There was a big swell running yesterday but this morning it had calmed off enough for a first mullet trip this year on the rocks on the Bantry Bay side of the Sheep's Head ... I was keen to give it a go before yet more northerly winds arrive for the weekend.
I set up a sliding float to fish bread flake about ten feet deep. I'd slightly over-shotted the float and it was struggling a little with the lop, but I thought I had bites on my first two trots through the swim. Then on the third trot, the float buried. I struck into a powerful fish that ran off parallel to the rocks on my right, worryingly close to the kelp, before coming out into open water. It turned out to be a very long and lean thicklip of 4lbs exactly with a great paddle of a tail.
Then followed a quiet hour or more as the last of the tide dropped away. Around low water I started to see occasional fish taking bits of bread off the surface, when the gulls didn't get it first. I shallowed the float up to fish about three feet deep and was soon into a succession of mullet over the next two hours. They were all much of a muchness in size ... 2:05, 3:00, 2:13, 2:11, 2:08, 2:00 but they provided plenty of bites and great fun. It was clear quite a big shoal was present as some of the hooked fish acquired several "followers" as I was playing them. As it was mostly overcast and not too warm, I placed the fish in a rock pool after unhooking them. I don't know if that helped keep the shoal in front of me as opposed to possibly spooking them returning fish into the swim, but at least the fish went back fit and rested at the end.
As the tide started to rise quickly, a shoal of small coalfish seemingly replaced the mullet.
In truth there was probably a good chance of picking up more mullet if I'd persisted and fished through the coalies, but it seemed as good a time as any to release the mullet in the rockpool and head for home.
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