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The Mullet Run has Begun
Story/Photos By Matt Badolato
I'm sure most everyone on this forum spent their weekend ridin' those chest to head high beauties that rolled in for us. The therapy was more than appreciated and the light winds yesterday (Sunday) only further calmed the nerves. I am also positive that nobody neglected to notice the massive schools of mullet fleeing southward just past the breakers. These hordes of bait were probably triggered by the NE winds that usually signify a cold front approaching, which sends the mullet into a snowbird-like frenzy.
Following the mullet were lots of tarpon crashing through the pods, kingfish skyrocketing a couple hundred yards off the beach, and blacktip or spinner sharks feasting on the abundance of those silver bullets. I heard several accounts of big, over slot redfish and keeper snook being caught adjacent to the schools and near the rocks and coquina shelves where they wait to ambush the migrating mullet.
A good way to catch anything that follows the bait is to freeline a live mullet in the surf, hooked in the mouth or behind the dorsal fin. I hook the mullet in the top of the tail behind the dorsal if I need to cast further out to reach where I see the fish busting. The tension on the mullet's ass will make him swim away from your line and out into the lineup. Hooking the mullet in the mouth will provide a more natural presentation when fishing around the coquina ledges and when the fish are showering the mullet close to the shoreline.
Try a big mullet on a wire stinger rig in the evening time and freeline him out. If they are in close, the kingfish should have no trouble finding your bait, especially if you are fishing south of Sebastian Inlet toward Wabasso and Vero where the reefs are chock full of kingfish this time of year.
The inlet has been hit or miss, if you can get the tides right and the bait right. The mullet are in the inlet and the snook should be feeding on them on the tide changes, when it can sometimes be downright amazing fishing. This time last year there were schools of mullet that took up the entire width of the inlet and you could see yellow and silver flashes beneath and above them every few seconds as the snook, tarpon, jacks, and big reds had their dinner..or breakfast.
Based on what I saw surfing this past weekend, I'm going to assume that the shark fishing is pretty exceptional right about now. Try those big mullet you see charging through the surf, or grab a couple in the river and chunk em up. There have been some huge schools of "Budweiser" (big) mullet on the mud flats up and down the IRL.
With the recent decent rainfall we've been delivered the water levels in the river are up way high. This makes the water pretty dirty in some areas, but that doesn't stop the fish. Rain flushes small bait fish and crustaceans out of the river mouths (Seb. RIver, Crane Creek, Turkey Creek, Goat Creek, etc) and the snook and tarpon stack up to feed on the outflows. The flats fishing is also good as reds and trout will feed after the afternoon rains. There are also plenty of mullet on the flats to attract the usual suspects.
Well, get out there and give it a shot. I am landlocked in Orlando for school till next weekend so I'm singing the bluegill blues 'til then.
Matt B from Whitey's Bait and Tackle
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