The mullet fishing proved slow through January and into February so I dusted off the big rods and made the effort to get out a few times.
The rocks on the Bantry Bay side of Sheep's Head were quiet as often seems to be the case this time of year. I tried two sessions a fortnight apart in January but these produced only a few small LSDs, a strap conger, a couple of dropped runs and just the one decent huss, a typically dark specimen just over 10lbs. The successful bait was a popped-up mackerel head.
I spent one blustery evening early in the month on the pier local here. It's a handy spot sheltered from westerly winds and straight into deep water. Normally I'd have the place to myself this time of year and it couldn't be easier fishing from the back of the car ...
I put out a couple of big baits for huss and conger and, on a lighter rod, a two-hook paternoster with small mackerel and sandeel baits to see what else might be about.
It was slow at first, then a little flurry of activity. A small pollack came out on the scratching rig, then a tiny conger. I was just unhooking that when a stuttering run came on one of the big rods.
A decent pollack around 4lbs had picked up the squid bait, an unexpected bonus.
I'd barely dealt with the pollack when the tip of the scratching rod was rattling again before pulling firmly over. I grabbed the rod and could tell straightaway what had happened - with two good big baits to choose from, a huss had decided to snap up half a small sandeel on a size 4 Aberdeen instead!
The huss put up a good scrap on the lighter rod, pulling over to the right and picking up one of my other lines. At some stage it bit through the hooklength but it was so comprehensively trussed up in the rest of the rig by then I still landed it. I didn't weigh it but it looked a little bigger than the one I'd had on the rocks, and it was nice to get a leopard-effect one. I presume the paler colouration goes with the cleaner ground in front of the pier.
A quiet hour followed and I was just thinking of packing up when one of the ratchets went. This turned out to be a strap conger maybe 5lbs. It had made a meal of the bait; I managed to unhook it okay and return it but the rig was such a mess it made my mind up about leaving. The wind from behind was threatening to blow me off the pier anyway as Storm Brendan wound itself up for the next day.
I was out again last evening for another go, a strange sort of session with a quiet start and a quiet end sandwiching ninety minutes of hectic activity in which I landed five LSDs and five huss and missed other runs.
A couple of the huss were only really doggie-sized, the other three estimated between 6lbs and 10lbs, all the paler colour again.