Bluefish in the Surf

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This blue fell for a chunk of mullet.

Bluefish are an excellent species to catch in the surf, and while many may feel this fish isn’t a top target, in fact bluefish are under-rated. These fish fight hard, and as long as you don’t freeze them, taste great, too. So, how will you pull ’em up through the suds? These five tips will help make it happen.

This blue fell for a chunk of mullet.

  1. Use cut bait on a “doodlebug” rig. These rigs have colored floats that help keep your baits away from crabs, but just as important, add some color and visual appeal to your offering. Red and green are the most common float colors, and on different days with different conditions, one or the other may prove superior. So try both, until you figure out what’s working the best.
  2. Choose a rig with a wire trace at the end (even tough it has the floats). Most mono rigs have snelled hooks, and if you go that route quite often the blues will chew through the mono right at the hook-eye and leave you with nothing.
  3. Stick with cut fish for baits, and use the prevalent bait species. When mullet are around, a chunk of mullet usually catches best. If there are bunker all over the place that will likely be the best bait, and so on. If you can catch some small fish on a lighter rig, cutting one up fresh and tossing it right back out there in pieces is often the best move.
  4. Cast out as far as possible. While many species feed right in the breakers and it’s possible to “over-cast” them, bluefish don’t fall into this category. Usually, farther out will be better. If there’s a bar off the beach, getting to the far side of it can often be critical.
  5. Always keep a rod rigged with a heavy casting spoon (like a Hopkins) at the ready. If you see blues busting bait near the surface, fling the spoon out and rip it back towards the beach at maximum velocity. This will often trigger arm-jolting strikes from the bluefish.

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