Now that we have entered the month of July and summer has warmed up our local waters, the kids are in their summer vacation and inshore fishing enthusiasts are excited to spend some quality time on or by the water.
July is one of those months here in the Lowcountry when it is a favorite to target the inshore slam, which consists of Red Drum, Spotted Seatrout and Flounder.
What’s great about targeting these three fish is that there are a few live baits that will catch all three, and Finger Mullet is at the top of the list, or should I just say Mullet.
The name Finger Mullet is a nickname given to juvenile Mullet that are about the size of an adult person’s whole finger. This size is perfect to be able to be caught by cast net.
A couple of dozen can be kept alive in a five-gallon bucket with a quality air pump and, of course, the perfect size to use for live bait.
Two other live baits that are used frequently to catch these three fish are live Shrimp and Mud Minnows.
One of the downfalls of using live Shrimp is that everything eats Shrimp
Both baits work well but neither Shrimp nor Mud Minnows have the luster and flash that a Finger Mullet has.
One of the downfalls of using live Shrimp is that everything eats Shrimp, and it can be hard to keep one on the hook long enough for one of these game fish to get a hold of it.
They are usually torn apart by Pin Fish, Perch, Whiting, Croaker, Pufferfish and Blue Crab, etc.
Mud Minnows will stay alive longer than Shrimp and are a hardy fish and can last a long period of time on the hook.
But, of course, again, they lack the silver gleam that a Mullet has and this silver coloring helps tremendously in darker waters when the sun is available to help them shine and attract either one of these game fish hunting by sight at longer distances.
The other great thing about Finger Mullet this time of year is that they usually can be found in great numbers and these game fish know that and will be purposefully targeting them specifically.
That’s what makes Finger Mullet a catch-it-all bait. The only thing left to know is how to use them.
Finger Mullet can be used successfully in a couple of ways. One is simply bait them on a Carolina rig.
For those of you who are not familiar with a Carolina rig, it is simple—1 egg weight in the ounce of your choice, 1 swivel, fluorocarbon (around 18 inches or shorter) the pound test of your choice and 1 fish hook of your choice.
I personally recommend a Kahle hook. Some like using a circle hook.
Tying the rig is simple. Put your fight line through the egg weight. Then tie your fight line to one side of the swivel. Then tie your fluorocarbon to the other side of the swivel.
Then tie the other end of the fluorocarbon to your hook, using knots that you are comfortable with and you find to be successful.
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Personally, I like to then place the hook in the mouth of the Finger Mullet and come up through the bone or cartilage between the two nostrils.
This will allow the fish to swim around and stay lively but also allows the fish to pull water in through its mouth and then out of its gills and keeps them oxygenated.
A Red Drum can smell fresh cut Finger Mullet at long distances
This will help the fish last longer. If you are drop lining off a boat in deeper water, I would recommend hooking them just below the dorsal fin.
Last, but not least, if you find that the water is dark and murky, you can cut the Finger Mullet in fresh chunks and cast them out.
A Red Drum can smell fresh cut Finger Mullet at long distances.
When targeting Spotted Seatrout, you can either cast the live bait out and let it sit on the bottom and wait or you can twitch the live Mullet in across the bottom or mid-water to create a reaction strike.
When you are targeting Flounder, I recommend casting the live bait out and either let it sit on the bottom or slowly dragging the rig with the Mullet along the bottom.
Flounder are ambush predators and usually will pit themselves in the sediment on the bottom and wait for anything on their diet to cross their path before striking.
That is why you may greatly increase your chances of hooking a nice Flounder by dragging your bait along the bottom.
All these techniques will work for all three of these fish. But using the right technique at the right time can make for a good day of fishing and turn it into catching.
Don’t forget to break out your cast nets. If you have never thrown one before, it will be helpful to learn.
You may find it easy to start with a four-foot cast net and either work your way up to a larger net from there or not.
Either way you will be able to obtain your own Finger Mullet. Most local bait shops only sell frozen Finger Mullet for bait, so obtaining live and fresh Finger Mullet in most cases will be up to you.
Like I always say, until next time, good luck out there and have fun fishing!
To view some fishing adventures, go to my YouTube Channel Fishing With Jiggin Jerry.
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