As a fishing guide I often get asked when the best time of year to fish in East Central Florida is. Of course, this is a tough question considering the vast number of different target species we have and our relatively kayak fishable mild weather for most of the year. Just about any day you can attempt to chase the fish you are dreaming of. The standard out of pocket response to the “best” time for fish question is anytime you get a chance to go! However, if you want to dig a bit deeper and corner me into a specific response it is an easy decision for me to make. Sure, I love our summer beach launch tarpon fishing, spring lagoon seatrout sign me up, and do not even get me started on the winter shallow water black drum bite, but as fun as all that is – You cannot top Fall Mullet Run fishing for overall action, variety, and consistency day to day.
The fall mullet run is a very specific event that is worth looking forward to as an angler visiting or local. Every fall, mullet from the entire east coast exit their summer haunts in the bays and coastal estuaries headed south to escape the impending cold that winter will bring. As cold fronts attempt to sweep across the east and south, they will usher in this mass exodus of one of the most prevalent bait species available. This southward headed buffet will get the attention of every predator as they scurry to warmer waters in south Florida and beyond. We happen to be perfectly located directly in the path of this mass migration and it is truly something you must see as an angler. Typically starting around the last week of August these precipitous waves of mullet will work from north to south off the beaches and lagoons of Brevard and Volusia Counties. Though this onslaught of forage will have all fish on high alert, the most amazing action will happen around Port Canaveral, Ponce Inlet, Sebastian Inlet, and beaches all along the coast. However, the lagoon areas around those hot spots can get some amazing action. Many times, the bait will utilize the inlets and/or port to rest and hide from large seas.
The amount of predation is staggering with inshore/near coastal fish like snook, tarpon, seatrout, redfish, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, flounder, and many more gorging with reckless abandon. All of your fishing should center around utilizing the available mullet for bait or mimicking them as much as possible. Lures should fall in that 5-7 inch to be that injured mullet standing out from the pack. The fall mullet run is one of my favorites as a guide because its just super fun fishing and smiles for all involved is a common side effect.