Catching the Lowly Mullet
Lost Art in Fishing
Several folks have asked me how to catch mullet with hook and line.
First off, to most any Florida native, including myself, there's nothing better than some good, fresh smoked mullet, crackers and hot sauce.
There are two varieties of mullet in Florida's waters, the striped or black mullet and its cousin the silver mullet. Ask a Florida Cracker and you'll surly hear, eat the blacks and use the silver for bait. Silver mullet are distinguished by a white silver color and are considerably smaller than black mullet.
During cooler weather black mullet gather in large concentrations in canals, rivers and little pocket coves in great schools, but they can often be found in concentrations almost any time of year in many of the same places. Mullet are vegetarians so you won't catch them with any bait that has an eye including your trout and snook lures.
The tackle of choice is a medium to medium light spinning rod 6' to 7' matched with a spin cast reel spooled with line no heavier than 10 lb test. At the end of the line, attach a barrel swivel. Tie on a 4', leader with # 4 gold Aberdeen hooks evenly spaced about 10 inches apart. This will look a lot like a large sibiki rig. Leave a tag end on your leader and pinch on a couple of split shot, adjust for any current or wind by adding or subtracting split shots to the tag end. Add a small cork or bobber for the appropriate depth, and you are armed and almost ready. This rig can also be used on a 16' or 18' cane pole for bank fishing. However, the preference is light spinning tackle.
Preparing the Bait:
Next you get a bucket to prepare the bait for these vegetarians, a plastic ice cream bucket is a good choice. Mix equal parts of laying mash (chicken feed) and oatmeal with just enough water to allow it to become a dough ball in consistency. Tip: get this consistency close. Too thin and it drifts away quickly. Too thick and takes too long to dissolve, or heads right to the bottom. You want it to break up and to dissolve slowly on the drop. This will attract the fish.
When the mash hits the water and starts dissolving cast your rig armed with dime-sized pieces of any white plastic bait tail tail or jerk bait threaded on each hook right into the middle of the dissolving chum. For the best results keep your leader and hooks with the little plastic baits attached in the mash bucket and let them and your line stick to the mix for added chum.
The multi hook rig gives you the best chance of solid hook ups and gives you a great opportunity for multiple fish. Be sure to be quick on the draw if the bobber gets twitchy, set the hook, it happens fast.Eat or smoke them fresh, they are great fried in cornmeal breading with a little salt and pepper or smoked, the upside is good eating and plenty of fish.
About the Author:
Capt. Rick Burns is a guide and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Florida Guides Association. He speaks and writes on outdoor topics and teaches fishing for Citrus County Parks & Recreatio.
Capt. Ricks Burns
Reel Burns Charters
Preparing mullet turbans:
- 2 pounds Florida mullet fillets, skinless, boneless
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups Cornbread Stuffing, see below
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 6 Florida lime wedges
Divide fillets into 6 portions. Sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper. Line 6 greased 10- ounce microwave-safe cups with fillets, overlapping ends of fillets. Divide stuffing into 6 equal portions and place stuffing in center of each fillet. Brush tops with butter. Cook in microwave on high for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the custard cups every 3 minutes. Fish is done when it flakes easily when tested with a fork. Garnish with lime wedges. Yield 6 servings
- 1/2 pound mild Florida pork sausage
- 1/2 cup Florida celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup Florida onion, chopped
- 2 cups toasted cornbread cubes
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon sage
Place sausage in 1 1/2 quart microwave-safe dish. Cover with paper towel. Cook in microwave on high for 2 minutes. Add vegetables to sausage and continue cooking an additional 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Yield --Approximately 3 cups stuffing
Nutritional Value Per Serving: Calories 505, Calories From Fat 288, Total Fat 32g, Saturated Fat 12g, Cholesterol 126mg, Total Carbohydrate 17g, Protein 37g