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Saturday 23 July 2011

Something Fishy at the Outfall

As is my habit, I was out at dawn this morning to check up on Barking Outfall and see if anything new had come in .I had not checked the tide and arrived to find it still rising at 5.00am, coming in with it was a massive shoal of fish, I had a look and confirmed that they were Thick Lipped Mullett, I saw them here last year. There was not much happening bird wise early on so I had a very very rough count of just how many were present.

Part of the Shoal ( click on photos to enlarge )

I estimated around 3 to 400 fish, they were on top, tightly packed and quite visible in the shallow water, they were rising all the time from just below me, to about 50 metres out from the sea wall.

Got to wondering if they were all Mullett and had a look through them, this turned up another 2 o3 different species, not up on my fish but it looked like there were Carp, possibly Bream and maybe Bass in amongst them.


White Mullett?

Unknown 2

Bass or Bream?

I was pretty sure on the Carp as I had a shoal here a while back, one or two quite sizeable as well, the others I am not so confident on.


Bearing in mind this is the River Thames, tidal and very salty at Barking how do the Carp and Bream( if Bream is what they are ) adjust to the salt water? Any Anglers out there let me know.


Juvenile Common Tern

Elsewhere at the Outfall produced a good count of 9 Common Sandpiper, Redshank, 5 Oystercatchers having the usual quarrel and 12 Common Terns fishing, this also included the years first juvenile.


  1. Spot on with the carp and bream. I think that the unknown may be a mullet and the white fish is just a leucistic mullet. At certain times of the year I've seen huge shoals of mullet on the Crossness side which hold over a 1000 fish (guestimate - could be more!) and spread across a hundred yards or so of mud! I haven't ever noticed bream or carp among them before though - great find. Carp and bream can't survive particularly brackish water (other fish such as dace and roach can). Depending on where the tide is in it's cycle there are probably times when the water around barking is 'fresh enough' for the carp and bream to survive, the rest of the time they will stay further upstream where the water doesn't get as brackish.

  2. Ian, thanks for the comments, I was leaning towards Bream but thought it cant be due to the water.
    I now suspect that they may have come down the River Roding onto the Thames,certainly a spectacular sight to see that amount of fish at the Outfall.
    Thanks again