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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

I have been seeing a lot of mullets on the surf pretty close (within 40 feet) and I would like to catch them on my surf rod. I don't have a cast net so I'm pretty much stuck with my rod. Mullets seems to concentrate on the surface and I assume them to be top water feeders.
Should I add a bobber to my rig so that the bait rises to the surface or should I let it sink to the bottom?

Any tips would be awesome!
 

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The only way to catch jumping mullet from the surf with a rod and reel is with a snag rig. Try a 3oz weighted treble. You can snag them with treble-hooked lures, too, but a weighted treble works much better. When your rig gets in the school, snatch your rod back as hard as you can. If you miss, reel in the slack and keep trying. If the school is close to shore, be careful not to jerk the weighed treble/lure out of the water and onto the beach. That’s a good way to hurt yourself and those nearby.
 

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What are the mullet actually doing ? Evading ? or feeding ?
If feeding, what are they after ? If so, could that "feed" not be replicated with a small baited hook ... or lure ?
Just wondering as I typically catch the larger minnows and bluegill for bait in freshwater creeks with #14 hooks and 1.5 lb line.
Thanks.
 

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I would say they are both eating and evading.
They are vegetarians and mostly eat algae.
A school is usually being chased by a wide variety of predators, and just about all meat-eating fish/sharks/porpoises will be feeding on them. I would guess they mostly school to evade.
In all my years, I have never seen a single jumping/finger mullet bite a hook.
My best advice is to invest in a cast net. Start with a small 4 or 5 footer if just learning to throw.
 

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The old timers caught them on bread balls in the Sounds using a bobber.

Zing Pow said he loaded up on them using French Fries in a secret spot.

When the Mullet are in the ocean they are spawning or migrating.

Buy a decent cast net, learn to throw it.

The Mullet will hate you for it.
 

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Little size 10 hooks with bread balls. White bread according to DD who said that is what his Grand Mother used in Moyock.

I tried bread balls but no bites one time, wrong kind of bread, likely. Did not try too long, just went back to the cast net after I got impatient.

French Fries could be the key, since they chum up with French Fry Oil.

Hit up Zing Pow at Teaches Lair, likely if you buy some stuff for $$$ he may let you know more, as to whether McDonalds or Burger King or Wendy's is the top producer.

You may have to stop in French Fry Alley up in KDH to stock up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all for your replies!
I would say they are both eating and evading.
They are vegetarians and mostly eat algae.
A school is usually beeping chased by a wide variety of predators, and just about all meat-eating fish/sharks/porpoises will be feeding on them. I would guess they mostly school to evade.
In all my years, I have never seen a single jumping/finger mullet bite a hook.
My best advice is to invest in a cast net. Start with a small 4 or 5 footer if just learning to throw.
I've read about mullet in the past and found that they are vegetarians and bread is a pretty good bait. The problem with using bread in surf is that it will never stay in the hook for long time. To test this theory, I went to a backwater nearby and found a school of mullets and tried bread as bait. Since the backwater had still water, my bait would stay for long time. But even when I cast into the school of mullet, they never seems to get interested in bread. I tried different brands of bread, raw dough, earthworm etc but still no results.

So one day I met a fellow fisherman who told me to try bloodworms, and to my surprise, it worked!
Since bloodworms live on muddy river banks, I'm pretty sure they are not found in the shallow sandy surf where I see these jumping mullet.
  1. I'm surprised that a vegetarian fish will feed on bloodworms, but since I caught some mullets on this bait, I may be wrong.
  2. In the backwaters, I found the mullets feeding on the top. The bait then had to be presented on the top surface with the help of a bobber. Should this be done on surf fishing as well? I cannot see them feeding or schooling near the surface, just jumping once a while here and there.
  3. I have tried clams and sand fleas as bait, which is available in plenty locally but not even a single mullet took the bait. What other bait can I try that will last for at least a couple of minutes on my hook?
 

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Thank you all for your replies!
What other bait can I try that will last for at least a couple of minutes on my hook?
You might try some of the commercially available carp "dough baits". I see it at martmart in little zip-loc bags.
 

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I caught a huge jumping mullet once on garbo's suggested rig, #10 hook with a tiny bread ball, in the inlet.
I was in 6th grade, and out of bait, raided the pantry at the beach house. Bread made sense as I had a lot of carp fishing experience at that age. It worked. That fish put up a good fight too!

The river near my house has jumping mullet, as there's no dam between here and the coast. In the summer guys catch them regularly by sight fishing, using fly tackle.

A sabiki with carp dough would be interesting from the pier.
 

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A sabiki with carp dough would be interesting from the pier.
That IS interesting, never heard of that sabiki rig.Learn something every day ..... if one pays attention.
I used to make my own dough balls, various recipes. We'd fluff out a cotton ball and blend the fibers into the mix to give it some holding power to the hooks. That made a big difference in how well the bait hung on.
I'd like to make myself a sabiki rig for fresh water minnows. I use small eagle claw salmon egg hooks with a wee morsel of earth worm. I'd like to find circle hooks in size 10-14 so the fish would hook itself while others bite on. As it is, I have to be quick to set a single hook rather quickly and get it in or they don't stay hooked.
This will be fun to experiment with. Have to watch those local laws though, there are limits to how many hooks per line.
Thanks
 

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When you see the schools swimming by and they're too far to hit with a cast net a simple rig of 3-4 dropper loops for large trebles with a loop at the bottom of the rig for a sinker heavy enough to cast far but light enough to reel in just below the surface of the water works pretty good to.
 

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In the surf I would expect 0 success with hook and line. Snag them as mentioned or buy a cast net. Even a cheap 4-5 foot cast net will catch you enough bait during the mullet run.
 

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" I'd like to find circle hooks in size 10-14 so the fish would hook itself while others bite on. "
Arnav, let me know how that works out. Pre-covid I helped with a kids tournament. Once I started we focused on small hooks for quantity of fish (everyone catches something) over one or two big ones (one or two kids catch a fish). After the first three years I switched most of the small hooks to small circle hooks thinking the same thing you are, that the fish would hook themselves. For the next few years the circles under-performed the few rigs with standard long shank hooks. The next two years I went with 50/50, and the circles lost out by a big margin. We go after the 3-7 inch bluegill so your mileage may vary.
 

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" I'd like to find circle hooks in size 10-14 so the fish would hook itself while others bite on. "
Arnav, let me know how that works out. Pre-covid I helped with a kids tournament. Once I started we focused on small hooks for quantity of fish (everyone catches something) over one or two big ones (one or two kids catch a fish). After the first three years I switched most of the small hooks to small circle hooks thinking the same thing you are, that the fish would hook themselves. For the next few years the circles under-performed the few rigs with standard long shank hooks. The next two years I went with 50/50, and the circles lost out by a big margin. We go after the 3-7 inch bluegill so your mileage may vary.
I've had the same experience over the years. Seems like for fish above 10" or so, circles are great. Below that, better off with tiny j-hooks. Size 10 and smaller j's seem to practically set themselves, in my experience.
 

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For sure cast net is best option.

I've done surprisingly well in the sound using a smallish castnet, just throwing where big mullet just jumped.
 
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