When he was a kid, fishing in Alabama, Frank Spires caught a mullet on a hook using chewing gum.
Mullet — the fish that jumps — will take a baited hook.
I thank Sun Herald readers for sharing their stories about catching them. I’ve heard a few tales since the story, “Why do mullet jump?”, ran online at Sunherald.com last week and was published Monday in the Sun Herald print edition.
That story said: You catch them with cast nets because they won’t take a baited hook.
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Russell B. Dobbyn of Gulfport assured me in an email that he’s caught one on a very small hook.
“I used a ‘cane’ pole, small piece of white cotton T-shirt for bait, and floated about 12 to14 inches of line past the bobber,” he wrote.
Frank Spires of Moss Point called to say that he has caught them — and his children and grandchildren have caught them — on cane poles in his backyard for 45 years.
Then he told the story about catching one with used gum.
He was fishing on the Blackwater River in Baldwin County. He was about 10 or 11 years old.
“I pulled my line up and I didn’t have any bait on it,” he said. “We were about to eat lunch, and I had gum in my mouth. I just pulled my gum out and put it on the hook.”
He threw the line back in the water and while eating lunch saw the cork bobbing.
“There was a mullet on it,” he said.
Like Dobbyn, he recommends a small hook. He uses bread rolled into a ball.
They can be hard to catch, because they’ll suck it or nibble it, Spires said.
“Sometimes they’ll take it and go, and you think you’ve got a big bass on the line,” he said. “Pull it up and you’ve got a mullet.”
Like the fisheries biologist quoted in the story, Spires agrees that fresh mullet are great to eat.
They’re bottom feeders, so Spires said the trick is to wash them twice.
“Caught in clean water,” he said, “it’s as good a fish as you’d ever put in your mouth.”