After a wet old week, Saturday was a lovely warm and sunny spring-like day and an ideal opportunity to get a March mullet before I'm off on holiday on Monday.
I drove down to Rosscarbery and set up on the west side of the estuary, arriving soon after low water. I could see odd fish moving in the shallow water in front of me and to both sides so I was hopeful of some quick action as I welted out both my leger baits.
The reality was somewhat different with not a touch for the first four hours. The swans were a complete pain, back and forth in front of me and occasionally one would get its head down on my groundbait. I noticed a pair of anglers set up near the bridge ... but didn't see any action their end either and they left a couple of hours later.
Eventually the new tide reached the estuary pool and the water level started to creep up. This wasn't automatically a good thing as I've noticed sometimes in the winter, the cold sea water entering the pool puts the mullet off the feed. However, today it seemed to have the opposite effect.
The first sign of action was a couple of twitches on my right-hand rod that came to nothing and, to be honest, I couldn't be sure it wasn't one of the swans crossing over my line. Then a few minutes later when I started to wind in my left-hand rod, I found myself playing a mullet! There had been no indication of a bite at all so I assume it must have picked up the bait at the exact instant I picked up the rod and started winding ... it wasn't a big fish and I soon had it in, a chunky little 2:14. Half an hour or so later I had another of identical weight after a more conventional repeated-knock bite on the same rod.
Another half-hour on, the water was now well up and I could catapult some groundbait out without worrying too much about the swans.
I struck into a sharp bite on my left-hand rod again, and an obviously much more substantial fish powered off out.
My wife Sylvi was accompanying some visitors on a day trip out and as chance would have it they arrived to visit me just in time to see the end of the fight and for Sylv to net the fish and take the photo. The fish weighed 4:08 and was in fine condition apart from some old damage to its dorsal fin.
My visitors went on their way to see the stone circle at Drombeg and I told Sylv I'd pack up now as it was starting to get cold in the shade of the trees behind my swim. As I waved them off, I decided I'd have one last cast as I tidied up and started to pack away ... a fateful decision as it turned out!
I tipped away the small amount of groundbait I had left and packed away my bait buckets, then decided it would be a good idea to rinse out my weigh-bag. As I was bending over the wall trying to swill it around, I noticed my left-hand rod bending over the wall as well! I grabbed it as quickly as I could, no strike necessary as the fish was obviously self-hooked and was streaming line off against the drag.
Its initial power reminded me very much of the 5:12 I had about this time last year. The fish was obviously heavy and made several good runs, and when I could bring it closer it would kite deep left or right. There was no obvious head shaking, which worried me. I thought the fish may be foul-hooked, but when it finally kited left into the wall and came to the surface I could see it was hooked in the mouth, in fact well inside the mouth which may explain why it wasn't trying to shake the hook free. I could also see it was indeed a very big fish, both deep in the body and wide across the back.
As soon as I had the mullet in the net I knew it was my Irish PB ... the scales confirmed 6lb 2oz.