Not a week goes by at this time of year without a holidaymaker asking how can they catch mullet. They see these fine fish feeding and splashing close to the shore line however, try as they will with all kinds of bait, they fail to catch any.
When we were young at high tide the mullet used to swim up the sea channels in Reenagross Park, some were monsters. A gang of us tried every trick in the book, and some that were not in the book, but nil results. They were too smart for us I must admit.
The mullet have very small mouths and suck their food in rather than eating it and I have been told, although I have never tried it out, that if you use a small size 12 hook baited with the a rice crispie or a tiny ball of bread and anticipate the direction the fish is swimming in then gently cast this bait in front of it you may be lucky enough to catch one. As I said this is a way of catching them untried by me.
I think that I told you that before, years ago, Florry. P.F. and I got so sick of not being able to catch them with normal fishing gear, like Indiana Jones and the Sabre wielding Arab we used a shot gun to shoot them. I expect if this was the present time we would get a hefty fine or jail. My advice to you is try the rice crispies and not the cartridges, it is definitely more lawful and safer!
All the discussions on lakes and rivers being polluted reminded me of a time when we little understood what it was. A friend of mine told me of being picked to fish with this guy in a boat competition on the Killarney lakes. They were fishing away quite comfortably when your man said, ‘I need to go to the toilet.’ ‘Do you want to run ashore?’ asked my friend. ‘Not atall,’ was the reply, ‘I will manage here off the boat.’ This was common practice as anglers would piddle into a can or over the side. My friend kept fishing away until he noticed a few brown knobs floating past about, and that finished his days fishing. That fella had sat over the side of the boat and pooed into the lake, as my friend said he really put me off fishing in Killarney for months.
I was fishing on the same lakes with a nice old man who, due to ill health, had not been fishing for a few years. Luck was with him and he caught some grand trout. ‘I will kill a couple for my breakfast,’ he said, ‘but I have no bag to keep them fresh.’ I suggested that if he rinsed out the bailing can and filled it with water it would do the job as we were bound to get a bag from somebody back on shore. And that was what we did.
Coming off the boat that evening the other anglers clustered around and I asked if anyone had a spare plastic bag. The answer was yes as they asked, ‘Did you get some trout?’ ‘Not I but this man has and he has kept a couple for his breakfast. ‘Not in that can I hope,’ said one of them, ‘Every effer uses that for a toilet, I would be afraid to eat anything that spent a bit of time on it, like the bog bay fish.’ (Bog bay is where the outlet of the town sewage system flows into the Killarney Lakes near Ross Castle.)
Said another, ‘The only safe way to eat them is boiled in Dettol.’ My companion for the day looked at me accusingly as if I knew, had I known I would have let them go.
Was I embarrassed or what. ‘I will dump them now,’ he said. ‘Don’t do that,’ said one of the other anglers,’ I will take them home for my cat,’ which is what happened. My companion after a few dirty looks at me gathered his fishing tackle into his car and drove off in a huff and the others had a good laugh at my expense.
On reflection at this distance and time I wonder was it a con job, and was it the cat or the angler himself who ate the grand plump trout for their breakfast.