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Bluefish are some of the most aggressive coastal saltwater fish you can catch. That being said, they also are notoriously finicky fish – especially when fishing for them on sand flats. Some days they’ll strike anything you throw at them, while other days they scatter before you can even get your lure out. When the bite is on, you need to make the most of it. So what are the best bluefish lures?
We polled our most avid bluefish fishermen to come up with the following best bluefish lures depending on how you want to fish for them. These bluefish lures have worked time and time again when other styles and patterns just wouldn’t do the trick. After we cover the best bluefish lures, we’ll then go into specifics on how to catch bluefish on sand flats. Then we’ll wrap up with some general bluefish fishing tips. Let’s dive in!
Best Bluefish Lures
Best Bluefish Lures for Casting
Casting for bluefish is our favorite technique, so we figured we’d start with the best bluefish lures for casting. These lures came up again and again when chatting with our avid bluefish fishing friends, and deserve a spot in your tackle box.
The Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper is our top choice for best casting bluefish lures. Its timeless design has been catching bluefish for decades, and as with most things – if it isn’t broken don’t try and fix it! The Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper imitates a frantic baitfish swimming across the surface that proves irresistible to most bluefish. It’s also a great choice for striped bass.
Besides having an entertaining name, the Deadly Dick Long Silver Lure is another absolute killer when it comes to casting for bluefish. The Deadly Dick Long Silver Lure imitates a juvenile needlefish or other natural bluefish prey when retrieved quickly through the water. We also really like the Deadly Dick Long Silver Lure because of its casting capability. This makes it a great choice when fishing from a pier or the shore. Only the Kastmaster can cast further!
Best Bluefish Lures for Jigging
Another popular way to fish for bluefish is to jig for them. Typically you jig for bluefish by casting your jig out, letting it settle to the bottom, then flipping it back towards your boat. The following lures are the best bluefish lures for jigging.
The Storm WildEye Swim Shad Jig is at the top of our list for best bluefish jigs. Its combination of realistic 3D eye and soft bait tail proves irresistible to curious bluefish that see it flail near the bottom. We like using the white and chartreuse colors but have seen success in all variations. Make sure you don’t leave your dock without one!
The Fin Strike Silver Diamond Jig is another great choice for bluefish jigging lures. We like diamond jigs for many different species (mackerel, halibut, and more), but the Fin Strike Silver Diamond Jig with added rubber tail is killer for bluefish. The extra rubber tail helps conceal the hook as well as adds a natural swimming motion to the lure when jigged off the bottom. One of the best bluefish lures for sure.
Another saltwater fishing classic, the SPRO Bucktail Jig works just as well for bluefish as other species like redfish and snook. We like using the SPRO Bucktail Jig when fishing for bluefish both on the flats as well as near piers. The added dexterity the SPRO Bucktail Jig gives you is clutch when fishing for bluefish near cover. Definitely get a few of these for your tackle box.
Best Bluefish Lures for Trolling
While not as popular as jigging or casting for bluefish, some of our friends swear by trolling for them. Trolling gives you the benefit of covering more ground faster than other methods and can work well if you’re targeting multiple species. Here are the best bluefish lures for trolling.
The Yo-Zuri Crystal 3D Minnow is a great choice for many species (mackerel, grouper) and bluefish aren’t an exception. We really like the Yo-Zuri Crystal 3D Minnow because of its diving capabilities; it will easily dive down to 13 feet without the help of downriggers or additional weights. This makes it a great choice when trolling for larger bluefish that aren’t on the surface.
The Blue Water Candy Wedgie is a close second when it comes to best bluefish lures for trolling. It comes pre-rigged with a 60 lb test cable leader that will prevent bluefish’s sharp mouths from biting through your line. It also includes a treble “stinger” hook that improves hookups and a 1 oz diver head to get it below the surface. Overall a really effective bluefish trolling lure.
What Are Bluefish?
Now that we’ve covered the best bluefish lures, let’s take a second to go over what exactly bluefish are. Bluefish live in the pelagic waters around the world and often grow to approximately 20 lbs. They are found all across the eastern seaboard of the United States with the most common fisheries off the coast of Florida. They live up to 9 years and spawn during the spring and summer. These are often the best times of year to fish for bluefish.
Adult bluefish are aggressive eaters and will eat most small baitfish as well as shrimp, squid, and other crustaceans. Bluefish are also known for their “bluefish blitzes”. Adult bluefish herd schools of baitfish into the surf zone then attack causing the water to churn sporadically.
How to Catch Bluefish on the Flats
One of the most fun places to catch bluefish is on the flats. Adult bluefish like to patrol shallow water in small schools for an easy snack. Since you’re sight fishing for them, this means that they are extra wary of getting caught. Here are some quick tips on how to fish for bluefish on sand flats.
- Use an electric trolling motor. Once you get into the flats area, revving your gas-powered motor is a surefire way to scare the bluefish away. Get close to them silently by using an electric trolling motor.
- Consider wading off your boat. If the water is shallow enough, one of the most fun ways to stalk bluefish is to get off your boat and wade into the water. Get a solid pair of waders or boots and hunt them on foot.
- Cast your lure in front of where they’re swimming. Let you lure sink for a second or two before beginning to retrieve it. A big splash on top of where the bluefish are swimming is another surefire way to scare them off.
General Bluefish Fishing Tips
Before we sign off, we wanted to share a few general bluefish fishing tips. Follow these tips and you’ll end up catching more bluefish and staying safe while you do it.
- Get a pair of saltwater pliers. Like mackerel and many other saltwater fish, bluefish have sharp mouths that can cause serious damage to your fingers while you try to unhook them. Invest in a good pair of saltwater pliers to stay safe. If you’re fishing for large bluefish, we recommend using a rig with a steel leader – much like used for Kingfish rigs.
- Use medium to light tackle. Most bluefish you’ll encounter will be between 5 and 15 lbs, which means you should use an appropriate light or ultra-light reel or saltwater baitcasting reel. Don’t overdo it with traditional saltwater tackle.
- Don’t forget to use a masking scent. Bluefish have an excellent sense of smell and will pick up any foreign smells you may have imparted while tying on your lure. Fix this by coating your lure with shrimp flavored Glo Scent.
Bluefish can be a ton of fun to fish for if you’re using the correct lures. We hope after reading this article, you now know what the best bluefish lures and when to use them. Got a different bluefish lure setup that we didn’t list? Or end up catching a huge bluefish using one of our recommendations? Let us know about it in the comments below.