Sheep's Head Fishing Blog

 

 

 

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2022

Wed

18

May

2022

April, and into May

The easterly winds at the end of March spilled into April. Mulleting seems to be one of the last forms of fishing to be badly affected by easterlies, but even so...

 

On the 1st Sylvi and I headed down to Rosscarbery, setting up on the grass near the bridge with the brolly up against the chilly breeze. The water was unusually clear and the sunshine unbroken ... I immediately knew that it would be a struggle for bites and so it proved, with just one good take well into the afternoon. Sylvi was just across the road at the hotel grabbing us a coffee, but she was back in time to take the photo of a 3:09 thicklip that had fought above its weight.

 

Another hour passed uneventfully. We packed up as the new tide broke into the pool and took the dog for a walk down the west side of the estuary, only to find good numbers of mullet milling around close in at the bottom end of the pool. I wished we'd made a move down there earlier!

On the 3rd I tried down on the Mizen, to be greeted again by a chilly east breeze running down the valley, bright sunshine and exceptionally clear water. There were obviously no great numbers of mullet in the low water pool, but I did spot a few of modest proportions.

 

After a while I started to get fiddly little dips of the float. I struck the marginally better ones and after a couple of misses connected with a little thicklip of barely a pound. I was pleased to get the fish as it took my mullet-trips-without-a-blank run to fifteen this year, but that record wasn't to carry on much longer.

 

A couple of days later I was back at Rosscarbery, to try for those fish down the west bank. There were still numbers present but apparently not feeding well in the last of the east breeze and I contrived to miss the only take of a four-hour session over lunchtime. After I'd given up on that I had a look down the channel towards the sea and found some fish down there waiting for the tide to let them up into the pool. I tried for them on  float and then with a light leger, but didn't get any definite bites. 

The mulleting was such a struggle I decided to give it a break for the rest of the month.

 

I was back at Rosscarbery on the 6th May with Sylvi. On arrival mid-morning we could see an otter working in the pool and eventually it came in close down the west side where Sylvi managed to get some photos before it disappeared into a hole in the wall.

 

There were good numbers of mullet down that side and we were nicely sheltered from a stiff west breeze so we decided to stop there.

 

After about an hour one of the leger rods pulled over and I played in a 3lb+ mullet only for it to throw the hook just short of my net. I couldn't get another take so mid-afternoon we moved up onto the grass to try there for a last hour or so. Far fewer fish were visible here but I thought maybe with a few more inches depth and a little lop on from the breeze any mullet there might feed better. It sort-of worked with a good pull and a 3:10 thicklip first cast, but nothing after that.

I was back a few days later for another go, but once again struggled with the mullet in the shallows down the west side. After four hours without a credible bite I went exploring down the channel near the sea and immediately wished I'd moved earlier - there were plenty of mullet down there but the ebb tide was just starting to flow so I wouldn't get long at them. A couple of decent fish attacked a piece of floating bread ... I broke out the float rod, and trotted through a piece of flake about a foot deep. First run through, float dipped under, struck, missed. Second run, the float dipped more convincingly, I struck too enthusiastically and my fluoro hooklength parted, probably the victim of a bit of laziness leaving the rig made up on the rod too long. Rookie mistake - chance gone.

I felt the mullet gods owed me a good session and I got it after a fashion on the 14th on my first visit of the year to my low water mark in Bantry Bay.

 

I had a couple of fish on the last of the ebb tide and a couple more as it flooded back, all on fish baits 18" under a Puddlechucker float. 

 

They weren't big fish, between 2:00 and 2:13 but the open water mullet are always fighting fit so I enjoyed some good scraps on the light tackle, and it was generally good to be back mulleting on the coast.

One of the reasons for taking a lay-off from the mullet fishing was to make room for a serious effort at the gilthead bream fishing south and east of us here.

To be honest though, the gilthead fishing has been even harder going than the mullet fishing.

 

Thanks probably to the unusually settled and sunny weather we had in the late winter, and to far too much nutrient run-off from the farm fields, the estuary has filled up with green weed much earlier in the year than usual. This has the effect of cutting sessions short as the tide starts to run up the channel bringing clumps of the stuff with it ... the fishing becoming near impossible just at the time when bites are most likely. Together with another extended period of east winds through late April and an almost total dearth of bycatch species, it has made for some pretty attritional fishing

Literally the only bycatch I've seen so far was a just-undersize bass taken last knockings of a session in late April when I was down there with Sylvi. The chunky flounders that I was catching two or three a session last year have been completely absent, mysteriously.

 

Anyway, onto the gilts and so far I've had four but only modest size of 1 - 2lbs. I've missed a few bites but nothing really to suggest a bigger fish, though no doubt a few have been caught by others. All the fish have been on blow lug baits, I dig the lug immediately before fishing. I've been trying mussel on one hook but so far it's not been touched, slightly surprisingly as all the gilts I've ever kept for eating seem to have been feeding exclusively on seed mussel.

I've done a few sessions on the airstrip strand near Bantry since mid-April. The thornback fishing has been better than average though, as ever, the mark continues to blow hot and cold.

 

The first trip out on 18th April was a proper red letter day, despite less than promising conditions of a stiff NW breeze and mostly bright sunshine. I had four rays in the last hour of the dropping tide and, after a lull, another two as it started to rise before the breeze, flow and dogfish all picked up. No monsters but apart from one baby, all decent fish from 4 to 7lbs...

About low water another angler arrived and fished a bit to my left. He'd missed the first flush of fish I'd had and missed out on them again early in the new tide. Glen, if you're reading this, I hope you had some later on.

 

It had been such an enjoyable session I went back a couple of days later, not really expecting it to be as good but hoping for some more rays, especially as conditions were superficially much more favourable with overcast and just a gentle southerly breeze. I had out a dogfish early on then sat through the rest of the session watching motionless rod tips!

 

I went back on 2nd May. It was just after the east winds that had dogged late April so I wasn't too hopeful, but it turned into another good day with four more decent rays...

... and other opportunities missed. I had a couple of massive slack line bites over the low water period that resulted in nothing and when I was playing in the last ray my other rod pulled over about eighteen inches then locked there. It seemed a bit odd and when I came to wind in the rig was tight in a snag.

 

All the rays have come on either mackerel or bluey. The mackerel has had the edge so far this season, probably because I don't have much of a stock in the freezer where they were so hard to come by last summer and autumn.

 

My last trip to the airstrip was on a similar tide on 15th May. What a change! The beach was covered in slimey green and brown weed with a minestrone soup of the same in the margins, as you can see. It didn't seem too bad further out but there was some weed masking my baits on some casts as well as a few impressive kelp fronds to wind in...

 

I fished through it and did get a couple of rays, but they were both babies about a pound apiece. Although it made me a bit nostalgic for good times past fishing the Solent, in truth it wasn't really a particularly pleasant session dealing with the balls of slime picked up on the retrieve. I'll keep an eye on it but probably won't fish there again until it clears.

On 15th April Sylvi and I drove up to Kerry for what might have been a last go this year at my spurdog mark. It hasn't been a great season for the spurs to be fair, and as the first couple of hours up from low water passed quietly again it was shaping up as another disappointing session. Then the first bite of the day yielded an LSD ... and suddenly it was all action as a pack of spurs moved in with bites coming most casts for a couple of hours till another LSD finished things off.

 

I had six spurs out, but sadly there was no great size to them with all of them much of a muchness about 4lbs...

In the event I decided on one more go for a bigger spur on the same tide a fortnight later, and ended up wishing I hadn't bothered. The spurs didn't show at all, the entire flood tide was graced only by three spotty dogs. Then dead high water I had a little rattle on my right-hand rod that seemed to come to nothing. However, when I came to wind in there was a heavy load on which came to life half way in and ended up giving a good scrap under the rod tip. Eventually a very nice thornback surfaced.

 

Normally I'd have made my way right during the fight onto some lower rocks to get an easy lift of the fish out but it's not a simple transit and this time my bootlace was coming undone and I thought with the tide up I'd be okay on the higher rocks right in front. It was a fateful decision ... I didn't get a clean lift, the ray swung about, caught on the rocks half way up then the 60lbs trace parted. The thornback fell back into the water and lay tantalisingly on a ledge about six feet underwater till it swam off. I was gutted, it was a very good fish I'd say similar to my PB back in England just shy of 13lbs.

Last session to report on was one on 25th April on a deep rock mark in Bantry Bay on the north side of Sheep's Head, in the worst of the east wind late in the month. At least it had killed the swell rendering the mark fishable though it didn't promise too much regards the fishing.

 

I only took the big rods and the session was mostly quiet. One rattly bite yielded a three-bearded rockling, definitely not one lacking in ambition as it downed a mackerel head on a 6/0 circle hook. It was possibly a PB ... to my mind they are properly attractive fish but I wouldn't be bothered with ever weighing one!

 

I missed a few similar bites, but whether also 3BRs, small congers or what I don't know. There were dolphins splashing out in the mouth of the bay most of the session, and more guillemots diving in the bay than you could shake a stick at. There was obviously something going down involving bait fish and I ended up wishing I'd brought some spinning tackle.

 

Time's going to be a bit pushed the next few weeks with my seasonal exam work on, but I'll try to get in a few sessions, probably shortish and just local. It's about time I stopped neglecting the fishing virtually on my doorstep anyway.

0 Comments

Thu

31

Mar

2022

March Report

On the 1st I headed up to my favourite mark in Kerry, arriving on the morning low water. The gentle southerly breeze when I arrived soon turned and freshened into a full-on easterly blowing down the bay.

 

By half tide I was biteless and fearing the worst when my right-hand rod pulled over. It was a decent fish and seemed to get heavier and heavier as it came closer to the rocks, in true huss fashion. Under the rod tip, also in true huss fashion, it shook its head and spat out the bait!

Losing the fish was a bit frustrating after such a long wait but while I was baiting that rod up again I had a rattle on the other tip. Nothing came of that but I left the bait out there and after a few minutes the rattle repeated and this time I hooked the fish.

 

It didn't feel big but it seemed a bit livelier than your average LSD and I was pleased to swing out a small spurdog. It really was a small one though, barely a couple of pounds. 

 

A massive pack of spurs must have moved in because it was literally a bite a cast for the next

three hours till turning off like a tap at high water, sometimes with the rod tip nodding as soon as I tightened down after the cast. I missed loads and landed five of the more ambitious ones that managed to get their jaws round my 4/0 hooks - I kept the big baits going out in the hope of selecting a bigger spur from the shoal, but unfortunately they were all similar size except for one that may have made 4lbs at a push.

 

Amid the baby spur frenzy, other fish decided to feed too. I had a whopping LSD I probably should have put on the scales (but didn't) and two very decent bullhuss of 10lbs and 12lbs, both unusually pale leopard-effect individuals for this mark. 

I was hopeful this session might herald the arrival of some bigger spurs into the bay, but in this respect the rest of March was a disappointment. Sylvi came with me on the 4th but it was a very slow session with the only captures an LSD and a tiny conger ...

... with an even bigger disaster on the 14th when I fished all the way up the tide and half the tide back with not even a bite. I went back on the 18th with Sylvi for an almost repeat performance, but this time a little nodding bite on a squid/mackerel cocktail just before high water turned into a proper pull down. The fish put up a good scrap, repeatedly diving for the bottom as it neared the edge. It was a smart male thornback just over 7lbs - it's remarkable what a lively fight they give trying to bring them up through the water as opposed to sliding them out onto a beach.

That day marked the start of an extended period of east winds that carried on to the end of the month, so I was expecting another slow day when I returned on the 30th. It was indeed slow, with just two bites. They were good fish though, first a huss dead on 10lbs about half-tide on squid/herring and then another thornback, a 9lbs female this time, just after high water on mackerel.

My only other outing with the big rods was onto a local rock mark on Sheep's Head on the 28th. The new slate memorial to J G Farrell, replacing the battered old brass plaque someone had used for air gunnery practice, was a salutory reminder and it didn't take me long to judge I wasn't going to get out onto my first-choice mark across the bay. The swells were still surging up the rocks far too high despite more than a week of easterlies and a hopelessly optimistic 0.7m swell prediction on Windfinder.

I stopped on the rocks near the carpark. There's deep water in front and the mark can produce good sport, but the bottom fishing often gets off to a slow start here in spring and it definitely wasn't going to be helped by the bright sunshine and chilly east breeze.

 

I had several knocks on mackerel head baits fished close in, but nothing that hung on ... they'd take the soft bits of gut and then leave the bait. I rather suspected small strap congers might be the culprits and eventually I picked up a couple on smaller baits fished further out that were otherwise untouched.

 

It was a disappointing session all round but there'll be better to come for sure.

 

Moving onto to mulleting, my first outing was on the 6th down at Rosscarbery. It was a mostly grey day and a perishing cold south-east wind was running up the estuary. I fished down the west bank in the lee of the car, in reasonable shelter but even so I was soon feeling the cold. 

There's not many days I don't enjoy mullet fishing but today was one such, and it was a relief when one of the leger rods pulled over and I landed a thicklip of 3:06.

 

I'd fished a couple of hours and didn't give it a lot longer, I'd got a mullet for March so mission accomplished in that respect ... back up to twelve months consecutive now since the 5km travel restriction was lifted last April.

 

I was back at Rosscarbery on the 16th, a much nicer day, the slight breeze in my face barely noticeable in the sunshine as I set up the leger rods on the grass across from the hotel. 

 

There were a good few fish showing in front of me and I was soon getting trembles and isolated knocks on the tips. The mullet seemed reluctant to take properly, not that unusual in winter, but in the afternoon I had some better bites and landed three fish, all 3lb class which is typical of the winter mullet at Ross.

The mullet moved on with the first of the new tide flooding through the pool but I had a walk down the west bank before leaving and found a group of mullet feeding close in in water about a foot deep.

 

I had a slightly frustrating hour with fish swimming all round my float and sometimes even bumping it. Not a hint of a proper bite then just as I was on the verge of giving up, one took my flake bait and pulled the rod round in my hands! It jumped all over the place, briefly causing me to wonder if it was a sea trout, but it was another nice thicklip mullet this time just under 3lbs.

I was back at Ross on the 21st. The east wind was set in by now but fortunately not blowing too cold. I could see quite a lot of fish moving in various parts of the pool, but the best prospect for fishing seemed to be straight into the wind from the west bank, rather than an awkward cross-wind elsewhere.

 

These swans were a pain, to and fro in front of me all day, sometimes a melee as the resident pair setting up for nesting tried to chase them off. 

 

However the mullet were feeding well, I missed a good take and had three out before lunch, stopped for a good hour when the white menaces found my groundbait further out, then had another three mullet on the bank in the afternoon. Four of the fish were the typical winter 3lbers again, but among them I had a chunky 5:03 and an even chunkier 5:06, very nice for the time of year.

Many of the winter mullet are scale-perfect specimens. It's always lovely to see a pristine fish, but equally it's interesting to see some of the injuries they survive and to wonder about their back story.

The 5:03 had the lower tip of its tail missing, something I'm fairly sure is caused by otters nipping at them trying to get a hold (or maybe just playing.) The 5:06 had some sort of well-healed puncture wound in its flank, I wonder if caused by a lamprey or large isopod parasite since shed off ...

The third pic is of a 3lber caught the same day, it has three vertical scars to its dorsal region, they run down both flanks. It's quite common to see mullet with one such scar, I think caused when the fish is grabbed crossways by a cormorant but manages to wriggle free, probably leaving the bird with a beak full of scales. Occasionally you see a cormorant bring up a mullet that's really too big for it and have multiple goes at getting a hold ... I'd think this fish has done well to survive such an assault.

Fancying a change, on the 23rd I headed out onto the Mizen. The wind had turned to SE and was verging on warm, especially in the sunshine.

 

The estuary pool was stuffed with mullet, literally hundreds of them. I float-fished a foot or so deep and bagged up with a total of nine fish from three different swims. 

Some of the mullet I saw looked well over 5lbs but I couldn't get past the middleweight fish. These are the two biggest I landed, just either side of 4lbs...

It was a great afternoon's sport and I couldn't resist the temptation to go back for more a couple of days later. Unfortunately the wind had changed to full east and had a distinctly chill edge on it. Most of the mullet seemed to have evacuated the pool and most of the few remaining seemed to be sheltering in the lee of the mudbank, inaccessible across the far side. I did get one though, and Sylvi who came with me managed to get a video of most of the fight on her new camera ...

Sorry for all the wind-noise! The mullet was only 3:06 but was special in the sense this was my 13th mullet trip of 2022 and, remarkably for the time of year, I've not yet had to chalk up a blank.

2 Comments

Wed

02

Mar

2022

February Report

It wasn't going to last, but February did at least get off to an encouraging start.

On the 1st I headed down to Rosscarbery. Most of the estuary pool was raked by a strong and chilly north-west wind, but I found some mullet in the shallows in the semi-shelter of the west bank.

 

I hadn't had much luck with the mullet in this swim on recent trips, so it was a relief when one of my leger rods yanked over after only about fifteen minutes. It was only a small fish, not even 2lbs, but it was a mullet to keep my successive-months run going , and it was caught the proper Irish way fishing out of the back of the car!

 

Despite this early success, the mullet weren't really in a feeding mood and although I had plenty of fish in the swim I couldn't get another take. Three hours dragged by but there wasn't really another viable spot to move to so I stayed put.

After lunch I was momentarily distracted by a car pulling up in front of me. David Norman of West Cork Bass guiding fame climbed out to have a chat, just in time to see me grab one of the rods as it threatened to pull over the wall.

 

It was a powerful fish that ran out strongly in a series of spurts. David took some photos but alas the mullet found a snag in an area where I didn't realise there were any. After several steady pulls my rig came free but the hook had bent out of the fish.

 

We chatted for a while then David drove on to investigate lower down at the sea. He was barely out of sight when I was into another mullet, about 3lbs. It was still recovering in my net when David drove back up, and he took the photo for me...

We talked a while longer, then David went on his way.

 

I still had some mullet moving in my swim, and I was hopeful of further action.

 

I'd occasionally see a big shoal further out in the pool when they spooked at a bird and splashed on the surface. Very gradually they seemed to be edging closer to me, then suddenly they were in range and I had whelms everywhere in front.

 

A hectic hour followed with line bites, a couple of mullet hooked and lost, and four more landed making a total of six for the day. They were 2lb and 3lb size fish with the best 3:10 and 3:12 - all good fun though it was a pity I lost the one in the snag earlier as that had seemed in another class altogether.

David does some mullet fishing in winter, using fly tackle, and he's had some success on milder days getting fish feeding on the surface then targeting them with a bread-fly.

 

He left me one of his home-tied flies to try. It certainly looks the part ...

 

I'm not quite sure what to do with it but I think I'll probably save it to use later in the year  in a swim where the mullet occasionally have a go at bread flake as it's retrieved. I've hooked a couple like that and had enough other bumps to convince me it wasn't a fluke ... usually the bread just comes off the hook but I fancy the bread fly slowly retrieved behind a small controller float might do a job.

On the 2nd I headed up to Kerry for another spurdog attempt. I was joined by my friend Stephen again but just as the last time he came down from Cork, it was a desperately slow day with very few bites. The water was unusually clear for this area after all the settled and dry weather through January, and I think this wasn't helping the fishing, at least in daylight.

 

Also just like last time I fished with Stephen, I was fortunate enough to bag the only decent fish of the day, a chunky huss. It wasn't badly hooked at all but coughed up some blood while unhooking. I wanted to get it back into the water quickly so didn't weigh it, I'd say it was 8 - 9lbs. Hope it was okay.

I'd thought I might go back the next week but I read the Caha Tunnel was closed again for repairs after someone had damaged it with an overheight vehicle. I knocked that idea on the head and went mullet fishing instead.

 

It had seemed a nice day in Kilcrohane but out on the Mizen the wind was a little fresher and, as it clouded over, it verged on the bleak. I blanked in one swim where the breeze was straight in, and moved to another where at least it was running across and I could just about get my back to it. After an hour patient light feeding, I had a couple of bites and hooked into a pristine thicklip of 3:04.

 

The rest of the month was a write-off for fishing. Sylvi's car was off the road for repairs - it took the garage an age to source a new fuel pump - and as she needed a car most days that clipped my wings fairly effectively. And the weather finally broke into a really rough spell including named storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin in rapid succession.

 

I'm mobile again now, and the weather has calmed down somewhat. I've already had an interesting session on 1st March but I'll save that for next time.

0 Comments

Mon

31

Jan

2022

January: Mullet, Huss & the Sea Monster That Got Away

As has become traditional, I started my mullet angling year on New Year's Day at Rosscarbery.

 

It was a grey but calm day. I found good numbers of mullet moving in the shallows down the west bank and soon had two leger baits out amongst them. But just like on my last visit in December, these fish showed little sign of feeding and three hours passed with only a couple of knocks on the tips that didn't develop into anything.

 

As the water level started to back up slightly, I began seeing fish moving close in to the wall to my left. This was very much into last chance territory, because in wintertime once the seawater floods through the pool on the new tide it seems to kill the fishing. I moved along taking one leger rod and my float rod with me, cast out the leger line then concentrated on the float. 

 

I struck and missed at a couple of bobs of the float. Next cast it buried properly, and I was into a decent mullet that scrapped well for a few minutes before I could net it. I weighed and returned the fish then went to re-bait the leger rod ... the line was moved well round to the right and was slightly slack. I tightened into another mullet that had self-hooked while I was playing the first. It looked remarkably similar in size, and in fact both went exactly the same weight at 3:15.

My next mullet outing wasn't until the 16th, when I found good numbers of mullet trapped in a shallow low water pool in the estuary below Clonakilty. There were little pods of fish scattered all over the pool, quite skittish but by keeping low and using the gentle flow through the pool I was able to present a bait to some of them.

I caught three nice fish from different spots, best 3:08. I thought I was going to get more to be honest, but mid-session the mullet's behaviour changed. A couple of fish started bow-waving up and down the length of the pool and with each pass more joined them. Soon they had all joined in, quite an impressive sight but to what purpose I couldn't say. Certainly they weren't feeding, and I couldn't get another bite.

I had another look down there on the 22nd but couldn't see any fish, so headed back to Rosscarbery. Jason was just set up fishing from the wall and I went over on the grass towards the bridge.

There were quite a few mullet showing in the bay between us, but unfortunately the swans were present in numbers and being a real pain, some getting their heads down on our groundbait, others just hanging around in front hoping to get fed. 

 

It made for a difficult session. I saw Jason land one smallish mullet and it turned out he lost a few others. I missed a couple of knocks then struck into a more persistent one and landed a nice 4:03 after a good scrap. Jason came over to have a look and took the photo.

 

Soon after he packed up, and as his car was pulling away I had a big slack line bite and struck into a very lively fish that ran way off to the left. For a while I thought it was a big fish but then it suddenly succumbed and came in easily. It didn't quite make 3lbs. I was now the focus of the swans' undivided attention, which ended my fishing in any effective kind of way.

The weather was unusually settled for January and the 25th was a beautiful spring-like day. I decided to venture out onto the Mizen for an early look at the estuary there ... and found loads of mullet in residence.

 

I started off fishing just a foot or so deep below a Puddlechucker float, and soon had out a brace of mullet just either side of 3lbs.

 

The disturbance seemed to have displaced most of the mullet activity away across the pool, but before moving swims I thought it would be worth trying deeper. 

 

Very quickly I was hooked into a mullet that felt much bigger. It didn't run far but rather it chugged away to-and-fro close in, hugging the bottom. This went on for over five minutes and I was beginning to wonder how long it could carry on like this when the fight came to an abrupt end. The fish rolled on the line which tangled round its ventral fins ... it came straight to the surface and I dragged it belly-first into my landing net! It was a slightly undignified finale but nevertheless a smashing fish of 5:02, one of the biggest I've had from this venue.

After that I did move swims. The mullet were warier now but I had another brace before losing a third which effectively ended the session. The two I had were 4:05 and a longer but leaner 4:03, so good-sized fish.

Given the numbers of mullet present, I was keen to have another go and headed back the very next day, accompanied by Sylvi and a picnic. What a contrast! It was a dull day, a surprisingly chilly south-west wind was ruffling the surface and not a fish was to be seen. 

 

I couldn't believe the mullet had all gone, particularly as the tides were neap and it would have been a real struggle for them to have navigated the very shallow channel back to the sea on the night-time high water. More likely they were lying still in the pool somewhere. I set up to fish my bait just off bottom in the deepest part, and fed the swim very sparingly with mashed bread.

 

An hour, and the picnic, had gone before I had a bite. The float bobbed back up before I could strike. This repeated for the next couple of casts, then a bite that sunk the float a moment longer. I struck, and was in. It was another powerful fish. Sylvi took some photos...

The fish weighed 4:15 and was pristine apart from some damage to the lower part of its tail, something I'd noticed on the two four pounders yesterday also.

I went back on the 30th for what turned into an almost repeat session on an even colder and more blustery day.

 

Again it was an hour before I had a bite, but this time the float just buried and I contacted the fish straightaway. It was another good one, just going 4lbs, and fought surprisingly well considering it had most of the bottom part of its tail missing in what looked quite a fresh bite wound. I'm fairly sure the tail injuries are down to otters biting at them when in hot pursuit. It's not nice seeing fish damaged in this way but hopefully they'll heal and the tail will grow back to some extent, and at least they've avoided the fate of several shoal-mates that have been reduced to sad piles of scales on the bankside.

Between the mullet sessions I've been heading up to Kerry to fish from the rocks in what has proved, so far, a forlorn quest for a spurdog.

 

I missed the traditional spring season last year because of the 5km travel restriction, but I did get a couple on a hurried trip in December 2020 so I was hopeful of getting some early ones this year. That wasn't to be but the sessions haven't been without interest.

 

My first trip was on the 4th. I had little flurries of bites through the day but these yielded only a few dogfish and one small thornback. 

 

Into the last hour of daylight and I had a good pull-down on my left hand rod, but nothing hung on. At the time I put it down to "probably a huss" but in hindsight it may have been something bigger swimming through the line because while I was sorting that bait out, my other rod pulled down in a ferocious take and line started stripping off the reel in short spurts.

I got the rod up, line continued pulling off the drag but only for a few seconds then it stopped. Everything seemed solid and I assumed the fish had run into a snag, though that seemed like bad luck as the bottom is clean mud and I've not had any issues at all with snags on this mark.

 

I gave it a good heave - no real movement though I sensed there was a bit of "give" in the snag, maybe an old pot rope or piece of net? I tried pulling from as far left as I could get along the rocks, and as far right, nothing doing. One last try ... and suddenly the snag was moving. It felt very heavy, but I managed two or three pumps under extreme tension and got a few yards back.

 

Then the snag came to life and swam inexorably back to the bottom! This was on the lighter of my two main beachcasters, a twenty year old Zziplex 3500 and because the mark isn't snaggy I'd paired it up with a 6500 reel for casting distance, 20lb mono line. This set up has dealt with big huss and spurs without undue difficulty, but seemed completely outgunned by what I was hooked into now.

 

What I was hooked into now was, almost without doubt, a large common skate.

 

Five more minutes of heaving and suddenly the skate was on the move again. I honestly don't know if I'd caused it to move or if it had just decided to shift positions, but once it was off the bottom I was again able to pump back a few yards of line before it swam down and dug in again.

 

We repeated this two or three more times, I forget. By now the line was going into the water almost vertically and there didn't seem to be any shifting the skate again. I was losing daylight and couldn't afford to wait it out. Reluctantly I pointed the rod down the line and pulled for a break ... only for the skate to go on the move again. Pump, pump, I knew if it went down again it would be right at the rock edge and probably game over ... but with the tackle in hand I just couldn't keep it up. It swam down and went to ground yet again. This time the line parted easily as I started to heave, either cut on the rock edge or just given up the ghost.

 

I was exhausted but strangely not all that disappointed, losing the fish was the almost inevitable outcome and I'd spent the last 25 minutes expecting it at any moment. The disappointment has built later ... it would have been nice to get the fish to the edge for a look, though I'd have had to cut it free as no way could I have lifted it out.

 

One of my Facebook friends said many big skate were caught in the area from boats in the 1960s and 70s before they petered out there as they did in many other places about that time. As far as I know there's not much or any recent history, not that you really see any angling boats out there trying.

 

Another friend sent me a link to a shaky video posted on one of the Facebook groups just a few days previously. Brave soul fishing the rocks at night on his own who managed to get a skate to the edge, took the video then cut the trace. He estimated 100lb+ which looked entirely plausible to me, definitely a big fish though there wasn't much on the video for scale. He said "west coast" so I don't know if it was near where I was or, more likely, further north. He described the fight as "like playing a sofa" but had tackle that gave him a chance - pokey AFAW rod and 80lb braid on a big Penn reel and, I don't know, maybe they are less reluctant to come up to the surface in the dark.

 

Others have said how great it must be to be able to target skate from the shore. Well, yes, but I'm not sure one chance encounter in umpteen visits really warrants the effort. Quite a lot of anglers target spurs along that section of coast and I've not heard any whispers of skate or other massive fish hooked. I'd think there may be better areas to try, near where charter boats catch skate currently and the kayak guys get them quite close inshore.

 

I was back on the 11th. Anything really was going to be anticlimactic but it was a pretty enjoyable session. A series of doggies kept the rod tips nodding and a couple of very nice huss punctuated the day, an 11lber that wouldn't quite behave for the camera and a 12lber on the grass...

On the 13th my friend Stephen came down from Cork to join me on a session on the other side of the bay. The day got off to a decent enough start when I had a huss of 10lbs on my very first cast...

...but unfortunately things went very quiet after that. The hours ticked by, high tide came and went without a bite between us. Stephen landed a starfish, and a scallop. Finally as the tide fell away rapidly we started to get a few knocks. I had a dogfish, Stephen had a couple of smaller huss.

I was back on the "skate" mark on the 21st, definitely not expecting another skate but I could really have used a spur by now. 

It was a day with plenty of action on the rod tips, mostly dogfish.

 

Late morning a better pull yielded another huss, a particularly well fed individual of 11lbs.

 

After lunch I had a couple of smaller huss and another spat the bait out at the edge.

 

By contrast, another session on the 27th was desperately slow with a complete dearth of bites till well into the ebb tide late in the day when I failed to connect with a couple of tentative knocks.

 

Roll on February, and hopefully some spinier customers to report on.

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2021

Fri

31

Dec

2021

December Report

We weren't back from our UK trip till the 21st. We'd managed to avoid catching covid over there, so we passed our tests and were allowed back into Ireland, albeit both with a really unpleasant cold we'd picked up along the way and which still lingers on...

 

I didn't feel fit for much with the cold and tired after all the travelling, but on the 23rd I headed down to Rosscarbery to try to catch a December mullet. There was more water in the pool than I expected, rainwater probably, and I had to hunt around for signs of fish. Eventually I found some in the shallows down the west side.

 

The mullet were present in reasonable numbers and seemed quite active, but I couldn't get any interest apart from a few trembles on the tips that I put down to fish swimming over my lines rather than attention on the baits. After a couple of fruitless hours I packed up and headed over to Clonakilty hoping to find some more obliging mullet in the estuary there. That proved a complete waste of time, no mullet at all to be seen, so 90 minutes later I was back at Ross for another go in the remaining couple of hours of daylight.

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Sun

28

Nov

2021

November Report

Just a brief mullet-only report this month. I've not been doing much with my seasonal exam work underway.

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Thu

04

Nov

2021

October Report

A slightly truncated report this month with fishing opportunities limited by a variety of factors.

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Thu

30

Sep

2021

September Report - Two PBs

I started September with a few trips just local onto the rocks near Kilcrohane, mostly spinning for pollack. The wind had been set in the east for a good while so I wasn't expecting much, but in practice there were plenty about.

 

Many of the bites came from what seems to be a healthy year-class of fish about ten or twelve ounces, a good sign for future sport but not much more than nuisance value at the moment. Among them, a good few fish around 2lbs.

 

Occasionally the redgill would be stopped in its tracks by bigger pollack. These two were just either side of 4lbs caught on the 1st ...

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Tue

31

Aug

2021

August Report - Mostly Fishing with Mike

I did two more gilthead trips in August. Both were unsuccessful, though on the first early in the month I was hooked into a gilt within about ten minutes of starting. It felt reasonable but nowhere near the biggest fish I've had this year and it came off after a few seconds anyway. The rest of that session was quiet, as was the entirety of the other. A flounder and a modest schoolie chanced along to save me from blanking on each occasion, but it wasn't scintillating fishing and I feel the gilt hunt is over for this year.

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Sun

01

Aug

2021

July Report

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Sun

11

Jul

2021

June, and into July

My exam work, though reduced, kept up a steady pace from mid-May and inevitably limited fishing opportunities to a few shortish sessions.

 

My mullet fishing has felt rather on the back-burner recently anyway. I somewhat lost the habit over the winter lockdown then was unenthused if not actually demotivated by some pretty dour sessions in the grim spring weather once travel restrictions were eased.

 

Over the last month or so I have had a few quick goes in the bay here just local. In fairness I've found mullet each time but only in small groups and very easily spooked in the clear, shallow water. A few opportunities came and went fleetingly as I missed the handful of hard-earned bites, a bit frustrating.

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Tue

25

May

2021

PB Gilt

On the 5th I headed down to Rosscarbery on a mission to catch a mullet for May before moving on to other things. It was a fairly miserable day's weather, grey and blustery, spitting with rain on and off and none too warm. I had a good look round but couldn't see sign of mullet so I set up to fish the deeper water by the bridge arch.

 

After a couple of hours I hadn't had a bite or seen a mullet in that swim, but as the water had shallowed up on the ebbing tide I had started to see an odd one or two moving in front of the rocks to my right. I shuttled my kit over but had to endure another couple of biteless hours. Those mullet seemed not to be feeding then disappeared anyway.

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Sat

01

May

2021

Mullet, Gilts and Flounders Too

The 5km travel restriction came off on 12th April and I was straight down to Rosscarbery to try to get my mullet year underway.

 

After a long spell of northerlies and easterlies, the wind had at least gone west for the day, but it was cold and mostly grey with dishearteningly few signs of mullet present. I set up on the grass under my brolly and settled down for what was likely to be an attritional session on the leger.

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Sun

11

Apr

2021

Slow Time on the Rocks

Hungry Hill in the background but not many hungry fish in Bantry Bay
Hungry Hill in the background but not many hungry fish in Bantry Bay
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Mon

08

Mar

2021

Lockdown Latest

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Thu

07

Jan

2021

December Update and Into the New Year

I headed down to Rosscarbery again on 7th December. It was a grey, gloomy day with occasional rain showers, so I set up under the brolly on the grass. Although it was mild there were evidently far fewer mullet present than last week; I'd see a bit of surface activity from time to time but bites were hard to come by. I had a couple of takes mid-afternoon and landed both fish, 2lb-class thicklips.

 

A wet and windy spell followed, and my next trip out was on the 12th for a night session on the pier just local on Sheep's Head. It's a Jekyll and Hyde sort of venue but tonight it was on form; colour in the water seems to help the bottom fishing and there was plenty of colour at the moment.

 

First fish out was a three bearded rockling that took lugworm on a scratching rig ...

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2020

Sat

05

Dec

2020

Over, but not out ...

Well, my run of consecutive months with mullet came to an end (at 32) with the 5km travel restriction throughout November. I can't even say it went out with a bang; more of a fizzle ...

 

I thought I was in with a shout at the start of the month. On the 1st I went for a walk along the brackish lake that had turned up trumps during the spring lockdown. It's never a prolific venue but I spooked a couple of mullet out of the margins so I was hopeful of some action when I went back with my float rod on the 2nd. 

 

I waded out in a favourite area, and ran through a float on the drift caused by the gentle SW breeze, loose-feeding a little mashed bread every trot. After about ten minutes the ripple was broken by a swirl under some floating scraps of bread. Whether it was a mullet or one of the resident trout I don't know, the fish didn't show again and I didn't get a bite. I gave up after a couple of hours.

 

I was back next day in a flat calm, but didn't see a sign of mullet aside from a small shoal of fingerling fish in the margins. 

 

I decided I'd leave it a few days till the lake had had a top-up on the next set of springs, but instead the weather took a turn for the worse with one of the wettest and windiest spells since we moved over here.

 

By the time we had a couple of better days we were heading into the last week of November, and winter seemed to have set in. The leaves were off the trees and the lake seemed devoid of life. The fingerling mullet had gone; even the resident swans had disappeared. It didn't seem worth getting the mullet rods out either at the lake or indeed off the pier, the water in the bay being unusually clouded from all the swells and rain. 

 

I decided to call time on my mullet run ... a decision not exactly helped when Jason posted photos on Facebook of the six mullet he'd caught in the shelter of the estuary near his home at Clonakilty the very same day! I was tempted ... but stuck to the Level 5 rules.

 

Instead I ventured out onto the pier one evening with the big rods. I was hoping for a huss but in the event managed only dogfish and poor cod. I had one tentative take on a mackerel head, but my leader parted when I tightened into the fish, the last few inches shredded - I'm guessing it was a conger that had just backed off with the bait under a sharp rock ledge.

 

It wasn't much of a session but appetite whetted I headed out onto the rocks on the 27th ...

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Fri

30

Oct

2020

October Update: Mostly Mullet and COVID Levels

My October fishing started on the 2nd at Rosscarbery.

 

I arrived late morning and had a good look round. I couldn't find many mullet anywhere, so in the end I went for the default option of the grass by the N71 where I could get the brolly up as shelter from the chilly north breeze and the showers that were threatening. It's also nicer for Fern collie than fishing off the side of the road and where I'd be more socially-distanced from people passing by!

 

I was spotting occasional mullet whelming, mostly further out, but it was lunchtime before I had a take on one of the leger rods. The mullet ran out powerfully then took me right along the grass to the right to land it. I was a bit surprised it was smaller than I thought and only went 3:15. It was a decent enough start though.

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Sun

04

Oct

2020

September Update

September was a busy fishing month, with the weather thankfully much improved after the storms and flooding in August.

 

Possibly the most exciting news was the appearence in Bantry Bay of shoals of spurdogs, big ones some of them. The boat doing mostly short trips out of Glengarriff was reporting them on their Facebook page late in August and into the first few days of September, seemingly mostly high up the Bay, not far below Garinish Island I think. I got as far as having a look for some shore access in that area but there doesn't seem to be much - a mark that seemed promising on Google looked much less so on the ground. I didn't pursue it as the spurs didn't reappear on the next set of tides; I suspect their appearence coincided with some really exceptional numbers of mackerel in the Bay and once the mackerel started to thin out the spurs were gone. If anyone knows of any shore access to deep water up towards Glengarriff I'd be very happy to hear from you for future reference.

 

On the 1st of the month I headed to a north coast mark on Sheep's Head mainly intending to get a hit of mackerel for the smoker and the final top-up of my bait freezer. There'd been loads of mackerel on this mark for several weeks and it had become quite popular, and I'd noticed some of the guys fishing were cleaning the mackerel on the spot and dumping the heads and guts over the side. It seemed too good an opportunity to miss, so I took one of the big rods with me and lobbed out the head of the first mackerel I caught, stopping the spool as the bait sunk through the deep water so it would swing in towards the base of the rock face. As usual I popped-up the head by lashing on a small piece of polystyrene with bait elastic; it's a proper snag-pit of a mark.

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Sat

05

Sep

2020

August Update

It's been a funny few weeks. It took a few days to get properly mobile again after crocking my knee on the rocks, then August became something of an exercise in weather-dodging. First we had thunderstorms that caused flash flooding around West Cork - Rosscarbery was hit twice in the space of 48 hours - and the bays both sides of Sheep's Head turned brown with peaty water pouring in off the hills. Then later in the month, two major storm events - Ellen and Francis - kept things stirred up and brought more floods including wrecking the middle of Bantry town.

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Thu

30

Jul

2020

Mixed Stuff for July

July isn't normally a month I get to do much fishing but with my work from the UK cancelled this year I found myself with plenty of time on my hands. I was determined not to spend it all mullet fishing ...

 

Early in the month I did a couple more trips to the Airstrip Strand. It was hard work getting past the dogfish but I landed three more thornbacks, a couple of small ones and my best for the venue so far just a shade over 6lbs.

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Tue

30

Jun

2020

June Update

We entered June still on a 5km travel restriction, due to be extended to 20km on the 8th on the government's covid roadmap. Unfortunately the small mullet population of the brackish lake seemed to have dwindled to nothing, perhaps gone out on the last set of springs or eaten by the otters. My attention turned to the bay here.

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Sun

31

May

2020

May Update

The 2km travel restriction was raised to 5km, but this did nothing meaningful to increase the choice of mullet marks available. We were blessed with warm sunny weather for the most part but easterly winds persisted on and off throughout the month. Only once did I find a few mullet on the open shoreline of Dunmanus Bay and I couldn't get them interested in feeding in the fleeting opportunity available. This left me with the brackish lake, and unfortunately numbers appeared well down from when I'd caught in April.

 

I found an old research paper online about the lake, which is apparently a designated Local Nature Reserve though there's no signage on site to suggest that. It was an interesting read though not an encouraging one ... an unusual ecology but not a rich one, with few species of flora and fauna able to cope with both the sudden increase in salinity when spring tides break in and massive influxes of acid, peat-stained water after heavy rainfall. Relatively poor feeding is perhaps why despite looking the part the lake never seems to hold more than a handful of sizeable mullet. I also wonder whether even on spring tides many fish would be deterred by the journey up through the narrow channel and under the very low flagstone bridge.

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Sat

16

May

2020

Developing Pop-Up Crust

My previous writings about pop-up crust mullet baits in NMC's Grey Ghost magazine and on my blog here seem to have attracted some interest both back in the UK and in Ireland. I started some new experiments with the technique last autumn. In an ideal world I'd have liked some firmer conclusions but some particularly poor winter weather limited progress and now the covid travel restrictions look set to reduce my leger opportunities severely till at least 20th July ... so I thought I'd get on and share some thoughts now.

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Mon

11

May

2020

More Old Rods

Some more rod renovations as the covid lockdown grinds on...

 

These are not as old as some of the others I've been giving a facelift, but they still have history.

 

On the right is my Zziplex 3500. It was a gift from my friends and colleagues in 2000 when I moved on from Fareham College in Hampshire after nineteen years there teaching physics. It's a lovely slim blank that in many ways reminded me of my original 1005, more so anyway than the Dream Machine GS Match I'd had in the interim.

 

In 2001 I caught a 52.5lb stingray on the 3500, by accident really when I was hound fishing at Selsey but it won me the fish of the month competition in Sea Angler magazine, and the prize was the rod on the left. It's a Shimano Antares 129 Beach. It is a nice blank but the rod came without any sort of reel fitting which I thought was a bit cheapskate (I bought coasters for it) and the rings had poncey gold ceramic liners which started chipping and cracking at the first sight of a shingle beach, so within a couple of weeks I'd had them off and replaced them with a set of BNHGs.

 

Photos. The 3500 in action with a Solent smooth-hound, my lad Luke is now 26! And one of several Selsey tope I had 2005 - 2008 mostly on the Shimano Antares, this one 38lbs.

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Thu

30

Apr

2020

An April Mullet Against the Odds

On Friday 17th April IFI published clarification that we are, after all, allowed to go fishing during the covid lockdown as part of our exercise regime. The inevitable conditions attached are rather limiting though ... only for brief periods, walking to a venue within 2km of home. A "brief period" is defined on their website as not more than an hour or an hour and a half.

 

This allowed just a chance that I might be able to keep my monthly mullet record going, but only a slim chance. The mullet don't seem to arrive in the bay here particularly early in the year. The earliest I've seen them is mid-April and the earliest I've caught one is well into May. So I wasn't expecting much over the next few days as I used my dog walks to check out some possible spots. Indeed nothing at all was showing along the rocky shore; the chances of an early mullet showing were probably being further diminished by a nagging easterly breeze.

 

I did however see some encouraging swirls and bow-waves in the brackish lake east of the village, 1.1km away from home measured on Google Maps. It's not a venue I've fished much as it's mostly only inches deep, and though it looks the part and there are usually half-pound size mullet to be seen, it's rare to see more than an odd bigger mullet in there. It's also very badly affected by heavy rainfall though the mullet must be able to survive the sudden plunges in salinity as they can only get in and out on the biggest couple of tides each month when the lake tops up from the sea.

 

I waited a few days for the east breeze to die away. Then on the 23rd I printed off the IFI poster in case anyone objected and set off with Fern collie and fishing tackle ...

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Mon

20

Apr

2020

Old Rods

One of the few positives about being locked down has been the opportunity to get on with some rod renovations, some of which were tentatively underway already and accelerated, some were scheduled and others brought forward. I have some fairly modern mullet rods but otherwise it's been a bit of an eye-opener realising just how old some of my kit is - some rods already on their second or third iterations and in need of TLC again ...

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Sat

04

Apr

2020

A March Mullet Before Lockdown

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Sat

29

Feb

2020

Weather Windows and Personal Bests

After those first few calm days and my mullet on the 5th, the February weather has been truly dire. Storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge have written off three out of four weekends and the weather between was scarcely better with a string of other low-pressure systems pouring in off the Atlantic. I don't think there's been such a protracted windy spell since we moved to Ireland and the rain ... well at least living on a mountainside we don't have to worry about flooding.

 

It was an effort to get out fishing at all but fortunately there were a few brief gaps in the dismal weather.

 

The wind dropped light on the afternoon of the 18th in the aftermath of Dennis. I headed out onto the pier that evening not sure what to expect, but in the event the huss were unusually active again. Perhaps the water in the bay, now as coloured as I've ever seen it, suits them. I missed a few runs and latched into five. Two were only 5 - 6lb size; two better fish let go of the baits as they reached the surface but fortunately the best of the night had the circle hook firmly planted in its scissors. The scales said spot on 13lbs, equal to my personal best ...

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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 ...

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Tue

04

Feb

2020

Mostly Huss

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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.

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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.

 

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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.
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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 ...

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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. 

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Mon

02

Sep

2019

Triggers and Other Fish

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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 ...

 

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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Sun

12

May

2019

Rock Sessions - and Another First.

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Tue

30

Apr

2019

April Mullet

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Sat

13

Apr

2019

Sheepshead Rocks

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Tue

09

Apr

2019

First Spurs

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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!

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Thu

28

Feb

2019

Namibia 2019

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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.

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Sun

06

Jan

2019

Up and Running in 2019

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Tue

14

Aug

2018

Mullet Update

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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.

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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 ...

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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. 

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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!

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Wed

11

Apr

2018

Back on the Rocks

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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...

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Sat

09

Sep

2017

Before the Storm

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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.

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Sat

12

Aug

2017

Pollack on a New Rock Mark

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Fri

11

Aug

2017

Mullet Round-up

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Mon

07

Aug

2017

Wrasse

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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.

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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.

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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 ...

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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...

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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 ...

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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.

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Sun

23

Apr

2017

Calm ...

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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.

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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 ...

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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.

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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 ...

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Sat

01

Apr

2017

Out West

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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.

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Tue

21

Mar

2017

Namibia Holiday

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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.

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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.

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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 ...

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Tue

31

Jan

2017

More January Mullet

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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 ...

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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.

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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. 

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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 ...

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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 ... 

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Mon

17

Oct

2016

Evening Pollack Session

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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.

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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 ... 

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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Sun

18

Sep

2016

Near Home

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Sat

17

Sep

2016

Back on the Rocks

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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.

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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.

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Wed

31

Aug

2016

Just Local

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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.

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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 ...

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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 ...

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Mon

15

Aug

2016

Who Let The Dogs Out?

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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 ...

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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.

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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. 

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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 ...

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Fri

05

Aug

2016

Stocking Up

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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.

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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.

 

 

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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 ...

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Sat

23

Jul

2016

Mullet ... Wrasse

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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.

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Wed

22

Jun

2016

Congers with Stu

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Tue

21

Jun

2016

Pollack - and Mackerel

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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 ...

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Wed

18

May

2016

Dogged Out

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Mon

16

May

2016

New Rock Mark

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Sat

14

May

2016

Rock Session

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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.

 

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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.

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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 ...

 

 

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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 ...

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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.

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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 ...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 ...

 

 

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Sun

20

Mar

2016

Five at Rosscarbery

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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 ...

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Mon

14

Mar

2016

Off the Marks on the Rocks

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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Thu

11

Feb

2016

Back Out Again

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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!

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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.

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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 ...

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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.

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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 ...


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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. 

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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.

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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 ...

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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 ...

 

 

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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 ...

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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.

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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.

 


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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.

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Thu

17

Sep

2015

Pete's Day

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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.

 

 

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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.


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Sat

12

Sep

2015

Bonus Pollack

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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 ...


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Mon

07

Sep

2015

Experimenting

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Sun

06

Sep

2015

Pollack and Chips

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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. 


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