What's hot: Through fall and winter, schools of mullet roam the flats as they prepare to spawn. These schools root around on the bottom and stir up small fish and crustaceans. Larger predator fish follow the "mudding fish" and pick off anything that is stirred up. Fishing these schools will produce a variety of species such as snook, redfish, trout, jacks, sharks and more.
Tactics: Find a grass flat with good moving water, plenty of life and big schools of mullet. Determine the general direction the schools are moving and set up so they pass within casting distance. The schools can be worked with live or artificial baits. Live baits include greenbacks, pinfish, shrimp and even small blue crabs. Any artificial bait resembling a shrimp or small baitfish also will work. Plastic jerk baits or grub tails rigged on a 1/16-ounce jig head or weedless on a worm hook allows to effectively work shallow flats where mullet congregate.
Tackle: When fishing live bait, all you need is a float, a 2-3 foot section of 20-pound test leader and a 1/0 circle hook. The float's depth will vary depending how deep the water is and how fast the current is moving. Start by suspending the bait so it hangs just above the tip of the grass.
Seth Leto runs Pristine Fishing Charters out of Tarpon Springs. Call (727) 385-0382.