Yellow-eyed Mullet – Aldrichetta forsteri – found in harbours, estuaries, tidal rivers
Yellow-eyed mullet are often incorrectly called herrings
Yellow-eyed Mullet – Aldrichetta forsteri are a small inshore fish. A big one can reach 40cm. They like to feed from algae on rocks and will eat other small creatures that happen their way.
Yellow-eyed mullet have small mouths so it is essential to fish for them with small size 8 hooks. If you find they are taking your bait without getting hooked try smaller hooks. Also, try lifting your rod tip when you feel them nibble the bait. I have found Kamasan size 10 Grubber hooks work really well.
They will take just about any sort of bait. Saltwater shrimp, or yabbie, is the best bait of all. But they will take small cut fish baits, bits of worm, squid or even small rolled-up balls of bread.
Fishing for mullet is greatly improved if you can toss berley on the water every few minutes to hold them in the area. Good berley can be made for mullet in a 20-litre bucket by mixing bread, blood and bone, fish scarps and the like together with water and stirring with a stick. Toss on the water a cupful at a time. You can fish for yellow-eyed mullet from riverbanks, wharves, bridges and rocks in the tidal zone of rivers. I have caught them in the Kaiapoi River at the motorway bridge at least 5km from the sea.
Yellow-eyed mullet move around quite a bit feeding mostly on algae. They can be found in the surf zone on ocean beaches, at river-mouths, coastal lagoons and they will travel quite some distance upstream within the tidal influence of coastal rivers.
This species is known as herring by many people. This is incorrect; they are not herrings at all. Fresh yellow-eyed mullet make excellent surfcasting bait, particularly for red cod. It also freezes well to be used later as bait. Big ones are very good butterflied open and cooked in the hot smoker. See catching yabbies to use for yellow-eyed mullet bait.
Yellow-eyed mullet are sight feeders so it is important that the water is clear when you target them.