I kicked the New Year off with a couple of unsuccessful mullet sessions at Rosscarbery.
On the 4th I arrived at lunchtime and started down the west side, the trees giving some shelter from the blustery west wind in the aftermath of Storm Henk. After a couple of hours I'd not had a bite nor seen much mullet activity, so I went for a walk and soon found a big shoal in the shallow corner by the hotel. I relocated and spent another couple of hours with mullet swimming all round my baits but not taking them. I had a few knocks on the tips but nothing I'd swear wasn't a line bite.
I was back on the 7th at the start of a cold spell before the east wind set in too deeply, again arriving at lunchtime to give the day time to warm up a little. There wasn't much showing so I set up to fish the slightly deeper water by the bridge. As the water dropped away I started seeing a few mullet moving for the hour or so until the air temperature started dropping as the sun set, but there was absolutely no interest in my baits.
I gave the next week of bitterly cold east winds a miss and headed back on the 14th. It was a cold day and there was still a touch of east breeze blowing so I wasn't overly optimistic.
I fished over by the bridge again, and today there were reasonable numbers of mullet showing from the off. The late morning and early afternoon passed without a touch then, after two and a half blank sessions, the mullet finally decided to feed! In quick succession I landed a 3:15, lost another one that felt similar, then landed a 4:01. I'd caught my January mullet - that's now 34 months consecutive.
I was back again on the 18th, another chilly day with the wind now out of the north. I fished a couple of hours by the bridge without interest, then mid-afternoon started seeing fish over in the corner again, well to my right. I walked over for a look - there were hundreds of mullet, dorsal fins and tips of tails scything through the water everywhere and big whelms when fish spooked. I quickly fetched my tackle over and cast out expecting an instant response given how active the fish seemed ... and two hours later packed up without a bite!
Jason's big haul on Christmas Day was taken mostly on maddies, perhaps that's the way to go when the winter mullet are playing hard to get on bread. Though the extra time, travel and effort digging doesn't really appeal versus picking a loaf off the shelf!
The prolonged cold spell came to an end with storms Isha and Jocelyn in quick succession.
Facebook started sending "memory" posts through my newsfeed of the big bags of mullet I had down on the Mizen in late January last year and the year before. I was anxious to give it a go though doubtful about the ongoing unsettled conditions, anyway on the 26th I travelled down for a look.
The pool was raked by a strong southwest breeze. Nothing was showing on the surface but the otters had left a few piles of scales on the bank so I thought there might be a few mullet deeper down. I got the brolly up as shelter against the wind and the occasional squally showers that punctuated an otherwise sunny afternoon.
I fished a couple of feet deeper than I normally do at this spot and soon was getting bites, sporadic at first but more frequent as fish turned on to my mashed bread loose feed. I missed more than I should have, bumped a couple of fish on the strike, and landed four up to 3:10.
The session marked the first outing for a new Korum Glide 12ft/14ft float rod that I fished with the 2ft dolly section to make 14ft. I'd only bought it to have as a spare in case my Preston float rod comes to grief, but I wanted to give it a try. I'm really quite impressed for the £70 it cost - light to hold, casting's a breeze due to the larger than average eyes for a float rod, not quite the pleasant action of the Preston for playing fish but not far short.
On the 27th I had the big rods out after far, far too long. I travelled up to Kerry to fish for spurdogs, but the spurdog fishing hasn't shone the last few years so I had realistic expectations ... huss are a safer bet.
I fished an island mark accessible across a causeway from half tide down for about a five hour session before having to evacuate, unless you want a much longer session!
The mark looked a million dollars with a warm south breeze from behind and a nice colour in the water left from the storms. Yet it was a slow session overall with no action at all on the dropping tide or over low water.
About an hour up the tide one of my rod tips straightened as the line fell slack. I tightened down and struck into a heavy fish, and heaved a good huss into the edge where it spat out my hook as they sometimes do, disappointing to put it mildly.
It's not often in fishing you get a chance for instant redemption, but I was still baiting up that rod when I had an exact repeat of the bite on my other one. This time no misfortunes, and a huss of 11lbs joined me briefly on the rocks having taken a squid/mackerel cocktail.
I stayed as long as I could but no further action. The tide was just flooding over the causeway as I got back...
On the 29th my thoughts turned back to the mullet on the Mizen. It was a calm day, just a breath of north breeze, and with sunshine forecast for the afternoon I just knew the mullet would be showing in force and feeding well.
Sure enough there were mullet topping all over the pool when I arrived.
I set up the Korum float rod again with a small waggler float to fish about 18" deep.
Bites were tentative at first but became bolder as the fish turned on to my loose feed, and soon I was into a nice 3:12 thicklip to start.
Fish kept coming regularly. My tenth was the biggest of the day, the 4:03 in the photo left. The others were mostly big 2s and 3s, every one a good scrap on the light float tackle.
By this stage the mullet were mostly showing across the far side of the pool. I swapped my centrepin reel for a fixed spool and put on a heavier 3SSG float for greater casting range, and soon added an eleventh mullet.
Shortly after I was in again ... I'd not seen a bite but I started to wind back at the end of a long trot and found myself attached to a very powerful fish. It ran off about ten yards then leapt clear of the water, another run and another leap, then it was off. It wasn't a normal mullet fight at all, I wondered if I'd foul-hooked one as I began to retrieve or if maybe a big trout had grabbed the bread.
The sun was setting now, the temperature dropping like a stone, there were still plenty of mullet topping across the pool but they were stopped feeding and I was no longer getting bites. I called time on a great session.