Shark fishing is one of the most exciting ways to spend time on the water…and we’ve all heard that sharks will eat just about anything…
But have you ever thought about using mullet for shark bait? Is it any good?
Well, the short answer is yes, mullet is excellent shark bait. In this article, I’ll explain why, and tell you about a few different rigs and ways to use mullet when shark fishing.
These tips will improve your hook-up ratio with sharks and reduce your incidental bites from other species (like stingrays and catfish).
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- Is Mullet Good Shark Bait?
- Are Finger Mullet Good Shark Bait?
- How Do You Rig a Mullet For Shark Fishing?
- Rigging A Dead Mullet For Sharks
- Rigging A Live Mullet For Sharks
- Frozen Mullet For Shark Bait
- Tips When Using Mullet As Shark Bait
Is Mullet Good Shark Bait?
Mullet is an excellent choice for shark bait because of its oily skin, and they are a natural food source for sharks. Additionally, mullet are very durable which makes them easy to cast and retrieve in heavy waves or current.
Sharks are attracted to oily prey. Mullet are oily, pungent fish, which is very attractive to sharks with their strong ability to sense the smell of blood and oil in the water.
Mullet are also good shark bait because they are something that the sharks are used to feeding on (mullet are found all over the world).
Sharks sometimes have a reputation as mindless eating machines that will gulp down anything that crosses their path, alive or dead, animal, vegetable, or mineral. They are sometimes referred to as the “garbage cans of the sea”!
This is mostly due to the sometimes bizarre feeding patterns of tiger sharks, which have resulted in them being found with everything in their stomachs from car parts to an entire chicken coop, with chickens!
This is not true of most sharks, however.
Like other fish, you are going to do better matching your bait to the food source they are dialed in on at the moment. Since mullet are such a common food source in coastal environments, they are great shark bait!
Are Finger Mullet Good Shark Bait?
Finger mullet is a slang term for juvenile mullet that are about the size of an adult human’s finger. They are great bait for sharks.
They have all the scent characteristics of an adult mullet and have a bright silvery flash in the water.
Finger mullet are also plentiful and can easily be rounded up in numbers with a cast net. They can be put on ice to be used as fresh cut bait, or be kept alive as live bait.
As the saying goes “Big baits catch big fish”…
Finger mullet are great for catching small inshore sharks such as Atlantic sharpnose, bonnetheads, and juvenile bull sharks.
But if you want to target adult sharks (6+ feet in length), save the finger mullet for snook or redfish and hook on a whole adult mullet or big chunk meaty mullet chunks!
How Do You Rig a Mullet For Shark Fishing?
First, before you decide to go shark fishing with mullet, it’s important to check your local regulations.
Sharks are protected in many areas and there are limitations on things like the metals that your hooks can be made of, types of hooks that must be used, and even areas where shark fishing is prohibited.
That being said, sharks are fish that take some specialized preparation if you want to be able to bring them in successfully.
Sharks are big, powerful fish, and everyone is aware that they have rows of sharp teeth. They also have rough, sandpaper skin that can abrade line if it drags across their body.
They are truly like dinosaurs!
Basic Shark Rig
While shark fisherman all have their favorite setup, I recommend beginners start with a basic shark rig: (note, this is for large sharks 6 feet and up).
You will need #12 wire leader, eighty to one-hundred-pound mono leader, four to eight-ounce pyramid sinkers, fishing beads, swivels rated a minimum of 100-pounds and a 7/0-10/0 circle hook.
Start with about two feet of the stainless #12 leader. Attach one end of this to the swivel and the other end to the circle hook of your choice.
Next, take about a foot of the mono lead and attach both ends of it to the same end of another swivel, making a loop.
Pick the pyramid sinker of your choice. Which one you use will be largely determined by water and current conditions.
Pass the bottom end of the mono loop through the eye of the sinker, then pull the swivel through the bottom end of the loop and pull it all the way through. This will leave you with the sinker dangling firmly from the bottom of the loop, with the swivel at the top.
Take some more mono leader and slide the swivel with the weighted loop over it, followed by the bead. Attach this leader to the swivel on the wire leader with the hook.
This bead is to prevent the weighted loop from bumping against the wire leader’s swivel as the loop slides back and forth.
Splice the mono leader onto your fishing line on one end, the swivel of the wire leader on the other, and you are good to go!
The advantage of the sliding weight is that the shark won’t feel the unnatural weight when it first grabs the bait.
Hopefully, it will start to swim off, and when the weight does finally go tight, the shark will be going fast enough to set the hook!
See Also: Can You Catch Mullet On Hook And Line?
Rigging A Dead Mullet For Sharks
Dead mullet are great bait, whether they are finger mullet or larger ones. The fresher the mullet is, the better it will work as bait.
If you are cutting chunks off a big mullet, simply bury the hook in the chunk as best you can. If using a finger mullet, you can pass the hook through bottom jaw, leaving the hook facing up.
A popular way to hook a larger dead mullet is to pass the hook through its mouth and out the gills. The hook is then inserted into the fish’s anus and driven around so that the hook protrudes from the bottom of the tail, behind the anus.
There are several other single and double hook methods for rigging a dead mullet.
Rigging A Live Mullet For Sharks
Obviously, if you kill your live mullet in the process of putting the hook in it, you’ve kind of defeated the purpose of fishing with live bait!
The best way to rig a live mullet is by passing the hook through both lips and the front of the head. As long as the hook stays in front of the eyes, it will not hit the brain and the fish will be able to swim relatively normally.
Some people hook through the back, but this creates a less natural swimming motion.
Once the head-hooked mullet is in the water, the slack provided by your sliding weight rig will allow it to swim around naturally.
Frozen Mullet For Shark Bait
Certain times of the year it can be very difficult to find or catch fresh mullet to use as bait, and when that happens I use frozen mullet.
Although its not as good as fresh bait, frozen mullet can still be very effective.
For frozen mullet to be effective as shark bait you should chum the area. Frozen mullet does not contain as much oil and scent, so chumming will help draw in sharks to your bait.
Tips When Using Mullet As Shark Bait
- Always try and use fresh mullet whenever possible. (Check with local commerical fisherman for fresh mullet if you cant catch your own!).
- Avoid burying your hook deep under the backbone or hard cheek bones of mullet. This can make it harder to get a proper hookset. Instead, bury your hook under the thickest portion of meat.
- Bigger is not always better! Id rather have a small chunk of mullet that I can cast into the right spot, than a giant piece of mullet thats hard to cast and manage.
- Follow the bait! Sharks are apex predators, they will actively follow school of mullet up and down the coasts and shorelines, especially during the mullet run!
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