VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - If your weekend plans include a trip to Volusia County beaches, be careful. There are red flags flying and swimmers could find themselves face-to-face with a shark in the water.
Channel 9's Blaine Tolison learned mullet are luring sharks closer to popular swimming spots.
Fisherman Dave Wallace had one of the best catches of the day on the jetty in Ponce Inlet when he hooked a large red fish, though he couldn't keep the fish by state regulation. But Wallace said at this time of the year, there's plenty more where that one came from.
"The baitfish start running, so the reds come in and they stay right on the surface, so it's a nonstop event," said Wallace.
Locals call the fast-swimming mullet "bait balls," because they swim in groups and attract bigger fish, including sharks, close to where people fish, surf and swim.
"Absolutely. We're seeing spinner sharks. We've got jacks. We've got reds," said Wallace.
"Lots of sharks, but mostly big tarpon and lots of mullet," said surfer Ricky Pasternak. "I mean, it was black with mullet."
Experts said most of the mullet aren't full-grown. They said they're small and come inshore this time of year to feed.
Other species may also be moving to spawn.
Locals have a theory for why they see the most along the
Ponce Inlet jetty.
"They all start moving down the beach and they get stuck here in this corner," said Pasternak. "It's a physical barrier; so this is the mecca for fish activity."
So far, since the bait fish showed up for what is called the mullet run, there have not been any shark bites, but lifeguards are advising swimmers to watch for fish activity.