Striped mullet, that’s what.

This isn’t a finesse, artificial lure fishery. Gar and sharks are big, pug-ugly brutes that are looking for mouthfuls of meat.

Fortunately, mullet are not hard to come by; that is if you learn to throw a cast net. The Joneses catch their bait in the very same bayous that they fish in, or on the flats at the mouths of the bayous into the big lake. 

While their Pop idled the boat up the bayou, Tyler and Hunter took turns tossing their cast net in perfect donuts. The net wasn’t cast blindly. “Look for any surface disturbance,” coached Tyler. “You will quickly learn what to look for.”

Easiest to spot in the still waters of the small bayou were multiple dimples set together on the surface. These were the heads of small schools of mullets slurping at surface scum, a form of feeding for the vegetarian fish.

All sizes of mullets were kept for bait. Hand-sized 5- to 6-inch specimens were kept in the live well to be used as live bait. Larger mullets were used as cut bait.

“Some days they prefer live bait,” shrugged Tyler. “Other days, you can’t get a bite on it.”