Black or striped mullet, are a versatile fish that can be found throughout the world in warm, coastal marine waters and sometimes in fresh water. They are abundant in Florida waters, especially in Choctawhatchee Bay and its bayous in and around Niceville.
Mullet are sometimes called jumping, or happy mullet because the fish leaps out of the water and skips along its surface with great exuberance.
Mullet have elongated, rather stout bodies. They are a dark bluish color on the top part of the body and have silvery sides. The head and mouth are small with closely-set teeth in the jaws. Mullet have large scales and, on the sides of these fish, the scales have dark centers which give an appearance of dark, horizontal stripes. Mullet range up to 2-1/2 feet in length (that’s a real big one) and have an average weight of 2 to 3 pounds, though they can get up to 6 pounds.
Mullet taken from Niceville’s sandy-bottomed waters are fat and clean. It’s firm-textured flesh has a mild, almost sweet, nutlike flavor.
During the depression, mullet literally saved the Boggy Bayou area by providing pioneer families with the means to barter with farmers in nearby Alabama and others for needed goods and services.
These versatile fish adapt readily to deep-fat frying, oven frying, baking, broiling or smoking. Mullet are exceptionally good smoked!