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How To Rig Mullet For Surf Fishing – Detailed Guide!

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If you are thinking of learning how to rig a mullet to go surf fishing, you have come to the right place. With a live mullet packed in your fishing arsenal, your days at the beach will get way better and more productive, as mullets can help you get some big catches! In this article, I will be providing you with an in-depth guide on how to rig mullets for surf fishing.

The best setup for your rig is to use a whole live mullet rig, preferably a big one. You may force the hook through it and extract it from the upper Jaw. This will make it easier for your mullet to breathe, live longer, move freely and bait bigger fish!

Using a mullet in your rig for surf fishing is more than meets the eye. As appealing as they might be to other fish for a quick meal, these resilient creatures are still quite delicate and need to be handled with care. 

Thus, be sure not to get lost while scrolling! Unfortunately, not everyone can effectively carry out the process of catching a mullet and properly hooking it to your rig.

3 Different Ways Of Rigging A Mullet For Surf Fishing

Let’s jump straight into how to rig a live mullet for surf fishing. Fishing while being accompanied by a serene beach can be fun, but using mullets can make it a lot better! 

However, mullets can be pretty fragile, and a live mullet bait is always better than its frozen or dredged counterpart.

All the methods here will make sure that the mullets get to live and move freely! Hence, while we rig them up, I will make sure our little bait friends stay alive (at least till they do their job).

Thus, this article section has been specially curated to discuss five unique ways of rigging a mullet for surf fishing. Here are our three best ways!

1. Rig A Mullet Through Its Jaw

Hooking a mullet through the Jaw is the most common way to rig a mullet, and it gives you adequate control over how you maneuver it.

For bigger mullets, it’s better to hook them up and expose them through the upper Jaw. This will provide a clear view of the hook in the mullet, which will increase the possibility of catching a bigger fish. It will also make room for your bait to breathe and live longer.

For smaller mullet, run the hook through the bottom Jaw up through the upper Jaw. This way, you’ll hook both jaws simultaneously, which will keep smaller mullets from getting snagged when you cast them or when they’re swimming quickly in the water.

2. Rig A Mullet Through Its Nose

Here’s a little ouch on behalf of our fish friends, as this quite popular method is a bit more complex. So I’ve prepared a step-by-step guide to making it easier for you to follow! 

Hook the mullet through its Nose. It’ll still be able to swim freely.

Make sure their mouths are open. This will ensure that they will make their way towards the surface from time to time.

It is best advised that you use this method with smaller variants of mullets, as bigger ones can use their sheer strength to tear themselves free. Ouch!

Make sure to hook the mullet from one side to the other right through or behind the Nose.

3. Rig A Mullet through Its Throat

If bottom fishing is what you’re aiming for, your best bet is to hook your mullet through its neck! Doing so would encourage your mullet to dive deep into the waters where most predators tend to lurk. 

However, you can add extra weight, such as an egg sinker, to aid the sinking process before sending it down.

To successfully rig a mullet with his method, hook it under its gills through its Throat. Although this method can be advantageous, I suggest you pay close attention when resorting to it. Not being careful might kill off your mullet if you insert the hook through its gills.

Factors To Consider Before Using A Mullet For Your Rig

Well, novice or expert, there are a few things everyone has to consider if they want to boast about an impressive surf fishing session. These are some of the factors that you need to consider carefully.

1. Keeping Your Mullets Alive

The moment you get your hands on some mullets, it should be your utmost priority to ensure they stay alive, even after being hooked. A dead mullet might still get you some catches, but it’s nowhere near as effective as a live mullet! Hence, ensure you provide proper fresh water and air after catching them.

You need a bubbler to aerate the water. For the time being, a five-gallon bucket or live well cooler will suffice to keep them alive. However, keep in mind that you should change the water every few hours to ensure its survival. 

On the other hand, do not rush the hooking process while using them on your rig. Be gentle and careful while inserting the hooks.

2. Hook Size and Type

For mullets, you should use a circular hook (either inline or offset). Circle hooks have built quite a reputation among fishing experts and work best with live bait. 

A circular hook’s tip is 90 degrees or less from the shank. The hooks nearly always catch the fish in the jaw corner, allowing live mullets to swim naturally while hooked.

Most saltwater anglers use circular hooks sized 4/0 to 7/0. I use 7/0 circular hooks for tarpon, sharks, and billfish. Redfish, bluefish, black drum, mackerel, and snook need hooks closer to 4/0.

3. Choosing The Proper Time To Go Mullet Fishing

Always prepare your set of mullet baits a day or two before the big game. Make sure to use a giant fishing net to do that. The optimum time to catch mullets is early in the morning or evening.

Underwater structures are your best bet if you want to get yourself a bucketful of mullet bait.

Try hunting down mullets mainly during the period of late summer to autumn, as that’s when they have their spawning season. That’s the time when large swarms of mullets will be available to serve you!

4. Choosing The Right Type Of Sinkers

I would recommend a 2/0 hook for your finger mullet bait. This hook will handle most 3-to-4-inch mullets. Bottom setups need a sinker to help the bait sink. 

Fishing from docks and piers requires egg sinkers. Pyramid or triangular sinkers work well off beaches and rocks. Teardrop sinkers are ideal for boat fishing.

Which Fish Can You Hunt Use A-Rig Mullet?

Finger mullets have been used as bait for several predatory fish species for decades. They are most commonly known to catch bluefish, tarpon, kingfish, redfish, mackerel, and even sharks. While live baits usually do the trick for species, frozen bait outperforms live ones when catching fluke and catfish.

Mullets work best as bait from the beach or a pier, making them an excellent choice for surf fishing! But, on the other hand, they are considered the best for baiting bluefish! However, live mullets will be better if you’re fishing in Panama City Beach or off the Florida coast. 

When it comes to baiting predators, I prefer to hook our mullet through the rear or top of their jaws, just like in method 1. Here are the most popular species of fish you can catch for sport using a self-made rigged mullet!

  • Tarpon
  • Barracuda
  • Trevally
  • Catfish
  • Kingfish
  • Sharks
  • Snappers
  • Mackerel
  • Bluefish
  • Redfish
  • Flounder


And that pretty much covers all that I had to say about how to rig mullet for surf fishing. So I hope you have garnered enough knowledge from this article to successfully prepare your mullet rigs and catch a good day of surf fishing. 

Look over our methods for rigging mullets multiple times if you have to! Thus, feel free to come back to my articles anytime!

Zaldy G.

I love feeling the cool ocean spray every time I hit the beach with a rod and a bucket of bait. I love the thrill of feeling bites on my line whenever I hook a big one. And I especially love the pride that comes with cooking a fresh catch and sharing it with my friends and family. Thank you for stopping by. Let's go catch some fish!

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