A March Mullet Before Lockdown

March was always going to be a truncated fishing month with a UK trip planned.


I drove down to Rosscarbery on the 2nd. The water was horribly coloured after Storm Jorge and the day was grey and blustery. I didn't get a bite or even see a mullet move for sure.


We headed for the Rosslare ferry on the 4th with Ireland beginning to shut down with the coronavirus crisis. It was good to see family and friends but we were pleased to get back on Patrick's Day ... it was obvious by now the way things were headed and the Atlantic coast of Ireland seems as safe a place as anywhere to weather out the storm.


I went back to Rosscarbery on the 18th, fishing from the grass by the bridge arch. It was blustery again and none too warm. I couldn't see any fish moving but after a couple of hours Jason arrived and said there'd been "thousands" of mullet here yesterday and no way could they have moved out of the pool on the very neap tides at the time. Jason hadn't caught yesterday and went off to fish down the west side but he didn't stay long. As it calmed down later in the day I started to see big shoals of mullet boiling from time to time along the fringe of the mudbank, way out of range across the pool. There didn't seem to be any at all straying closer in and eventually I tired of waiting and took Fern collie for a walk down the estuary before driving home ... and promptly wished I'd packed up earlier as we found an active group of mullet in one of the deeper pools lower down. A quick dash back to get the car and tackle and soon we were relocated by the pool with the mullet still showing. I wasn't sure whether to try trotting a float through, the ebb flow looked a bit fast for that so in the end I broke out one of the leger rods again and touch-legered. I had quite a few knocks but I couldn't say for sure if they were proper bites or just fish bumping into the line ... nothing I could strike anyway and after ten minutes or so the fish moved off and out of the estuary with the tide.


I was back again on Sunday 22nd. Someone else was fishing from the grass, a blessing in disguise as it turned out. I drove slowly down the west side and soon came across a big shoal of mullet just within casting range, so I parked up there and set up the leger rods. I had these fish all over and around my baits for a couple of hours, but they obviously weren't feeding as there was barely a twitch on either tip. I started to see an odd straggler from the main group closer in, so I dropped one of my baits in there just in case one of these fish might be bucking the trend and feeding ... and a few minutes later, mid-coffee as usual, the rod fishing closer in jagged over.


The fish powered off and put up a good scrap all the way in, to the extent I was surprised it looked relatively modest in size when it reached the foot of the wall. After a bit more struggle it was in the net, it went 3lb 14oz on the scales and had a massive paddle of a tail that was probably something to do with how well it had fought...

It was a much nicer day today. The morning had passed with just the occasional jogger, cyclist and dog-walker coming by on the road, but during the afternoon a steady procession of family groups came out in the sunshine for their Sunday exercise. Most kept a sensible social distance but I started to feel uncomfortable about the sheer numbers of them. I'd caught my March mullet and didn't fancy catching covid-19, so decided to pack up early.


On the 24th I headed up to Kerry and spent the day in splendid isolation on the rocks hoping for some more spurdogs. I started at a new mark but though it looked the business it soon revealed itself as a bit of a snag-pit. I was catching into a reef that was hidden underwater nearly every retrieve and it seemed to span right across the front of the mark. I wasn't sure at all if I'd be able get a fish out over that and after my third set of lost gear decided to up sticks to a well-tested spot nearby. The fishing was much easier as expected but I'd missed the best part of the tide and blanked apart from a couple of small LSDs.


Any plans for a return visit - or any fishing at all - went onto indefinite hold later in the week as stricter anti-virus restrictions were introduced, seemingly in response to the less than sensible crowd behaviour across the country the previous weekend. No non-essential travel and only "brief exercise" within 2km of home means fishing is out, and rightly too under the dreadful circumstances.


Stay safe please everyone, and I'll try to keep something ticking over on here during the lockdown.



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