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Sea Mullet

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Last Updated: 02 July 2021

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General | Latest Info

To many people, it is a sure sign that Spring has arrived when they hear their neighbors ' lawn mowers cranking up, or when yellow pollen from pine trees begins blanketing their cars. A more benign indication is when word began circulating that Sea Mullets are being caught on ocean piers and on surf along our Barrier Island beaches. The appearance of those popular panfish is proof that the dark days of winter are giving way to the season of poets, lovers and fishermen. Sea mullets can actually be caught throughout winter in this part of the country, but they are hit - and - miss quarry during the coldest months and few anglers are willing to brave elements to fish for them. Around the time of the Spring Equinox, though, they begin to congregate in growing numbers in shallow water off our beaches, preparing to move offshore where they will spawn. Schools vary in size but provide fairly consistent sport from mid - March to early May most years, depending on water temperature and weather conditions. It is not unusual during their spring run to have Sea Mullet catch two - at - atime off piers, on surf and in protected inshore waters like Morehead City Port turning basin. Good places for land - base anglers to try are on ocean piers on Bogue Banks and Topsail Island, as well as at various places along those islands ' beaches. Some productive spots in the past have been in the Salter Path / Indian Beach area and around Ft. Macon Rock jetty on the east end of the Island. Knowledgeable fishermen suggest going to prospective stretch of beach at low tide to locate deeper water on the inside of longshore bars and then returning to fish both sides of high tide. Sea mullet fishermen catch in central part of our state coast are most often southern kingfish. There are actually two other sub - species, northern Kingfish and Gulf Kingfish, that are nearly indistinguishable. Fish are usually called whiting in states North of us and kingfish in South Carolina. To anglers in this region, though, they are Sea Mullet - silvery fish with an indistinct dusky pattern on their sides that gradually give way to yellowish back. They are long and narrow, with low - set mouths like red drums and croakers. That is logical since Sea Mullet are related to those fish as well as spots, gray trout and spot sea trout. Sea Mullets are truly pan - size, usually weighing 10 to 14 ounces. A big one might weigh pounds and any that tips scale more than that is bragging size. A one - pound fish will be approximately 12 inches long and about two to three years old. North Carolina's record for Sea Mullet was set by 3. A 5 pound specimen took on Bogue Inlet Pier in 1971. To qualify for citation in the NC Division of Marine Fisheries Saltwater Tournament, Sea Mullet must weigh 1. 5 lb. Sea Mullets tend to make up for their lack of size with other attributes.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

The Other Kingfish

Last fall we experienced what is called a mullet blow heralding the start of fall fishing season. Brisk northeast winds, cool temperatures, flushing out myriad of finger and hardhead Mullet from our estuarial waters out of inlets and into Bogue Banks Surf. Most anglers pursue these forage fish with castnets for bait, as flounder, drum, trout, king and Spanish mackerels and, yes; sharks are now chomping hot at their tails. And of course, there is the Swansboro Mullet Festival celebrating commercial catching of these important species. There is, however, another species of Mullet, pursued for their delectable taste and feistiness as fighters for these elongated and only silent members of Sciaenids, or drum / croaker family. Ever popular and very edible, Sciaenid family includes black and red drum, speckle and gray trout, croakers, diminutive spots, sand perch and delectable Sea Mullet. Locally, these Sea Mullet, also know as Virginia Mullet, whiting and technically kingfish, come in three flavors, Northern kingfish, with its dark angular stripes and long dorsal fin filament, Southern kingfish, which has lighter stripes and without dorsal filament and more silvery Gulf kingfish, sporting a very prominent lateral line. To anxious winter weary fishermen, March always proves to be the cruelest month, with surf temperatures, as was the case this year, still wallowing in the 50s and only a few puffers, sharks and skates being harbingers of spring fishing. April, however, is breakout when we finally see hospitable surf temperatures in the 60s, with 65 being the breakout temperature, and multitudes of Sea Mullet and bluefish finally making it to our coolers. To get local scoop, I talked to, Gary Mohorn, year - round resident of Emerald Isle, local fisherman and self - proclaim meat eater, fish meat that is. To me, say Mohorn, spring fishing is Sea Mullet, pompano and bluefish. It depends on water temperature, admit Mohorn, but last couple of years first I caught sea mullet in any numbers was mid - March. Spring runs seem to peak in mid - April, that is when I do best on Pier. Fishing piers, Sea Mullet are mostly in deeper water behind bar, point out Mohorn. Sea Mullet seem to be low light fish, rainy days, cloudy days, muddy water, but the best time for big numbers is at night. Also, like spots, they tend to move closer to the beach on rising tide and work their way out to deeper water when the tide is falling. I saw this again this year. Spring is only the start of the Sea Mullet season, which carries through summer and usually well into fall. In fact, this year looks like one of the better Mullet seasons since 2012, with Mohorn and fellow mulleters frequently filling their coolers fishing Bogue and Oceanana piers on Bogue Banks and Down to Topsail Island piers too, Seaview, Surf City and Jolly Roger.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Overview

Predators Major predators of striped mullet include fishes, birds, and marine mammals. Spot seatrout fee on Mullet up to 13. 8 inches long. Off the coast of Florida, sharks often feed on large Mullet.S Pelicans and other aquatic birds as well as dolphins also prey on striped Mullet. Parasites Mullet commonly have parasitic infestations. In one study, nearly 300 adult mullets were collected from the Florida gulf coast. All individuals contain parasites. Strip Mullet are hosts for many parasites including flagellates, ciliates, myxosporidians, monogenean and digenean trematodes, nematodes, acanthocephalans, leeches, argulids, copepods, and isopods. Young Mullet below 8 inches in length are often heavily infest by adult digenetic trematodes while larger hosts have primarily myxosporidians, copepods, and nematodes as well as larval digenean trematodes. Heavily parasitized specimens carrying large amounts of one parasite, often were host to the greatest number of parasitic species. Apparently, already weakened hosts are more vulnerable to infestation by other parasites.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Sources

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

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