Apart from sardine, mullet is one of the most commonly used bait fish along our coast, and I have used them with amazing success for garrick, shad, shark, rays and kob, especially when targeting shark, kob and big shad that often won’t take a sardine.
I find that the bigger shad tend to prefer fresh bait fish like karenteen, blacktail and fresh mullet. This bait tends to trigger a bite from sharks and rays much quicker than most, and a ragged-tooth in the area will not often pass up a freshly trimmed mullet. It works better than a live mullet at times because of the blood being released through the tail.
I use a 6/0 Rioichi or a Mustad Big Gun 6/0 when fishing a trimmed mullet. This also depends on the size of the bait fish and what size fish you are targeting. If I’m fishing for shark, I use a 9/0 or 10/0 4826T Mustad as these hooks have a wide gap and sit very proud on the bait fish. Use a hook file to sharpen them as they are heavy hooks and need an extra bit of work to flatten the sides of the hook for better penetration when you get a bite.
Start by feeding the hook through the mouth and out through the gills (without killing the fish).
Pull the hook out and place it in the centre, coming out just short of the tail. Using a hook or bait needle, make a small hole in the side of the fish in which to place a toothpick.
Place a toothpick in the eye of the hook – this will keep the hook facing upwards when you get a bite and stop the hook from falling flat on the bait. It will also help to stop the bait curling up and will give it a more natural presentation in the water. Trim the tail of the bait fish and, using some braid scissors, trim the tooth pick.
The blood will be released into the water and this normally triggers a quick bite.