bastard crab

Mullet are important gamefish prey wherever they occur. They can be found seasonally as far north as Rhode Island, but are most abundant farther south. Other than bonefish and permit, I think all gamefish eat mullet. They are primarily shallow-water inhabitants, found in estuaries, lagoons, bays, and along coastal shorelines.

Adult mullet are present year-round in the sub-tropics and tropics, and are present seasonally in warm-temperate areas. Juvenile mullet (those most often eaten by gamefish) are most common in estuaries in all regions from summer through fall. In some regions they undergo coastal migrations: along the southeastern US coast, for example, juvenile mullet (primarily White Mullet) migrate southward from warm-temperate estuaries in the fall. These migrations are fed upon by most coastal gamefish, including tarpon, snook, cobia, ladyfish, jacks, red drum, and barracuda, among others. Most mullet grow large as adults, but it is the juvenile sizes that are most eaten by gamefish. Keep this in mind when tying mullet flies. Mullet occur throughout the water column in shallow coastal habitats, but tend to head for the water surface when being chased by gamefish. Most fly anglers realize this, so most mullet imitations are unweighted and are fished near the surface.


Hook: Mustad 34007, size 1 to 2/0
Tail: Slender white hackle or ostrich herl, over which is silver Flashabou
Head: Pearl Flexi-cord cone
Body: Flashabou tied in front of the flexi-cord cone, trailing back
Rattle: This is optional, and adds another fishy component to the fly
Thread: Danville flat waxed nylon, white


  • At the hook bend, tie in hackle tips and flash for tail, whip finish and trim thread. If you are going to tie in a rattle, do so now onto the middle of the hook shank.
  • Cut a length of flexi-cord the same length as the hook shank.
  • Pass the flexi-cord over the hook shank, so one end is over the hook bend, the other over the hook eye. 
  • Attach the thread to the shank just behind the hook eye, tie down the forward end of the flexi-cord. Fold the rear end of the flexi-cord forward (turning it inside-out), and tie it in at the same point as above (this should result in a flexi-cord cone, with the narrow end forward).
  • Tie in the Flashabou at the same point as above – dark above, light below – using multiple small clumps.  The Flashabou should extend to approximately half-way along the length of the hackle tips.
  • Using your fingers to hold the tips of the Flashabou near the hook bend while using a bodkin to spread Softex over the head – be sure to apply enough Softex to soak the Flashabou to the flexi-cord cone.  I find it helpful to use a clothespin to hold the tail-end of the Flashabou in place while the Softext dries.