Josie Mahon of Inland Fisheries Ireland reports that it has been an unusual year for mullet fishing in the estuaries in the Eastern River Basin District. While some estuaries are holding their own in terms of numbers, the estuaries in Wicklow and Swords are way down in numbers. It has been a very wet summer and our rivers have been in flood which can make estuary fishing difficult. However, Brian Cooke caught a wonderful specimen mullet on Sunday using bread flake on the surface. The fish gave a fantastic fight and weighed in at 6lbs 2ozs before it was released. Des Chew had a lovely 4.5 mullet from Arklow estuary during the week, also on bread flake, fished on the surface.
There are reports of some good tope beginning to show up for boat anglers fishing North Wicklow. A number of fish over 35lbs have been caught on fresh mackerel to anglers fishing off the North Wicklow beaches on anchor. Tope fishing should come into its own between now and the end of October as this area will produce large female tope and 50lb fish are not unusual. 200lbs mono trace is recommended.
On the mackerel front, changeable weather conditions have caused mackerel fishing to be very sporadic. With no settled period forecast it is unlikely that this will change. The South Bull Wall is still reliable, fish the Port side over high water. A popular method here which offers good fun is float fishing a mackerel strip as bait. Small numbers of smoothounds have also been caught off the South Bull Wall. Worm baits can work fishing over sand, however peeler crab is the number one bait. A small number of smoothhounds have been reported this week fishing from the half moon, taken on crab, distance is not necessarily required – 40/50 yards should suffice.
Bass fishing has been reported as very poor in the Eastern River Basin District area. Catches are way down on last year and this is a cause for some concern as in some of the popular estuaries, there are also no mullet. We encourage anglers to remain vigilant and to continue to ring the Hotline 0818 34 74 24 with any illegal fishing reports. The unseasonal weather conditions seem to be a factor at the moment as anglers who target bass by lure, fly and bait are all reporting poorer catches and in some areas no bass are being reported at all.