Fall is coming just a little early to south Florida this year…inshore fishing wise at least. Large surf from hurricane Irene helped push large schools of finger mullet down the coast just a little earlier than usual this year. Of course those that like to fish inshore will not be complaining about this! The large schools of finger mullet will bring with them a whole host of assorted predators including; snook, tarpon, jacks, redfish, bluefish, sharks, snapper, and more. Fishing this time of year is relatively straight forward, find the bait and you will find the fish. Here are a few tips to help make it just a little easier.
If your fishing during the day try and get out of heavy boat traffic areas. The mullet will stay schooled up during the day, but heavy boat traffic tends to send them down towards the bottom. If they are not run over time and time again they will stay schooled up on top, and thus be a lot easier to find. Areas like the Loxahatchee River, Erman River, Munyon Island, Lake Worth and Little Lake Worth, and backwater residential canals and seawalls are ideal for finding mullet schools during the day. During lower light periods it may be possible to trick a few fish with lures. I like to toss a Zara Spook Jr, Rapala Skitterwalk, or Mirrolure MirroMullet around schools of mullet on top early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Yes it does produce a lot of jacks, but many snook and tarpon will fall to a “walk the dog” style topwater in low light conditions. As the sun gets a little higher in the sky, switch over to live mullet for best results. Fish those baits on the edges of the schools for best results.
Once the sun sets and boat traffic dies down the mullet really come to life. High traffic areas, like The Intracoastal Waterway(ICW) around Jupiter Inlet, absolutely come alive with large schools of mullet. The fish take notice of the easy pickings and line up at the buffet line. At night I like to fish lighted bridges (Katos, A1A, US1, Donald Ross to name a few) with good current. The fish line up on the dark side of the shadow line and wait as school after school of mullet are washed over their heads. Tossing live mullet, Rapala X-Raps, Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows, and DOA Baitbusters are all good choices for getting the attention of assorted predators lurking below.
And lastly, in non mullet run related action inshore, it should be a good month for some mangrove snapper. Fish live shrimp or cut sardines around structure with some good current, and a few grovers should show up.
Thanks For Reading Everyone,