Surf Fishing Techniques For The Migratory Bluefish
Learning the techniques for catching Bluefish in the surf is all about learning their migratory patterns and when you can expect them in the surf where you will be fishing. This saltwater species is a very popular game fish and lots of fun to catch.
Some Bluefish can be found in the Gulf of of Mexico year round but for the most part they migrate between the east coast of Florida and the coastline of Massachusetts and sometimes as far north as the coast of Nova Scotia. Their preferred water temperature is between 66 degrees to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. 50 degrees is their lower avoidance temperature and 84 is the upper limit. If you monitor the water temperature along the coastline where you fish you’ll have a pretty good idea when to expect them to be in the surf. Water temperature and available bait fish is the key to locating and catching Bluefish.
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. Watch the video below to see what a Bluefish feeding frenzy is like .
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.