I didn’t do as much shore fishing this year as usual, in fact the beachcasters didn’t have a day out at all. On settled days I went boat fishing and on other days I spent/wasted time in search of mullet. The first day was the most productive with three grey mullet coming to the net, the best going 4lb 11oz. The third one was the smallest, about 3lb, and I let a young lad, who was watching with his dad, reel it in. The lad was delighted and the dad’s camera phone was close to exhaustion, they both thanked me profusely and I reckon if I had asked the dad for the loan of a tenner, I’d have got it. (That said, he was wearing a Cork jersey). Having got a few mullet in the bag, next day out I targeted them by flyfishing using some Breadflies I had tied from white rabbit fur. I had scattered some bread pieces around and there were several mullet responding to it though they weren’t going mad for it. The wind was strong, gusty and coming from the side making accurate casting impossible. At times the fly would land several yards away from a feeding fish and I’m really not that bad at flycasting. I did hook one but it was gone in a second. One or two others took the fly but I failed to connect and more came up for a close inspection only to turn away, but sometimes they do that with the real bread. I felt something wasn’t quite right with the fly so I trimmed away the longer guard hairs to give a more uniform length. Hairy bread, sure the Dogs o’ Cavan wouldn’t eat that. I was actually fishing 2 flies on the cast; all interest was in the point fly and not one mullet even looked at the identical fly on the dropper, these mullet are fussier than trout! Some would suggest using fluorocarbon but I don’t like the stuff having lost too many trout when fluoro casts came apart or broke at knots. A day later I was chatting to an angler who was renewing a dropper, his fluorocarbon kept breaking at the knot despite copious saliva and careful tightening of the knot. The line itself was quite strong if it had not been knotted. By now the fish had moved on. Time spent or wasted? I feel sure I would have got a few by fishing with bread bait but on a better day for casting and with fish feeding more enthusiastically, I feel sure I would have got a few on the fly.
Another day out was spent chasing golden greys so with maddies dug and light gear in the car, off I went to find the water at the beach full of weed and unfishable. New venue selected and fish spotted so I started fishing. I was using a float with a 3ft trace ending in a size 6 holding 4-5 maddies. A few tentative bites ensued but the fish seemed to be quite small and overwhelmed by the hook size so I downsized to size 14 with a single maddie, I also fitted a floating bead about 4” from the hook. Casting beyond the shoals of fish and slowly reeling in produced a lot more interest with many fish attacking both the bait and the bead. A single or even half a maddie was too easy for the fish to pull off the hook so I set up a pennel rig with 2 size 14s. Success at last; just retrieve slowly until a fish hooks itself. Although small, they are a very game little fish and next year I would hope to get some decent ones. Still, 4 small members of a new species would have to do for this year. Once the tide came in further the fish moved off but a few maddies on lrf gear produced a couple of blennies, one more for the species list. A few other short sessions on other days were poor, either a few mullet swimming in circles head to tail( waste of time trying in my experience) or totally unproductive with no mullet showing at all. More than one local angler has told me that substantial numbers of mullet were netted in the area in the last year or two, it shows.
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