How to catch Mullet for bait using a rod and reel

Mullet can be a great bait for fishing but catching them can be a bit tricky. In this blog post, we’re going to show you how to do it using a Rod and Reel (or Handline). We’ll give you tips on where to look for them and how to get them into your bait bucket. Catch some mullet today and go fishing tomorrow!

What you will need to catch Mullet

  1. Rod and Real or Handline with light line, 4lb to 8lb is ideal
  2. Small hooks size No 8 to 12 are ideal
  3. Bait for the hook, dough or white bread works well
  4. A rig that is suitable. Float or unweighted works well.

What will help catch Mullet

  1. Knowing where Mullet like to live (yes in the water)
  2. Burley to bring and keep the Mullet
  3. Reading the rest of this article (shameless plug)

Rod and Real or Handline

A light rod and reel with a light line from 4lb to 8lb is perfect for catching mullet for bait. This size line is tougher for the fish to see, be mindful that the lighter the line the easier it is to break on snags and structure. You may find using a Monofilament main line gives you more success over braid as Mono has a little stretch in it.

When trying to catch Mullet for bait, you do not have to use a rod and reel. Another fairly inexpensive option is to use a hand line. These can be picked up for a few dollars almost anywhere, even your local shop may have one.

Hook size

Small hooks that can be used to catch fish like Mullet

Mullet have small soft mouths, so using smaller size hooks size No 8 to 12 is recommended. Ones similar to the Mustad Mustad Blackfish S-Neck or Mustard Bloodworm Hooks are suitable. The longer shank will be easier to unhook the Mullet, where the S-Neck will hide in the bait better, depending on what bait you are using.

Bait to use

As Mullet are scavengers, they will eat most baits. Remember to keep them small enough for the Mullet to swallow. One of the best baits is bread/dough.

Getting some white bread (white is preferred) and balling a small amount onto the hook can give success.

If you are prepared enough, you can make a dough using flour and water. Mix them together until the dough is moist but not sticky. Leaving it in the fridge overnight is recommended to help it get a bit firmer.

Rigs for Mullet

Float Rig:

Using a float with a 15-30cm length to the hook will keep your bait in the upper strike zone.

An example of a float and hook rig, used in fishing for catching fish like Mullet and Garfish

Unweighted Rig:

Tying the hook only onto the line is a simple way to have a good bait presentation, but less control over where the bait will go, especially if in a tidal area.

Paternoster/Running Sinker:

If the fish are lower in the water column you can use one of these rigs to get down into their strike zone.


I like to use a fluorocarbon leader whenever possible as it has a great refractive index, making it almost invisible to the fish whilst in the water.

Where Mullet live

Mullet can be found throughout tropical and temperate regions, mostly in salt or brackish water. Some ideal places to look for them is jetties, piers, beaches, rivers, estuaries even canals and harbours.

Mullet tend to move around in schools close to the water surface, but scavenge on the bottom or where they can find small plants and animals.

Using polarised sunglasses may help you to spot them moving on the topwater. Allowing you to set up and start a burley trail where you know they are.

Burley is key

Once you have the rig, bait, and location, setting up a burley trail will help you to catch more (or in my case at least one) Mullet. There are a couple of burley techniques you can use, depending on the location you are in.

Burley bucket:

You can use a burley bucket, put your burley of choice into it and by weighing it down you can then have it under the water, shaking it (if needed) every so often to create a burley trail to bring the fish in.

Bread slush:

Breaking up some bread into a small container (like a peanut butter jar) adding some water and shaking it until the bread is dissolved will give you bread flavoured water. This can then be thrown into the water to create a burley trail. The good thing with this option is that you can quite easily make more in the jar. As well, the fish will not fill up on the burley, but follow the smell to where you are.

Bits of bread:

The simplest method is to just throw a little bit of bread out (smaller or similar size to your bait) every so often to lead the Mullet to your location and keep them there. This method has two flaws, if the bread is floating away from you to fast, the fish will not know where to go. As well, if you use too much they may fill up before eating what’s on your hook.

So there you have it, how to catch Mullet for bait using a rod and reel. Hopefully, this information has been helpful and you are now well on your way to catching some bait for your next big fishing trip. If you have success, be sure to let us know, we love nothing more than helping people catch fish and enjoy the outdoors!

For another great bait that’s fun and easy to get, check out How to pump, keep and hook Yabbies