The Tampa Bay Times

If looking to fire up your smoker for the holidays… now’s the time.  This is when mullet get together in huge schools as they make their way towards the gulf for their annual spawning ritual.  Feeling a bit safer in numbers now is when they let their guard down at times making them a little easier to cast net.  The big herds of mullet will hold up in bays, bayous, rivers and backwaters until it’s time to go.  They particularly like to move during cold fronts but a full or new moon will at times make them active.  Sometimes all it takes is a tide change to get them pushing towards the gulf.  You’ll see big bunches of them along dock lines, seawalls and residential canals as they make their way.  When it’s “go time”, they’ll push out of most all our areas passes.  Longboat Pass, around Bean Point on the north end of Anna Maria, Pass-a-grille Pass and Clearwater Pass among the most prominent.  Check local ordinances where you fish.  There are restrictions on where and how many you can keep in different counties.  This too is the time of year when fog can be treacherous.  As disoriented as you can become on land, it’s multiplied on the water.  It’s always been my single biggest concern when boating.  In fact, I won’t even go when it’s dense.  Trails and tracks on your GPS can be a huge help when navigating but they won’t show you other boats or obstacles that may cross your path.  Check your most trusted weather sources before you go.  They have the technology to see it coming long before we do.

Captain Jay Mastry