Make Your Move

Fall is a sea­son of mo­tion. The burn­ing ques­tion is: Can you nail the rhythm, pace, and tim­ing to keep up with the fiery—and fleet­ing—ac­tion?

Outdoor Life - - CONTENTS - BY JOE CERMELE

Fall brings schools of mul­let to Florida and causes game­fish to mi­grate. Are you ready?

Fish are busy in fall. They’ve got things to do, bait­fish to eat, and more com­fort­able liv­ing quar­ters to find be­fore win­ter. It’s a time of year when every­thing is on the move; ’tis the sea­son of mi­gra­tion. That jour­ney might be lo­cal, sim­ply trans­plant­ing fish from one part of the lake to an­other. Or it might push fish along hun­dreds of miles of coast­line, end­ing a fierce bite in one state and kick­ing it off in an­other. But the odome­ter read­ing for any jour­ney is ir­rel­e­vant. What mat­ters to an­glers is that at some point in au­tumn, Mother Na­ture will flip the switch, and those crap­pies, trout, red­fish, or pike will no longer be found at which­ever sum­mer haunt had been treat­ing you so well. This shift can make fall one of the most frus­trat­ing times of year. But hit it right, and it can also be the most glo­ri­ous.

Noth­ing cap­tures the power and angst of a fall mi­gra­tion bet­ter than the Florida mul­let run. In Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber, th­ese bait­fish school up in the bays, pour­ing out of in­lets into the At­lantic in black clouds that can span miles of beach. Ev­ery snook, tar­pon, and shark in the area comes close to shore to feed, slash­ing through this biomass, cre­at­ing waves of show­er­ing mul­let. Watch­ing this, you’d think the fish­ing would be way easy. The re­al­ity is, there is of­ten too much food, so get­ting that tar­pon or snook to sin­gle out your livey—or hit your plug— can drive you mad. Cash­ing in is all about tim­ing. To get a strike, you have to find your tar­gets as they ap­proach the mul­let or in an area where they

aren’t overly thick, and rods will bend. Tim­ing, you see, is key to all fall suc­cesses.

In the fi­nal throes of spring, you at least have the sat­is­fac­tion of know­ing that the fish­ing is pretty damn good in sum­mer. Dur­ing fall, it’s of­ten a count­down to shut­down, and the shot clock al­ways seems to run fast. To make sure you get your piece of the fleet­ing in­san­ity, we’ve brought in ex­perts to help you lo­cate, hook, and stay on a va­ri­ety of mi­grat­ing species un­til the bit­ter end. Syn­chro­nize your watches, and get more bass, walleyes, stripers, and small­mouth bass in the bag while the get­ting’s good.

A school of mi­grat­ing mul­let this mas­sive is an all-you-can-eat buf­fet for salt­wa­ter game­fish.

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