A weather-enforced change of plan today. It was forecast dry but the morning dawned grey with repeated heavy rain showers. I'd thought I'd bottom fish a deep rock mark but the rocks here get very slippy when wet with rain and it no longer seemed a great idea. Instead I packed my mullet gear into the car, and my brolly, and headed off to the estuary where Steve and I had done so well nearly a fortnight before.
Doubts set in as soon as I arrived. For a start it had brightened up a lot and the showers had stopped, maybe I should have stayed on Sheep's Head and fished the rocks after all? Then as I unpacked I realised I'd left my landing net head at home! The shallows below the causeway seemed empty of fish. I saw an occasional fish move in the deep pool above the causeway, but couldn't be sure if they were mullet or trout. I decided to try there anyway.
I fished for an hour without a bite. I could see fish - now recognisably mullet - moving regularly but all across the far side of the pool near a sandbank. Only a very occasional fish strayed closer.
I walked up through the reeds till the pool shallowed then waded out onto the sandbank, then crept back down to where the mullet were. I put some bread samples out, followed by my float and bait. The fish didn't spook but neither did they show any interest, they seemed engrossed by whatever they were scraping from the bottom. Then, out of the blue, a single fish clooped a couple of pieces of floating bread off the surface near my float, dived and my float shot under ... and I missed the bite. Soon after, the mullet just melted away, perhaps because the new tide was just starting to push through the bridge arches into the pool.
I returned to my original swim which seemed more hopeful now with more flow through it. I missed another bite third or fourth trot through, but no more followed. Instead I started to see fish surfacing where the pool shallowed up near where I had waded on and off the sandbank. I moved up there and straight away was getting a bite a cast. I missed several - what a muppet - had a hook open out on the strike and had a fish come off after a few seconds. The number of fish showing and the number of bites started to decrease as the flow through the pool slowed - it had only lasted forty minutes on this smallish tide.
I was just beginning to think I'd missed my chance when I struck into a bite and a mullet leapt out of the water ... twice!
This one stayed attached and it was no problem to slide it out onto the shallow bank. It was only 2:12 but was very welcome.
After this my shallower swim had died on me so I decided to move back to the deeper water.
As the flow reversed and started to flow out of the pool, I started getting occasional bites.
This time I soon connected with one and was treated to a terrific scrap, much of the time with the fish close in and hugging the bottom under the rod tip, worryingly close to the rocks. The Preston took on a pleasing bend.
After several minutes the fish tired and I was able to steer it in close to the rock where I was standing and hand it out with finger and thumb behind its pectoral fins. It went 3lb 10oz.
I started fishing again and hit my very next bite ... the fish shot off but it felt weird as it started to come back. I wasn't surprised when the hook came out, I think it may have been foul-hooked or even just tangled in the line.
However I was soon in again. Another good fight ensued and after a while I was able to lift my biggest fish of the day from the water. It went 4lb 6oz on the scales, worth setting up the camera on self-timer.
By now the flow had stopped again, and bites dried up. I could still see occasional fish topping and think there was a fair chance of getting another. But I was happy with what I'd had, it was getting cold and showing signs of rain again - a good time to call it a day.