Fishing Reports

Port Canaveral Mullet

The Mullet Run Kick-Off Port Canaveral Fishing Report

All Hail the Mighty Mullet!


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Frantic Mullet. Photo: John Kumiski

Although they are coming in fits and starts, the mullet appeared along Brevard County beaches this week. There are two mullet flavors:

  • The silver mullet (“finger” mullet) are the smaller species, rarely reaching 12 inches long. These fishies are cold intolerant and migrate south, like snowbirds from New York, along the beach and through the lagoons every year at this time. These are the mullet that we who use such things use for bait.
  • The black or striped mullet are the larger species, reaching weights in excess of five pounds. I have used these for bait but you need a LARGE hook, and it’s real hard casting a bait that weighs over a pound. These fish can be filleted and fried, or broiled, or smoked, and are quite good if eaten when very fresh. They are more tolerant of cold water than the silvers, but are aggregating to spawn now.
  • Predators love both types, and both types are easily caught with a cast net when they are in the giant schools we find at this time of year. To have maximum mullet run success, find a school of mullet that has an obvious escort of large predatory fish. You’ll be able to see the evidence, believe me! Cast the lure of your choice or your live baits into the mullet school, either live-lined or on an egg-sinker rig.

    Things change real fast from day to day along the beach at this time of year, depending on air and water temperature, wind speed and direction, and bait movement.

    On Monday Joe Bak and I did some scouting out of Port Canaveral for my Tuesday charter. The charter wanted tarpon and redfish so that’s what I was looking for. We found a few tarpon down by Patrick AFB, hanging around the menhaden schools that were there. I managed to catch one about 80 pounds using a live menhaden for bait. There were lots of sharks there and after losing a half-dozen hooks we decided to try something else. There was Sargassum in the water so we went looking for tripletail. We found lots of weeds, but no fish at all. We ended up in Canaveral Bight. Silver mullet were working down the shoreline and were being mightily harassed. We got ladyfish, bluefish, crevalle jacks, and Spanish mackerel of DOA CAL jigs and Chug Bugs. No redfish were seen. Approaching weather chased us off the water at about 1 PM.

    Tuesday at 7 AM I launched the Mitzi at the Port, joined by Sherman Harris and his brother-in-law Brent. A toss of the cast net at the boat ramp yielded a day’s supply of mullet for bait. Then we went fishing. A 45 minute stop at the north jetty yielded jacks, bluefish, and ladyfish, although nothing of any size. We then headed south. Before we reached the pier we found a school of hundreds of seven and eight pound crevalle. Chug Bugs, jigs, and of course live mullet all worked, with Chug Bugs being the most fun.

    South of the pier fish were breaking all along the beach, mostly small jacks with bluefish and ladyfish mixed in. Chug Bugs and DOA CAL jigs accounted for many fish.
    We finally got to where the tarpon had been the previous day. Although the menhaden were still there, the tarpon were gone. Keeping an eye on the building clouds we went further south.
    Schools of big mullet were working down the beach at Patrick AFB. Tarpon and sharks were exploding on them. We hooked a few sharks and one big tarpon, landing none of them.
    A shrimp boat was working about a mile off the beach. We went out to investigate. No pelicans, no dolphins, and no fish, very disappointing.

    Rain showers were now appearing all around us. I headed back north up the beach. We ended up in Canaveral Bight. Silver mullet were working down the shoreline and were being mightily harassed. We got ladyfish, bluefish, crevalle jacks, and Spanish mackerel of DOA CAL jigs and Chug Bugs. No redfish were seen. Back at the boat ramp we ran into Capt. Rick Banks, who I had not seen in years. Rick makes a unique line of high quality lures. You can see them at this link:

    Thursday son Alex and John Napolitano joined me for some beach fishing. After netting some mullet we headed south, and found what were probably the same school of eight pound jacks I’d found on Tuesday. They were not quite as cooperative, but we did get a couple, one on a mullet and one on a Chug Bug. Again there were some breaking fish along the beach- jacks, ladyfish, bluefish, and Spanish mackerel, but not as many or as widespread as on Tuesday. We got to south Cocoa Beach and the menhaden were all gone. Sorry boys, no one is home. We went further south, hoping to find them. We did not. We did find a massive school of black mullet, which was being harassed by sharks and tarpon. We hooked one of each, losing both.
    We went down along Satellite Beach, finding nothing. There was a lot of Sargassum, so we went out looking for tripletail. The weeds were thick in places. The only tripletail we found were on things other than the weeds- a board, a plastic jug, a couple crab trap buoys. All the fish were very small. We caught one about a foot long on a chartreuse DOA Shrimp. We let the fish go of course.

    We ran north again, ending up in Canaveral Bight. There were no mullet along the beach. There were some menhaden and we got some bluefish around them on jigs and Chug Bugs.

    The mullet will be along the beach for a few more weeks, after which the run will be over until next year. Get out there and take advantage of this long, live chum line!

    And that is the Mullet Run Kick-Off Port Canaveral Fishing Report.

    Life is great and I love my work!

    Life is short- Go Fishing!

    John Kumiski

    All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2014. All rights are reserved