Iíve never cared much for Mullet unless I caught them myself. Fresh
Mullet are the favorite fish for most Crackers. Cast netting is fine
and I caught quite a few in a gill net, way back when but I enjoy
catching them on hook and line most of all. This sportsman guide has
give me the opportunity to pass on some fishing tips for mullet.
Hook and line Mullet fishing is a time honored but dying family
sport. Some times there are a bunch of folks sitting on coolers and 5
gallon buckets along the Cross Florida Barge Canal near the Florida
Marine Patrol Station at Inglis. Access for fishing along the
Withlacoochee River is very limited now days due to development. There
are few places left to fish along the Wacasassa, Crystal, Homosassa,
and Chassahowitzka Rivers and Mullet fishermen gather at these places.
You will find Mullet fishermen all over Florida. Most of these folks
donít mind you sitting down and watching. Just keep quiet and stay out
of their way and you might learn something.
Standard equipment for these fishermen is a stiff cane pole with 5
or more #4 hooks baited with pieces of white plastic worm a small
float and a sinker on the end of the line.
Standard procedure involves baiting (chumming) the area you are
fishing with laying mash. (available at all area bait shops) If the
water is clear, you watch for the Mullet to come to your bait. Some
folks fish with 2 or 3 poles. I have a heck of a time with one pole
myself. Detecting the light bite of the Mullet is a real challenge
with this gear. The float barely moves. "Real" Mullet fishermen seldom
miss. When a bite is detected, the fisherman sets the hook and yanks
the Mullet out of the water in one smooth motion. A really good Mullet
fisherman makes it look so easy that you just know you can do it
yourself. WRONG!!! The technique isnít easy to master for most folks
but every now and then, somebody catches on immediately.
You seldom see anybody fishing with rod and reel for Mullet. Cane
poles are more efficient and are ideally suited for Mullet fishing.
I certainly canít claim to have invented fly fishing for Mullet but
it can be done and it is an absolute hoot. Mullet will take a fly as
readily as the plastic worm, perhaps even more so. A #4 or #6 white
Woolly Worm is my fly of choice. Iíve tried a few other colors and
white or tan works best for me.
I tie all of the flies I use and the Woolly Worm was one of the
first I learned to tie. I always fish with at least 5 Woolly Worms on
my leader. I use a 9í mono leader of 12# test. The bottom fly is
attached to the end of the leader and the others are attached above it
with dropper loops at 1í intervals. At the top of the leader I attach
a tiny fluorescent float. This float suspends your flies above the
bottom and act as a bite indicator too. One tiny split shot right at
the eye of the bottom fly completes the rig.
Precious little casting skill is needed. In fact, a lot of casting
equates to less time the flies are in the water for fish to bite.
Simply cast into the baited area and watch your strike indicator. You
do not need to add any motion to the fly at all. Just let it soak and
move it only if it drifts out of the baited area. Strip and strike at
the tiniest movement of the float. When you get lucky, the rod will
take a satisfying bend and you will catch a Mullet. A large Mullet can
really go on a light fly rod. After you master the technique, you may
find yourself fishing off the bank more often.
A few drops of Anise or Vanilla flavoring in an small squeeze
bottle with an ounce of water will give the flies a little taste.
Maybe the Mullet will hang on little longer, maybe not. If anything,
adding a little taste to the flies gives me more confidence.
Bleed the Mullet by cutting the gills and lay them on top of ice
immediately and you have the makings for a Cracker dinner. Keep only
enough for one meal because they are much better fresh.