The fall mullet run in Florida has hit full stride over the past week. Schools of baitfish with the majority being mullet are pouring down Space Coast beaches. This in turn has triggered exceptional surf fishing with snook, flounder, bluefish, and ladyfish taking full advantage of this opportunity. With the listed species having been caught up and down the Brevard coast, the majority of consistent catches are being reported from Patrick Air Force Base south to Sebastian Inlet.
Taking part in this fishery can be multifaceted with many options available. My preferred method involves live bait or artificial lures with a minimal setup to keep things mobile. Casting rod, castnet and small tackle bag is all that’s needed. Check multiple locations for key signs of life including diving birds, fleeing baitfish and crashing fish. Once you find the increased activity, deploy a live mullet, croaker or threadfin in the first trough and hang on. If live bait isn’t an option, walk the shores in the same pattern with a bucktail jig, lipped diving plug, or swim bait.
Presentation holds the key to success so take note of the conditions on hand. The size of the surf, current, and wind dictates what size weight and how to hook the bait for the preferred action desired. I prefer the bait slightly restricted rolling in the trough being pulled in and out with the wave’s motion. Depending on conditions, use anywhere from a split shot to a two-ounce weight to maintain the ideal areas for ambush feeding. Light tackle makes a ton of fun for catching these fish in the shallower depths, rewarding the efforts of surf anglers with prized species of snook and flounder.
Realizing the changing of the seasons is just on the horizon has many anglers efforts focused on the mullet run, but this doesn’t mean the traditional surf fishing method with pompano rigs isn’t an effective approach currently. Whiting continues to be consistent on a rising tide and also pompano with the majority being undersized. Fishbites and live sand fleas continue to perform best when fishing this rising tide targeting the outflows running off the beach. Don’t be surprised if a snook, bluefish or ladyfish engulf this setup as well. Additionally, the pompano rig with live or dead mullet has accounted for many snook catches as well.
In summary, I’m excited to keep working the bait schools and dabble with.
the pompano and whiting. Knowing just around the corner the snook and baitfish will abate leading into the full-blown pompano run. Changing out gear and tactics for chasing one of my favorite fish will return just as soon as the water temperature creeps down. So for now it’s taking advantage of the wild fishery that is the fall mullet run and prepping the tackle for the first schools of pompano that are soon to arrive. Enjoy the explosiveness that’s defining our fishery currently and what’s coming in the upcoming months.