Mullet Run Blasting Off For Bay Boat Anglers
by Ted Lund
Anglers all along the east coast of Florida are finding some of the best fishing of the year as swarms of mullet are beginning their annual migrations out of inlets and south along Space Coast beaches.
Boaters are finding good numbers of Spanish mackerel in the 4 to 5-pound range, as well as ladyfish, jack crevalle, redfish, tarpon and more from Jacksonville to Jupiter, Florida.
“Wednesday, we probably hooked 100 fish of different species and landed 60. It was just really good, all-around action,” said Capt. Jim Ross, who runs Fine Line Charters out of Central Florida. “The big Spanish were around at the bottom of the falling tide, but as soon as it started to turn, they disappeared. And some of the jacks are big — in the 20-pound-plus range.
When targeting fish during the mullet run, Ross prefers to use artificial baits like the Rapala X-Rap 6 which he modifies.
“I like to remove the treble hooks, as they are nothing but trouble for the angler and fish,” said Ross.
Ross removes the treble hooks with a pair of split ring pliers and replaces them with a comparably-sized VMC Single Inline hook.
“That prevents problems from getting stuck when dehooking fish or casting,” said Ross. “And they also cause less harm to the fish but you still get solid hook-ups since the hook is designed specifically for use on plugs.”
Because of the variety of toothy critters targeting mullet during the run, Ross will often rig with a short trace of either light braided or single strand wire — preventing cutoffs.
“With the smaller baits, I like to use a short piece, almost like a bite tippet when fly fishing,” said Ross. “But if I am targeting tarpon, snook or redfish with larger size Rapalas (X-Rap 8 or 10) I’ll stick with the mono.”
Ross prefers 30- to 50-pound fluorocarbon monofilament direct to the plugs. When opting to “match the hatch” with live mullet, he’ll use a 1/4- to 1/2-ounce Hank Brown jig or similar bare lead head. It allows him freeline the baits around schools of mullet or structure, with just enough weight to get the offering under the surface and cause it to struggle a little bit.
The mullet run should continue well into November and possibly the first part of December — just until the first significant cold front sends them on their way.
“Its some of the best fishing of the year,” says Ross. “People should get out by boat or on the beach and take advantage of it. It doesn’t get any better than it is right now.”
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