Sheep's Head Fishing Blog

 

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, you may enjoy reading my book co-authored with Mike Ladle. It's available for £25 including p&p from the Medlar Press website, here.

 

And if you're into mullet fishing, you could do a lot worse than joining the National Mullet Club to receive their magazines and newsletters, access a vast archive of other material and interact with other members through their forum, fish-ins and AGM. You can join online, here.

You are welcome to leave comments or ask questions on the blog posts, just click the comment link at the end of the post. You can enlarge the smaller images by clicking on them.

 

 

2020

Wed

05

Feb

2020

Two Years of Mullet

After the busy session on New Year's Day, the Rosscarbery mullet fishing quietened down in January. I went down twice, on the 8th and 22nd, and on each day I could see a shoal of mullet well out in the middle of the pool and mainly staying put. The sessions became a bit attritional, whacking out leger baits to maximum range and hoping an odd straggler would find them. In the event I had just one mullet each day, both middle three pounders ...

And so on into February, and I was back on the 1st with a mission to catch a mullet, any mullet, which would bring my tally to 24 months consecutive catching since March 2018.

 

It was a fairly horrible day, overcast with a cold westerly wind raking across the water and, unsurprisingly under the circumstances, no fish showing. I settled for the relative comfort of fishing from the wall on the west side with the wind off my back, but after four hours I'd not had a bite and I'd only seen one (possible) mullet swirl.

 

In the last hour of daylight the wind started to ease and with the water shallowing off I started to see mullet. Most were way out of range along the fringe of the mudbank in the middle of the pool but a smaller group was showing in front of the shingle area east of the bridge arch. I headed over there, jumped down the wall and was soon set up for what turned out to be a frustrating hour with mullet swimming all round my baits but no sign of a proper take. The only movements on the tips were two very obvious line bites, the quivers pulling round slowly then springing back as the line pinged off the mullet's dorsal fin. I regretted not moving earlier - okay they weren't feeding now but probably they'd have had a short feeding spell some time earlier in the day.

I was back yesterday on the 4th, a much nicer day to be out, very spring-like indeed.

 

The mullet present on my last trip would have been trapped in the pool on a very neap set of tides and they now had formed a single shoal that was very visible in the calm and sunny conditions. They were very skittish, probably because they were being regularly harrassed by one or more of several cormorants lurking around the pool. The otters had also been having a go overnight, with some success.

 

I fished off the grass by the bridge and had the shoal over or near my baits on and off throughout the day. I had lots of knocks and taps on the tips but disappointingly nothing I could strike. I think most or all of the indications were line bites as the shoal moved past; they just weren't feeding properly and a second blank February trip resulted.

I looked at the weather forecast last evening and it wasn't great news - getting gradually windier leading up to Storm Ciara at the weekend and what looked a protracted unsettled spell to follow. It wasn't obvious when (or if) it would be fishable again in February and I doubted if the mullet would hang around in the rough weather once they could escape on the bigger tides. So I decided I'd better head back today before it got too bad.

 

I was greeted by a moderate breeze from the south, usually a good wind direction though there was a chilly edge on it today especially when the sun disappeared behind a cloud. The mullet shoal was less visible in the gentle lop but showed itself from time to time, mostly off to the east of the bridge arch. I decided I could reach them from the corner of the grass by the bridge so I set up there.

 

The shoal seemed more settled, possibly because all but a couple of the cormorants had disappeared overnight, but the mullet were still not feeding well. I had a few gentle pulls on the tips that I was fairly sure were actual interest in the baits not just line bites. Interestingly they would come within a minute or so of casting, almost as if the mullet were sampling the newly arrived bait but deciding against ... I struck at a few but apart from briefly feeling one fish, no luck.

 

Then, just after I'd finished my lunch, one hung on properly - the rig had barely settled after casting out a fresh bait when the tip pulled round. No strike was needed - I grabbed the rod and was into a lively fish. It scrapped well and I certainly took it easy - I really wanted to land this fish after about fifteen blank hours and no guarantee I'd get another chance today or even this month. 

 

After five minutes or so it was in the net. 3lb 14oz but most importantly a February mullet to top off a run lasting two years ...

 

0 Comments

Tue

04

Feb

2020

Mostly Huss

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.

0 Comments

Wed

01

Jan

2020

Happy New Year

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.

 

 

0 Comments

2019

Tue

31

Dec

2019

November & December Update

To be fair, there's not a great amount to update here! I was busy with exam work throughout November and well into December, and the weather was mostly wet and windy. I did however get out in a few of the calmer interludes to try to keep my monthly mullet run going.

 

Read More 2 Comments

Wed

16

Oct

2019

October Fishing - Mostly Mullet & Steve's Back

4:11 in the first rays of morning sun.
4:11 in the first rays of morning sun.
Read More 0 Comments

Wed

02

Oct

2019

Atlantic Chub Mackerel

I had a couple of days mullet fishing yesterday and today, making the most of a brief calmer spell before ex-hurricane Lorenzo heralds the arrival of another lengthy unsettled spell. I'll write up the mulleting separately but today's session on a low water rock mark in Bantry Bay brought something of interest - my fourth new species of the year.

 

There were mullet present but they weren't really hanging on and nearly every positive bite I hit turned out to be a mackerel. They were quite good size and I decided to keep a few for eating, in the end taking a dozen. One immediately attracted attention, being a really slippery customer to get hold of, much more so than the others. Then I noticed its black band markings weren't quite right and it had feint spots right down its silver flank to its belly. Its tail was noticeably yellow and its eye seemed bigger than normal. Here it is with a standard mackerel below for comparison. The spots and yellow tail have faded somewhat in death ...

Read More 0 Comments

Fri

27

Sep

2019

September Mullet

My first trip out after Dave's return home was down onto the Mizen on September 5th.

 

I really wanted one of the bigger thicklips that browse the sandflats over HW like I had fishing last month with Mike. But after a couple of hours on the leger, the tide hadn't come in as far as I'd hoped and I'd had only one small mullet with no other bites. I wasn't even seeing any fish moving over the flats so there didn't seem to be much prospect of getting anything else and a change of plan was called for.

 

As the first of the ebb flow eased off, there were some quite decent numbers of mullet starting to show in the deep pool by the bridge arches. Although most of them looked small, occasionally I'd see a bigger fish so I decided to take the leger rods back to the car and break out the float rod. 

Read More 0 Comments

Mon

02

Sep

2019

Triggers and Other Fish

Read More 0 Comments

Thu

29

Aug

2019

August Mullet: Fishing with Mike & Fishing with Dave

On 1st August I headed down to see my old friend Mike Buckley who was over on a break from UK. Mike had been staying in B&B in Skibbereen for a few days already but had found the fishing along the road at Rosscarbery still in poor sorts, with just a few smallish mullet landed. So we decided to head to a pontoon mark to the east where he'd found more consistent fishing.

 

Sadly this day most of the mullet seemed to have vacated the pontoon: we saw a few fish but after an hour we were still without a bite between us. 

 

Someone called down to us that they could see some mullet under a small boat moored next to the adjacent higher section of quay, so I went to investigate. Sure enough, I could see three or four mullet under the bow of the boat that was actually tied to the outside of a larger vessel that was against the quay. I was able to drift some crusts down towards them and I thought odd pieces were being taken just as they disappeared out of sight down the far side of the boat. We didn't have a drop-net with us but I decided to fish anyway with a vague plan to walk a hooked fish back to the pontoon or send Mike with the landing net down a rather rusty-looking ladder ...

 

Read More 0 Comments

Mon

12

Aug

2019

Rock Sessions

Late in July a German friend in the village had visitors, including twin lads who wanted to go fishing. I somehow got volunteered to take them ...

Read More 0 Comments

Wed

31

Jul

2019

June & July Mullet

June and July are never the greatest fishing months for me, with loads of exam work on and precious few opportunities to get out. However I did manage to slip away a few times ...

 

On 7th June I headed down to Rosscarbery for a shortish session over lunchtime. It was a blustery day threatening rain, and as far as I could see in the choppy water there didn't seem to be many fish in residence. 

 

I set up on the grass and catapulted out a dozen small balls of groundbait in a tight pattern, supplemented each cast into the same area by another ball moulded round my leger weight . Often it's not possible to tell if this groundbaiting does much good, but today when I started to see mullet moving, after about an hour, it was right in the area I was baiting. Activity remained concentrated in the same area over the next couple of hours.

 

Soon after this activity started up, I began getting bites. First up a modest fish that threw the hook after a few seconds. No matter, as I was soon in again, and then again, with a couple of fish either side of 3lbs ...

Read More 0 Comments

Wed

22

May

2019

May Mullet - Fishing with Steve

Each spring some sickly mullet return inshore, individuals that haven't coped with the rigours of the winter and spawning, most probably old fish nearing the end of their lives ... "on their last fins" as one of my Facebook friends put it. These fish are particularly visible at shallow venues like Rosscarbery, and I'd seen a couple earlier this year. One, pale in colour, swam along listlessly just under the surface. Even more distressed, one was belly up near the bottom but just barely paddling itself along against the gentle current. Such sad specimens can't last long before the otters get them.

 

Then early this month reports started circulating of greater numbers of poorly mullet at Rosscarbery. I wasn't convinced it was anything (much) more than the normal state of affairs for the time of year, but still when I headed down on the 10th there was a slight sense of fearing the worst.

 

In the event everything seemed fine. There weren't great numbers of mullet around - a legacy of weeks of mostly easterly winds I think - but the small gaggles of fish moving past me as I fished near the bridge all seemed to be in good nick apart from one tatty-looking individual that even so was keeping up with the others. I couldn't get a bite from those close-in fish but eventually got one legering further out. Later I walked Fern Collie all down the west side of the estuary and saw more mullet in ones and twos, and they all looked fit and alert. I decided to have a last hour fishing from the wall. Again I couldn't get any interest from the near-in fish but had one at long range. Both the fish I'd landed were pristine four pounders ...

Read More 2 Comments

Sun

12

May

2019

Rock Sessions - and Another First.

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

30

Apr

2019

April Mullet

Read More 0 Comments

Sat

13

Apr

2019

Sheepshead Rocks

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

09

Apr

2019

First Spurs

Read More 0 Comments

Fri

29

Mar

2019

March Mullet

Back from Africa, a few days to recover ... and then a really stormy spell of weather that knocked thoughts of fishing on the head!

Read More 0 Comments

Thu

28

Feb

2019

Namibia 2019

Read More 0 Comments

Mon

11

Feb

2019

Twelve Months Running

I next ventured down to Rosscarbery on 25th January, just about over a miserable cold that had hung on me for most of the month. There were plenty of mullet present but they seemed to be in two or three big shoals way out in the middle of the pool - I'd see them occasionally boiling the surface when a bird flew over and spooked them.

 

I fished from the same area as last time and cast both leger rigs out as far as possible, which was still well short of where they needed to be. It proved quite a wait before (I guess) one of the shoals edged my way a couple of hours after starting. My left-hand rod nodded then pulled over, and soon I was involved in a feisty scrap with a decent mullet ... and while that was on, my right hand rod pulled over too and line started stripping off against the drag! I got the first fish in fairly quickly, left it in the landing net in the shallows then went to the other rod. This felt a better fish and it was miles out by now, though fortunately it didn't seem to have found any of the many snags out there. The mullet came back very grudgingly but I did eventually get it in to complete my second brace of the year already ... 3lb 5oz and 5lbs exact.

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

06

Jan

2019

Up and Running in 2019

Read More 0 Comments

2018

Thu

20

Dec

2018

Season's Greetings ... and a little update

Apologies to my regular readers for the lack of new material over the last couple of months.

 

I'd planned to have a good few rock sessions through the early autumn but it certainly didn't work out that way. First time out on the rocks and I somehow injured my back. I'm not even sure how, I had a few chucks with mackerel feathers to no avail then sat down on the rock ledge dangling a float close in for wrasse. Had a couple of small ones out then realised I couldn't stand up! Eventually I managed to get onto all-fours and scrabble my kit together and crawl off the rocks. Then I hobbled my way back to the car using my net handle and a rod butt-section as makeshift crutches. Not recommended.

Read More 0 Comments

Mon

17

Sep

2018

With Steve and Just After

Last Tuesday I met Steve Smith at Cork Airport for his second trip over this year.

 

Best laid plans and all ... Steve's flight was delayed and an already tight schedule to fish a low-water pool in an estuary not too far from the Airport became even tighter. We were heartened to find some good numbers of mullet on arrival, and even more heartened when they showed interest in the scraps of floating bread we put in. But by the time we were set up and fishing, the first of the tide was beginning to push through the pool, and soon it became a torrent, taking the mullet with it upriver.

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

11

Sep

2018

Mullet Here & There

My mullet fishing has also been patchy recently. I missed a potentially good week for a family visitor staying with us, and the mullet themselves seem a bit unsettled by some up-and-down weather.

Read More 0 Comments

Sat

08

Sep

2018

Rock Update

I've not done a huge amount of rock fishing this summer, and the rock fishing form has been patchy on those occasions I have been out.

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

14

Aug

2018

Mullet Update

Read More 0 Comments

Fri

20

Jul

2018

Ticking Over ...

Apologies to my regular readers for the lack of recent updates. I've not been fishing much - a trip away in the UK, an exceptionally busy exam work season and the World Cup footie being mostly responsible.

 

I did manage to get out on the last day of June for a short mullet session on the Bantry Bay rocks. I caught it just right with lots of mullet showing on a sunny day with just a touch of breeze to ripple the surface. I briefly contacted a decent fish first cast on bread bait, but after that the bites became very finnicky on bread and I couldn't hook up again. I changed to using slivers of salmon and the fish bait produced much better bites. I finished the session with three nice mullet before the rising tide forced me off the spot, the best a lovely 4lb 12 oz thicklip, the best I've had from this particular mark.

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

20

May

2018

Contrasts

Last Friday was a wonderfully sunny day with a fresh westerly breeze. I had to go to the dentist in Bantry about lunchtime but on the way back I drove along the coast road. I wanted to have a look at an outfall pipe that I haven't fished before, and maybe get the rod out if conditions looked suitable. The pipe has been there a while but only over the last few months does it seem to have become active, carrying waste from a fish processing plant.

 

It's not an easy spot to fish, the end of the pipe only being accessible for a short session over low water and it's not far above water level so it's prone to getting sloshed over if there's any swell. The water in front of it is not very deep, and there's a kelp-covered reef just under the surface only slightly to the left.

 

Anyway, today the conditions looked fishable with just a light cross-wind from the left and only a small swell. I walked out to the end of the pipe and it was working well ...

Read More 1 Comments

Wed

16

May

2018

Steve Back Again ...

Last Friday my old friend Steve Smith flew into Cork Airport for a short mullet fishing break. He'd decided to try an trip over in May on the basis of my early-season fishing the last couple of years, but regular followers of this blog will know that this year the fishing has been patchy so far, with a long winter stretching into a disappointing early spring.

 

The most consistent venue has been Rosscarbery, so there we headed on Saturday for Steve's first session. The tide was still quite neap and, paradoxically, unbroken bright sunshine streamed down on us. We could see lots of mullet in the shallow water, contentedly browsing over the surface of the mud, possibly sampling the algae that has put on a growth spurt over the last week or so. They looked like they might be difficult to turn onto bread baits, and so it proved.

 

We started off by the bridge arch. I set Steve up with two leger rods and fished one myself. Predictably, because I was keen for Steve to get off the mark, it was my tip that nodded first. I struck and played a modest mullet two-thirds of the way in, at which point it picked up one of Steve's lines and then came off. 

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

08

May

2018

Scratching ...

Writing these blogs it's easy to gloss over the bad days, concentrate on the good days and give a sometimes over-optimistic impression of the fishing. There's no disguising though that the last month has been difficult, and after some promising catches in March and April the mullet fishing has gone backwards. Main culprit I'm sure has been the unseasonal weather. Two early heatwaves have come and gone in the UK and the east of Ireland, while West Cork has languished under a blanket of cloud and mist with temperatures struggling to get into the teens of Celsius and some days much colder than that!

Read More 0 Comments

Wed

11

Apr

2018

Back on the Rocks

Read More 0 Comments

Mon

09

Apr

2018

More Mullet

I've been keeping an eye on some marks further west, but for now there's been little sign of any mullet on them. To get my mullet fix I've been heading back to Rosscarbery, trying to pick the milder days with a gentle southerly breeze to maximise my chances of getting a few fish. The last couple of weeks the tactic seems to have been working.

Read More 0 Comments

Fri

16

Mar

2018

Catching Again

February mullet fishing proved difficult and ultimately unsuccessful. I did a first trip to Rosscarbery on the 4th. I couldn't see any sign of mullet and ended up fishing blind in the swim where I'd caught the two fish at the end of January. Incredibly, I missed a decent pull on my very first cast! As I wound in, the thought flitted through my mind that I may have just missed my best chance of a February mullet. And how prophetic that turned out to be, as that session petered out without further interest, and three further blank sessions followed before we headed for the ferry and a long-scheduled UK trip on the 19th. That put an end to any prospect of a mullet in February, though as the Beast from the East and Storm Emma arrived shortly after and dumped a blanket of snow over West Cork, I doubt I'd have been out much anyway.

 

It was frustrating that I'd missed that chance, frustrating also that I'd seen mullet on the other trips, albeit not in big numbers and apparently not feeding. And frustrating that as soon as we were back in Ireland and I was fishing again, the mullet were around in greater numbers and feeding again ... in March!

 

My first trip was on the 8th and there were decent numbers of fish showing out from the west bank when I arrived about lunchtime. I put out the usual two leger lines but I didn't get any definite takes, I thought slightly surprisingly given the fish seemed quite active. Eventually a sizeable group of them gathered in a shallow corner and I decided to break out the float rod. Tackled up again, I waded out a little way, crouched low and put a little Puddlechucker out into the midst of the feeding mullet, fishing a small flake bait just a few inches deep. Still bites were hard to come by, then unexpectedly the float stabbed under and I missed with the strike. But I was better prepared a minute or two later when the float dipped again and I was in ...

 

The fish bow-waved out through the shallow water scattering its shoal mates then put up a decent if uneventful scrap before I could beach it. It weighed 4lb 5oz. The blingy reel is the Shimano Catana that I won in the raffle drawn at the Mullet Club AGM ... it seemed churlish not to give it a whirl and in fairness it did a decent job but I don't really like rear-drags much on fixed-spool reels so it may not get a lot of other outings.

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

30

Jan

2018

Slow Start (but Worth the Wait)

The storms between Christmas and New Year and on into January made for some difficult fishing.

 

I visited Rosscarbery on the 1st and the 10th of the month without seeing a mullet or getting a bite fishing blind. On the 10th I packed up early and had a good look round several parts of the Clonakilty estuary hoping to find some fish but to no avail there either.

Read More 0 Comments

2017

Sat

23

Dec

2017

More December Mullet

The weather has stayed very mild this week, so today it was back to Rosscarbery for some more winter mullet.

 

On arrival I could see a group of fish grubbing around in very shallow water on the west bank. I fished for them for twenty minutes or so, getting a couple of line bites but no proper takes. Then a couple of cormorants arrived and started harassing the fish, which soon moved on. The cormorants left and I fished on for a few minutes hoping the mullet would reappear, then I decided to move. I was just breaking down my first rod when the other pulled over hard then sprang back before I could pick it up - a missed chance.

Read More 1 Comments

Thu

21

Dec

2017

Long Time Coming

Work took up the rest of November, and the first week of December. I finished the last batch of exam scripts just in time for a visit by Keith Gillett, the chairman of the National Mullet Club in UK. 

 

Unfortunately Keith brought some horrible weather with him, a blast of strong northerly winds straight from the Arctic dropping the air temperature close to zero. We fished two long days at Rosscarbery and though I was slightly surprised that we saw a few mullet each day and we did have a couple of half-hearted bites on the first afternoon, ultimately we blanked. The swan population of West Cork seemed to have descended on Rosscarbery and they made a real nuisance of themselves.

 

On Monday this week I was back, this time with Julian. It was flat calm and the water was both low and very clear and although the air temperature was up to about 10 celsius, the water still felt icy cold. There seemed to be plenty of mullet about but they mostly stayed well out in the middle of the pool. The few that strayed into range showed no sign of feeding on our baits, another blank! Most of the swans had moved on but those still present hung around us right through the session, a proper pain. 

 

And so to today. It was overcast with drizzle on and off, but there was a gentle SW breeze putting a ripple on the surface and the air temperature was up to 13 celsius so despite the recent poor form I felt much more confident about the prospects. Another positive, the swan population was down to just two adults and their four nearly-grown cygnets, and happily they left me alone all day!

Read More 0 Comments

Sat

04

Nov

2017

Fishing at Christchurch

Ex-Hurricane Ophelia and Storm Brian rattled through in quick succession and the inshore waters around West Cork were thoroughly stirred up. I ventured down to Rosscarbery on 22nd October, just after Brian, and even in the relatively sheltered waters there the mullet had made themselves scarce. It was a six hour blank across two different swims, not a bite and only a couple of fish seen. That was my last chance gone before a trip to the UK spanning two sets of work meetings in Cambridge, more than a fortnight away in all.

 

However, between the meetings I was staying in Christchurch in Dorset with my sister, and late in the season though it was, it just wouldn't have been right not to have a go fishing in the Harbour there.

Read More 0 Comments

Sat

14

Oct

2017

Fishing with Julian

I arrived at Lough Hyne in the half-light early on Monday morning to find the Lough mirror-calm. The place hasn't been on great mullet form this year, and I was disappointed again not to see much sign of activity on the surface. Still, I got the rods out and started feeding a little mashed bread, and soon Julian arrived. Mission: to catch his first mullet.

 

Given there weren't many mullet showing, and maybe it would be a one fish day, I got Julian fishing while I sat next to him slowly feeding the swim. Soon his float dipped away and he struck into ... a mackerel. A few missed bites, then another mackerel!

 

Soon we were seeing an occasional mullet swirl on the surface and Julian was getting, and missing, bites regularly. The mullet we were seeing looked small and in keeping with that the bites weren't particularly positive. Julian wasn't doing a lot wrong, but every miss was increasing the frustration level, and in his frustration he passed the rod to me to show him how to strike. I suppose the outcome was inevitable, one miss on another fiddly bite, then next cast when the float was pulled under much more decisively, I struck into a very decent-looking mullet.

Read More 0 Comments

Mon

09

Oct

2017

Rock Sessions

Mackerel had only been showing patchily here this summer, but on both sets of springs in September they seemed to be around in force, especially on the Bantry Bay side of the peninsula.

 

I do quite enjoy catching them individually on light tackle, but for now the order of the day was to catch big numbers for some meals and to stock up the bait drawers of the freezer.

 

I've been a long-term fan of the Mustad Ayaka shrimp rig for mackerel fishing, and these were catching well enough, but I had a few sets of TronixPro Sabikis I'd been meaning to try and one of these did finally get a go ... and I must admit they were better fish catchers than the Ayakas. Quality kit though they aren't: at the end of their first session the set of six had lost one hook completely and two others had been reduced to bare hooks. I had in mind to salvage what I could as a set of three, but by the time I got round to it the hooks were all very rusted so I chopped the rig up and consigned it to the bin.

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

03

Oct

2017

Rosscarbery Mullet Sessions

Three mullet sessions to report on here, all at Rosscarbery which is a great venue to have available when westerly winds write off most of my other mullet marks, as they have all too often recently.

 

On 26th September I had a morning appointment in Cork, so I arrived late lunchtime. It was another dull and blustery day, so I set up the leger rods on the sheltered west side of the estuary pool. There were decent numbers of fish about and I ended up with four on the bank ... 4:06, 2:14, 4:10 and a lovely specimen fish of 5:07 to round the day off nicely.

Read More 0 Comments

Thu

21

Sep

2017

Mullet Update

It's been a slightly frustrating few weeks at what is generally one of the best times of year for mullet fishing. The up and down weather has limited my opportunities, but even when I have got out I seem to have missed the best of the fishing. I've also lost a couple of good fish under unusual circumstances, more of which later.

 

On 4th September I had a short session on the rock mark on the north side of Sheep's Head which had been reasonably consistent when Steve was over, if not hitting the heights of earlier in the summer. There were still mullet in residence, but the size was disappointing. I had three between 1:12 and 1:14, this from a mark where I've rarely had fish under 2lbs before. Pretty little fish though...

Read More 0 Comments

Sat

09

Sep

2017

Before the Storm

Read More 0 Comments

Thu

31

Aug

2017

Wrasse ... No, Pollack

I arrived back from driving Steve to the Airport about lunchtime. After a pretty gloomy week weatherwise while he'd been here, today it was bright and sunny. I was feeling inspired  by my efforts with the wrasse on soft plastics yesterday, so I bundled the kit together and headed to a rock mark close to the mouth of Bantry Bay.

 

Well sometimes things just don't go to script ...

Read More 0 Comments

Wed

30

Aug

2017

Fishing with Steve - Again

Tuesday last week I picked up my old friend Steve Smith from Cork Airport; Steve was over for his annual mullet bash with us. It had been a miserable wet day and we didn't intend fishing, but it brightened up progressively as we headed west and I couldn't resist a look at a mark on the Sheep's Head as we neared home. 

 

I chucked out a few crusts and we watched, but nothing moved to them. Steve however spotted a mullet flanking occasionally as it scraped the stones on the bottom of the shallow gulley. It looked a decent fish, so we headed back to the house, offloaded Steve's suitcase and headed out again with fishing tackle. 

 

Ninety minutes later we packed up fishless, Steve having missed the only bite of the session. I secretly hoped this wouldn't set a trend for the week ahead, especially after the lean trip Steve had had last year.

 

Bright and early we were out to fish the bottom of the ebb and low water on a local rock mark. I really wanted to get Steve off the mark, so I fed bread into the swim little and often while he fished. He was getting sporadic bites almost from the off, and before long he connected with one ...

Read More 2 Comments

Sat

19

Aug

2017

Rock Fishing Two Ways

Two different ends of the rock fishing spectrum this week.

 

On Monday - coarse float rod, centrepin, 6lb line, waggler float and size 10 hook. The target was mullet, and I had five, two on bread bait and three on mussel flesh. I kept them in a rockpool pending release at the end of the session. No monsters today, the biggest was a middle-three pounder.

Read More 0 Comments

Sat

12

Aug

2017

Pollack on a New Rock Mark

Read More 0 Comments

Fri

11

Aug

2017

Mullet Round-up

Read More 0 Comments

Mon

07

Aug

2017

Wrasse

Read More 0 Comments

Thu

03

Aug

2017

Rosscarbery Trips ... and a new PB.

I finally emerged from under my mountain of exam marking in mid-July, with just a short window before we had family visiting and then I had another short work-related trip to the UK. Desperate for a mullet fix, on 12 July I headed for Rosscarbery for an afternoon session. It was a bright if blustery day, and Sylvi came too.

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

25

Jun

2017

Mullet on the Doorstep

I have a load of work to do from the last few days of May through to mid-July, so the option of some quick mullet sessions on the shore near our home in Kilcrohane is very attractive.

 

A lot of the fish are tiddlers like this one, but get past them and there are some bigger fish to be had.

 

I arrived one particular Sunday evening to find a few fish moving, and I soon had them swirling on loose-fed mashed bread. I had some stabby little bites on my little Puddlechucker float and wasn't unduly surprised when the first fish I connected with was a small one. However, as high water neared I started to see some bigger swirls, and after a few more misses I connected with a much heavier fish which put up a terrific fight trying to get among the rocks to my left ... 4lb 3oz. I waded out again and fished on more in hope than expectation, and as the tide started to drop away another decent fish turned up and started attacking floating pieces of bread. I tried fishing a surface bait but couldn't get a proper take ... I reset the Puddlechucker to fish flake a foot deep and soon had a good bite. The fish felt more solid than the first but the fight was steadier and less spectacular ... 4lb 10oz.

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

30

May

2017

Rock Sessions

I've had a few short sessions out on the rocks recently, making use of some settled weather.

 

First up a trip to a mark on the north side of The Sheep's Head to fish for conger and huss. Disappointingly after a bit of a walk and climbing down to the rock ledge, I noticed one of the local crabbers had dropped a pot in the exact same spot I usually cast to! I relocated thirty yards or so along the ledge and cast into the unknown, only to find it a bit of a snag pit. I persevered and eventually got out a couple of eels before deciding I'd lost enough kit for the day. This the best, just into double figures ...

Read More 0 Comments

Wed

24

May

2017

Mullet Sessions

A couple of mullet sessions to report over the last few days. Firstly to Rosscarbery earlier in the week, where some new flags were flying to welcome me, and some new advice for would-be swan feeders...

Read More 0 Comments

Sat

13

May

2017

And After the East Wind

The east wind certainly didn't bring any favours fishing-wise ... though the associated dry weather was a bonus for some work we were doing in the garden. Perhaps I should have stuck with the gardening, but I gave over two days to investigating new rock marks. Both marks accessed cleanish ground, and both maybe will fare better later in the year, but I couldn't muster a credible bite from either on a variety of baits. One day the wind fell light enough to get onto a favourite rock mark for some mulleting, but the place was infested with baby coalfish.

 

The easterlies had now been replaced with a southerly, much better but already the strength was kicking up towards a proper blow over the next couple of days. I still haven't seen much by way of mullet locally this year, and these conditions weren't ideal, so I headed down to Rosscarbery.

 

Not so many fish were visible as earlier in the month, but the ones I could see seemed a better size. Both observations were borne out by what was a slowish session, punctuated by occasional bites on the leger baits that yielded three fish of 4:11, 4:04 and another 4:04 ...

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

02

May

2017

Before the East Wind

The weather forecast for the next few days or so isn't great, a strong and cold east wind about to set in for a week at least. I was keen to get out fishing before that arrived, and there being little sign of mullet around Sheep's Head yet this spring, I headed down to Rosscarbery. There was already a touch of east in the wind, but mostly it was southerly and running up the estuary, variable in strength but never more than a fresh breeze.

Read More 2 Comments

Sun

23

Apr

2017

Calm ...

Read More 2 Comments

Sat

22

Apr

2017

Mulleting

I've had a few mullet sessions over the last week or so that I can report on - had some fish but nothing very special size-wise.

 

On the 13th I headed down to Rosscarbery for an afternoon session. It was a grey day with a none-too-warm breeze blowing up the estuary. I settled for a favourite west bank swim where I could sit in the lee of the car. It proved a slowish session with just three definite takes on the leger baits ... 2:04, 2:12 and to finish a 3:10.

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

11

Apr

2017

Another Day ...

... another rock mark. Again on the south shore of Bantry Bay. And more bullhuss. Three of them today, all on popped-up mackerel heads. Two were about 7lbs, and last knockings out came this one just over 10lbs. This is a good illustration of why I use a wire biting-piece for them ...

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

09

Apr

2017

Bantry Bay Rocks

In contrast to the mulleting, other fishing has been slow recently. I fished a rock mark last week for just a couple of doggies. The only better fish of the day - probably a big huss - escaped when the Sakuma circle hook snapped, there's a first. This was followed by a blank session one morning on Bantry Airport strand, definitely not a first.

 

This afternoon I headed to another rock mark on the Bantry Bay side of the peninsula.

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

04

Apr

2017

Ten Mullet Day

Today I headed back to the same estuary as Saturday.

 

I was hopeful that the falling water level over the smaller tides would have concentrated the fish into the deep pool, if indeed they hadn't evacuated altogether when they could on the last of the bigger tides. This is a risk particularly in high summer - perhaps when it's warmer they fear the water deoxygenating over several days without a top-up. But equally I've had some big bags in springtime before. Also after a foul day's weather yesterday, I thought there might be a little more colour in the water which might help.

 

On arrival I could see mullet topping occasionally in several parts of the pool ... game on.

 

I set up in the same swim as Saturday, but this time set the float to fish only about eighteen inches deep. I could already see fish swirling around the floating bits of the first handful of loose-feed I'd chucked in, so they were obviously going to feed shallow, at least to start with.

 

What followed was an incredible four-hour session that resulted in ten mullet landed. None of the fish were over 4lbs but who cares really when you can fish in such wonderful surroundings and get loads of bites and rod-bending action from mullet around the 3lbs mark? For the record the best was 3:11 ...

Read More 0 Comments

Sat

01

Apr

2017

Out West

Read More 0 Comments

Thu

30

Mar

2017

Rosscarbery Braces

Two trips here, separated by a few days, in contrasting weather conditions but with similar results.

 

Last Saturday, and it was back from warmer climes to a chilly easterly breeze that looked set to increase in strength over the next few days. I decided to get out at the earliest opportunity to get some fishing in before the worst arrived. This meant a relatively brief Saturday afternoon session. 

 

I headed for Rosscarbery and although there were good numbers of mullet to be seen, I wasn't that hopeful with the water low and very clear, bright sunshine and the breeze a bit fresher than forecast. I cast out my leger rods well out expecting an attritional session, but in the event I had a good pull-down bite on only my second cast and landed a 4:12 thicklip a few minutes later. 

 

It was quiet for a couple of hours after that, but as the water level (and colour) increased as the flood tide arrived, I had another bite. This time I struck at a couple of knocks and duly played in a 3:11 ... it fought better than the first fish and I was mildly disappointed it didn't turn out a bit bigger.

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

21

Mar

2017

Namibia Holiday

Read More 0 Comments

Sat

11

Mar

2017

First Irish 'Six'

After a wet old week, Saturday was a lovely warm and sunny spring-like day and an ideal opportunity to get a March mullet before I'm off on holiday on Monday.

 

I drove down to Rosscarbery and set up on the west side of the estuary, arriving soon after low water. I could see odd fish moving in the shallow water in front of me and to both sides so I was hopeful of some quick action as I welted out both my leger baits.

 

The reality was somewhat different with not a touch for the first four hours. The swans were a complete pain, back and forth in front of me and occasionally one would get its head down on my groundbait. I noticed a pair of anglers set up near the bridge ... but didn't see any action their end either and they left a couple of hours later.

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

26

Feb

2017

National Mullet Club AGM

One bonus of our trip to the UK was that it allowed me to attend the Mullet Club AGM held in Portsmouth. It was the first time I'd been for a couple of years. It was nice to meet so many old friends again at one time, and there was a nice buzz about the meeting from the 40ish members present.

 

One good feature of the AGM is that the formal business of reports and elections is dispensed with quickly, allowing time for plenty of chat before the meeting and over lunch, and a series of presentations by guest speakers.

 

This time we had Martin Salter of Angling Trust in the morning and after lunch, Mat Mander of Devon & Severn IFCA both giving conservation-related talks. Then there was a presentation on fly-fishing for mullet by Colin Macleod and finally my good friend Mike Ladle, who'd been doing book signings with me on and off all day, gave the last talk about his innovative fishing as only Mike can. All the speakers did a great job.

Read More 1 Comments

Tue

14

Feb

2017

Rock Session

Not much fishing to report on in February.

 

I had a blank mullet session at Rosscarbery early in the month; there were still a few fish around just no takers.

 

Then a spell of cold east winds set in for a week, and only abated today. We are off on an extended visit to the UK later this week, so I was keen to get out if not overly hopeful following the easterlies.

 

I chose a deep rock mark on the north shore of the Sheep's Head. For bait I grabbed some mackerel bodies and a bag of heads from the freezer, and fished fillet baits and heads as pop-ups to raise the bait a foot above the snaggy sea-bed.

 

As half expected action was slow to come, but as the tide neared high in late afternoon I did start to get a few knocks and eventually a couple of decent takes, both on heads, and both yielded bullhuss.

 

The first huss was about 7lbs, the second was bigger and put up a good scrap as it neared the rocks. It went just into double figures on my scales. Neither was particularly co-operative about holding still for a photo, so not the best pics I'm afraid ...

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

31

Jan

2017

More January Mullet

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

22

Jan

2017

Underway in 2017

It's not been a hectic start to 2017.

 

I've had two blank mullet trips, a night session on a local pier that produced only two poor cod and the smallest conger I've ever seen, and today a session on the rocks locally that produced a few rattly bites but nothing that held on to the large hooks I was using for huss or conger.

 

In the midst of all this, a small success story. I headed down to Rosscarbery last Tuesday for a go at the mullet. I'd been there the previous week and blanked, though I'd seen a few mullet moving. Today was such a mild day I really fancied my chances if there were any mullet present. It was so calm when I arrived I was sure I'd see any mullet if they were about, but disappointingly the normal swims down the west side of the estuary pool seemed barren of fish. I walked round to the bridge arch, still without seeing anything. Then, to my relief, I saw a few fish moving further along to the east.

 

It's not an area I've fished before as it requires an awkward jump down from the road causeway then an undignified scramble back up at the end. Still, needs must ... a few minutes later I was back with my kit. I had one leger rod set up so I put out a pop-up crust bait on that while I set about making up my second rod. The line was half-threaded up through the rod rings when I noticed a couple of bumps on the tip of the rod in the rest. Line bites probably ... I stopped a moment to watch, and suddenly the rod pulled right over. I grabbed it as the rod rest threatened to collapse, and a great scrap followed with a thicklip that turned in at 4lb 6oz ...

 

Read More 0 Comments

2016

Sat

10

Dec

2016

More December Mullet

Make hay while the sun shines. Or translated for West Cork, catch mullet while the mild, still, misty weather persists ...

 

I arrived at Rosscarbery to find the water still well down and mullet all over the estuary pool topping, bow-waving and occasionally jumping. They seemed slightly more numerous near the top end so I walked round to the grass bank by the bridge arch and set up my leger rods there.

Read More 0 Comments

Thu

08

Dec

2016

December Mullet

I'd never caught a December mullet before. I'd caught late into November on the south coast of England, but that was always a bit of a struggle and I'd run out of enthusiasm by the time December came. Years ago I took a pre-Christmas trip to Alderney and managed to blank.

 

December is a busy time of year for me work-wise. Last year I'd missed out on some potential good fishing, finding out after the event there'd been big shoals of mullet at Rosscarbery. So in the current mild weather I was determined to get out ...

 

I arrived to find good numbers of mullet in the shallows down the west side of the estuary, so I was keen to make a start. As I unloaded my stuff from the back of the car, I was dismayed to realise I'd left my landing net head at home. I had to relocate a hundred yards along the wall so I could fish close to an area where I'd be able to beach hooked fish ... not a problem in itself but the road is much narrower here so I wouldn't be able to fish out of the back of the car, and there was a persistent heavy drizzle.

 

Read More 0 Comments

Wed

07

Dec

2016

Pop-up Crust

National Mullet Club's Grey Ghost magazine is arriving with members about now. I have an article in it about fishing the pop-up crust leger bait that has been so productive for me in Ireland this year, and before that at venues such as Christchurch and Broadwater in the UK.

 

If it helps, here is the picture sequence for baiting up that appears in the article, in colour ...

Read More 2 Comments

Sat

05

Nov

2016

At Christchurch Again

After work meetings in Cambridge I headed down to the south coast for a few days before returning. It proved to be a fairly hectic stay trying to dovetail work stuff with seeing family and friends, but on Saturday I managed to steal a few hours to fish in the morning, before driving back to Cambridge later that afternoon.

 

I set off across Stanpit Marsh before it was properly light. My friend Dave Matthews had been catching up to last weekend, but the temperature had plummeted this week and the heavy frost on the ground didn't bode well. On the plus side I was treated to a wonderful dawn as I set up to fish the river channel down from Grimbury ...

Read More 0 Comments

Fri

28

Oct

2016

Fishing for Ghosts

I found out today that my long-term writing project with Mike Ladle has finally been published. Mike and I wrote the first draft of the book - now titled "Fishing for Ghosts" - way back in 1990. At that time it turned out Mike's previous publishers weren't interested - mullet fishing too niche - and we had a similar result when we tried again a few years later.

 

Since then it had been a case of "we must do something about the book" without ever getting round to doing anything, until Mike sent Medlar Press a couple of chapters in 2013 and they wanted it! Only trouble then was that the text was pretty out of date, so we spent the thick end of a year rewriting sections and adding new material, and I recruited Paul Fennell and Nick Murphy to add sections on kayak fishing and dinghy fishing for mullet respectively. We spent the summer of 2014 sourcing more and better photographic material and the package went off to Medlars in the autumn.

 

Since then it's been slow progress but the outcome was never in doubt and I'm pretty pleased with the book, especially considering it's my first (and probably only) attempt.

 

If you're interested in mullet fishing or just in collecting angling books, you can get more detail and order a copy from the Medlar Press website here.

0 Comments

Fri

28

Oct

2016

Two Mullet Sessions

I have an extended visit to the UK coming up followed by a load of work to do. I wasn't at all sure what the mullet prospects would be later on in November and into December when I might get a chance to go again, so I was keen to get out this week.

 

First up on Wednesday, a trip to Rosscarbery for a relatively short afternoon session. I headed straight for the shallow west bank swims that had been so productive for me this year, and set up both leger rods to fish the pop-up crust baits that had done so well. The tide was well down so I cast well out and sat back to await developments. 

Read More 0 Comments

Wed

26

Oct

2016

Saved by a Conger

It was an unusually quiet session on the north of the peninsula today. I had just a few rattles that didn't come to anything and a couple of small LSDs. Then near the end the session was rescued by a proper run at last on a popped-up mackerel head and this character joined me briefly on the rocks ...

Read More 0 Comments

Thu

20

Oct

2016

Mullet Large and Small

Two mullet sessions to report on this week.

 

On Tuesday I went down to Rosscarbery to catch the last of a series of really big spring tides. Although I arrived well down the ebb, the estuary pool had had a really good top-up and there was plenty of depth to fish the west side swims throughout the low water period.

 

I fished two leger rods with pop-up crust as usual.  The first hour was slow, but shortly after missing the first, rather half-hearted bite I was into a good fish that pulled the left hand rod over. It turned out to be 4lb 3oz ... 

Read More 0 Comments

Mon

17

Oct

2016

Evening Pollack Session

Read More 0 Comments

Sat

15

Oct

2016

Hard Work but ...

I fished today at an estuary on the Mizen peninsula. There had been a lot of mullet showing there on the same tides a fortnight ago, on a day I wasn't fishing for them, but that was a fortnight ago and today I was disappointed to see hardly any mullet activity as I looked around on arrival. There were a few shoals of fingerling fish surfacing from time to time, but that was all. The  breeze was just about southerly so whether it was still recovering from the east winds of the last two weeks or now winding down for the winter, I don't know.

 

I set up to float-fish in the deep pool just above the bridge. The float was trotting through nicely left to right, with the breeze in my face gradually pushing it in closer to the bank. Many trots later, the float dipped near the end of the run ... missed it, but I was ready for the repeat performance on the next time through and struck into a weighty fish.

 

The fish chugged all round the pool staying deep, but never did anything very spectacular. Eventually it weakened and a very thick-looking fish surfaced. Soon after I had it in my net. It weighed 5lbs exactly, and I was well pleased with that as it was only my second "five" from this venue.

Read More 0 Comments

Thu

13

Oct

2016

East Wind Mulleting

We've been plagued by east winds of varying strength for well over a week now. All forms of fishing seem to become instantly harder with the easterlies blowing; mulleting seems to hold up better than most, but after a few days even the mullet seem to go off the feed.

 

Wednesday last week I fished a newish mark south and east of Skibbereen, crucially on a west facing shore so I'd be out of the worst. I'd fished the spot briefly a couple of times before and had seen mullet on each visit, but I was yet to catch one there or even have a definite bite. Today I arrived halfway down the ebb tide and immediately saw a couple of mullet working over mudflats near where I parked the car, but I chose to ignore them to go and floatfish some deeper water a few hundred yards away. It was a mistake, and three hours later I returned to the mudflat area without having had a bite.

 

There was barely a foot of water over the flats now, but I could see a half-dozen or so decent mullet moving around. It was too shallow to floatfish sensibly so I set up my leger rods and cast out a pop-up crust bait on one and flake on the other. I fished an hour or so without a bite but as the new tide started to push up the shingle, some interest at last. I had a couple of very sharp tugs on the flake, but nothing hung on; I missed a half-decent take on the crust; then more tugs on the flake that came to nothing.

 

By this time mullet were moving close in so, frustrated by my failure to catch on leger, I dropped a float out just past the bladderwrack fringe, fishing flake a foot deep. After a couple of minutes the float bobbed but didn't move away; I left it and after another minute it buried, and I struck into a good mullet that immediately cartwheeled out of the water then ran out strongly.

 

The fish put up a good scrap. At one stage I had to wade out and free the line from a clump of weed it had swum round, but I landed it without further mishap. I was pleased with this 4lb 8oz thicklip as the first fish from a new venue ... 

Read More 0 Comments

Sat

01

Oct

2016

Mixed Stuff

A mixed bag of stuff here covering the last few days; none really seemed to warrant a blog entry on its own.

 

On Tuesday I grabbed a couple of hours fishing in Bantry while Sylvi did some shopping and had her hair done. The harbour there has a lot of development work going on, including a new pontoon extension for the old railway pier that is currently being used for the Whiddy Island ferry while construction work goes on around its old berth. Swimming and diving are prohibited from the pontoon, but fishing is allowed ... 

 

I set up with sliding float tackle for mullet on the harbour side of the pontoon towards the end. I plumbed the depth - about 14 feet - so set the float to fish around 12 feet and fished breadflake, dropping in loosefeed.

 

A couple of guys were fishing from the end of the pontoon. One was getting plenty of mackerel on a set of feathers, the other catching them singly on a Toby-type spoon. So it wasn't a huge surprise when my float first slid under after a few minutes and I struck into ... a mackerel. Two more followed, then a few bites that I missed ... maybe a mullet, but probably more mackerel. Sylvi arrived; I changed to a mackerel-sliver bait which upped the bite rate and she landed a few more till we had enough for a good meal.

 

On Wednesday I headed to a shallow estuary south-west of us. It had fished really well for mullet early on in the season but really poorly recently. Today it was still carrying a peaty stain, the surface was ruffled by a stiff breeze and there was not a sign of mullet moving around. I feared the worst but I did in fact have a few flurries of bites. I should have done better but ended up with just the one fish, 3lb 6oz ...

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

25

Sep

2016

Close but ...

I was hoping to fish for mullet near home today but a big swell running into Dunmanus and Bantry Bays and a strong westerly wind put paid to that. With rain forecast too I opted for the relative shelter of the Rosscarbery estuary.

 

I set up by the bridge arch on arrival, not the most sheltered swim but the only one offering much depth of water with the neap flood tide yet to arrive. I put out my two leger lines, put some additional groundbait out by catapult and sat back to watch the tips. All was quiet for an hour or so, as best as I could tell with the gusty wind waving the tips around. Maybe timid bites were passing by unnoticed but there was no missing what was going on when my right hand rod suddenly pulled over and locked down in the rest.

 

The mullet didn't seem that big at first but then got its head down in a series of short but powerful runs out and to the left - fortunately my left-hand line was out of the water being baited up when the fish took so no worries there. Eventually I was able to stop it and recover line little by little, till the fish was in the deep water in front of the bridge arch where it swam to-and-fro hugging the bottom. I was acutely aware of losing a big mullet in exactly the same circumstances a few weeks back, and this time the wind buffeting the rod around only added to my nerves ... but the hook held and eventually the mullet surfaced and I was soon able to net it.

 

I've not had a mullet over 6lbs in Ireland yet. I knew this one would be close, but the scales stopped at 5lb 14oz. Very happy with that but still waiting ...

Read More 0 Comments

Wed

21

Sep

2016

Fishing with Eddie

I drove down to Rosscarbery today to fish with Eddie Baker on the last full day of his holiday there. The tides were dropping away in height but I arrived on the high water which may have been somewhat wind-assisted by the strong southerly wind. Whatever - there was enough depth to float-fish along the west bank below the N71. Eddie was already fishing when I arrived, and had just landed a four-pounder. I had barely started fishing a few yards down from him when he struck into another good mullet, and after a long scrap he netted this 4lb 12oz thicklip ...

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

18

Sep

2016

Near Home

Read More 0 Comments

Sat

17

Sep

2016

Back on the Rocks

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

13

Sep

2016

Steve's Week

My good friend Steve Smith arrived on Tuesday 6th September for a week of mullet fishing. Steve has had a dreadful year with illness since his trip over last September, but looks to be on the mend again. It was good to see him out and fishing again, albeit a little rusty after his lay-off. His flight into Cork was delayed so the planned afternoon session became a 90 minute evening session.

 

We went to the spot near Castletownshend where I'd seen the mullet yesterday. It  was even foggier this time. The mullet were there again in some force, but in the end we didn't catch. We had a few knocks and pulls on our quivertips, but couldn't really tell if these were proper bites or just fish bumping into the line.

Read More 0 Comments

Mon

05

Sep

2016

Moving Around

I started today at the wonderful Lough Hyne near Skibbereen. I arrived on the morning high tide and could immediately see lots of mullet finning on the surface on either side of my chosen spot. I floatfished over the drop off from the shallow nearside shelf into the depths of the Lough. Considering how many mullet were around, bites were relatively few and far between, but when they came they were quite positive and over about 90 minutes I had four mullet out. Slightly disappointingly they were all less than 2lbs, although there were clearly some bigger fish around. 

 

As the tide began to drop, bites more or less dried up. Then as I was on the verge of knocking off, I had one last good bite and I was into a better fish, only 3lb 5oz but they always fight above their weight in the clear, deep water.

Read More 0 Comments

Wed

31

Aug

2016

Just Local

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

28

Aug

2016

Away Days at Christchurch

I've been over in England this week visiting family and friends. It has been a pretty hectic schedule but I'd left time to fish Christchurch for two mornings on the weekend of the National Mullet Club's National Rover fish-in.

 

The tide timings weren't great with an 8 a.m. high water yesterday, on Rover Saturday. I was out and fishing by 6.30 a.m., specifically legering at Grimbury Point with one rod fishing the edge of the main river channel slightly to my left and one fishing further into Grimbury Bay slightly to my right. 

 

All was quiet till just before high water when I had a couple of healthy plucks on the left hand tip. I struck and found myself playing a small mullet. The fight had a slightly different feel from normal and I had an inkling what this fish was before seeing it clearly - a lovely little golden grey of 1lb 9oz, a rare capture this far up Christchurch Harbour, especially mixing with the coarse fish on a neap tide when the water is almost fresh.

Read More 0 Comments

Sat

20

Aug

2016

Last Trip with Mick

I have to travel back to England tomorrow for a week and Mick will have moved on in his tour of Ireland by the time I'm back ... so one last session together today.

 

Mick had blanked after I left on Wednesday, and was unlucky to lose two big fish in the lagoon at Rosscarbery on Thursday, but he had four out from the estuary yesterday including a 5:02 and was clearly on a roll as he had a fish on the bank before I'd even tackled up today ...

Read More 0 Comments

Wed

17

Aug

2016

More at Rosscarbery

Back at Rosscarbery today to fish with Mick after we'd failed to contact the mullet on a Sheep's Head rock mark yesterday - though we had a bit of fun later on catching mackerel on light tackle.

 

I arrived after lunch to find the pool below the N71 very low but well populated by mullet, most of which seemed to be cruising around with little sign of feeding. Mick wasn't there yet so I dropped into the swim where I'd done so well last week and started off trotting a float down the flow of water coming through the bridge arch.

 

30 minutes later, without a bite, I was changing over to my leger rods to fish further out. Mick arrived and set up to my right. The first hour legering was quiet apart from one pull-round that may well have been a line-bite. But as the flood tide arrived and the water level began to edge up, I started getting a few trembles and knocks on the tips and eventually three good bites which yielded at hat-trick of four-pounders at 4:03, 4:07 and 4:01 ...

Read More 0 Comments

Mon

15

Aug

2016

Who Let The Dogs Out?

Read More 0 Comments

Sat

13

Aug

2016

Perfection in Miniature

What a difference three days makes.

 

Saw hundreds of mullet today but all juveniles from fry up to about herring size. I mostly fished down in the water hoping there might be one or two bigger fish lurking beneath. But the only bites suggested micro-mullet and eventually I hooked this scale-perfect specimen, one of the smallest I've ever had on rod and line ...

Read More 0 Comments

Wed

10

Aug

2016

Five a Day at Rosscarbery

I fished with Mick Buckley today at Rosscarbery. It was a very neap tide that had not yet started to flood; the best bet seemed the slightly deeper water close to the bridge arch on the N71 bank of the pool below the causeway. We could see many mullet breaking surface with their backs and fins a fair distance out. We set up leger rods to fish the pop-up crust baits that have been so successful for me this year.

Read More 0 Comments

Mon

08

Aug

2016

Fishing with Mick

I fished today with an old friend from the National Mullet Club, Mick Buckley, who has recently retired and is on an extended fishing tour of Ireland. I can't even remember the last time I saw Mick, it may well have been on a trip to Alderney in 1989! He came to see us for the day, leaving his highly impressive trailer home on a site near Skibbereen.

 

After the blow yesterday afternoon and evening I was concerned the rocks here would be unfishable, but the swell had gone down quickly leaving a difficult but fishable choppy sea. I wasn't sure either the mullet would have hung around during the rough weather, and it did indeed prove to be a day of few bites.

 

About an hour after starting, and continual drip-feeding of mashed bread, my float finally dived under. I struck and instead of the pollack or coalfish I was expecting, a mullet came to the surface. It was only a small one 2lb 12oz but it was a start.

 

About an hour later I missed a similar bite. At least there was another fish around and a few minutes later, it found Mick's bait. It was a fish similar in size to mine. Mick played it for a couple of minutes and then it came off.

 

Half an hour later, a repeat performance ... I missed a bite, and Mick hooked the fish a few minutes later. This one stayed attached and was a bit bigger - Mick didn't weight it but it I'd think it was over 3lbs. 

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

07

Aug

2016

Blown Off

This was a pretty forgettable session to be sure. It was forecast windy so I chose an estuary mark south-west of us. On arrival in the early morning it was slightly misty and more-or-less calm, and I could see some fish moving on the shallows below the road causeway. I set up my leger rods and started fishing.

 

Second cast in I had a persistent bite and hooked a decent but obviously not huge mullet that turned out to be a long and lean 2lb 14oz ...

Read More 0 Comments

Fri

05

Aug

2016

Stocking Up

Read More 0 Comments

Wed

03

Aug

2016

Back to Rosscarbery

It's been a while since I'd been down at Rosscarbery and I've been out of touch with how it's fishing. But a new guy, Martin, on the Chelon labrosus forum posted this week that he'd been there recently and had a 6 and a 5 and some smaller mullet - it seemed like time to head back.

 

I started in the lagoon float-fishing. It soon became clear there were huge shoals of tiny mullet in there. They were very quick into the groundbait and onto my hookbait. After 30 minutes of almost constant dink bites on the float, but nothing remotely strikeable, I decided this was a waste of time. I moved over the road and wasted some more time trying to fish the edge of the stream of water exiting the lagoon - it was really far too windy for effective float fishing and I saw not a sign of a mullet.

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

31

Jul

2016

Mackerel ... and Shark?

This session came about by accident. I'd been onto a south coast mark after pollack, and although I'd found plenty they were all disappointingly small. There was a fresh southerly wind and the swell got up before high water cutting the session short. I headed instead for a north coast mark, stopping in at home for a cuppa on the way.

 

I was set up and fishing again soon after high water. The pollack were again playing hard to get, with just a couple of small ones taking the redgill over the first hour. Then a mackerel latched on, and it seemed a good cue to change over to a shrimp rig.

 

I had eight more mackerel in ones and twos. Not great numbers but they were decent size, around a pound each. They were down deep and I could only find them with a very slow retrieve; fortunately the bottom is quite clear on this mark till close in.

 

 

Read More 0 Comments

Sat

30

Jul

2016

Duck Broken

I first fished this swim in August 2014 with Steve Smith. Steve had a nice 4lb thicklip and I missed a few good takes until bumping a fish off on the strike. Next visit wasn't until September 2015 ... more missed bites and another fish bumped. Yesterday evening I managed to lose two decent mullet, one when the hook length parted on the strike, one that came off after about a minute. So you can imagine I was pleased to actually land a mullet here this morning, albeit not the biggest ever ...

Read More 0 Comments

Sat

23

Jul

2016

Mullet ... Wrasse

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

03

Jul

2016

Needed This

I've been grinding out the exam work over the past few weeks - and more of the same to come over the next few weeks - got to lunchtime today and thought, "I need a break from this."

 

I drove along the south coast of the Sheep's Head looking at likely mullet marks but at every one there seemed to be just that bit too much breeze and swell. It looked a struggle so in the event I headed off the peninsula and south-west to a small estuary where I've done well before.

 

The high tide was pouring through the bridge arch into the pool above the causeway. My normal swim looked impossible so I settled on legering over the sand flats on the other side of the road.

Read More 0 Comments

Wed

22

Jun

2016

Congers with Stu

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

21

Jun

2016

Pollack - and Mackerel

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

12

Jun

2016

Ignored in Dungarvan

I've been back in UK working for the past week. I managed a half day on the National Mullet Club fish-in at Lymington yesterday, and blanked, before heading for the ferry home last evening. This morning I stopped off at Dungarvan for a break on the drive back across Ireland, and found these mullet (and many others) around the boats and pontoons in the harbour ...

Read More 0 Comments

Wed

01

Jun

2016

Mussel Power

Eight days later, the sun is still shining. And the wind has turned west - it's a pity I have work on now! I had to drive into Bantry this afternoon and I decided I could afford the time for an evening session from about half-tide down on the way home.

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

24

May

2016

Quick Rock Session

Work on and visitors staying so not much fishing at the moment. I managed to find the time today but it was always going to be a struggle in a strong easterly wind against a larger-than-expected swell off the Atlantic, and bright sunlight. I picked some limpets for bait and headed off to one of the few rock marks that would be sheltered.

Read More 0 Comments

Thu

19

May

2016

Slightly Unusual Mullet Session

It was a rough old day on the Sheep's Head with Atlantic swells pounding the rocks, so I decided to head for the calmer waters of an estuary on the Mizen peninsula.

 

I arrived at 4 p.m. which was about high tide, so there was a decent depth over the sand flats below the road causeway. There was a stiff breeze and small wavelets running up the estuary, so I decided it would be best to leger. I set up on a rocky outcrop of the west bank, and cast out two pop-up crust baits.

 

Read More 0 Comments

Wed

18

May

2016

Dogged Out

Read More 0 Comments

Mon

16

May

2016

New Rock Mark

Read More 0 Comments

Sat

14

May

2016

Rock Session

Read More 0 Comments

Thu

12

May

2016

Quieter Day

It was time for a return to the rock mark in Bantry Bay where I'd done so well with seven mullet in a session last week.

 

Any pretensions of a similar haul today were soon dashed. I took up exactly where I'd finished last week with a string of small coalfish that were whacking the float under. However, as the tide dropped away towards low water I started to get some more delicate and missable bites, and I wondered if a mullet or two may have moved into the swim. After a few more misses I was suddenly into a powerful fish that shot off down the tide then came up and splashed on the surface - a mullet!

 

After a good old scrap I slid the net under this one, a pristine 3lb 10oz ...

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

10

May

2016

Rosscarbery Return

Rosscarbery today! I arrived late morning at about high water. There was a good depth in the lagoon after several big spring tides, so I decided to make a start there.

 

An hour later, slightly deflated, I decided on a move. I'd only seen one mullet whelm and had only had one proper bite, which I'd missed, plus a few dinks and trembles on the float that may have been gobies or sandsmelt rather than mullet.

 

I headed down to the bottom of the tidal pool below the N71. It's been a kind swim to me this year, and once again there were mullet in residence. Despite the reasonable depth they seemed to be staying out from the wall, so I opted for legering with pop-up crust baits.

 

It was a slow start but I kept catapulting a couple of extra balls of groundbait out every cast, and eventually a pod of fish seemed to move over the carpet I was building up. I had three solid takes. The first fish came off about half way in, but I landed the other two. They were nothing spectacular in size but nice clean fish of 3:02 and 3:10 ...

Read More 0 Comments

Thu

05

May

2016

Bantry Bay Mullet

There was a big swell running yesterday but this morning it had calmed off enough for a first mullet trip this year on the rocks on the Bantry Bay side of the Sheep's Head ... I was keen to give it a go before yet more northerly winds arrive for the weekend.

 

I set up a sliding float to fish bread flake about ten feet deep. I'd slightly over-shotted the float and it was struggling a little with the lop, but I thought I had bites on my first two trots through the swim. Then on the third trot, the float buried. I struck into a powerful fish that ran off parallel to the rocks on my right, worryingly close to the kelp, before coming out into open water. It turned out to be a very long and lean thicklip of 4lbs exactly with a great paddle of a tail.

 

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

03

May

2016

Disappointed

Really quite a disappointing day ... I drove off the peninsula along the Dunmanus Bay shore, checking several shallow spots for mullet ... but the fish that were present last week were nowhere to be found. So I carried on to the south west and the estuary where I'd had good bags in March.

 

Clearly there were far fewer mullet present now, apart from large shoals of fingerlings. I did however have quite a few bites on float both above the road causeway and below when I tried a move to change my luck. I really should have caught more, but I only connected with two mullet, one very briefly as the trace parted just above the hook on the strike. The other was this slightly sorry specimen of 2lb 4oz and half its tail missing ... it fought surprisingly well considering.

Read More 0 Comments

Sat

30

Apr

2016

Wind's in the West ...

Just a couple of short and blank mullet sessions since the last post, both in the shallows of Dunmanus Bay. There were plenty of mullet around for a while both times, but chasing each other and bow-waving around at speed, no real feeding activity. A cold north wind had persisted all week, and the water felt chilled despite good sunshine, definitely not helping.

 

Then today the wind was turned to west. I headed to a Bantry Bay rock mark with the big rods. On one I fished big pop-up baits either mackerel head or squid/mackerel cocktail. On the other, a two-hook paternoster with size 2 hooks baited with frozen lug and mackerel strip to see if there were any smaller fish about.

 

I had a dogfish out on the mackerel strip first cast, then surprisingly despite knocks and rattles most casts, nothing else hung on to the small hooks.

 

Meanwhile, a missed run on a mackerel head, then a dogfish on the same head cast out again. Then two missed bullhuss. One felt heavy for a few seconds then came off, the squid/mackerel bait had slipped down and choked the hook. The other was an unusually pale-coloured fish for the area that spat out the hook at the edge, good size too. Finally a good run on a mackerel head and this one stayed on ...

 

 

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

19

Apr

2016

Slow at Rosscarbery

The east wind didn't seem to be blowing more than a gentle breeze yet, maybe time for one more session before it really kicked in ... I headed down to Rosscarbery.

 

Straightaway on arriving I knew it was going to be a struggle ... a fresh and cold SE wind blowing up the estuary, bright sunshine and the water the clearest and lowest in the pool that I'd seen this year. How low? About thigh deep for a heron ...

Read More 0 Comments

Mon

18

Apr

2016

Well you don't see that every day ...

There were strong east winds forecast for the rest of the week after today, so I was keen to get out. I chose a deep water rock mark over the hill on the Bantry Bay side of the peninsula. I set up with two big baits - mackerel heads and squid/mackerel cocktails.

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

17

Apr

2016

Birthday Mullet

Back from our trip to the UK and my birthday today. I really wanted a birthday mullet, a feat I've only managed a couple of times over the years back in Hampshire. So I headed back towards the estuary that had been producing so well before our trip away.

 

A few minutes fishing was enough to tell me the number of mullet in the pool had reduced significantly over the past fortnight, and on this very neap tide there was no chance of any more arriving on the high water a couple of hours hence. So I fished patiently hoping for a chance with whatever mullet were left trapped in the pool.

 

After the thick end of an hour, my float bobbed then slid away, and I struck into a mullet. It put up a decent fight but obviously wasn't a massive fish, and after a few minutes this thicklip of 3lbs exactly was in the net ...

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

03

Apr

2016

Back on the Rocks

I fished a rock mark on the north side of the Sheep's Head today. It was in the main a rather quiet session ... somehow the ground fishing hasn't quite kicked off this year yet. However there was a little flurry of activity in the run-up to high water with a few knocks and pulls and a fish (almost certainly a bull huss) that let go part way in. Finally this one, possibly the same one, was landed after taking a popped-up squid and mackerel cocktail. It was nothing special in size, about 6lbs to 7lbs, but I was pleased to have avoided a blank with a decent fish. We have some time away back in the UK coming up, I'm hoping the rock fishing will get going in my absence.

Read More 0 Comments

Thu

31

Mar

2016

Bass ... Nah, Mullet

Today I intended to dig some lug then go fish for bass on a surf beach on the Mizen peninsula. However as this took me close to the estuary where I caught mullet on Tuesday, and as my mullet gear was still in the car, I thought I'd head out a bit early and get in a couple of hours of mulleting before going to dig at low water.

 

I set up in the swim where I'd finished on Tuesday. The conditions were very different - gentle SW breeze and wall-to-wall sunshine - but the mullet were still at home.

 

I had the first bite on my second cast, and my first fish on the bank after about fifteen minutes, 3lb 14oz. Then a sort of pattern set up with bites stopped till the mullet gradually came back onto the feed, another fish and repeat ... the non-feeding spell getting longer each time. Five more mullet followed of 3:12, 3:07, 3:10, 3:05 and 2:10 ... I fished on another hour without a bite so decided that was that.

 

Somehow I'd fished right through the low water period, I'm sure I could have still got a few worms if I'd rushed off but I was happy with what I'd had and there didn't seem much point in rushing. The lugworms, and bass, could wait for another day.

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

29

Mar

2016

Change of Venue

I fished a shallow estuary south and west of us today, one that had fished well when we'd been over on holiday in April 2014 and 2015. I'd had a look a couple of weeks ago but not seen any fish, and I wondered if I was still too early today ... it looked windswept and bleak on arrival.

 

I felt mildly encouraged to find a pile of scales on the bank ... looked like an otter had had some luck with the mullet anyway. I set up in a swim that offered a little shelter, but the first few times the float trotted through uninterrupted.

 

Then I started to get stabby little bites. They were impossible to hit but eventually one held under slightly longer and I connected. After a short scrap this pretty little 1:10 thick lip was netted; it had been hooked in the outside of the lip.

Read More 0 Comments

Fri

25

Mar

2016

More Mullets

I had a blank session from the rocks midweek so decided on another trip down to Rosscarbery on Good Friday.

 

There were visibly less mullet this time in the shallows where I'd fished before, but I could still see a few moving around with trademark bow waves and swirls.

 

I put out two leger rods with pop-up crust baits like last time, and soon had a good take on the right-hand line. The fight was dogged but unspectacular, and after a few minutes I was able to reach down from the wall to net this one of 4lb 4oz.

 

On starting again there were now very few fish at all showing but I fished on more in hope than expectation while I ate lunch. All was quiet on the tips but just after I'd finished eating the left- hand tip pulled over.

 

It was obviously not a big fish but after a game scrap I landed my smallest mullet of the winter to date, this pretty 2:10 ...

 

 

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

20

Mar

2016

Five at Rosscarbery

Read More 0 Comments

Thu

17

Mar

2016

Strap Congers

I had a decent session this morning considering the chilly and freshening east wind blowing across the rock mark on the north side of the peninsula.

 

I had a couple of aborted pulls on mackerel head but most of the action came on squid/mackerel cocktail fished as a pop-up. This produced a small bullhuss and this brace of strap congers ...

Read More 0 Comments

Mon

14

Mar

2016

Off the Marks on the Rocks

Read More 0 Comments

Thu

10

Mar

2016

Great Winter Mullet Session

I had another blank session with the beach rods since my last post, this time at Bantry Airport Strand, so it didn't take a lot of thought deciding to head back to Rosscarbery today. There were many fish browsing around in the margins when I arrived but the first hour was quiet. It was much calmer today and easy to see the mullet swimming around and over not just my hookbait but free offerings too.

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

01

Mar

2016

More Winter Mullet

I headed back to Rosscarbery today. There were good numbers of mullet in the shallows where I caught on Sunday.

 

I soon had a float out among them, but there was very little of interest in the bait. The float bobbed or pulled across the surface a few times, but as far as I could tell this was just fish brushing the line as they passed.

 

Then, after about an hour, a mullet stopped by my bait and the float bobbed repeatedly three or four times. I struck and hooked the fish.

 

This one fought much better than Sunday's 4:01 with a long initial run out towards the middle of the pool and several spells of resistance bringing it back. It was eventually in the net and weighed at 3lb 9oz.

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

28

Feb

2016

AGM Day Mullet

It was a bright if chilly, breezy morning. We decided to have a drive out  and walk the dog somewhere different, and as it was the National Mullet Club AGM back in the UK and I thought it might be a smart trick to catch a mullet to coincide, I put my mullet tackle in the car and we headed for Rosscarbery just in case there were some winter mullet about.

 

Despite the sunshine there was a perishingly cold south-east wind coming up the estuary. We sat in the car to eat our picnic next to the pool below the road causeway. I kept my eye on the water but saw no sign of fish in an area I'd normally expect to see them if present. 

 

However, as we started to walk the dog down the west bank, we started to see odd mullet in the shallows towards the bottom of the pool ... then a group of fish that bow-waved out as we spooked them ... then a large shoal that was apparently feeding.

 

Read More 0 Comments

Wed

24

Feb

2016

New Mark ... New Bait ... Same Result

I decided to use my lugworms at a mark on the south side of the Sheep's Head that I'd looked at several times but not yet fished. I reckoned - correctly as it turned out - that it might give way to a clean seabed away from the rocks.

 

The day was bright and sunny with a touch of east breeze. Not great to be honest but I fancied the mark for a plaice or other flatfish.

 

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

23

Feb

2016

Lug Digging

Another blank session on the pier followed. I thought possibly the seabed had taken such a pounding that the area had been temporarily vacated by fishes, but at the same time I wanted to ring the changes on my normal fish and squid baits just in case. So today I set off on a drive off the peninsula to a spot I'd seen before and which looked to have some prolific lugworm beds.

Read More

Thu

11

Feb

2016

Back Out Again

Read More 0 Comments

2015

Sat

24

Oct

2015

New Mark

I'd been meaning to try the spot for a while. It's east-facing and sheltered from the worst of the Atlantic weather by a headland. It may become a regular haunt over the winter!

Read More 0 Comments

Mon

19

Oct

2015

Pop-Ups

I feel like I'm beginning to get to grips with the rough ground fishing on (most of) the rock marks here now.

 

I'm fishing 30lb mainline on a fast retrieve multiplier (Daiwa SL30SH or Penn 525) with an 80lb leader - partly to give abrasion resistance down near the terminal tackle and partly because I am sliding/lifting out biggish fish. I don't like using a gaff for fish I'm returning and anyway it's just not safe to get that close to water level most days.

 

The end tackle is shown in the photo. The lead-link very free running on a plastic leger ring, and the link itself is 25lb so strong enough to lob-cast with but also provides a rotten bottom effect which has saved me a few rigs and a couple of fish so far.

 

The hook trace is 100lb mono knotted to 60lb plastic covered wire for the last few inches, crimped to a 6/0 hook.


The jury is out on the breakaway lead. I think it does reduce snagging by not rolling into crevices etc; but when one is lost it is expensive. I may change to using some form of disposable weight in the snaggiest areas.

Read More 0 Comments

Thu

15

Oct

2015

Little Dogs, Big Dogs ...

I headed down to a north coast rock mark for an afternoon session on the rising tide. Plan was to put out a bottom bait on one rod, leave it with the reel on the ratchet, and floatfish for mullet with a second, feeding bread close in to the rock face. It was the first time I'd tried this combination, and maybe one of the last. There was so much action on the bottom bait I couldn't really concentrate on the mullet fishing at all, though as far as I know none turned up! I soon had to give up and concentrated on the big rod ...

Read More 0 Comments

Wed

14

Oct

2015

Mixed Session

The last time I'd fished this mark for mullet I'd lost two powerful fish that went to ground in the kelpy reef a few yards out and to the left of where I fish. Even though they took bread I was sure they were big ballan wrasse, so today I arrived with some more appropriate gear ... carp rod, 10lb line and sliding float to fish a limpet bait.


I was soon getting bites fishing about 10 feet down close in, and landed several wrasse to about 3lb 8oz ... point proved, sort of, but even allowing for the lighter mullet gear I think the fish I lost before were substantially bigger ... must try again. After the wrasse came a couple of pollack over a pound, also on limpet.

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

13

Oct

2015

Snakebitten

Just a short session on the rocks this evening. The fishing was a bit patchy as a large seal was around with a shared interest in the pollack.


Lure fishing isn't really my thing and I'd begrudge the price some lures cost. But I saw these in the Snowbee end-of-year clearance sale and thought why not? They are called Snakebites and I bought a load in different colours: as well as the pink, orange, black and a rather subtle shade of peach.


They seem to do the job ...


Read More 0 Comments

Thu

08

Oct

2015

Change of Plan

A weather-enforced change of plan today. It was forecast dry but the morning dawned grey with repeated heavy rain showers. I'd thought I'd bottom fish a deep rock mark but the rocks here get very slippy when wet with rain and it no longer seemed a great idea. Instead I packed my mullet gear into the car, and my brolly, and headed off to the estuary where Steve and I had done so well nearly a fortnight before.

 

Doubts set in as soon as I arrived. For a start it had brightened up a lot and the showers had stopped, maybe I should have stayed on Sheep's Head and fished the rocks after all? Then as I unpacked I realised I'd left my landing net head at home! The shallows below the causeway seemed empty of fish. I saw an occasional fish move in the deep pool above the causeway, but couldn't be sure if they were mullet or trout. I decided to try there anyway.

 

I fished for an hour without a bite. I could see fish - now recognisably mullet - moving regularly  but all across the far side of the pool near a sandbank. Only a very occasional fish strayed closer.

 

I walked up through the reeds till the pool shallowed then waded out onto the sandbank, then crept back down to where the mullet were. I put some bread samples out, followed by my float and bait. The fish didn't spook but neither did they show any interest, they seemed engrossed by whatever they were scraping from the bottom. Then, out of the blue, a single fish clooped a couple of pieces of floating bread off the surface near my float, dived and my float shot under ... and I missed the bite. Soon after, the mullet just melted away, perhaps because the new tide was just starting to push through the bridge arches into the pool.

 

I returned to my original swim which seemed more hopeful now with more flow through it. I missed another bite third or fourth trot through, but no more followed. Instead I started to see fish surfacing where the pool shallowed up near where I had waded on and off the sandbank. I moved up there and straight away was getting a bite a cast. I missed several - what a muppet - had a hook open out on the strike and had a fish come off after a few seconds. The number of fish showing and the number of bites started to decrease as the flow through the pool slowed - it had only lasted forty minutes on this smallish tide. 

Read More 0 Comments

Wed

07

Oct

2015

Gone to the Dogs at Bantry

Bantry Airport Strand is a relatively well known mark and perhaps the nearest I'll come locally to beach fishing back in Hampshire. Okay the cobblestone beach is a bit difficult underfoot and the water's deeper, but it goes out onto a more-or-less clean bottom so I can use normal beach tackle! And I can fish at night, which I won't do alone on the rock marks.

 

It has a reputation for producing thornbacks and bull huss as well as smaller stuff. Well, I'm sure it has its moments but as of yet I've not experienced one.

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

04

Oct

2015

Quick Session

I've had a few days off from fishing after Steve flew home on Wednesday, and only time for a quick session today.

 

Had an early start, down to Skibbereen for an 8 a.m. cancellation appointment for an NCT test on Sylvi's car, the final stage in a convoluted two month long process of getting it re-registered and legally driveable in Ireland. Then a nice walk with the dog in the woods overlooking Lough Hyne, and on to Schull via a couple of possible future fishing marks for a late breakfast at Café Cois Cuan  (very recommended!) Back home the scenic route, couple of cuppas, washed my car ... and so on to the rocks near Kilcrohane this evening for a quick pollack session.

 

There were pollack aplenty about though a couple of quieter interludes possibly to do with a large seal who stuck his head up a couple of times to eye-ball me. I had a dozen or so in 90 minutes on the trusty firetail Redgill, mostly around 2lbs size but a smattering of larger fish, best this one just 5lbs ...

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

29

Sep

2015

Steve's Last Day

Steve's last day, and miserable conditions. There was a heavy overcast and it felt distinctly parky in the east wind that was still blowing about f6.

 

We settled on revisiting the estuary where we'd had nine mullet between us on Saturday, partly because the wind would be behind us on the causeway, and partly because of the number of fish we'd seen. Surely some would still be there ... maybe in hindsight that was a mistake. We stood on the causeway watching the surface of the shallow water raked by the cold wind and the pool looked devoid of fish.

 

We tackled up anyway and were relieved finally to see a fish or two moving as we prepared to make our first casts. These casts passed without incident but on my next the rod pulled well over and I was in. What followed was a terrific fight of ten or twelve minutes as the fish kited round to the right and got its head down in the flow coming through the bridge arches, perilously close to the rocks where we'd started on Saturday.

 

Eventually the fish weakened and Steve was able to net a 4lb 3oz thicklip ...

 

 

Read More 0 Comments

Mon

28

Sep

2015

Variety ...

Today was much brighter but the east wind was really howling now. We decided to have a break from the mullet fishing and do some general rock fishing for wrasse and pollack instead.


First we headed to a shallow rocky bay to collect some shore crabs for the wrasse bait. We found plenty of crabs ... but nearly all baby edibles that had to be returned as undersize. The shore crabs were like gold dust ... eventually we got a few but I really need to sort out a better supply, perhaps on the muddier ground towards Durrus. We topped up the crabs with some big limpets knocked off the rocks.


After a bite of lunch, we headed off only a mile or so from home to fish from a rock mark that would be out the worst of the wind and swell in the lee of a headland.


No monsters today but we had a very enjoyable session. I caught some decent pollack on redgills. Steve spent the time floatfishing the few crabs we had and limpets close to the rock edge, catching wrasse up to 3lbs or so. Plenty of the wrasse came to the limpet baits, and they also picked up a number of smallish pollack.

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

27

Sep

2015

Back to Rosscarbery

Today was a dull day with a freshening easterly wind that was threatening to make fishing difficult.


We started by spending an hour at a north coast rock mark on our way off the peninsula, just before low tide. It quickly became obvious there were no mullet in residence today, and with no guarantee any would turn up we stuck with Plan A and soon headed off back to Rosscarbery.


There was more water in the lagoon now on bigger tides, but it retained its brown tinge and apparent dearth of mullet. We tried an hour or so but soon moved to the estuary proper.


The wind was indeed troublesome, but I tucked myself down behind a grass bank and legered out into the shallow water in front of me. I did see occasional whelms but had not a single bite all afternoon.


Read More 0 Comments

Sat

26

Sep

2015

Nine Mullet Day

Venue today was an estuary about an hour's drive from Kilcrohane where I've had some big bags of mullet before ... but it can be a very moody venue.


We arrived to find one of the bridge arches on the road causeway collapsed in the flash floods the previous weekend, and the road causeway closed to traffic. This actually enabled us to park on the road very close to the fishing! 


Even better, good numbers of mullet could be seen swirling in the pool below the causeway.

Read More 0 Comments

Fri

25

Sep

2015

Mulleting + Fun Session

We dropped Sylvi off at the trekking centre then headed to a north coast rock mark to fish the first half of the tide up for mullet.


It proved to be a slow session with just a few bites for me and none at all for Steve. Mine yielded a mackerel then a small coalfish ...

Read More 0 Comments

Thu

24

Sep

2015

Rosscarbery with Steve

The stiff west wind threatened to make mullet fishing on Sheep's Head very difficult, but I was keen for Steve to get his first mullet of his holiday under his belt. So the decision was made to drive the hour or so to Rosscarbery, known to be in some mullet form after Pete and Jen's trip, and offering some shelter from the wind.


We parked up alongside the lagoon. The water was a foot lower than last week after the neap tides and carried a brown colour. We fished for an hour but with no bites and it seemed pretty hopeless, so we moved over the N71 to fish the estuary outside the lagoon. The tide was low but we could see a (very) few mullet moving on the shallows well out of range.


I set up leger gear and welted out a pop-up crust bait as far as possible. Steve set up float gear to fish in the outflow from the lagoon, the only area with any meaningful depth.

Read More 0 Comments

Wed

23

Sep

2015

Steve's Pollack

I had been back in the UK for a few days for my Mum's 90th birthday party, and flew back into Cork yesterday on the same flight as my friend and NMC chairman, Steve Smith who was over to stay with us for a week.


The weather was against us today, grey and blustery and intermittently wet. 

 

We decided to start at a sheltered pier close to Kilcrohane. I hung a bread bag off the end, and set about trying to catch a few mackerel for tea while the tide was still high. Steve started tackling up to fish for mullet.


Almost straight away I saw a small mullet on the surface. I called Steve over and we saw it again, but before Steve had finished setting up it had disappeared.

 

An hour passed with just three mackerel for me and Steve one missed bite on the float with bread bait. I decided to join the mullet hunt, and set up a sliding float to fish deeper than Steve, about twelve feet.

 


Read More 0 Comments

Fri

18

Sep

2015

Pollack on Redgills

Those who know me will know that lure fishing isn't really my thing. I'll make an exception though when it comes to pollack and when it comes to Redgills.


The pollack are a novelty for me and I'm impressed with the attitude they seem to develop when they reach 4lbs or so. Redgills bring back fond memories of childhood holidays in Cornwall. I must say though the modern colours seem a lot more effective than the natural finishes on Ingrams' original Mevagissey Eels. I particularly like the black/orange firetail and bubblegum pink.

Read More 0 Comments

Thu

17

Sep

2015

Pete's Day

Read More 0 Comments

Tue

15

Sep

2015

Jen's Day

I arrived at the venue on the north shore of the peninsula at 10.00 a.m. to find my friends and fellow NMC members Pete and Jen just getting out of their car. They are over from Cornwall staying at Rosscarbery for the week but were making the most of a calm day to come on a first visit to fish the rocks down on the Sheep's Head.

 

 

Read More 1 Comments

Sun

13

Sep

2015

Salvaged Session

Made a right mess of swim selection today. Went out to drive along the south side of the peninsula back towards Durrus to check the various shallows for mullet, only to find the water everywhere still heavily peat-stained from Friday's deluge. And seemingly devoid of mullet.

 

I ended up on a north coast rock mark at the "wrong" state of the tide - nearly HW whereas I've usually fished this mark for mullet over LW. At least the water was clear. I started feeding close to the edge and watching the sinking bread - no sign for ten minutes or so. Then I saw a suspicious swirl further out and then (to my surprise given the water must have been at least 30 feet deep) a piece of floating bread disappeared amidst another swirl. 

 

The breeze was carrying the floating bread offshore and all this was going on far out of range using my usual centrepin reel. I set up with a fixed spool and a Puddlechucker float set to fish a flake bait shallow, about two feet. But by the time I was ready, the surface activity had stopped.

 

I carried on feeding and fishing at all depths, but it was another hour before the mullet returned. This time they were much closer in, but the bites were really hard to hit and I missed six or seven before finally connecting. And even then the mullet came off after a minute or so. A tiny scale from around the outside of its mouth came back on the hook point. 

 

Happily there were still signs of mullet feeding in the swim, and I was soon into a fish. I was wishing I'd changed back to my centrepin. For some reason I really hate playing mullet on a fixed spool on my float rod though it doesn't bother me using one when legering - go figure! I felt I had way less control over the fish than normal but disaster was avoided and the mullet duly landed. It turned out to be the only one of the day ... 3lb 12oz.


Read More 0 Comments

Sat

12

Sep

2015

Bonus Pollack

Read More 0 Comments

Thu

10

Sep

2015

Bull Huss

Same routine as last time but I headed a mile or so further west to a different rock mark. The east wind was really set in now and even the dogfish were subdued: quite a few typically rattly bites on the squid and sandeel baits but only two were hooked. Then towards the end of the session a much better bite ... the fish came in grudgingly, seeming to get heavier and heavier as it neared the rocks, then finally really diving for the kelp. No doubt what this was. Sure enough a bull huss surfaced, a typically dark fish from the kelpy bottom, about 9lbs ...


Read More 0 Comments

Mon

07

Sep

2015

Experimenting

Read More 0 Comments

Sun

06

Sep

2015

Pollack and Chips

Read More 0 Comments

Fri

04

Sep

2015

Rock Mulleting

We've been here properly in Kilcrohane a week. I've had a few short fishing outings and have caught a few smallish mullet at different marks, but now with the worst of the unpacking done it was time for a serious session.


I chose a rock mark on the north side of the peninsula I'd fished before, and arrived a couple of hours before low water. There was an easterly cross-breeze blowing which was rippling the surface, but as I fed a little mashed bread in close to the rock face, I thought I could already see mullet moving down deep.


I set up with a sliding float set at about ten feet, and started fishing. Almost straight away I was getting bites but they were unusually timid for this mark and I missed a few before connecting. It was a decent fish about 3lbs and fought strongly in the clear water but all seemed under control till I thought about reaching for the net, at which point the mullet gave a twist and was off!


I was mentally cursing because I've had this swim die on me before in response to losing a fish, but this time bites resumed after  five minutes or so and I was soon playing and landing a smaller mullet, weighed at 2:05. 


Read More 0 Comments