On the 1st I was down at Rosscarbery, looking for a February mullet.
I started off legering from the wall on the west side. There was a huge shoal of mullet well out and from time to time a large group would break off and rampage round the pool, putting up a spectacular bow wave. Several times I had mullet boiling all round my baits but I couldn't get a touch apart from a couple of very obvious line-bites.
I was picking up some horrible black slime on my line which I guess was the rotting remains of last summer's lettuce weed. Sometimes I'd have to stop two or three times while retrieving to pick it off as it jammed in my tip ring. After a couple of hours I'd had enough and I decided to move over by the bridge hoping there might be some mullet feeding and/or less black slime in the deeper water channel.
I was miffed to find a load of litter, quite unusual at Rosscarbery where most of the mullet guys are well-behaved in this respect. Mostly it was screwed up and shoved into crevices in the rocks, which is surely more work than bagging it and taking it home?
I cleared it up anyway and while I was doing that I noticed some nice mullet flanking close-in right in front of the bridge. I went back to the car to get my float rod, and set up a light waggler rig.
I fished the float almost under my rod tip, feeding small amounts of mashed bread. I was soon getting bites, half-hearted at first but becoming bolder as more fish started competing for my feed. I missed a couple of good takes but soon hooked up, a chunky fish of 2:08. Three more followed, increasing in size 2:12, 3:08 and a very nice 4:11 to finish.
On the 4th I headed down to the estuary on the Mizen where I'd had good mullet sport towards the end of January. Today there was a stiff breeze running up the estuary and ruffling the water but I found a swim where I could get my back to the wind, more or less. Nothing much was showing on the surface but clearly decent numbers of mullet were present because I was getting bites from the off and these persisted through the shortish morning session, with short lulls after each hook-up till they came on the feed again. I landed five mullet, losing a couple of others. One was a baby of barely a pound, two solid 3lbers and a couple of beauties of 4:07 and 4:08.
I had a minor calamity at the end of the session. I propped my Preston float rod against the car while I loaded in my other kit, only for the wind to catch it and send it sliding then crashing to the ground.
One of the stand-off rings was broken ... unusual I'd say for the steel frame to break rather than the ceramic insert but equally unusable.
Fortunately I found a very near match for the ring on the remains of my broken Drennan Acolyte in the loft ... I knew it was good for something! I whipped the replacement ring on while watching the rugby on TV that afternoon, and put the first layer of epoxy over the whipping, adding several more coats over the next couple of days.
On the 7th the rod was ready to go again, and that afternoon I headed back to the Mizen. It was a warmer day and there was more surface activity, and some of the fish out at the back of the shoal looked a good size. Again I had bites on and off throughout the session, starting with four 3lb class fish that went really well.
Later on some of the bigger mullet started showing close in. I hooked into a 4:15 that fought for ages, but I couldn't get the exposure right on the self-timer pics and I didn't want to mess around too long as the fish was obviously knackered. Almost as soon as it was returned and swum away I was into another good fish. The mullet was obviously weighty but it was a more pedestrian sort of fight. It's always tempting to pile a bit more pressure on when they're like this but it's easy to ping the hook out like that and I resisted the temptation. Eventually I had a lump of a mullet on the surface, at 5:12 a PB for this venue. Unlike the pristine smaller mullet I'd caught, this one seemed to have been in the wars with minor damage to its tail, scales missing and small red marks on both flanks. Not that I'm complaining...
As I returned the fish I noticed the flood tide had reached the pool and water was starting to flow up through the bridge arches. In another ten minutes it would be pouring through and the swim unfishable. In fishing, success often hangs on very fine margins.
Between these latter two sessions I headed up to Kerry on the 5th to try again for the spurs but as with my last visit in January, it turned into a doggie-fest. I landed ten or more, punctuated only by a single thornback, a pretty one but much smaller than Stephen's last time in January ...
Frustratingly it turned out there were actually some spurs caught that weekend by some Cork anglers fishing further up the bay on the other side. And there was more frustration to come on my next visit on the 11th. I fished a low water mark on the other side and drew an almost complete blank. A single LSD hung itself on on my last cast before I had to beat a retreat to avoid being cut off by the tide.
The next set of suitable tides was written off by poor weather then a brief UK trip for a family funeral. While we were away the weather turned cold with a NE breeze and the forecast was threatening full easterlies for the rest of the month. Easterlies are never good news but it can take a few days before the fishing degenerates completely, so I was anxious to get out again as soon as we were back.
I headed up to the low water mark again on the 24th. The breeze was still NE at this stage, forecast 6 - 8 knots but it seemed more like 16 - 18 knots when I arrived. It wasn't best pleasant but I was there now and going to fish, and the breeze did die off a little later in the session.
To cut a long story short ... still no spurs. The bottom of the ebb was mostly quiet with just one good pull that dragged the bait down onto the bend of the hook and didn't hook up. The start of the flood was a different story ... one doggie and three big slack-line bites, each of which resulted in good huss. The first two were each dead on 10lbs, one on mackerel, the other on sandeel. Last cast before evacuating the mark I was in again, on sandeel again. This felt a heavier fish altogether and stayed deeper than the others, catching a couple of times in the kelp on the shelf close in. I managed to heave it through and grab its tail at the edge ... it was a beast of 14.5lbs, a new PB for me.
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