Two mullet sessions to report on this week.
On Tuesday I went down to Rosscarbery to catch the last of a series of really big spring tides. Although I arrived well down the ebb, the estuary pool had had a really good top-up and there was plenty of depth to fish the west side swims throughout the low water period.
I fished two leger rods with pop-up crust as usual. The first hour was slow, but shortly after missing the first, rather half-hearted bite I was into a good fish that pulled the left hand rod over. It turned out to be 4lb 3oz ...
Soon after I was in again on the same rod, a fish that ran out strongly and then, to my surprise as it's not happened before in this swim, it found a snag. I tried for several minutes giving it slack line and pulling from different angles, but in the end I had to pull for a break.
I put out a fresh bait on the other rod while I was tackling up again. A couple of minutes later I just managed to catch the rod by the butt as it threatened to pull over the wall. The fish didn't hang on though! However, soon after casting out the retackled rod I was in again. This was another good fish and they seemed to be fighting well today with the few inches extra depth. It took a full fifteen minutes to get the mullet in: 5lb 1oz.
After a lull in proceedings I had a couple more fish. The 3:11 on the left was interesting as it had an almost identical but slightly healed lower lip hook wound a few millimetres over from the new one ... almost certainly it was a recapture having taken pop-up crust for a second time in a few weeks. When he was over recently, Eddie Baker left me some white hooks to try. Their provenance is a bit uncertain, other than that they came via the United States, my best guess is that they are a discontinued Owner Chinu version. I'd tied one on today for the first time when I retackled and the 4:12 on the right was the second victim, the first having been the 5:01. I was a bit uncertain about using them as they are a good bit larger than my normal B983 size 10s, around a size 6, and a lot thicker in the wire ... but, no problem.
I have been gradually amassing scale samples for IFI this summer and autumn, but I was conscious that most of these were from larger mullet: big 3s, 4s and 5s. I really wanted to get scales from a few smaller fish for a better balanced sample, so early on Thursday morning I headed down to Lough Hyne near Skibbereen and caught the morning high water. This is a very different venue to Rosscarbery and the other estuaries I fish - very deep, cool water and the mullet leaner and a good bit smaller on average. I'll be interested to see what comes out of the age readings of the scales.
I arrived around 7.40 a.m. and could see movement in the bay to the left of the pier, but there was a heavy overcast and it was 8.00 a.m. before it was light enough to watch my float more than a few feet away.
I was soon getting regular bites, missing a few but hitting a few as well. Over a couple of hours I landed six mullet and it was mission accomplished as regards getting some smaller fish, with five of them falling between 1lb 12oz and the one of 2lb 9oz in the photo.
The third fish of the morning proved rather more substantial. It fought long and hard in the deep, clear water in front of the pier, and proved to be a lovely 3lb 14oz thicklip ...