BLUEFISH: HAVOC WITH A FORKED TAIL
Bluefish, known as “the yellow eyed demons” for their ferocious nature, will chop up anything in their sight- bait fish, tackle, and even human fingers if you’re not careful. Many angler have had injuries while trying to handle one of these fish or while removing a hook. Despite the risk, the energy and ferocity found in these fish makes them very exciting to catch.
As the waters begin to warm up at the end of May and into June, the canals, bays, inlets and even out front in the oceans, not only are the Striped Bass active, but the fun of fishing for Blues kicks into gear. When the Bluefish hit town they come to clean house with their violent strikes and their “hit anything you throw at them” attitude. They are known for epic “blow-ups” on top water plugs- heartstopping strikes that will have anglers coming back for
more. The consistent way these fish hit throughout the day makes targeting them a great way to get the line tight when other fish are not be biting.
Bluefish are usually not as finicky as other species, particularly Striped Bass, so targeting bluefish is a great way to teach novice or new anglers the joy of a day on the water- even a newcomer to the surf can get in on the action. It’s also a great way to introduce young kids to surfcasting. In today’s world of instant gratification through technology, kids don’t want to wait for anything. So fishing for blues is a good way to get them quick action and maybe even the fight of their life. The screaming drag from a “gator blue” or the air show when they jump out of the water will hopefully make your kids anglers for life. It sure did for me. I grew up at a time when the Striped Bass fishery had collapsed, so Blues were the predominant fish for catching in the surf.
So, what tackle should you use when pursuing these demons? As I stated earlier, Blue are not as picky as other species. They will hit, perhaps destroy, most swimming plugs, top water plugs, metal jigs, and bucktails in your bag. If you plan on using swimming plugs and top water plugs, I recommend you remove the belly hook- especially if it is a treble. The belly treble is not necessary as bluefish are “chop feeders”. Because of their razor sharp teeth, they will chop at the back of lure, most often getting hooked on the back hook. By removing the belly hook you reduce the damage to the fish and the mortality rate for catching and releasing. It will also reduce your chance of injury as there will be less hooks to contend with when removing a fish from the lure. It is also a good idea to change your back treble to a single hook for the same reasons. Bluefish also like a bloody bait. Steel leaders are also commonly used or at least heavy leader material. Check your line often for nicks, as even fish that you don’t cash will be gnashing at everything in their way.
Catching the Blues is great fun. The fight in this fish, their razor sharp teeth, aggressive behavior, and epic strikes make this one of the most exciting inshore fish to catch. In recent years, however, we have seen a decline in this fishery, just like with our “old friend” the Striped Bass. Please stay within the bag limits, and practice catch and release when you can to help preserve the fishery and let others enjoy catching these fish as much as we do. Live the Passion! Tightlines!
Guide with over 30 years of experience fishing the legendary waters of Long Island. He is well known for his informative seminars at saltwater shows in the Northeast. Bernie offers trips along the outer beaches and inlets of Long Island, as well as Cape Cod Canal, Cuttyhunk, and other Northeast Striper locations. He is a pro-team member for S&S Bucktails, ODM RODS, and KastKing, as well as a member of the Long Island Beach Buggy Association and the Montauk Surfcasters Association. You can contact Bernie on Facebook through Bernie Bass Surfcasting Services, on Instagram @Bernie_bass, and through his website at https://www.berniebass.com/