

Mullet water
There's a mullet!
Spotting mullet
Martin Joergensen


Mullets are sight fished. When they are feeding they are often very active, tailing and sipping the surface and actually making a lot of disturbance. This makes it easy to spot them, especially in calm water. They are mostly seen in broad daylight or in the evening, and are easily scared. Any splash of line, fly not to say fisherman will spook the fish. But they are mostly plentiful, and will often return or stay in the area.
With the sun in your back and wearing a set of good Polaroids, you will even be able to see them in the water as faint shadows moving in often very shallow water. Stay on land, and see if you can find a high vantage point, making it easier to see "through" the surface. They will often move in very shallow water, sometimes almost onto the shore in the breaking waves, and they seem to prefer the water slightly dirty - often making it a curse to fish for them due to the constant snagging,
But fish carefully and with stealth as you would a trout in a quiet pond on a chalk stream.
When the fish takes you must be prepared. These are not weak fish! They will run far as soon as they feel the fly, and won't stop before you see your backing. The feeling of that rush is thrilling, but keeping the hard mouthed fish on the small hook is no easy task. These fish have the power to peform several stunning and long runs before they can be landed.


I Denmark we only see mullet in the summer. They will typically appear in June and disappear in august or September. Some fishers report them earlier and later than that, but their presence seem tightly coupled to very warm water and bright sunny days.
So get off your waders and wear your shorts - and go mullet fishing.


I have been fly fish...

I have been fly fishing for mullet for 3 years will good results. In the uk they will appear all year though in the summer they will be a lot more plentifull. Especially in the south of england.
Rod weight i alwyas use 8wt rods with a 6lb flurocarbon tippet. Flies wise a top surface pattern like a small dry or booby work very well, especially when teamed with a red tag or small sinking wet fly on a dropper below.
The tactic i use it to cast 2ft infront of showing fish and they take the lower fly on the drop. Once hooked hold on for dear life. Play the fish dont bully it else you will lose...

hey,i live in syria ...

hey,i live in syria may you provide me every thing about grey mullet fishing,the best way to catch it,the best bait,the best time,..............everythings .best regards maher khatib

hi to every

hi to every name is Kyle and im maltese...its an island in the middle of the Meditterranean Sea. Your information about mullets is very good and its all tru..i d like to comment on the season though. Mullets not always appear in summer. They can be caught also in winter, in very rough sea. They also can be fished in calm water, in winter, but it has to be a sunny day so if the water will be warm enough you may encounter a group of mullets. thanks. If you want pictures of several mullets in this summer, and which i cauch just email me on and i'l send you the images . thanks

Martin Joergensen's picture

Steve, I will not...


I will not sell myself on an extended experience with mullet (I have hooked four and landed none), but anyhow: we sight fish for mullet and cast very close to them, but still avoiding spooking them with fly and line. The usual tactic is to let the fly sink and slowly retrieve it. If the fish show interest you can stop or speed up.

Regarding the pattern, the most popular pattern here is a bright lime green marabou fly tied on a size 6 or 8 short shank hook. I'm almost sure that bonefish flies would work too.

We have a mullet article in the pipeline right now, and expect it to be online any day.

Hope this helps you. Let us know how you fare.


I want to try to fis...

I want to try to fish for mullet on the fly on the Nith esturary on the West Coast of Scotland. I have seen them tailing in shallow water out on the estuary at low tide however the water is usually coloured with stirred up sand. Would it still be possible to get them to take a fly and would small bone fish flys such as gotchas work? If the answer is yes do you strip the fly or just tweek it?

Regards Steve

Thank you for the in...

Thank you for the information I plan to try fishing for them in Florida where they are all year.


Log in or register to pre-fill name on comments, add videos, user pictures and more.
Read more about why you should register.

Since you got this far …

The GFF money box

… I have a small favor to ask.

Long story short

Support the Global FlyFisher through several different channels, including PayPal.

Long story longer

The Global FlyFisher has been online since the mid-90's and has been free to access for everybody since day one – and will stay free for as long as I run it.
But that doesn't mean that it's free to run.
It costs money to drive a large site like this.

See more details about what you can do to help in this blog post.