Surf Casting Florida
Learn how to catch more fish off of the beach.
What are the best lures for bluefish?
Bluefish are an extremely fun fish to catch off of the beach. They usually run in schools so if you can catch one then you can usually catch a few more. They are excellent fighters and will even jump out of the water a few times just like a tarpon will. Many people love to eat them too. They are a bit on the fishy and oily side for me but they are good when fried.
These are a bite first type of fish. What I mean by that is that they go into a frenzy and just start biting what is in front of them. They are not the slightest bit finicky when it comes to hitting a lure.
I am a kayak fishing guide on the Treasure Coast of Florida. I have been fishing the beaches, grass flats, mangroves…….. and just about everywhere else in Florida for more than 40 years. Bluefish are great fun to catch.
Here is my list of best lures for bluefish:
1) SPOONS- They will hit any kind of spoon that you throw at them. The shinier the better during the daylight hours and a dark one works well at night. You can use just about any kind of retrieve for them as well. Sometimes a slow retrieve will catch the most fish and other times you want to reel as fast as you can.
It is best to have a variety of sizes and types of spoons. I would carry a 1/2 ounce spoon for casting very near the shore all the way up to a 2 or 3 ounce spoon when the blues are feed out farther in the surf. You will just want to pick a brand that is made for long casting when they are out 50 or 60 yards from the beach.
When I am fishing off of the beach over a shallow reef, then I will switch over to a weed less spoon. If you don’t, then you will lose a whole bunch of spoons on the rocks. The great thing about using a weed less spoon is that you can slow down your retrieve on those cold days when the bluefish are more lethargic.
PRO TIP: Notice in the picture below that I have added a barrel swivel to all of the spoons. If you do not do this, then your line will get all twisted and end up with a major bird nest. This can be a nightmare situation if you are using braided line.
2) FEATHER/BUCK TAIL JIGS- Just about any kind of feather or buck tail style of jig will do the trick. The key to jig fishing for bluefish is to use an erratic retrieve. They will hit white, pink, chartreuse, yellow and just about any other color as long as the retrieve is fast and erratic. You can go with one as light as 1/4 ounce if they are close all the way up to 2 ounces if you have to really heave it out there to get to the action.
3) PADDLE TAIL SHAD- It is really hard to go wrong by using a 3 inch paddle tail shad soft plastic lure when the fish are in close. You can couple that lure with a 1/4 ounce or 1/2 ounce jig head and catch a ton of fish within 25 yards of the beach. Whenever the bait in the area is on the small side, then this is the go to lure for me when I am surf fishing. This lure catches just about every fish in the sea including bluefish.
The downside to using soft plastics is the bluefish destroy them with their amazingly sharp teeth. You will go through a ton of soft plastics but you will have a great time doing it.
4) GOTCHA LURES- Gotcha lures is a brand specifically made to catch mackerel. King mackerel and Spanish mackerel love this lure and so do bluefish. This is a great lure because it is so easy to use. It is basically a shiny metal cigarette with hooks on it but it works. Just cast it out in the surf and reel it back in. You will want to vary your retrieval rates to see what is getting the most bites. Once you know the proper speed then you can catch a whole bunch of fish.
PRO TIP: Always use wire leader when fishing for bluefish and mackerel. They usually come up from behind the lure so it usually won’t stop them from biting.
5) LIPPED TOP WATER LURES- There is not many things that are more exciting than catching fish on a top water lure. Seeing the hit as the fish slams into your lure. You have to use patience and not set the hook until they have it in their mouths. It is great fun and this is especially so with bluefish. Bluefish will crush top water lures even if they are not hungry. I think that the lure makes them mad and they want to kill the thing that dares to enter into their territory.
Whatever the reason is, top water lipped lures are a great way to catch a lot of bluefish when they are around. The lip of the lure gives it plenty of action, so you really just have to cast it out and reel it back in. Try different retrieval speeds to see what works best but faster is usually better unless it is super cold.
I like to use a twitch, twitch, pause, reel 10 feet, repeat…….. type of retrieve when the bluefish are being somewhat finicky (which almost never happens).
6) LIP LESS TOP WATER LURES- I love walk-the-dog types of top water lures. This is what I fish with almost exclusively during the first hour of light when the waters are calm on the beach. You can catch just about any predatory fish once you learn how to get that zigzag pattern that looks like a dying fish down pat. It does take some practice, but once you learn that walk-the-dog technique you will catch a ton of fish.
PRO TIP: Notice that most of the lures are single hooks. The bluefish are a ravenous bunch of fish and the treble hooks will tear them to pieces. If you are not planning on keeping the bluefish that you catch, single hooks are a great way to release them relatively unharmed. You don’t miss many hook ups because of the single hooks either.
Catching bluefish is a blast. Catching bluefish with lures is even more fun. Bluefish are excellent fighters and can turn a boring fishing day into an amazing fishing day. They travel in big schools most of the time so you can usually catch a whole bunch of them when they are around.
They are not finicky like some fish which makes them excellent candidates to target with a myriad of different lure types. They are a surf fishing staple and can be found inshore on the flats, around docks and bridges, in the cuts and channels and just about anywhere else where there is something for them to eat.
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