Due to various family members plus entourages joining us, fishing trips tended to be short ones as and when the opportunity arose.Tuesday 11th
; I dug a few maddies and lug and along with some frozen mackerel headed for Rosscarbery to fish the first 2 hours of the flood. I was surprised at the number of people on the beach as it wasn’t a particularly sunny day, (in fact it was dull with spells of drizzle), so I headed for the far end of the beach. There was a very gentle surf coming in and I soon had two rods fishing, one close in and the other at distance. Conditions were ideal for spotting bites and it wasn’t long before a rattle on the close in rod produced a small flounder nudging 16cm on maddies. Twenty minutes later, the distance rod replied with a weever on mackerel strip, not the most desirable catch but one for the species list nonetheless. Half an hour later, the distance rod returned a better flounder at 27cm while the close in rod retaliated with another weever; this one was wrapped in a cloak of green weed but fortunately revealed its presence by a quick wriggle just as I reached for it. At this point a couple of swimmers decided they needed the full length of the beach and not content with swimming through my swim, decided to take a rest and stand up right about where my distance rig was fishing. What a dilemma, do I hope they stand on my hooks or do I hope they find one of the numerous weever fish? Which would be more painful, answers on a postcard please? A while later one last throw of the dice produced a double of small turbot and 33cm flounder to the distance rod, restaurant time was approaching so I had to pack up. The short session threw up 3 flounder, 2 weevers and a small turbot so I decided I would return at some stage.Thursday 13th
, Courtmacsherry area. Armed with a fresh white loaf, it was time to try for mullet and when I arrived just before low tide, there were a few fish cruising around. Some were happy to take the free samples of bread so I was soon set up with a weighted float to give some casting distance. Even when they are feeding freely, they can still be quite picky and refuse the one piece of bread which has concealed ironwork. When they do take the bait they can still eject it with lightning speed so it’s tricky to hook them. Eventually I hooked one and after a spirited struggle it came to the net and registered 3lb on the scales. Back it went and now for a bigger one as there were some better fish coming with the flood. I eventually hooked a second fish and after a great fight I was drawing the fish to the net; just as the head drew over the rim of the net we parted company. It hadn’t shed the hook, the hook had actually snapped at the base of the shank. These hooks were sold as “Specimen” hooks so I can only assume that the fish was well in excess of the specimen weight of 5lb! By now the fish seemed to have passed through as there was no sign of any for the next half hour so I packed up with the intention of returning again.Saturday 15th
, Rosscarbery. I was hoping to target golden grey mullet so I dug a bucketful, well a sore back’s-worth, of fresh maddies which topped up the maddies left over from Tuesday. Arriving down for the last hour of the ebb, I met two lure anglers who told me there were lots of g,g’s in the surf at just the spot where I intended to fish. I set up with 2 rods as usual using rigs with pop-up beads and baited with bunches of maddies. Well the golden greys weren’t one bit impressed but the flatties were happy to play ball. It didn’t seem to matter whether I fished at distance or in close, the flatties came in singles, doubles and a couple of trebles taking both maddies and mackerel strip. I ended up with a small plaice, 2 small turbot and at least two dozen flounder up to 31cm, no weevers this time but one a year for the species count is plenty. I returned to this spot for another go at the golden greys, they were there in numbers but the vast amount of weed being swept from right to left across the beach made fishing impossible, like trying to fish in thick home-made vegetable soup.Sunday 16th, Tuesday 18th
, Courtmacsherry area. I was keen to do better than a 3lb mullet and a “big one that got away” so I invested in a fresh white loaf, at 65c it’s hard to buy cheaper bait! Again, just at the start of the flood, there were a few fish knocking about but none of any great size. They responded well to some free bread samples and after a few missed takes I managed to land two at 2lb 10oz and 2lb 9oz, not quite the size range I was hoping for. The fish fed for round 30 mins before heading upstream with the tide. I have been trying for a 5lb mullet for years and today I was definitely heading in the wrong direction. A couple of days later, I was back to try again. I managed two fish again at 3lb and 1lb, the smallest mullet I’ve ever caught. I was about to take a photo of the mini-mullet but it jumped out of my palm as I was focussing.Friday 21st
. Last chance as it was home time tomorrow morning and there were plenty of mullet including some good size ones in front of me. I dispensed with the float and just freelined breadflake amid plenty of free samples. Many of the feeding fish seemed to prefer sunk bread rather than floating so I responded by pinching the bread firmly on to the hook to make it sink. This produced bites but the firmer texture seemed to put the fish off from taking properly, they would mouth the bait and then swiftly reject it. It was hard to get the balance right between sinking the bread and retaining a soft spongy texture. While trying to square this particular circle, I had some hot food for lunch. Just out of curiosity, I flicked a few small bits of soft potato from inside a spicy wedge and small pieces of sausage meat into the water; they were snapped up immediately without hesitation, some new baits to consider! Persevering with the bread, I landed a hard fighting 3lb mullet. A while later, with an audience of 6-7 children and young teens watching, I hooked a good fish which took quite a while to subdue. It was strange to observe other mullet accompanying the hooked fish as it struggled to escape. By the time I was reaching for it with the net, some of the teens’ parents had gathered to watch the finale. One of them, an American, congratulated me on the “Good job” and I asked him if he was any good with a camera; “You better believe it Buddy!” he replied with that unique brand of confidence, that of the incompetent. I explained how to use the camera; “I took three pictures, you’ll like one of ‘em”. Good job I checked, wary that the fill-flash function had not operated. No pictures had been taken so he tried again and managed to get a couple. It weighed in at exactly 5lbs, a new p.b. and if memory serves me well, just on the specimen weight. I’d have been sickened not to have a photo!
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