Finger mullet and mullet are excellent live bait that work well for predatory fish. Understanding the correct way to hook these fish can be beneficial for keeping them alive for a longer period of time, which can lead to great results when fishing.
Using frozen mullet as bait also works well. They have a distinct smell that lures larger fish. When I catch a lot of live finger mullet or mullet, I usually use small containers or bags to freeze some of these fish. I have seen better results with frozen mullet than with other frozen bait types, such as minnows and shiners.
Occasionally, you can find live or frozen mullet at your local bait and tackle store. If you want to catch them yourself, the most common method is using a cast net.
How to Hook a Live Mullet or Finger Mullet for Bait?
Select a hook size that matches the size of the mullet and the target fish species. Circle hooks or J-hooks are commonly used for mullet bait.
Hook the finger mullet through the upper or lower lip. Insert the hook point through the fleshy part of the lip, starting from the outside and pushing it through. Position the hook so that it is exposed and pointing away from the mullet’s body. This allows for better hook sets when a fish strikes.
Here’s a video showing how to rig a finger mullet through its top lip.
For larger mullet, you can hook them through the tail. Insert the hook point into the base of the tail, ensuring the hook is securely embedded without damaging the mullet’s spinal cord. This method can provide more swimming action.
Check out this video on how to hook a mullet in the tail.
How Do You Put a Dead Mullet on a Hook?
First of all, make sure that the dead mullet is fresh and in good condition. It should not be excessively decomposed or foul-smelling.
Just like with live finger mullet, insert the hook point through the fleshy part of the upper or lower lip, starting from the outside and pushing it through. This allows the dead mullet to mimic the natural swimming action.
If the dead mullet is large or heavy, you may need to secure it to the hook using bait thread or elastic bands.
Can You Use Cut Mullet or Finger Mullet as Bait?
Yes, you can. Cut finger mullet can be an effective bait option, especially when targeting fish that feed on smaller baitfish.
To use cut finger mullet as bait:
- Make sure the finger mullet is fresh and in good condition.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the finger mullet or mullet into smaller pieces or chunks. Generally, 1 to 2-inch chunks or strips work well.
- Thread the hook through the flesh of the mullet chunk, ensuring it is securely attached.
Mullet Vs. Finger Mullet
Mullet are a group of fish species belonging to the family Mugilidae. They are commonly found in both saltwater and freshwater environments, inhabiting coastal areas, estuaries, rivers, and even some freshwater lakes. Mullet are known for their streamlined bodies, silver coloration, and ability to tolerate various salinity levels.
The term “finger mullet” describes young mullets that have not yet matured. These juvenile mullet are generally smaller in size, measuring a few inches long, and have distinct markings and characteristics that differentiate them from adult mullet. As the finger mullet grow, they eventually reach their adult size and characteristics.
When to Use Finger Mullet?
Finger mullet should be used with lighter fishing tackle, such as lighter fishing rods and lines.
They are often used when targeting species like speckled trout, flounder, and smaller snook.
When to Use Mullet?
Adult mullet are often used when targeting larger predatory fish species like snook, redfish, tarpon, and sharks that actively hunt and feed on larger baitfish.
I recommend using heavier fishing rods and lines with mullet.
What Is the Best Way to Catch Finger Mullet or Mullet?
You can use several methods to catch finger mullet. Here are a few that always work:
- Cast Net:
- Choose a cast net with a mesh size suitable for the size of the finger mullet/mullet you are targeting.
- Position yourself along the shoreline or in shallow waters where finger mullet/mullet are known to swim in schools.
- Hold the cast net with both hands, making sure the net is properly spread out.
- Mullet and finger mullet swim in schools. I recommend throwing your cast toward the front of the school.
- Retrieve the net quickly, making sure to close it before pulling it out of the water.
- Seine Net:
- A seine net is another effective method for catching mullet or finger mullet, especially in shallow waters or near the shoreline.
- Set up the seine net by stretching it out between two poles or by having people hold each end.
- Walk or wade through the water, completely submerging the net.
- Gradually bring the two ends of the net together.
- Lift the net out of the water and carefully collect the mullet from the net.
- Dip Net:
- A dip net can be used in areas where mullet are concentrated, such as around docks or piers.
- Position yourself near the area where mullet are swimming.
- Hold the dip net firmly and lower it into the water swiftly, making sure to scoop up the mullet.
How Do You Catch Mullet with Bait?
While finger mullet and mullet are primarily caught using nets, you can also try using a small hook and line.
- Use a small hook appropriate for the size of your target mullet.
- Attach a weight or sinker a few inches above the hook to help it sink in the water.
- Bait the hook with small pieces of bread, dough, or other bait that finger mullet and mullet find enticing.
- Cast your line into areas where finger mullet are present, such as near structures or in shallow waters.
- Wait for a bite, and once you feel a tug, reel in the mullet gently.
How to Keep Finger Mullet or Mullet Alive?
Live finger mullet are especially good when such as surf fishing or pier fishing. If you have live finger mullet at your disposal, the fish will need proper aeration and salt fresh water to stay alive:
- Use a bait tank or a bucket specifically designed for keeping live baitfish
- The container should be large enough to accommodate the number of mullet you have.
- Fill the bait tank or bucket with saltwater.
- You can use a battery-operated or electric aerator to ensure a constant supply of oxygen for the mullet.
What Fish Eat Finger Mullet and Mullet?
Finger mullet/mullet are popular baitfish because various predatory fish species consume them. Some common fish known to eat finger mullet include:
- Redfish (Red Drum)
- Seatrout (Spotted Sea Trout)
- Snapper and Grouper
- Jack Crevalle
- Striped bass
To Sum Up
Mullet are considered excellent best bait for fishing by most anglers. They are highly effective in attracting a wide range of predatory fish due to their natural scent, size, and swimming action.
When used as bait, mullet, and finger mullet attract snook, redfish, tarpon, sharks, grouper, and more. Mullet can be used both live and dead, depending on the fishing technique and target species.
Live mullet can be hooked and presented in a way that allows them to swim freely. Dead mullet can be cut into chunks or strips and used on hooks, releasing scent and attracting fish.