Mullet is one of the best baits to use to catch bluefish in the fall.
In New Jersey there is always a significant mullet run in the fall. Around the middle of September they start coming out of the back bays and gather right along the beaches. They form dense schools and are easy to catch with a cast net. They are not usually fished live, but rather fresh. The bait shops at that time of year always carry bags of fresh frozen mullet. Bluefish are not so fussy. Fresh frozen is fine with them.
This fisherman is using a cast net to catch mullet during the mullet run.
Bluefish usually attack a baitfish from the back and bite off the rear section of the fish. Because of this it is necessary to rig the mullet bait so that the hook is at the rear of the fish. Special mullet rigs are available to accomplish this. Three of them are shown in the photos below.
The mullet rig has a float and a long wire with a loop at the end. The wire is inserted through the mouth of the mullet baitfish, then out the rear of the fish. A special hook that has two shanks and hooks then is threaded through the loop on the end of the wire. The hooks then are at the rear of the baitfish, where you want them to catch a bluefish.
The large mullet float rig has a float and a large hook with a long shank. The hook is inserted in the front section of the mullet, through the fish, and back out the back section. The point of the hook is near the rear of the baitfish.
The small mullet float rig has two floats and two smaller hooks. The mullet baitfish is cut in half, and the two halves are put on the two hooks. Since the baits are short, the bluefish tends to take the whole bait, and the hook. This rig works fine for small and medium size bluefish but the hooks are a little small for really large bluefish.