Vol 37 | Num 6 | Jun 6, 2012
“I want to catch some bluefish!”
During the last few weeks when flounder fishing was slow there was quite a bit of action with bluefish around the Rt. 50 Bridge, in both Inlets and at the Oceanic Pier. Shad were also mixed in with the blues. Shad are fun to catch but must be released.
People always used to say that blues will hit just about anything, and some days that is true. Other days you need to change your lures and find the one that works best for you! When you are fishing on a pier, bridge or in the Inlet, you need to work the lure with the currents and tide. When it hits the water you want it to immediately fall down into the depths like a wounded baitfish. Too often anglers throw out a lure and immediately start cranking as soon as it hits the water. Often times, the predator fish will grab the lure on this initial drop. When the lure hits the water, let it sink for a count of maybe 10, then start to work the lure up and down a few times as the tide takes it along. Then bring it back and start over again.
How long you count and how long you let it move with the current depends on where you are, how many people are fishing in one place and how fast the current is running. If you are fishing around good anglers that are catching fish, seriously watch them and see what they are doing. Don’t just watch the lure in the water, but watch their reel and see how long they are letting out line before reeling.
If you are on a structure like the Route 50 Bridge, you can even work against the tide! You can cast your lure against the current so it comes back towards you as it sinks. Then as it comes back towards you, you can work the lure (jig it up and down) before reeling it back in and starting over. Experiment. If casting straight out doesn’t work, cast to the right a little. If that doesn’t work, cast to the left. BUT NEVER cast to the left if everyone else is casting to the right or you will lose friends you never had!!!
“What kind of lures are good for blues?”
One of the all time favorite lures for bluefish are Sea Striker Got-cha Plugs. They come in a variety of colors and sizes. On the back of the package it describes how to work the lure; retrieve using short, sharp jerks of the rod to produce a deadly swimming action. I first saw anglers using these lures on a pier in North Carolina and everyone was jerking and jigging with their rod tips down. If you drive across the Route 50 Bridge and see the guys up there working the lures you will see them leaning over the rail, and you can bet they are working their lures with the rod tips down!
Most anglers say, even if they work against the current, they cast slightly diagonally instead of straight out when working the lure. If it’s at night, you play your lures in and out of the shadows. If the tide totally slacks, you can let them drop straight to the bottom and jig up and down with the sharp, short jerks of your rod tip. The main thing to remember is that the water beneath the bridge itself is shallower and full of rocks. That means snags, so don’t let it go underneath the bridge too far.
There are lots of colors available in the 7/8 oz. and 1 oz. Got-cha Plugs. Anglers fishing for bluefish find that the metal or prism colored ones attract the blues better than the plain red/white or yellow/white ones. Of course, on some days that might be the ones they want!!! Always take extra lures and try different colors. Sometimes, in the spring a pink one will work wonders. Some anglers want the ones with the bucktail on them. If you need a heavier one, in the 1 1/4 and 2-ounce varieties, there are only a few colors to choose from. You’ll have to pick the red head with white body or the yellow head with the white body. Both are always good and sometimes if you are at the Inlets or Rt. 50 Bridge in a heavy tide you will need the extra weight.
Anglers fishing closer to the water, like off the Oceanic Pier, stick to the lighter weight Got-cha Plugs and also use a lot of Spec Rigs for bluefish. Spec Rigs come in 1/4 or 1/8 oz. sizes and are basically two shad darts tied together in tandem. That’s a good description because shad are mixed in with the bluefish at night and they are lots of fun to catch and will surely hit on Spec Rigs! Shad also hit the smaller Got-cha Plugs as well.
One thing about Spec Rigs is that they are very versatile. If you need more weight on them, you can slip an inline sinker on the loop or crimp on a couple of split shot. If the flounder start biting, you can slide a couple shiners on the hooks or add small strips of squid. Cast the Spec Rigs out, let them sink and then jig them back up.
In the Inlet, anglers use Got-cha Plugs and Spec Rigs but they also use bucktail jigs with plastic worms attached, spoons or jig heads with soft bodies or Gulp Swimming Mullets. If your jig is not heavy enough to get it out there where the fish are breaking, add a 30-pound test mono leader to the lure and attach a 1, 1 1/2, or 2 oz. trolling type (torpedo shaped with a sinker eye on both ends) sinker to the leader. Cast out against the current and count to 10 to let it sink. Then jig up and down a few times as the current brings the lure in front of you. After it starts to pass you, bring it back in with your rod tip up so it doesn’t get snagged in the rocks. If you are in a place like the Indian River Inlet, get in the rhythm and cast like everyone around you so you don’t get tangled together.
Sue Foster is an outdoor writer and owner of Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City, MD and Fenwick Tackle in Fenwick, DE.