Mullets & Mojarras
MULLETS & MOJARRAS
Mullets and Mojarras belong to different
families but have many things in common - one being that several representatives of each
family inhabit shallow, coastal water throughout Florida and tropics, and often run into
fresh water as well. Anglers in general concern themselves only with a couple of
larger species in each group, paying less attention to the various small Mullets and
Mojarras usually called "Shad" that are widely distributed but of virtually no
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OTHER NAMES: Jumping
Florida coasts, absent from the Bahamas; not common in the Caribbean.
shallow coastal waters, and roams far into fresh water.
rounded; small mouth with rubbery lips; forked tail. Color is generally dark above - gray
or brown - and white or light gray below. Longitudinal stripes generally quite noticeable.
1-3 pounds, but this is the largest of the Mullets and can grow to at least 10 pounds on
rare occasion. World record 6 pounds, 15 ounces.
FOOD VALUE: Excellent,
both flesh and roe.
GAME QUALITIES: A zippy, frantic fighter.
TACKLE AND BAITS: A cast net is by far the best bet for catching Black Mullet, with the canepole a distant
second. Mullet primarily feed on algae and do not bite in the usual sense. They will,
however, take many small baits into their mouths briefly as they forage. Nearly all
hook-and-line Mullet fishermen practice their art in freshwater streams or coastal canals.
They mostly are canepolers who have the patience to stare at a float for extended periods,
staying ready to heave at the slightest movement of the bobber, which indicates that a
roaming Mullet is mouthing the bait. And baits are many indeed. They include bits of white
plastic worm, real earthworms, corn, dabs of bacon and some other odds and ends. It's
possible to catch Mullet by fly casting, but to do it you have to discover a situation in
which the fish can be seen mouthing algae or other floating detritus at the surface. A fly
of similar color, cast next to the floating stuff, is often taken in. But, like a
canepoler, the fly fisherman must be constantly observant and ready to strike as soon as
the take occurs; otherwise, the fly will be expelled.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Still Fishing.
WHITE MULLET (Mugil
Mullet, Lisa Blanca, Liseta
Florida. Although many in Florida think of the Black as the "Gulf Coast" Mullet,
both are found on all coasts.
coastal waters. Enters fresh water, but less commonly than the Black Mullet.
to distinguish from the Black Mullet, especially if similar in size; however, the Silver
Mullet is usually smaller, lighter in color and with less vivid stripes. The caudal fin of
the Silver Mullet is edged in black, so that in the water, the tail looks as if it's
marked with a black "V." The tail of the Black Mullet is dark overall.
a pound or less but can exceed three pounds.
FOOD VALUE: Excellent,
although most Silver Mullet end up as bait, not dinner.
GAME QUALITIES: Seldom
caught on hook and line, but puts up a spirited fight, marked by wild jumps.
TACKLE AND BAITS: If
you would fish for Silver Mullet with hook and line, the best spot to try would be around
fish-cleaning tables. Watch for Mullet milling around. If any are spotted, use a tiny hook
baited with a bit of entrail from cleaned fish, especially roe, if available. They are
more easily hooked if you actually see them bite, since they generally suck in the bait
and, just as quickly, eject it.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Still
"CARIBBEAN MULLET (Mugil
and Caribbean; some in Florida.
a dead ringer for the Black Mullet, but usually smaller and with a narrow, more pointed
at 6-12 inches and grows to about 2 feet.
seen; seldom hooked.
TACKLE AND BAITS:
in Florida and throughout the Greater Antilles, but is prominent only in Jamaica, where a
sport fishery exists in mountain streams.
in rivers, but also coastal. The Jamaica fishing is done at high elevation and in swift
above, silvery below, with horizontal stripe on side. Tail is yellow.
less than a foot.
to small mountain trout.
TACKLE AND BAITS:
spinning and light fly outfits. Small spinners and a variety of wet flies work well.
Pieces of avocado or other fruit are productive natural baits, as are kernels of corn.
Casting; Still Fishing.
found in the south half of Florida, both coasts
water with mud or sand bottom. Likes quiet bays and coastal streams.
deep and compressed; second spine of dorsal and anal fins very long and strong. The mouth
can be extended outward and downward. Color is greenish or grayish above, silvery below.
less than a pound.
on light line.
TACKLE AND BAITS:
or ultralight spinning outfits. Cut shrimp is best bait.
OTHER NAMES: Shad,
found in southern half of Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean
clear water of beaches, shorelines, shallow reefs and grass flats
DESCRIPTION: Similar to the Irish Pompano in shape. Color brownish above, silvery below, with dark bars on the sides and yellow pelvic fins.
SIZE: Larger than the Irish Pompano. May top 1 pound.
FOOD VALUE: A good panfish.
GAME QUALITIES: Spunky on light tackle.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Light spinning outfits, with bits of shrimp, clam or conch as bait.
FISHING SYSTEMS:Still Fishing.