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Mullet Migration in Florida

It might be amusing to watch migrating mullets jumping above the water's surface, however, they don't do it out of amusement, but to escape chasing predators

Best time: late September–early October

Mullet Migration
Mullet Migration
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Someone unaware of this natural phenomenon might be truly pleased when they see the surprising sight of hundreds of thousands of fish leaping out of the water heading somewhere. Yet their positive excitement may change when they find out what's going on.

The large school of mullets, the size of a football field or even bigger, determinedly swim along the beaches of Florida. They don't have time to check what's in front of them: a rock, an angler's hook or any other obstacle—natural instinct drives them to their winter breeding grounds—the Gulf Stream and their main enemies are marine predators, including tarpon, shark and snook. As you may already understand, many don't make their way to the stream, but this is just how nature works.

You might become a witness of this incredible nature scene provided that you arrange your seaside vacation in Florida during the fall months, namely late September to early October—that's when mullet migration is going on.

The best spots to see schools of mullets are offshore around Port Canaveral and Sebastian Inlet. Other less popular places include Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River Lagoon.

Practical info

When is the best time to witness mullet migration in Florida?

The ideal time of year to see mullet migration in Florida is from late September until early October. This is when the mullets move along the Florida coast on their way to their breeding grounds in the Gulf Stream. As the temperature cools down, the fish also seek warmer waters offshore. This migration is an opportunity to view a magnificent display of thousands of mullets swimming in synchrony. Show more

Where are the best spots to see schools of mullets?

If you want to observe the mullet migration in Florida, the offshore areas surrounding Sebastian Inlet and Port Canaveral are the prime locations. The Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River Lagoon are alternate spots for a more isolated encounter. It's easier to spot them from a boat than on land since many boat tour companies provide unique and thrilling experiences to see the mullets. Show more

How big are the schools of mullets during migration?

The migratory schools of mullets that move along the Florida coast are enormous and can cover an area the size of a football field or even larger. This phenomenon attracts several predators as they follow the schools to their breeding grounds. The size of these schools makes it an opportunity to witness the fish's synchronized movement and learn about the challenges they experience during their migratory journey. Show more

What are the main predators of mullets during migration?

The mullet migration season in Florida brings numerous marine predators that prey on the mullets. Tarpons, snooks, and sharks are among the predators that stalk the schools, seeking a meal. The fish's defense mechanism during migration is to aggregate in large numbers, making it more challenging for predators to hunt them. Some anglers also take advantage of the migration period to fish for mullets and other species. Show more

How long does the mullet migration last, and how far do they travel?

Mullet migration in Florida takes place from late September to early October when water temperatures fall. The fish travel from the shoals of the Florida coast to the warmer Gulf Stream waters that are approximately 40 to 60 miles offshore. They cover about ten miles each day, and the entire trip from Florida to the Tennessee River Delta is about 800 miles. After spawning, the adult mullets return to the Florida coast. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin