Sea mullet are one of the easiest fish to catch on the outer banks. They have a slender body with a slightly arched dorsal fin. Their color can range from a light to dark gray with dark shaded stripes. Their mouth faces downward to assist in feeding.
The range in size from several inches to eighteen with the typical size being caught range to ten to fifteen inches. Sea mullet can go by several names including Whiting, Kingfish or roundhead.
Most anglers just call them “fun to catch and great to eat”.
Sea mullet can be found along the entire outer banks coastline from April through October. They typically show up in the spring when the water begins to reach fifty degrees and stay around until the water cools in the fall.
Local anglers target these fish in the shallow surf zones and on the ocean piers. They can range from the close in the sloughs to out in deeper water adjacent to structures such as piers and docks.
I usually find them either right near the beach in shallow water or half to three quarters out on the piers. When fishing on the piers, I usually will cast out and away from a structure and retrieve back to me.
They are typically bottom feeders and prefer cloudy or stained water. Sea mullet stay in a zone where there is a lot of water movement. This constant water movement stirs the bottom and mixes the food source that the mullet search for. They also search for food by smell so fresh baits are always the best way to go.
These regular visitors to our waters are caught on standard one or two hook bottom rig. Sea mullet have a small mouth so I always start with a small hooks and depending on my success I might change up or down in size.
I prefer a number four “J” or circle hook. I just bait the hook with a small bait. The best baits for sea mullet is fresh shrimp, bloodworms, or fish bites.
When you use shrimp, always purchase eating type shrimp. I never peel the shrimp. The hard shell usually helps the bait they on the hook.
When the sea mullet are in season, you can fill a cooler in no time. And most probably one of the best eating fish with its white flaky meat.
But please remember, when fishing, only harvest what you plan to use fresh. Frozen sea mullet or any fish loses it favor quickly.
Oh, and one more thing that will make your day better is to take a kid fishing. With every fish they catch that smile gets wider.
Grab a rod and hi the surf today. There is no better time to catch a sea mullet is now.
Until next time – tightlines – Capt. Tony