The season of the mullet has arrived
by Capt. Tom Van Horn
Believe it or not, cooler nights, shorter days, and prevailing northeast winds are just around the corner and they are all sure signs fall is in the air along Florida's east central coast. Another sure sign of fall is the waves of baitfish working their way south through the lagoon and along the beach as the fall mullet run commences.
Masses of black and silver mullet, Atlantic menhaden (pogies), thread fin herring (greenies), and bay anchovies (glass minnows) have begun their southerly migration following the warmer tropical waters. This migration creates an all you can eat buffet of yummy little baitfish shadowed by a large array of hungry predators looking to fatten up for the winter.
In and around the inlets of Ponce, Port Canaveral and Sebastian Inlets look for flounder, snook, jack crevalle and oversized redfish feeding on migrating baitfish along the jetties and just outside the inlets. Easterly swells, challenging seas, falling tides and currents, and aggressive anglers can make for sporty angling conditions in the Sebastian and Ponce Inlets, so please pay attention, keep the engine running with someone at the helm, be patient and enjoy the rewards.
Weather permitting, near-shore opportunities are the best you will see all year. Along the beaches, target areas of concentrated bait schools for a mixed bag of snook, tarpon, kingfish, cobia, jack crevalle, oversized redfish, and sharks. Additionally, snook fishing in the surf will improve as the baitfish move south along the beach. Also look for schools of glass minnows to begin showing up bringing larger Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and tarpon with them.
In the north Indian River and Mosquito Lagoons, higher water levels will allow anglers to venture into areas normally inaccessible during the spring and summer months. Look for slot redfish in close to the edges along the shoreline shadowing pods of finger mullet, and for the larger breeder redfish cruising in deeper water and ambush sites where migrating mullet are forced to venture out from the safety of the shallow flats.
Remember, in fishing we always try to match the hatch, or in this case the migration, so mullet imitation lures will be you key to success. For larger redfish, tarpon and snook, I suggest the DOA BFL or Bait Buster and if toothy fish are in the mix, switch to hard baits like the Rapala Skitter Walk or Sub Walker.
Hope you make time to get out there and catch-um-up,
Captain Tom Van Horn