Bluefish Fishing Basics

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They can be found in great numbers near Canada’s Maritime Provinces during the summer and they are prevalent throughout the entire Atlantic Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico.  Bluefish are mostly found inshore in bays, along the beaches, around jetties, inlets and many other areas inshore.

How to Catch Bluefish

Bluefish will eat a wide variety of baits and lures.  You can catch them with topwater lures, jigs, spoons, crankbaits and many different types of live bait and cut bait.  Wire leaders are a good idea when fishing for bluefish because their sharp teeth can easily cut through regular fishing line.  Anglers target bluefish in many different areas.  You can catch them in the surf along the beaches, near jetties, around the inlets and in the bays.

Recommended Tackle

Flounder are not nearly as strong as some of the other popular fish that are targeted inshore such as snook, redfish and trout.  They may pull hard when they are first hooked, but they do tire out quickly compared to the other species of fish.  You can usually get away with a medium spinning rod and reel and 12 to 14 pound test line.  You could catch them with lighter line, but we don’t recommend it.  There are so many other species of fish that you may catch while fishing for flounder, so 14 to 20 pound line is preferred on spinning gear or your favorite baitcaster.  Use a medium to medium heavy rod and if you want to go heavier, you can.

Eating Bluefish

Bluefish are considered good-eating by many anglers, but there are plenty of people that think bluefish are a poor-tasting fish.  If you do decide to eat some bluefish, most people recommend bleeding the fish immediately after catching them.  You may also want to trim out the dark meat along the side of the fillet and remove the belly flap because this is where most of the PCBs tend to concentrate.

Chumming for Bluefish

Chumming is very effective for bluefish.  Most anglers will use bunker chum, which is ground up bunker that is frozen and put in large tins.  Bunker chum is very oily and produces a nice chum slick on top of the water.  This chum slick will attract bluefish and it will usually position these fish near the surface.  If you are going to fish with live or cut baits, a free lining rig will usually be more effective.  Topwater lures and spoons fished just a couple of feet below the surface will also be effective for catching the bluefish that are near your chum slick.

Fishing the Tidal Changes for Bluefish

Just like most fish that are caught inshore, the better bite will occur during the tidal changes for bluefish.  The incoming tide and outgoing tide provides anglers some good fishing opportunities.

Inshore Fishing for Bluefish

Bluefish are one of the most popular species of fish to target inshore on the Atlantic coast. You can find bluefish on the beaches, in the bays, inlets, around jetties and many other areas inshore.  Surf fishing for bluefish is one of the most popular ways to fish for them on the Atlantic coast, especially during the mullet migrations.  Anglers fish for bluefish many different ways inshore.  You can catch bluefish trolling, jigging and with live bait.

Nearshore Fishing for Bluefish

Bluefish are known as an inshore fish, but they are also found nearshore as well.  Anglers will often run into bluefish when they are running the beaches looking for active fish.  Trolling is very popular when searching for bluefish in the nearshore waters.  You may find them around structure or in open water chasing bait fish.

Trolling for Bluefish

Trolling with spoons, tubes, jigs, plugs and umbrella rigs will work well for bluefish.  By trolling for bluefish, you get to cover a lot of water, which gives you a good chance to find the schools of bait fish that the bluefish are feeding on.  Many anglers will troll to find the bluefish, then anchor or drift over these schooling fish with live bait.

How the Time of Day Affects Bluefish Fishing

Bluefish can be caught throughout the day, however, the bite is definitely better in the morning and evening.  Low light conditions are key to finding bluefish on the prowl and they can be super active during these times.  Combine the low light conditions with a tidal change and you have even better conditions.

How the Time of Year Affects Bluefish Fishing

Bluefish migrate up and down the Atlantic coast and they can be found throughout Florida as well.  These fish migrate up north along the east coast in the spring and will stay through most of the fall.  As winter approaches, bluefish will migrate back south to follow the warmer water temperatures.  The fishing can be outstanding in late spring and early summer along most of the east coast.  Summer fishing can be good too, however, when it gets real hot, the bite can be slower.  In the fall, the bite picks up and stays strong as these fish follow the warmer weather south.


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