Learning the techniques for catching Bluefish in the surf is all about understanding their migratory patterns and preferences. This saltwater species is a very popular game fish sought after by many surf anglers. This article will help you target this fish at the surf line.
Bluefish are a migratory saltwater game fish. Although you will find them in the Gulf of Mexico year round they migrate between the east coast of Florida and the coastline of Massachusetts and sometimes as far north as the coast of Nova Scotia.
They are found in Florida during the winter months and by April they will be heading north up the coast. They spend the summer around Massachusetts starting about June. Then around October they begin heading south for the winter again.
They feed voraciously, often in a frenzy. When feeding in a frenzy they will attack anything in their path and little skill is needed to catch them. Known to be somewhat cannibalistic they usually school up with others of the same size. They like menhaden, shrimp, squid and other bait fish similar to sardines.
Preferred Live Baits
The best bait maybe what they are currently feeding on in the the surf. However, they can be caught on these popular live and cut baits regularly:
They like a fast retrieve when casting lures. Spoons work well. Plugs, jigs and surface lures are also popular with them. Nothing is hardly more exciting than taking a bluefish on a top water lure. If you are fishing at dusk or early dawn a noisy lure will be especially productive.
Tackle To Use
Bluefish have very sharp teeth and will require fishing with wire leaders. Use 3/0 to 4/0 circle hooks for live bait rigs. You can use a fireball rig or a fish finder rig. Twenty pound test line is a safe bet even for the larger species. The Florida record catch is 22 lbs. 3oz. But you can can catch 3 to 5 pounders all day.
If you plan on keeping some of your catch for the table, they should be put on ice right away. The best way to prepare a bluefish is to fillet them. They are good smoked and younger fish will be better tasting.
Don’t overlook this surf fish to provide an exciting time fishing the surf. When the bluefish are running you won’t even have time to put your rod in the sand spike.
Randy Meyers is a surf angler who has been fishing the surf for over 30 years. He is the author of Surf Fishing – The quick Start Guide To This Exciting Sport. Randy owns and operates the surf fishing website Surf-Fishanybeach.com. Visit his site for a free surf fishing mini-course. Read more of Randy’s Articles here.