Tips and Gear for Sea Mullets and Spots
Featured In Coastal Angler Magazine
Sea mullet and spot are great fish to target for some fast action around Atlantic Beach in November. North Carolina fishing for sea mullet and spot is enjoyable for the whole family, especially to get the kids hooked on fishing. You can catch these fish from boats, banks, as well as from the surf and piers.
Not only are sea mullets one of the best tasting fish caught from inshore waters, for their size they are also one of the hardest fighting fish that you can catch. Sea mullets have no size limit and you can keep all you want. Some of the best places to fish for spots and sea mullets are around the Coast Guard Channel, Turning Basin, Beaufort Channel and the Dead Tree Hole.
The Top Spot Inshore Map has all of these areas listed on it and all of them are easy to find. The mullets usually hang around the edges of the channels where they drop off into deeper water. They love the Dead Tree Hole area because of the hard bottom. If you have a good bottom-reading machine on your boat so you can mark the fish, when you find them you can usually fill up a cooler in no time. You want to drift-fish for them, because that’s how you'll find a good school. Just keep trying different areas until you find the schools to fish.
These fish will also make a fall run down on the beach. That’s when you can catch them in good numbers from the surf and piers. From Fort Macon to the Oceana Pier is a good surf area to fishing for mullets. Shackleford Banks and Cape Lookout are also great places to find some good sea mullet action. If you don't have a boat you can take a ferry over to these areas for a day trip. One reason these areas produce good catches is because they aren't fished as heavily as the more accessible beaches.
Most of the mullets you catch from the surf zone will be right in the breakers. Many people make the mistake of throwing out too far, so they are actually beyond the fish. You want to look for sloughs right in the surf. A slough is where you have deep water right on the beach and then a sand bar behind it. Sea mullets like to feed in the deeper water of the slough right in the breaking waves. When fishing for sea mullets you need to be fishing on the bottom, so Spec-Rigs are the best rigs to use. They come in lots of colors and all the colors will catch fish but it seems the Shrimp Glow color works best. You will need a 2 oz. to 4 oz. bank sinker to put in the middle between the two Spec-Rigs. Sometimes, when you are fishing in the surf zone you might have to go to a pyramid sinker to hold the bottom a little better, because of the waves coming in.
The key is using FRESH bait shrimp on the rig. All you need is just a small piece to cover the hook. Bloodworms and FishBites Bloodworms will also work well at times. Just remember you don’t need a huge piece of bait, just enough to cover the point of the hook. Plain bottom rigs can work well also with a #4 Eagle Claw long shank hook. Use the same sinkers as suggested for the Spec-Rigs.
Spots make their fall run every October through November. There is no size limit or no limit of how many you can keep. Spots also are a great fish to eat. People come down every year in the fall just to get in on the “spot run.” The Beaufort drawbridge and the Beaufort Channel are always the "hot spot" for catching spots. I don't know what it is about those locations, but they show up in that area year after year. The Turning Basin is also a good area to look for spots in the fall. Another hot spot is at the Emerald Isle Bridge. Spots are just like sea mullets in that when you get into a large school of them you can quickly fill up a cooler. When the spots come through they will also be close to the beach as they make their run south for the winter. Just like sea mullets, they like to be right on the beach in the sloughs. A bottom rig fished right on the bottom is the best rig for spot action. Complete it with Eagle Claw # 4 or # 5 long shank hooks. Usually a 2 oz. to a 4 oz. bank or pyramid sinker is all you need to keep your bait on the bottom. Live bloodworms are the very best bait to use when spot fishing, use just a small piece to cover the point of the hook. The FishBites and Gulp Bloodworms also work well for them, and the added benefit of both Fishbites and Gulp Bloodworms is that they stay on forever. You don't have to keep them cold or worry about them dying. But, all in all, the live bloodworms usually will outcatch either artificial bait.
Come by and see us at Chasin' Tails Outdoors at 613 Atlantic Beach Causeway for all your Fall fishing needs. We have fresh shrimp, live bloodworms, Fishbites Bloodworms, Gulp Bloodworms during all times of the year.
Hope you enjoy some great fall fishing!