Fishermen snack on bite-sized Cheetos, French fries or Vienna sausages. Redfish, trout and flounder snack on striped mullet. Fat-packed little fish are the perfect finger food—small, tasty and prolific. Each season, schools of mullet move through the Southeast. When mullet is on the menu, make sure you have the right dish. These mullet masters share their favorite imitations and tactics for Redfish, Trout and Flounder.
Weapons of Choice
Rod 7-foot medium-heavy
Reel 2500-spinning reel
Line 10-pound braid
Leader 10-pound fluorocarbon when fishing over sand. 30-pound when fishing around mangroves or dock pilings.
Angler Dee Kaminski
Location East Coast Florida
Season September to October
FIND THE FISH Look for schools of mullet swimming along shorelines, under mangroves and docks and on grass flats. As mullet graze along the bottom, they often kick up shrimp and crabs. I cast towards the outer edges of the school, where trout wait for a straggler to separate from the group.
NATURAL With a 1/0 to 2/0 circle hook, pierce the mullet through the eyes. The mullet will swim just below the surface. Cut half the tailfin to make the mullet swim erratically. Keep the line tight and finesse the mullet.
ARTIFICIAL I keep a Tactical Anglers CrossOver Stalker or Heddon Zara Spook rigged at all times. Mullet often swim on the surface, so a topwater lure is effective, especially early and late in the day. As the sun gets high, I switch to a Vudu Mullet 3.5 with an articulated body and larger tail to match the profile of a finger-sized mullet. I match the Vudu Mullet with a 1/6-ounce Edje Joe jighead.
Weapons of Choice
Rod St Croix Avid Inshore 7-foot medium
Reel Shimano Stradic 2500
Line Fins 40 G 25-pound test
Leader 25-pound Berkley Vanish fluorocarbon
Angler Eli Braud
Season Spring and early fall
FIND THE FISH Look for moving water crossing a channel edge or drop. The edge of a marsh will also hold flounder. The fish blend into the bottom and wait for bait to sweep past. Fish the bait slow and close to the bottom on a Carolina rig.
NATURAL Tie a 3/0 circle hook to 24 inches of 20-pound fluorocarbon leader. Attach the leader to a small barrel swivel. Slide a ¼- to 3/8-ounce egg sinker over the 25-pound Fins 40G Braid mainline. Hook a finger mullet through the upper back, just below the spine. The round sinker keeps the bait near the bottom and allows it to roll with the current. Keep the line taut to feel the lightest of bite.
ARTIFICIAL Matrix Shad by Dockside Tackle are locally-made with colors to match the resident forage. Z-man’s scented PaddlerZ or Gulp Mullet on a 1/4 to 3/8-ounce jighead is a good back up. Tie the jig to 24 inches of 20-pound leader material.
Weapons of Choice
Rod 7-foot, medium-heavy
Reel 1500 – 3000 series spinning reel
Line 15-pound braid
Leader 15-pound fluorocarbon
Angler Andy Hagedon
Location Charleston, South Carolina
FIND THE FISH Redfish hunt the edge of grass banks and oyster bars. During spring and summer, reds are most active two hours before and after low tide. In cold water, schools of redfish will move onto shallow mud flats at high tide. Look for the telltale V-shaped wake of a school of mullet swimming on the surface.
Natural Fish a two- to four-inch live mullet under a popping cork. Tie the cork to 15-pound braided mainline. To the weighted end of the cork, add 15-pound fluorocarbon. Attach a 4/0 to 7/0 circle hook to the end of the leader.
Artificial Low country anglers swear by the Z-man DieZel MinnowZ and Slim SwimZ. Favorite colors are The Deal, Mulletron and Opening Night on a 1/8-ounce Eye Strike jig.
Business up front, party out back. Photo: Eli Braud