May Mullet - Fishing with Steve

Each spring some sickly mullet return inshore, individuals that haven't coped with the rigours of the winter and spawning, most probably old fish nearing the end of their lives ... "on their last fins" as one of my Facebook friends put it. These fish are particularly visible at shallow venues like Rosscarbery, and I'd seen a couple earlier this year. One, pale in colour, swam along listlessly just under the surface. Even more distressed, one was belly up near the bottom but just barely paddling itself along against the gentle current. Such sad specimens can't last long before the otters get them.


Then early this month reports started circulating of greater numbers of poorly mullet at Rosscarbery. I wasn't convinced it was anything (much) more than the normal state of affairs for the time of year, but still when I headed down on the 10th there was a slight sense of fearing the worst.


In the event everything seemed fine. There weren't great numbers of mullet around - a legacy of weeks of mostly easterly winds I think - but the small gaggles of fish moving past me as I fished near the bridge all seemed to be in good nick apart from one tatty-looking individual that even so was keeping up with the others. I couldn't get a bite from those close-in fish but eventually got one legering further out. Later I walked Fern Collie all down the west side of the estuary and saw more mullet in ones and twos, and they all looked fit and alert. I decided to have a last hour fishing from the wall. Again I couldn't get any interest from the near-in fish but had one at long range. Both the fish I'd landed were pristine four pounders ...

On Thursday 16th my old friend Steve Smith arrived for a few days fishing. I collected him from the airport and we called in at Rosscarbery on the way west, for a short session from the shelter of the brolly in heavy rain driven yet again by an easterly breeze. Steve had a couple of knocks but nothing came of them and the numbers of fish present seemed to have declined yet again. Indeed the venue continued to disappoint, with further half-day visits on Saturday morning (lashing with rain again!) and Monday afternoon both blank. On Monday we met one of my blog readers, Pete, who told us that another, Jonny, had had three mullet on Sunday including a brace of five pounders, and indeed there were a few fish showing on Monday. However, we couldn't get much interest in our baits and when I finally got a good take last knockings the fish came off half way in.


We looked at a lot of venues over Steve's visit and located mullet at most of them, but feeding activity was fleeting at best and we struggled for bites. Fortunately my favourite rock mark in Bantry Bay bucked the trend and gave us good sport over each of the three low waters we fished it...

We were catching the mullet shallow float-fishing mostly with fish bait. They weren't massive fish, mostly two-pounders with a smattering over 3lbs to a best of 3:10, and each gave a great scrap in the clear water on light tackle.

Highlight of the trip though was at a shallow venue near Glengarriff. We fished there on the Friday afternoon and saw some good-sized mullet, but they weren't feeding well.


On Sunday afternoon we were back, and the mullet were back too. Steve crept off and hid himself in the bankside vegetation. He flicked out a flake bait on a 2 swan leger to lie in the shallows surrounded by a few loose offerings, and waited. 


Before too long, a decent mullet appeared and started mopping up the bread. It picked up his bait, and Steve was in ...


The mullet put up a good fight, repeatedly ploughing off through the shallow water as I worked my way round the bank to do the netting.


It was a wonderful 5lb 12oz specimen thicklip, in good condition but a long and lean fish that with more bulk on it could easily have weighed a pound more. Well done Steve ...

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Comments: 2
  • #1

    Steve. T (Friday, 31 May 2019 23:05)

    Another excellent write up Dave :)

  • #2

    David Rigden (Saturday, 01 June 2019 15:25)

    Thanks Steve mate.