The Secret To Catching Tarpon On Butterflied Mullet


You can catch tarpon and other big fish in a lot of different ways.

Dead bait, live bait, and even frozen bait all work.

But fresh, dead, cut mullet sitting on the bottom is almost a sure thing any time of day.

(Yes, even in the middle of the afternoon!)

In this video, you’ll learn from our very own Capt. Hollywood:

  • How to prep butterflied mullet
  • What NOT to do when rigging and casting cut bait
  • Tips on landing big tarpon
  • And more

Check it out below!

Catching Tarpon On Cut Mullet [VIDEO]

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Equipment Used:

How To Butterfly Mullet

To prepare the mullet, you want to butterfly it.

Start from the tail end, slicing right along the bone, and go all the way to just behind the pectoral fin.

Do the same on the other side.

Pulling the tail, remove the backbone along with the guts.

It’s going to be stinky, oily, and will broadcast that scent throughout the area!

How To Rig Butterflied Mullet

Hook the mullet through both lips and into the head with your 8/0 Owner Inline Hook.

You’ll want to use a heavy leader such as 100 lb Ande Monofilament with at least a 1 oz egg sinker, creating a knocker rig.

How To Cast Butterflied Mullet

You are not going to be able to sling this bait like a Slam Shady.

Do an underhand lob really nice and easy.

As soon as it hits the water, let it sink to the bottom.

You don’t want any slack in the line.

Finally, go ahead and set your drag (you’ll want it tight).

Fishing With Rodney

The line is tight, bait is on the bottom, now put the rod in the rod holder (that’s Rodney).

Trust me, you’ll know when it gets hit!

While you soak bait and wait, you can up your chances of getting a bite by putting out a live mullet on a cork behind the dead baits.

The cork will keep the bait where you can see it and will help with not getting tangled in your dead bait lines.

I recommend putting out two dead baits and one live bait.

Tarpon Fight & Release Tips

The best technique to fight a tarpon hard is to keep your rod just at or below parallel to the water.

Wind down, pull up, repeat.

If you get the head up during a tarpon fight, do everything you can to keep their head up because this is your chance to land it.

Once you have the tarpon landed, make sure you properly revive the fish before releasing it.

Get water moving through its gills for a couple of minutes until the fish is ready to go.

It’s very important to protect these fish so please take the time to revive them before releasing them!

If you want to get in on the action, book a trip with Capt. Hollywood at


tarpon on cut mullet

If you’re looking to catch big fish like tarpon, goliath grouper, barracuda, sharks, jacks, and even sawfish, then fresh-cut mullet is a great option.

Cut mullet puts a ton of scent in the water and big fish cannot resist!

Have any questions about how to rig up cut mullet for monster fish?

Let me know down in the comments!

If you know someone who uses but bait to catch big tarpon, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

And if you’re in The Keys and want to go out with Capt. Hollywood and his crew, you can find them at

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Stephen Frantz
1 year ago

Awesome video never thought about butterflying my bait fish. On a not of advice I always love to snell my hook on when fishing a knocker rig. That way I never have a big ol’ egg sinker beating up my leader to hook knot.

Michael Smith
1 year ago

Great video!!! I’m interested in knowing a little more about Tarpon fishing in south Texas area…Houston/Galveston…I’m also interested in the quick release anchor. Anything you can share on these?? Thanks

Angelo Durso
1 year ago

that was a fabulous teaching video, thanks gentlemen.

question: how applicable do you think butterflied mullet would be for Cobia? I’m just about ready to hit my local waters for our annual Cobia season

also, I noticed when the tarpon jumped out of the water hooked, Luke would motion his rod down and point it at the tarpon. is the goal there to create some slack & mitigate the tarpon’s effort to shake the hook loose?

again, appreciate the video, excellent teamwork!

Angelo Durso
1 year ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Ok Luke, thanks. appreciate the video link as well. surprised that tarpon did not break the line, nice catch

Strayed Cat
1 year ago

Aawesome fight with a great game fish, you whipped him quick, Luke! Nice strong rod and video with Captain ‘Barker’ ; ), coaching like you were a rookie tourist from the Midwest. (I presume it was actually training tips for members & other youtubers)

I’ve caught too many fishing for Snook and have considered them a menace. Usually stealing my precious live bait and lures, testing my skills and on light tackle stripping all my line, especially land based, beaches, bridges and inlets.

They are actually overwhelming the fishery. Same problem with Jewfish/Goliath… They steal your good fish and tackle too. FWC talking 100 fish per year limit total (The Florida Channel/PBS) on Friday… Their meeting and ideas were painful to watch.

I guess both specie’s are good for tourism, guide$ and Dive boat$ income… and that counts$$$.

Recent trip to Long Key and Seven Miler fishing bridges, big Tarpon (and huge Jacks) were plentiful on incoming tides. They ain’t too picky … we were hooking up on fresh mullet chunks and iced pinfish chops for mangrove, mutton and groper. Surprisingly we only caught/released one Goliath in 2 days of fishing this trip and no sharks on the 14/0. We did see a small Tiger, but he wouldn’t eat a 6 lb. Carville.


Cody Byers
1 year ago

What knots are you using/recommending for 100lbs mono? At the hook as well as leader to mainline?? I have never used mono over 35lbs. Thanks for the great info!

Jerry Ashford
1 year ago

Would you recommend trolling with that set up?

John Hardiman
1 year ago

Hollywoooood! Nice!!!
Cutting the bait on a YETI!!!! Epic!!

Phil B
1 year ago

Good stuff. What a catch and great info. Hollywood’s experience and coaching is the best.

Andy Hong
1 year ago

Wow. So awesome! What a beautiful fish. I loved watching it shake its head loose and swim off.

Also, I appreciated the many great tips in the video, of course!

Mario Relvini
1 year ago

That was great Luke! Not quite the same as fighting a trout or red lol.


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