Finger sized mullet are common in coastal waters and are highly effective when fished live. Mullet are hardy and, therefore, remain active when hooked, even for extended periods of time. Additionally, when the mullet run is strong, they are readily available to catch by a cast net or purchase from a bait shop. Unfortunately, mullet will not strike a bait fished from on a rod and reel, so, therefore, this is not an option. Beyond obtaining live mullet is presenting the bait properly. Learn about the two most effective methods for how to hook live mullet. 

Methods To Obtain Live Mullet For Fishing

You won’t find trouble locating mullet schools during the summer months in the coastal waters of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. For this reason, they can be either caught or purchased live. First, you’ll need to load your baitwell with live mullet before placing the hook and sending it out. 

Casting A Net For Live Mullet

When the opportunity presents itself with dense schools of mullet at the surface, I prefer to throw a cast net. A cast net is a sure way to catch a significant number of bait in one throw. Of course, that is if you are able to throw a cast net well. 

Fortunately, schools of mullet are highly visible because they spend the majority of their time swimming on the top of the water column. However, if you miss a throw, the school will scatter, and time must pass before they regroup. 

Importantly, you’ll need to be sure to have an aerator pump and bucket unless the boat with a livewell is dockside. 

Without a doubt, you will want to handle the mullet as little as possible. Make your best effort to place them from the net directly into the livewell or bait bucket. 

Visiting A Local Bait Shop

An alternative to catching live bait is taking a trip to your local bait shop. However, not all bait shops carry live mullet, so I recommend calling around. Avoid venturing to a bait store only to learn the tanks are stocked with shrimp and mud minnows. 

When you head out to the bait shop, ensure that you have the bait bucket and aerator pump on hand. If not, you’ll be headed back home, thus wasting precious time for fishing. Ensure that you purchase plenty of live mullet. A hot bite will blow through a dozen mullet in no time at all. 

I highly suggest purchasing at a minimum two dozen live mullet in order to remain on the water for an extended period of time. 

Methods For How To Hook Live Mullet

When it comes to hooking live mullet I suggest two different techniques. The techniques are highly dependent on the style of fishing you are engaging in. These include drifting baits or dropping them to the bottom. 

Hooking Live Mullet Through The Tail

One of the least frequent methods I use when fishing with live mullet is hooking them through the tail. 

With that being said, this method is highly effective, but I rarely drop weights heavy enough to hold the bottom. Tail hooked mullet is best suited for fishing underwater structures. 

To properly position the hook, it is important to locate the aft dorsal fin. The hook must be positioned beneath the aft dorsal find extending from one side of the body to the other. 

Importantly, do not place the hook within close proximity to the fin, as it will pull, and the bait will be lost. 

A tail hooked mullet appears natural when it is suspended on a hook above weights holding to the seafloor below. For this reason, it attracts strikes from top gamefish offshore and inshore. These include redfish and seatrout inshore and grouper and snapper offshore. 

Hooking Live Mullet Through The Lips

The second and more common approach to hooking live mullet is through the lips. I most often use this technique as it’s best suited to my style of inshore fishing. 

Most often, I rig a hook beneath a popping cork or drag a jighead along the bottom. Circle hooks are best suited for mullet beneath a float. 

When rigging a live mullet through the lips, I suggest running the tip of the hook through the bottom of the mouth behind the lips. Once the tip of the hook is in the mouth, continue on by pushing the hook between the center of the eyes. This approach best secures the bait to the hook to avoid losing it while casting or missing a strike from a fish. 

Now You Know How To Hook Live Mullet

No matter if you are tail hooking your mullet or lip hooking your mullet, the live bait is highly effective. I often swap between fishing live mullet and live shrimp to determine what is most effective on a particular day. Importantly, you’ll want to make sure you have enough bait in the livewell before heading out on the water.