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There’s a Serious Mullet Migration Happening
Story/Photos By Matt Badolato and Surf Guru
Run for your lives! The end is near!
That’s apparently what the mayor of Mullet-Land is telling his fellow citizens. There’s a serious mullet migration happening right now on the Space Coast, and Judgment Day is upon them.
In the surf, the mullet are being plagued by an onslaught of tarpon, snook, jacks, sharks and mega-ladyfish. If you want to hook up, get out there bright and early and be ready for all-out madness. I like using live mullet, but sometimes it’s better to be tossing out a diving plug like a Bomber Long A or a Windcheater (the medium size, 5-7” model) in black/silver or red/white. A 50lb leader should be plenty for what you’ll catch.
Some hot beaches to fish a mullet run are the beaches that provide the predators an advantage. I like the northern Brevard beaches (Patrick down through Satellite) because the rocks give the snook and tarpon ambush spots. If you’ve ever snorkeled those reefs in the early summer, you’ve seen all the snook that hang out there. Right now, they’re all hunkered down on those reefs waiting for the mullet to cruise right over their heads. Drag a plug over these reefs, or freeline a live mullet—either way you can’t go wrong. Don’t be surprised if a big ‘ol flounder comes to the top for a meal.
The Melbourne Beach-to-Sebastian section of surf is also kickin’. The snook and tarpon like to feed in the deep troughs here—right up close to shore where the mullet will be a’ runnin’. Again, a plug or live mullet works great, but a live croaker or fresh pinfish will score you the biggest snook you’ve ever seen. (DISCLAIMER: the FishGuru does not guarantee giant snook for everyone. Batteries not included.)
Our little mullet friends are trying to make their way south along the beaches, but they’ve got a problem. JETTIES! The jetties at Sebastian and Port Canaveral make it very difficult to be a mullet. You see, snook and redfish and big snapper know that the mullet will have to swim AROUND the jetty to get to the other side. So they just sit there and wait. And bon appétit! Their dinner swims right to them!
To fish the jetties from a boat, I like to anchor within casting range of the tip of the jetty. I’ll rig up my spinning rod with a sliding sinker rig and live mullet. Usually ½ oz or less will hold bottom. You could use a big split shot on your leader instead if you prefer. Either way, I like a 30-40lb fluorocarbon leader and a small J hook, preferably a short-shank “live bait” style, silver hook. Lip-hook a live mullet and pitch him up into the rocks or pilings, but not too close. When you hook something, get him out of there as soon as possible. Keep his head moving and get him away from them rocks.
As always, be courteous to those land-bound anglers fishing off the jetty. Like bicycles or pedestrians in the road, they have the right of way. Don’t anchor too close to a jetty and watch out for other anglers’ lines. Let’s represent the path of the Fish Guru in the right way!
It should start cooling off soon, and that means the dolphin and wahoo trolling should heat up. (DISCLAIMER: The Fish Guru does not guarantee it will ever cool off in Florida, cuz it might not.) There are already a few reports coming in of some big ‘ol wahoo off Port Canaveral and Sebastian, and the schools of Fall dolphin are making their way in. Best bet is to head offshore the week prior to a full moon. Troll some deep baits over the 120-220 bottom structures, and be sure to troll over any big shipwrecks you have marked—wahoo love shipwrecks. Any late season tropical systems that pass through will send us some floating debris and weedlines that the mahi will hone in on. Heck, since the finger mullet are thick, ya might as well catch a net full on your way out deep. Finger mullet make great chum for the dolphin and excellent bottom baits for seabass, snapper and grouper.
Well, enjoy September my people. It’s my second favorite month of the year for fishing, surfing and all around awesomeness. (DISCLAIMER: April is best.)
Till next tide, live slow, surf fast, and fish every bait like it was your last,
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