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Bluefish fishing in North Carolina's inshore waters is discussed including links to where to go, baits and rigs, and other information on NC Bluefish Fisheries.

Bluefish Fishing: baits and rigs, and other info

[Flounder] [Bluefish] [Grey/Speckled Trout] [Spanish] [False Albacore] [Drum] [Spot] [Tarpon]
[Panfish] [Largemouth] [Shad] [Atlantic Striper] [Smallmouth] [Trout Fly Fishing] [Catfish Fishing] [Walleye Fishing]

Bluefish can be caught all over North Carolina's coast even if you don't want to. They are most easily caught from around May to around August when they migrate out -- they will leave roughly when the water gets to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bluefish often school and are easy to catch once located. They will follow small schools of feeder fish such as mullet, herring, or menhaden with great tenacity. Blues are thought of as surface feeders because of their dynamic feeding "blitzes" but more often feed below the surface. They are easiest to find on beaches especially on incoming or running tides or offshore rip tides. If you want to catch bluefish, or if you don't, plan your times around the tide to better your odds. Many recreational fishermen do not want to catch bluefish as they are very rough on tackle and many do not eat them. Often bluefish will run off other recreational fish competing for the same baitfish but actually are often found hanging around with stripers.

Tackle is simple for bluefish. Any medium action rod of appropriate 5 to 6 foot will do. Most natural bait will do well in catching them. Just get enough weight to get your rig on the bottom. Fishing top water is more fun to some but is less likely to get bluefish. A shock leader or steel is a must for blues. A 3x long hook shank will lessen , but not eliminate, loss termination equipment. Six inches of light steel, heavy mono or the heavy fused braids are better. Don't be overly concerned about presentation to bluefish. Most generally recommended bait will do. Throw the bait and retrieve it fast enough through the school and it will catch. Blues are not subtle diners so set the hook hard when they hit.

Blues are not particular. Use big, bright and flashy, durable flies. Try imitations including:



Fly fishing for bluefish is an adventure. You may wish to give up with the flies if the schools are gone. Use 7 to 10 weight 8 to 9 ideal. I prefer using a shooting head to get some distance. Because blues very often feed on the bottom an intermediate line is almost required. Both floating and and faster sinking line will be helpful according to conditions. A changeable head system is recommended for saltwater fly fishing. The leader and tippet are more critical fly fishing. I use 12 to 20 test leader with a 12 inch, 30 pound test shock tippet for big blues. Fly presentation suffers but this will not matter much.

Caution: Be very careful when landing a bluefish. They can take a finger completely off without much effort.

Check out:

Presentation is often important to insure bluefish see your offering. This is because of the tides bluefish love and frantic nature of the baitfish they chase. I retrieve a fly along the edge of a surfacing school as fast as possible. Often, they either see your offering and will take it or they don't see it at all. I work a popper with a steady retrieve through the middle of the baitfish if possible.

Have fun with this wonderful resource. But check the special regulations in force for shad fishing. Please check with the "Regulations Digest" or the "Division of Marine Fisheries" to insure you have the right rules before you fish. Enjoy catching them.

Good Bluefish Links
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