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How to Catch Bluefish

Bluefish are hard fighting saltwater gamefish that make catching exciting. Frenzied eaters, they put up an excellent fight on the hook.

Fish can be caught using both live and artificial baits, using various fishing techniques including casting from boats, shores, piers and even trolling. Schools of these fish may gather together for feeding frenzy events frequently.


Bluefish can be found from Maryland to Massachusetts along the Atlantic Coast and range in size from smaller than their Gulf counterparts, yet still offer plenty of fishing fun. Bluefish tend to feed during daylight hours by following larger baitfish up from behind before chasing and devouring them with ease; beach anglers frequently target these bluefish when targeting king mackerel or striped bass; however they will also take cut baits if there is a feeding frenzy occurring.

Finding bluefish requires searching for schools of baitfish being corralled by an incoming tide into corralling structures like points, jetties or sandbars. You should also develop your beach reading skills so as to be alert for diving birds or signs that baitfish may be being hunted down – this should give an early indicator.

Bluefish have a taste for nearly anything thrown their way, from jigs and spoons to plugs. Bluefish typically arrive during spring migrations and remain through fall migrations; their favorite areas tend to contain large concentrations of Menhaden (known in Northeast waters as Bunker), Herring or other small baitfish species as their meal.

An effective strategy when bluefish feeding frenzy isn’t taking place is using cut bait as an attractant. The oils contained within will draw bluefish in for a taste test and you can quickly catch them by simply twitching a short length of cut bait.

Fishing for bluefish requires either casting or trolling techniques, with metal spoons often the preferred trolling tool in large sizes that can be cast long distance. When fishing for bluefish it’s wise to switch out your treble hooks for single ones as these species possess very sharp teeth that could easily gnash off any unnecessary parts on any treble hook set-ups.

Fly fishermen find great success when fishing for bluefish with various types of flies, including poppers, resin-bodied and crease flies. A short section of titanium leader placed ahead of each fly helps prevent its loss and offers minimal interference during casting due to additional weight.


Bluefish are voracious feeders with sharp teeth, making the proper bait essential to their capture. When presented properly, bluefish will strike at any type of live or lure bait such as Menhaden (known in the Northeast as bunker) or eels; dead bait also works; however small baitfish such as juvenile mullet is preferred as it tends to grab and then chomp rather than bite their prey – finger mullet or full bunker can work too if their hook doesn’t get stuck between their teeth – lip hooked so as not to get caught between their teeth snag.

Anglers employ various techniques for catching bluefish, such as jigging, casting, trolling, surf casting and chumming. Since these fish can be caught at any time of the day or night – making them an attractive target for anglers seeking a fill-your-cooler adventure!

When hunting bluefish, having an easily adjustable rig that can quickly move from place to place as baitfish move is key. A simple float and wire leader setup often works best; brightly-colored spoons or flashy lures that create surface disturbance may also work well; poppers may be ideal when bluefish are actively feeding.

Bluefish fishing can be exhilarating during a bluefish frenzy, yet just as thrilling when targeting them on calm days when they’re feeding less aggressively. Bluefish are plentiful fish species found across beaches, open ocean and bays all across California.

Large numbers of bluefish migrate up the coast from Massachusetts to Maine during summer and back down again during fall migrations, mostly along beaches and tidal rivers, but smaller schools also inhabit open ocean waters and offshore waters. Larger schools may be found off piers or at bay or river mouths.


Bluefish are highly aggressive fish that can lead to serious injuries if hooked, so caution must be used when fishing for them. Anglers can catch bluefish using various techniques including jigging, casting, trolling and surf casting with both live or cut bait being effective at targeting these fish in schools or feeding frenzy situations.

One effective technique for finding bluefish is identifying an area such as a point or cut in a sandbar where an incoming tide can corral school of bait fish. Diving birds and surface disturbance can be helpful indicators to pinpoint these feeding hot spots; then anglers can chum these spots with baitfish-attracting chemicals until a school of bluefish emerges.

As an effective bluefish bite setup, the ideal setup involves using a short barrel swivel with one hook attached and short wire leader attached, especially due to their sharp teeth. When selecting hook size 4 or 5/0 is ideal.

Bluefish may try to consume your bait when they strike, so keep a taut line and set the hook as soon as you feel a bite. When live lining, avoid freespooling or jerking as this could result in your hook being cut off. If necessary, freespool so the bait cannot escape from its placement on the hook.

Many anglers enjoy trolling for bluefish using various lures. Wobbling spoons or plugs with rattles can be effective choices in low light environments as these lures create vibrations which are detectable by sensitive fish eyes.

Casters should try using a long rod with fast action so the bait can be quickly retrieved. A worm harness may also increase chances of catching bluefish. When fighting one, always hold the rod in one position and fight from its butt rather than from its tip in order to reduce chances of being bit by its razor-sharp teeth.


Bluefish are an angler’s delight, being aggressive fighters on the line that can devour anything they come into contact with. Many fishermen use wire leaders as hooking aids and to reduce lost flies to these hungry eaters.

To effectively target these fast-striking fish, a seven-foot rod for boat fishing and six or eight-foot rod for surf casting are ideal. A standard reel with durable backing should also work, and for optimal results use a wire hook with a large gap to accommodate their teeth.

Trolling is the go-to way of targeting bluefish from a boat, using lures ranging from small spoons to umbrella rigs for optimal results. Additionally, bunker chum rigs may also work effectively, though other kinds of chumming systems could also work.

The Talkin’ Popper lure is an effective tool for attracting bluefish and other predatory species, such as sharks. With its loud rattles and cupped face creating explosive and audible pops, the Talkin’ Popper attracts bluefish as well as other toothy predators such as sharks. Plus, its durable hard plastic construction withstands even toothy predators while coming in several colors such as yellow/red head, squid bone and electro school bus colors!

Party boats offer an easy and cost-effective way for anglers without their own boats to fish for Bluefish, which can often be found surfacing near the surface throughout most of the season, especially during fall. Most party boats use plugs, jigs, bunker spoons or umbrella rigs in an effort to attract these fish.

Fireball rigs are classic methods for catching Bluefish. Similar to pompano rigs, but with larger-sized floats and hooks, these two-hook fireball rigs keep bait off of the bottom while being seen by bluefish. Another popular variant is called fireball squid rig, featuring an oval-shaped float designed specifically to hold cut squid pieces. All rigs should be connected with your main line using barrel swivels and weighted pyramid sinkers after your day of fighting big Bluefish is complete. Bleed your catch in order to reduce strength while speed up cooking time by decreasing strength in meat strength before cooking it more quickly.

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