I arrived back at Rosscarbery at about 9.45am on New Year's Day. The mild spell had persisted and a gentle southerly breeze was putting a slight lop on the water. The tide had only just peaked and I couldn't see any sign of fish moving, but I felt confident I'd be in with a good shout in the swim where I'd caught last time out.
I was fishing by 10.15 but the first couple of casts passed without any indications on the quivertips. Around 11.15 the left-hand tip trembled slightly then a few seconds later it nodded more decisively. The nodding repeated and I struck, hooking into a solid-feeling fish that chugged out a little then hung out there a while before coming back in very slowly, hugging the bottom. It wasn't a scintillating fight to be honest, but the fish obviously had some weight to it and when it surfaced just slightly off to my left I thought it might make 6lbs. I had it in the net at the second attempt and soon had it in the weigh-bag on the scales, 5lb 14oz as it turned out and a very satisfactory start to the year.
My Facebook friend Jason arrived soon after. I was just saying to him that I hadn't seen a fish move all morning apart from the one I'd hooked when mullet started flanking in the flow out from the lagoon just to our left. It quickly became apparent there were scores of fish there, all looking around 2lbs - 3lbs.
As the tide dropped away we could see shoals of mullet over much of the pool, with odd fish topping and occasionally fish boiling over a large area, spooked as a big bird flew over or a hunting cormorant took up pursuit.
For the most part these fish weren't feeding well and for long periods we couldn't get a strikeable bite despite getting plenty of tiny knocks on the tips, either line bites or fish just pecking at our baits.
Then once in a while a fish would hang on. I had another four spaced through the afternoon all between 2:08 and 3:01. Jason hooked a similar number but only landed a couple I think. They were not big fish but they all seemed to be fresh in from the sea and fighting fit, and the scraps they gave made for a very enjoyable time.