Because of this tendency to feed on anything available, bluefish can be caught with a wide variety of techniques.
One of the most exciting ways to catch blues is to catch them on surface plugs when they are schooling. The action can be exceptionally fast and blues are a true test of angling ability when you land one in this manner.
When a school of bluefish runs into a school of bait fish, they will churn the surface of the ocean or bays frothy white as they savagely attack bait. Most of the time, this activity will attract sea gulls that will feed on the stunned bait fish. The bird activity makes the feeding bluefish easier to find.
Because blues will react to the noise of the boat engine, they should be approached from the upwind or uptide side. Cut the engine and drift into the feeding school.
Bluefish in a feeding frenzy are not very particular about what lures they hit, but there are times when they will ignore lures that are considerably bigger than the bait they are feeding on.
Because of their sharp teeth, lures made of hard material like the Atom Popper or Hopkins spoons are recommended. Wood lures will only last for a few strikes.
Poppers work best because they disturb the surface and should be worked as fast as possible. A reel with a high speed retrieve facilitates this kind of fishing.
Bluefish can be caught on the surface even when they are not schooling. They can be located by trolling your lure until you get a strike. As soon as you get a strike, kill the engine and begin casting. Blues are school fish and locating one usually means there are others around. However, blues are very mobile fish and the one fish caught may have been from a moving school.
Don't waste more than a half a dozen casts before moving on. When bluefish are feeding on the surface, some extraordinary action can be experienced by fishing for them with a flyrod.
Large white popping bugs are usually the most effective. Because blues like a fast moving lure, the best method for retrieving the popping bug is to put your flyrod between your legs and use both hands to work the bug as fast as possible. Taking a bluefish in the ten pound range on a flyrod is an experience to be cherished.
Trolling is one of the most consistent methods of catching bluefish. Putting a lure at the proper depth in areas where bluefish schools are hanging will usually result in large catches.
Any lure that resembles a live fish will be attractive to bluefish. Among the most used lures along the coast are swimming plugs, spoons and surgical tubing lures.
In early spring, winter or late fall, bluefish may be found deep. Sometimes they will be 10 to 15 feet below the surface and enough weight will have to be added to the line to get down to where the fish are. It may take some experimenting to find the right depth.
Most of the year, bluefish can be caught right on or just below the surface and sinkers that will keep the lures just below the surface are sufficient.
When trolling for bluefish it is a good idea to keep circling in an area where a bluefish has been caught. Usually several fish can be caught out of a school. However, if one fish is caught in an area and there is not another strike for a half an hour it is a good idea to move to another area. Don't travel too far because a bluefish school is likely to stay in the same general area if bait fish is available.
A boat is not needed for bluefish at certain times. In the late summer and fall, they can be caught in the ocean surf in some areas. There are times when the surf fishing is spectacular and blues can be caught on just about every cast by anglers using weighted spoons of the Hopkins type.
When the bluefish are not blitzing on the beach, most anglers will fish for them with cut fish baits. It is just a matter of putting your rod in a holder and waiting for the fish to come along and strike. It is a relaxing method of fishing. There are times when bluefish can be caught from piers in the rivers and along the bays, also. Usually, these are smaller fish and they can be caught on small spoons and jigs.
Chumming with ground fish can be a devastating way of catching bluefish. It is just a matter of dumping ground fish into the tide and fishing with small pieces of fish bait.
The chum line will bring the fish within casting range and it provides sporting action.
Chumming can be done while drifting in the ocean or while anchored in bays and rivers. In either situation, the fishing can be fast and furious when the bluefish get into the chum line.
No matter how one fishes for bluefish, it is a good idea to use a wire leader of eight to ten inches as their sharp teeth will quickly return them to freedom.
Bluefish are found along the Atlantic Coast from Maine to Florida at times. They are also native the the African coasts on both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.