Ex-Hurricane Ophelia and Storm Brian rattled through in quick succession and the inshore waters around West Cork were thoroughly stirred up. I ventured down to Rosscarbery on 22nd October, just after Brian, and even in the relatively sheltered waters there the mullet had made themselves scarce. It was a six hour blank across two different swims, not a bite and only a couple of fish seen. That was my last chance gone before a trip to the UK spanning two sets of work meetings in Cambridge, more than a fortnight away in all.
However, between the meetings I was staying in Christchurch in Dorset with my sister, and late in the season though it was, it just wouldn't have been right not to have a go fishing in the Harbour there.
Sunday 29th October turned out to be something of an unofficial NMC get-together. Pete Bluett & Jenny Kent were up from Cornwall for the weekend, Bob Kitcher and Steve Smith were fishing, Paul Howe & family visited us on the bank and Dave Matthews & Jane joined us in the pub after.
Sadly the mullet didn't turn up in the same strength. The place had been fishing really well up until recently, especially for Paul who'd had a wonderful 8:02 thicklip among a string of other good fish. But Storm Brian, particularly the rainwater in the rivers I suspect, seemed to have dropped the fishing off a cliff and it now all had a distinctly end-of-season feel about it.
I had this handsome 4lb 3oz thicklip early on amid a little flurry of bites that also brought two small bass. The rest of the day was attritional to put it mildly with grey skies and a cold northerly breeze. Everyone else blanked with very few bites even.
Thursday 2nd November was even colder though paradoxically rather more pleasant with sunny spells once the morning fog cleared and a lighter breeze, still northerly.
It was another long day for little reward, a scrub fire over on Hengistbury Head providing the main interest.
I started in a shallow creek swim and dropped a modest-sized mullet off after a couple of hours. A couple of hours later, with the water rapidly draining away, I held on to another one that pulled the tip of my left hand rod over. It turned out to be a golden grey of 1lb 14oz. It wasn't what I was after but I'm always pleased when a goldie chances along, they are such pretty little fish.
I moved to a swim on the main river channel and did have a few bites over the low water period. They were very rattly though, I thought probably dace or maybe very small mullet. The only fish I landed was a small bass that gave an altogether more violent take. On the first of the flood tide I could see a few mullet whelming and bow-waving up the middle of the river, probably thinlips.
I left feeling I could have done better, but it hadn't happened and the fishing had been such a struggle I decided to pass on another opportunity today. I had at least caught a November mullet - that's now mullet every month since March and I hope I'll be able to keep the record up over the winter months in Ireland.