Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips How to Catch Bluefish in the bay... bait or lures?
How to Catch Bluefish in the bay... bait or lures?
"I want to catch some of those bluefish everyone is catching in the
bay. Can I use lures? Or should I use bait?"
Bluefish in the Surf Ocean City MD

When the half to three pound blues are running in the bay, you can
usually catch them with either lures or bait. The generally rule of
thumb is this: If you are flounder fishing during the day and do not
see them breaking water, you are better off using bait such as frozen
shiners and squid. If you see the blues breaking water or if you are
fishing at night, you are better off using lures.

"Squid is a good bait?"

Squid alone is fair, but using a squid strip along with one or two
frozen shiners, is best. Hook the shiners through the eyes and then
hook the strip of squid on the same hook. Many anglers find that if
you hook two shiners on the hook along with that strip of squid, that
you have a larger bait and are more likely to catch a bigger blue or
flounder. Also, if a fish steals one shiner off the hook, you'll still
have another.

"How about live minnows?"

Live minnows will also attract bluefish, as long as you have a strip
of squid hanging beside the minnow. Just use one minnow though. The
minnow will wiggle and the squid will squiggle, attracting the blues
to the hook.

"Should we use steel leadered hooks?"

You can if you wish, but it really isn't necessary. Just keep tension
on your line when bringing in the snapper blues. You may lose a hook
or two, but in the long run, you'll probably catch more fish using
monofilament leadered hooks. You can switch over to long shanked
hooks as opposed to wide gap types. This will help you with "bite
offs." Always keep in mind that even if you are catching blues, there
is always the opportunity to catch a trout or flounder if you are
bottom fishing with bait. The blues are in the bay feeding on
shiners, anchovies, and sand eels- and so are trout, flounder and

"What kind of lures should I carry?"

If you are in a boat, you should have bucktail jigs in the half to
three-quarter ounce range. But most importantly, you want to be sure
you also have plastic curltail grubs to put on your bucktails! The
bluefish and other fish such as trout and stripers take the bucktail
much more readily if it is "dressed" with a plastic worm, curltail
grub, or even a strip of squid. Just be sure there is something on
the end of that bucktail!

You can also have some small spoons in the one half to one and a half
ounce size range. (If the blues are running small, do not go overboard
on your lure size.) Hopkins Lures, Sea Striker Spoons, Sea Striker
Casting jigs, Sting silvers, and Krocodile casting spoons will all
work. You can also use a Bill Lewes Rattle trap in the half-ounce size
range, but please watch out for those treble hooks! You can also toss
half-ounce lead heads with a 4-inch curltail grubs or soft bodies.
Just plan to lose plastic tails to the hungry blues. Do not waste
your more expensive soft-bodied lures such as Storm Lures to blues.
With these lures, when the tail is gone, your lure is done!

When you are in your boat, you can either troll slowly or cast.
Whatever you do, do not run directly through a school of fish, or they
will scatter. If you troll, troll around the blues. In most cases, it
is better just to cast. Let the lure fall towards the bottom for five
to 10 seconds if the blues aren't right on the surface. Then start
jigging it back up. Reel in fast after that. Blues are aggressive!

"What if we are from the shore casting lures?"

If you are on a higher structure like the Route 50 Bridge, jetty,
Oceanic Pier, or Shantytown Pier you can add Sea Striker Gotcha Plugs
to your tackle box. These lures work great for blues when fishing
from structure. Cast them out, let them sink towards the bottom, then
reel them in with short, sharp jerks with your rod tip. Keep your rod
tip down as opposed to up when reeling in. Since Gotcha plugs are
hard plastic, you do not have to worry about replacing plastic worms
and such. But just be careful. Treble hooks and flopping bluefish
can cause trouble! Use a long handled hook extractor such as a Baker
Hook-out or a pair of 8-inch needle nosed pliers.

"Do I cast with the tide or against the tide on the Route 50 Bridge?"

Anglers do both. You can cast way out from the Bridge and let the
tide bring the lure back towards you if you are working with the tide.
Or you can cast beneath the bridge and let the tide bring the lure
out. When the tide is slowing, you can cast the lure out diagonally
and simply bring it in against the tide. If the blues are breaking on
the surface, it doesn't matter, as long as you can cast to them.
Lures such as bucktails with curltail grubs on them work better on a
running tide, while the Gotcha Plugs work better on a slower tide.

Many anglers on the Route 50 Bridge and other structures such as
Shantytown Pier and Oceanic Pier use a very popular rig called a
Tandem grub lure. It can be made out of any of the popular soft
bodies and lead heads. On the Bridge, most anglers make a rig out of
two one-half ounce lead heads. To make one of these rigs, use a
45-inch piece of 20 or 30-pound test stick leader (or any piece of
leader material.) Tie one lead head to one end of the leader material
and then tie a second lead head to the other end of the leader. Make
a loop, offset, near the center of the leader material. You can use a
double over-hand surgeons knot, or you can make a dropper loop. (If
you don't know how to make either of these, snip the line and tie each
end to a three-way swivel.) One lure should be dangling below the

Use a black snap swivel at the end of your line, and snap the loop
right on the snap swivel.

Tandem rigs are great because they give you a double chance to catch a
fish, they look like two bait fish swimming in the water, plus the rig
has the advantage of having more weight to get closer to the bottom in
the current,
without having to use a lure that is too big, just to be able to use
a heavier lead head.

"What's the best color to use when casting a tandem grub lure?"

You can never go wrong with red heads with white 4-inch curltail
grubs. Others like to use the Fin-S Fish 4-inch soft bodies. These
are a little more expensive, but work well. Five-inch Sea Striker
Trout Killers will also work, though they fit better on 3/8-ounce lead
heads. (Good rig for Oceanic or Shantytown Pier.) The next best color
is white with pink or chartreuse tails. If you only buy one color,
always buy white. You'll never go wrong.

"What about the inlets?"

Though the tandem rigs will work, there are more snags at the inlet.
I would stick to a single lure there. The bucktail jig with plastic
worm, spoons, lead head with a soft body and Gotcha Plugs all work
there. If you need more weight to get your bucktail or spoon out
there, you can attach your lure to a piece of leader material and then
attach an inline sinker to the other end of the leader material. Cast
up current, count to 10 and let it sink as it moves back towards you,
then jig it a couple times, and then reel it back in. Many novices
make the mistake of casting out there and then just start reeling in
without giving the lure a chance to sink. Fish usually grab the lure
on the "fall."

Catching blues is lots of fun. They aren't as picky as trout and are
easy to catch when they are running. If you are fishing after dark,
be sure to fish somewhere where the lights are shining down. They
usually bite on a running tide, with the incoming tide being the best.

Have fun, good luck, and good fishing.
Shop Online for rigs and lures. 

Last Updated on Saturday, 02 April 2011 19:32