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Mud Minnows, Articles, Equipment And Videos

Discussion in 'Bait, Local Central Florida Bait and Tackle Shops' started by Nautical Gator, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. Nautical Gator

    Nautical Gator Forum Captain, Moderator, Peacekeeper Staff Member
    Thread Started By

    Mud Minnows, articles, equipment and videos


    Mud minnows are similar to finger mullet in several ways, such as in size, often color, and even the fish species that eat them. Ranging from salt water coastal areas on farther into the estuarial system where the water becomes mildly brackish, mud minnows are generally easier to spot during lower tides. Mud minnows sometimes call bull minnows; spend most of their time in shallow water, often ten inches or less. In much the same manner as finger mullet, mud minnows will disturb the surface of the water as they move about giving their location away, thus like finger mullet, mud minnows can be caught using a cast net.

    These minnows are however, different from finger mullet in several key ways. First, mud minnows are not migrate, they stay in local waters year round making them available as bait at anytime. As water temperatures drop, they become the most accessible bait on hand. This fact alone makes mud minnows a prime enticement for hungry fish in the colder months.

    Secondly, these minnows can be caught using a baited minnow trap. This is very handy if there is time to set the traps and let them do their job. Bait a couple of minnow traps with bacon, locate a spot where the minnows are hanging out and place the trap there. Remember that mud minnows like shallower water so don’t place the trap in deep water. The traps may also be baited with hot dogs, shrimp, or a piece of fish.


    Mud minnows are more robust then finger mullet. This is one more difference between the two species. The minnows can survive easily in a 10-Quart Minnow Bucket with only an occasional refreshing of the water. In fact many fisherman who have forgotten to empty their live wells, often find the next day that the only surviving occupants are the mud minnows. In addition, because they are such survivors, selling of these minnows by bait and tackle stores become feasible.
    The mud minnow can be fished using any of the standard methods. Most often a 2/0 circle hook is adequate, but more importantly choose a hook size that will allow the minnow to be hooked through the lips or eyes and remain alive. Expect to catch redfish, flounder, spotted trout, Mangrove Snapper or even large mouth bass.

    In the spring as flounder prepare for their migration into local inlets, they will hold up on near shore reefs. Mud minnows are particularly effective when used to catch these schooled bottom feeding flounders and in this case, the flounders don’t care if the minnows are alive, dead, or even frozen.


    In shore one of the more popular ways to fish the mud minnow is to tie a 3/0 weedless hook onto a rod and reel designed for baitcasting, lip hook the minnow then smoothly cast him into clean open (pothole like) spots around water lilies or ell grass. For the adventurous, this is particularly fun when wade fishing.

    The Cast Net
    If you like to catch your own live bait you need a cast net. These throw nets have been around since the beginning of recorded history and for good reason. Relatively simple in design, a large net can cover an area of up to 28 feet in diameter. Nets are easy to transport, easy to maintain and require minimal effort to use.

    Cast nets are measured by their radius and if you have never used a net its best start small, a 4 to 5 foot net is perfect when learning the methods of casting. All nets come with instructions on casting the net but don't expect to get it right from the first throw. Learning to use the net take a little time but the time is worth the effort, the net will pay for itself many times over. Once you have mastered a smaller size you may want to try a larger one. Six to eight footers are the most popular among weekend fisherman and are very effective. We recommend a Bass Pro Shop mono bait Cast Net, they are reasonably priced and hold up well.

    The most important point to keep in mind when selecting a net is the bait size you are targeting. The bait size will dictate the required mesh size of the net. Mesh is the size of tied squares that make the net. A larger mesh allows smaller bait to escape while capturing larger bait. A net with 1 inch mesh is generally consider to be a mullet cast net and 1/4 inch mesh would be used to catch bait as small as minnows. If you are targeting finger mullet, shrimp, shiners, and the like, a 3/8 inch mesh works great.


    So how do you know where to cast to catch bait? In many cases bait can be seen working the surface, meaning disturbances or eddies created by bait movement are visible on the surface. In shallow clear water bait can be seen, move slowly in order to get within casting range because if you can see them, they can see you. Use these techniques for catching bait fish of all sizes including large mullet, mud minnows, and pin fish. For other types of bait such as golden shiners or shrimp, baiting a spot to cast on may be required.

    Regardless of the technique used to catch bait, you should consider what might be under the water which could snag or tangle the net, and avoid casting onto oyster beds, rocks, and debris covered bottoms. Unfortunately nets will become snagged so before you use brute force to pull the net free, try working your hands around the outer edges of the net (if it can be reached) that may free-up part of the net if not all.

    Inevitably tears in the net will occur; many small repairs can be done with monofilament line or even sandwiching the tear between two pieces of duct tape. However, if the tear is too large or the effectiveness of the net is compromised, replace to net.


    The kahle is used mainly for live and natural bait, especially with larger shiners when bass fishing. This hook can be easily swallowed making it very effective but unsuitable for catch and release.

    From these types many modified styles have been created like the bait keepers which has additionally barbs on the shank and weedless hooks which has a wire clip designed to prevent snagging. There are true-turns, trebles, duals, and barbless - well you get the idea.
  2. Saltgasm

    Saltgasm Boatswain

    Crazy, I am heading out tommorow afternoon in an effort to round up mud minnows for a Saturday outing. Was just about to ask a few questions about catching them. Thanks Sam, pretty funny you posted this. One question remains; Do the mud minnows go up under the mangroves in the trap? Or should I focus on open water?
  3. Nautical Gator

    Nautical Gator Forum Captain, Moderator, Peacekeeper Staff Member
    Thread Started By

    I cast net all my mud minnows around sand bars and along the shoreline and grass flats. they like to stay in shallow water 1 ft or less. if you are placing the above minnow trap in the water, place it where the grass meets the water in the shallows along a sand bar.

    Then keep them alive in a aerated minnow bucket.
    seadawg and paleoman like this.
  4. Nautical Gator

    Nautical Gator Forum Captain, Moderator, Peacekeeper Staff Member
    Thread Started By

    These are my mud-minnow and small bait catching tools

    • 10ft Mud-minnow cast net, also catches small greenies without getting caught in the webbing.
    • Mud-minnow trap
    • and a long seine net

  5. Karl B

    Karl B Master Gunner

    Thanks, good info. I was wondering how I was going to catch some myself. Good timing on the post.
  6. cayrbee

    cayrbee Pirate in the making

    Thanks Sam

    AL KEARCE Boatswain

    Very informative,thanks.
  8. seadawg

    seadawg Pirate

    Good info, thanks everyone for the ideas
  9. lobsterman

    lobsterman Seaman Recruit

    Great article. Thanks Sam.
  10. Salty

    Salty Newbie

    Thanks for this article.

    AL KEARCE Boatswain

    Great info as usual Sam. Thanks.
  12. Conner

    Conner Pirate

    Thanks for the advice
  13. relicshunter

    relicshunter Junior Member

    What size seine net would you recommend? Would Yucatan mollies work as well for bait. I came in to a primitive ramp above yankeetown one time and the ramp was flooded and swimming with mollies.
  14. Nautical Gator

    Nautical Gator Forum Captain, Moderator, Peacekeeper Staff Member
    Thread Started By

    I just use the longest on a could buy.

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