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Striped Mullet

SCIENTIFIC NAME : Mugil cephalus

OTHER NAMES: Jumping Mullet, Black Mullet

RANGE: All Florida coasts, absent from the Bahamas; not common in the Caribbean.

HABITAT: Most shallow coastal waters, and roams far into fresh water.

DESCRIPTION: Head 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.

SIZE: Averages 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 cane pole 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.



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