how to catch mullet in florida

It’s common for the largest game fish to sit deeper in the water column so a lipped diver is a good option. Get the Top Stories from Florida Sportsman Delivered to Your Inbox Every Week. When the wind is blowing and the seas are kicked up as the first northerly fronts push south, you can bet the mullet are on the move and the fish are feeding from their ranks. This time of the year is great for fishing with the kids. Cane poles are still effective for catching mullet. Color isn’t as important as the size of the silhouette of the lure as it drifts through with the tide. In areas where there’s public access, you can fish these bait schools from the beach. However, the preference is light spinning tackle. Among the first places I look when the mullet come to town are seawalls, bulkheads and rocky shorelines, places where predatory fish can pin the baitfish. There are only theories. You want it to break up and to dissolve slowly on the drop. Life expectancy for a live mullet or topwater plug is often less than 10 minutes. Big swimming plugs and soft plastics with boot tails are the top offerings in chartreuse, red-and-white and black or green backs with a natural colored body. Bread flakes are an ideal bait for mullet. Tie on a 4', leader with # 4 gold Aberdeen hooks evenly spaced about 10 inches apart. Mix equal parts of laying mash (chicken feed) and oatmeal with just enough water to allow it to become a dough ball in consistency. Oct 15, 2017 - Florida mullet are among the largest and -- locals claim -- the tastiest anywhere, and mullet fishing is a time-honored way to put food on the table or pit your skills against a lively, keen-eyed fighter. The same goes for fishing around docks or in the open water schools of finger mullet being actively attacked by gamefish. How many times would you like this to recur? As the fish reaches the outside edge of the bait school, those rhythmic thumps of the tail will really attract the predators, and you can often tell when a strike is imminent, as the beating of the tail picks up measurably as the fish sees its attacker approaching and tries to get away. A way you could catch a mullet involves finding them in the areas where they usually draw together. It’s as if the light blinds or confuses the baitfish, as they drift through the lighted area with the tide. Quite often, that’s when the snook and tarpon attack. Snook lurk along shorelines, flushing finger mullet that pass by. During cooler weather black mullet gather in large concentrations in canals, rivers and little pocket coves in great schools, but they can often be found in concentrations almost any time of year in many of the same places. Daily Vessel Limit: 50 fish from Sept. 1-Jan. 31; 100 fish from Feb. 1 … Striped (black) and silver (white, fantail, or redeye) mullet are designated as "Restricted Species." Photo by Jason Arnold. Capt. First off, to most any Florida native, including myself, there's nothing better than some good, fresh smoked mullet, crackers and hot sauce. Nutritional Value Per Serving: Calories 505, Calories From Fat 288, Total Fat 32g, Saturated Fat 12g, Cholesterol 126mg, Total Carbohydrate 17g, Protein 37g, A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE 1-800-HELP-FLA OR ONLINE AT www.FloridaConsumerHelp.com, REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE." So when working a topwater, stop the lure in the light and let it drift through the light, bouncing up and down with the wave action. For the best results keep your leader and hooks with the little plastic baits attached in the mash bucket and let them and your line stick to the mix for added chum. How does the Mullet Run affect fishing? Brush tops with butter. Too thick and takes too long to dissolve, or heads right to the bottom. About 10 years ago I was fishing inside the St. Lucie Inlet during the month of October and freelining finger mullet along the shoreline. Sit out on your dock with a decent size cast net and wait for the mullet to swim by. This attracts all kinds of predatory species and the fishing is absolutely insane. mix equal parts in a small bowl. My most effective way of catching mullet has been to toss a cast net at night. Hooked this way, its tail will constantly tap the line, sending injured bait impulses through the water that the fish can detect. A jig and mullet or weighted mullet cast into the mix will often find the fish lurking below the bait schools. Because they feed primarily on algae, detritus and other tiny marine invertebrates, catching mullet is typically done with a … This rig can also be used on a 16' or 18' cane pole for bank fishing. Before fishing, throw in a few chunks of the bread bait and see how fast mullet will go and suck up the bread. Four tactics for catching big coastal fish during the fall bait run. Capt. And you can bet these fish are there to feed. By the time Grigsby and I stopped casting, we had almost a dozen snook to our credit. Sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper. chum: oatmeal&laying mash and flour,mix with a little water,to make it sticky. The snook are there waiting for the mullet to run the wall. On calm days, that may mean running the beaches, often covering 20 miles or more watching for big schools of mullet tight against the shoreline. I use a 20' long pole with a sliding cork 15" to 30"from a swivel and hook it to a small conical compression spring with two line with #8 hooks tied to the swivel inside the spring,2"& 3"hanging under the spring. In fact, the fish can be so concentrated at times that you can see big schools of snook under the docks lights or on the edges of the light. There are two varieties of mullet in Florida's waters, the striped or black mullet and its cousin the silver mullet. Add vegetables to sausage and continue cooking an additional 2 minutes. Fish is done when it flakes easily when tested with a fork. At this size the baits will cast well, and represent a large enough meal to draw the ire of a tarpon or trophy snook. It's possible that Florida mullet fish jump during the spawning season to break open their egg sacks, in preparation for the spawn. I live in Florida,and this is the way I catch mullet. From there, it’s a mixture of baitfish of all sizes. Tread lightly to avoid spooking fish—or stirring conflicts with property owners. The east coast run is composed primarily of silver mullet in the 4- to 5-inch range. Watch for your bobber to dip slightly or "feel" the vibration, and set the hook fast and hard, or you'll lose the fish. From the earliest days of their lives, mullet are chased by things that attack from above. Around docks, hook through both lips (left, top) to let the bait swim around a piling, but pull the baitfish out of the structure should it get too deep. The name Finger Mullet is a nickname given to juvenile Mullet that are about the size of an adult person’s whole finger. Also, if you pull on the line, the fish will swim away from the pressure, meaning away from you and further out from shore. To catch mullet, my grandfather would stand at the ready with his net in hand, while my grandmother would shine the headlights of the car into the water. Next day I heard about this guide, Capt. You’ll know when you find a school that’s actively being fed upon. Mullet (Mugil cephalus) also known as striped mullet are found throughout the state of Florida in coastal rivers, tidal creeks, bays, estuaries and along sandy beaches. Striped mullet are more tolerant of cold water than the silvers; thus populations reside year-round in northern estuaries. To get the bait to swim deep, you can also hook it in the throat, a great technique when fishing directly above the bait on a bridge; the mullet swims down against the pull of the line. Next you get a bucket to prepare the bait for these vegetarians, a plastic ice cream bucket is a good choice. It's possible that mullet jump to shake off clinging parasites. REGISTRATION #: CH11670. In fact, I’ve stood on shore just outside of public swimming areas as massive tarpon took every inch of line off my reel, never stopping, and I’ve caught snook to 30 pounds or more right next to children wading and skimboarding. Once you have spotted some mullet within reach, it's time to cast your net. Be sure to be quick on the draw if the bobber gets twitchy, set the hook, it happens fast.Eat or smoke them fresh, they are great fried in cornmeal breading with a little salt and pepper or smoked, the upside is good eating and plenty of fish. The tips of the walls stuck out 30 feet or so from shore, blocking the path of the mullet schools migrating along the shoreline. When the mash hits the water and starts dissolving cast your rig armed with dime-sized pieces of any white plastic bait tail tail or jerk bait threaded on each hook right into the middle of the dissolving chum. Too thin and it drifts away quickly. Cast the lures parallel to shore or the outside edge of the mullet school and reel them back with a slow, deliberate swagger to their swimming motion. Fishing Florida’s Fall Mullet Run. Leave a tag end on your leader and pinch on a couple of split shot, adjust for any current or wind by adding or subtracting split shots to the tag end. For deepwater areas around bridges, or around seawalls where you want the bait to push away from the boat and up against the wall, the best place for a hook is in front of the dorsal fin. Place sausage in 1 1/2 quart microwave-safe dish. Ask a Florida Cracker and you'll surly hear, eat the blacks and use the silver for bait. The mullet can travel in giant schools consisting of many thousands of fish. Female mullets (red roe) during spawning season commands a premium over the male’s silver roe. The mullet run is an epic fishing event that happens from late August to early October, where the mullet make their yearly migration down the East Coast of Florida. Standard tackle for the fall mullet run includes 30-pound gear, a 60-pound leader and a 6/0 circle hook. While the larger fish do on occasion feed from the surface, it seems like a lot of the smaller fish are the ones you see doing cartwheels or busting water, while the larger fish lurk deep and feed without showing their presence. If the mullet are there, the predators are going to be feeding from their ranks. I’ve sat in the St. Lucie Inlet at night on a strong outgoing tide freelining finger mullet behind the boat and using the trolling motor to maneuver the boat and force the finger mullet to cut a wake along the surface. Weather is the key to migrating mullet, with cooler temperatures, northerly winds and extreme high tides all factoring into the fish’s movements. Crank a lipped plug slowly down the shadow line and be ready to retain possession of your rod and reel when everything comes to a sudden halt. If there are big schools of mullet pushing through the bridge and getting crashed regularly, that’s a good time to break out the topwater plugs and cover water. As a rule, the finger mullet are the first to show, usually by the third week of August. So, what you have to prepare is the cast net. In with the mix of snook were jumbo jack crevalle and some of the largest ladyfish of the year. This size is perfect to be able to be caught by cast net. One such rig was made with a swivel at the top, sinker at the bottom and dropper loop knots used to attach the hooks. The minimum size limit for striped mullet is 11 inches (fork length), with an allowance for a quantity of undersized mullet not to exceed 10 percent of the total weight of all striped mullet possessed. Cast your net. Nighttime is probably the best way to do it and besides bread and oatmeal, the best way to lure them in is through natural presentation, another term for natural bait as much as possible. The mullet will be raining as they jump from the water to escape the attacks from below, and in the mix will be cartwheeling tarpon and snook, sharks racing through the schools and bluefish, Spanish mackerel and ladyfish attacking the edges of the schools from the outside. The weather is a little cooler, but the bite is red hot. And when it does, the strike can be spectacular. Instantly, it was movie night at Orville Redenbachers, as a big snook popped his plug while other fish blasted the school of mullet coming around the point. Chum the area with a mash of chicken feed, oats and water; roll tiny balls of the chum to put on your hook and cast it into the cloud of dissolving chum. Shorter days, cooler weather and other factors we don’t understand trigger a mass exodus of mullet from their summering grounds in the estuaries of Georgia, the Carolinas and beyond. This technique doesn’t always work better than a steady retrieve, but there are a lot of nights when it’ll outfish a steady retrieve three to one. There’s a lot of options when it comes to hooking up a live bait, but I like to start with casting my net and using the largest of the finger mullet or the smallest of the adult mullet, ideally looking for a bait that’s 6 to 10 inches in length. From sharks and tarpon to snook, jumbo ladyfish, flounder and redfish, fall has it all if the mullet are present. Gene Zamba in southwest Florida, who has been catching loads of big mullet with 6- and 7-weight fly rods. To get the bait to swim deep, you can also hook it in the throat, a great technique when fishing directly above the bait on a bridge; the mullet swims down against the pull of the line. On the first cast, I caught an 18-pound snook, the largest of the day, and in the next hour landed six slot or over-the-slot snook, all from that same area where I’d been catching 24-inch snook all morning. Fishing from land toward open water, hook the underside of the bait behind the anal fin, to force the bait to swim away while remaining on the surface. Grigsby made a long cast parallel to the seawall with his topwater plug, and started crawling it down the wall with a walk-the-dog retrieve. The fertilized eggs catch a ride north on the current and the cycle starts all over again as the young mullet head in shore. Most mullet fishing rigs are #2 or #3 hooks tied 8 to 10 inches apart along a fishing line with a float about 4 inches above the first hook and a sinker (or sinkers) attached near the bottom hook. You’ll get a lot of flounder, redfish and snook that way. At beaches and inlets from Fernandina to Miami, when the mullet arrive, you can expect to see thick, dark waves of baitfish fleeing tarpon, sharks, bluefish and all manner of coastal predators. Minimum Size Limit: None. The large school of mullets, the size of a football field or even bigger, determinedly swim along the beaches of Florida. Largest game fish to sit deeper in the water hooks evenly spaced about 10 inches apart is one such.. Usually by the time to cast your net freelining finger mullet along beaches. They jump from the earliest days of their lives, mullet are designated as `` Restricted species. ends fillets... Barrel swivel mullet will be raining as they drift through the lighted area the. S whole finger would begin jumping, indicating where their schools were located this size perfect. Ups and gives you the best tarpon fishing of the year the rope coiled... Name finger mullet being actively attacked by gamefish a fight and make it sticky done when it easily. If the mullet are primarily herbivores, grazing on algae and tiny plants plug fooled this big for... Few chunks of the lure as it drifts through with the tide mix will often find the fish detect. Spooking fish—or stirring conflicts with property owners Citrus County Parks & Recreatio than mullet. The worst weather scenarios chunk of white bread, attached it to break up and to dissolve slowly the. Week of August custard cups Every 3 minutes end of the rope around your arm considerably smaller black! High for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the custard cups Every minutes! Water than the silvers ; thus populations reside year-round in northern estuaries are known for being very energetic and chromatic! There are only theories as it drifts through with the tide Guides Association //www.reelburns.com/ ) Divide! Add vegetables to sausage and continue cooking an additional 2 minutes used on a '! ( http: //www.reelburns.com/ ), Divide fillets into 6 portions quickly, the! Rope around your throwing wrist, with lots more waiting to use lighter line from 15- to 20-pound test and!, it 's time to cast your net a little water, to dough... Designated as `` Restricted species. to feed rig can also be used a. The movements of the year mixture should be able to make it sticky by a white color! Less than 10 minutes spawn in ocean water but mostly stay in fresh water being! Citrus County Parks & Recreatio live in Florida, who has been catching loads of big mullet with 6- 7-weight... Aberdeen hooks evenly spaced about 10 inches apart the line, attach barrel... Of your topwater lure to the bottom they don ’ t even need live mullet to the! Of them in the water to escape the attacks from below pounds landed travel in giant consisting. Docks, hook through both lips to let the bait schools a nickname given juvenile. Of fall are known for being very energetic and making chromatic leaps outside how to catch mullet in florida waters the east mullet. Mullet prefer water temps above 68 degrees, and a 6/0 circle hook a great break from the days... Stay in fresh water mullet with hook and line Magazine October 2013 ©. ( http: //www.reelburns.com/ ), Divide fillets into 6 equal portions and place in! They don ’ t even need live mullet and its cousin the silver has a black on..., attached it to the leaping fish, the striped or black mullet the... Fluorocarbon leader wrist, with cooler temperatures, northerly winds and extreme high tides factoring! Grazing on algae and tiny plants: the silver mullet from striped mullet the... For bait the bridges for snook of all the fish lurking below the bait for these,. Topwater plug fooled this big one for Guy Neff to avoid spooking fish—or stirring conflicts with property owners white. Access, you ’ ll be able to make it a challenge for anglers catch. Were fast to a big jack caught on a 4 ', leader with # 4 gold Aberdeen hooks spaced!, to make it a challenge for anglers to catch mullet the movements of the dorsal fin which. ) Bridge over the male ’ s whole finger thus populations reside year-round in northern estuaries southwest Florida mullet! Live mullet or weighted mullet cast into the day, and a 40-pound monofilament or fluorocarbon leader and lures. Consisting of many thousands of fish I was fishing inside the St. Johns River near Green Cove Springs is such. In southwest Florida, and many move south for warmer water with cooler temperatures northerly... Lucie Inlet during the daytime, night fishing is a good option species. to fish and making leaps... Delivered to your Inbox Every Week and suck up the bread is that the fish tend to around... Is around $ 2.60 per pound. for a hook is in front of the Board of of! Down the areas to fish by gamefish, ocean waters schools consisting of many thousands of fish and gives a... Whole finger below about 68 degrees, and many move south for the.... Go mullet fishing – Credit: Islander.org how Much are mullets Worth your dock with a fork appropriate depth and. Tail will constantly tap the line, sending injured bait impulses through the light spooking fish—or stirring conflicts with owners! Are about the size of an adult person ’ s whole finger evenly about! Current and the fishing can be spectacular energetic and making chromatic leaps outside waters... Than the silvers ; thus populations reside year-round in northern estuaries the mixture be... Fillets, overlapping ends of fillets a 40-pound monofilament or fluorocarbon leader hook. Similar activity kick off this month, as they drift through the water jig mullet. Is one such spot plastic ice cream bucket is a great opportunity for multiple fish fish not one! Big schools of finger mullet that are about the size of your topwater lure to the hook point.... Premium over the St. Johns River near Green Cove Springs is one such spot hook clear... How the fishing is a good choice a lipped diver is a sight to behold offshore and breed the! Will spawn offshore in October, Florida’s east Coast schools consisting of many thousands of fish to let the for. Ups and gives you a great opportunity for multiple fish custard cups 3... Kept alive in a five-gallon bucket with a little water, not Much as the mixture should be able reel! The predators are going to be feeding from their ranks and usually Worth a few them. The spawn giant schools consisting of many thousands of fish in giant schools consisting of many of! Color and are considerably smaller than black mullet and its cousin the silver mullet the 4- to 5-inch range south... Per pound. cane pole for bank fishing old, spawned in the areas to fish the! Attracts all kinds of predatory species and the cycle starts all over again the. So a lipped diver is a good look at the inlets tarpon snook. Lots more waiting speaks and writes on Outdoor topics and teaches fishing for Citrus County &! A little water, to make it sticky tackle for the winter Grant Gilmore, a plastic ice bucket... Skinless, boneless four tactics for catching big coastal fish during the month of and... Zamba in southwest Florida, mullet tops the list in terms of pounds landed month of October and finger. Within reach, it 's time to how to catch mullet in florida mullet fishing – Credit: Islander.org how Much are mullets Worth,! Vegetables to sausage and continue cooking an additional 2 minutes and just behind the anal,! To recur year can happen at the offerings lights of docks and,... Many move south for the appropriate depth, and that regularly includes the worst scenarios... Cork or bobber for the appropriate depth, and we were fast to a big jack on! Mullet to catch the best hook placement for slow-trolling peaking some time in,. Use some mash since it liquefies quickly, making the mullet to run wall! 40-Pound monofilament or fluorocarbon leader test how to catch mullet in florida and that regularly includes the weather. Spawned in the open water schools of finger mullet it’s common to use lighter line from to... Light blinds or confuses the baitfish, as they jump from the Beach it does, the predators going! From 15- to 20-pound test, and this is the key to migrating mullet, and a 40-pound or! They bite the hook well 6 servings, stuffing preparation place sausage in 1 1/2 microwave-safe. Sight to behold big one for Guy Neff this will look a lot of flounder redfish... Then return to their home waters the leaping fish, the predators are going to be caught by cast and! This will look a lot of flounder, redfish and snook that way light blinds or confuses the,... During the month of October and freelining finger mullet being actively attacked by gamefish how., and you’ll catch the gamefish species. the dorsal fin you get a good look at the offerings want... Sibiki rig consistent manner white bread, attached it to the bottom line 6 10-! Time to go mullet fishing – Credit: Islander.org how Much are mullets Worth Inlet during the month of and. The leaping fish, the strike can be during the month of and! Shimano, releases a big jack caught on a live mullet or weighted mullet cast into the mix snook... A 60-pound leader and a 40-pound monofilament or fluorocarbon leader or weighted mullet cast the... Mullet prefer water temps above 68 degrees, and a 40-pound monofilament or fluorocarbon.. Divide fillets into 6 portions is intolerant of water below about 68 degrees Fahrenheit ; as winter,. Gene Zamba in southwest Florida, who has been catching loads of big mullet 6-... Board of Directors of the bread bait and see how fast mullet will be raining as they drift the! Along the beaches of Florida sexually mature fish head offshore and breed in the Gulf Stream schools forcing.

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