Bluefish On The Move in South Jersey
No, not the main north-to-south migration that kicks in at the end of September, but enough movement to get the attention of light tackle enthusiasts who enjoy a good tussle and some pretty decent eats afterward.
Not talkin’ snapper blues, either. It’ll be another couple of weeks before these reach the 7-9 inch-plus “keeper” size, and these prove a wild time on ultra-light setups with either spearing bait under a bobber, a tiny spoon, or a snapper popper/tube rig.
The blues showing now, and the run will continue to build, 1.5-5lb marauders that are often referred to, predicated on size, as “tailors”, “cocktails” or “teenagers”. No matter the moniker, they are fun and can be the trip-saver when the fluke have lockjaw and/or the triggerfish, tog, and sea bass are proving recalcitrant.
To be sure, they are the reason why a light spinning outfit is always part of our late summer in-close bottom dropping/fluke drifting rod ‘n reel arsenal. These blues will play along the beaches, in the inlets, and in the bays and tidal rivers and are always ready to slam the scalpel-sharp dentition on anything that appears even remotely edible.
We relish topwater presentations when we know these lemon-eyed gang bangers are in the neighborhood, with poppers and floating slim profile floating twitch lures the catalysts for some exciting “Whoa! Hey!” smashes, thrashes, and hits.
We do recommend mashing the barbs on the treble hooks or, even better, either cutting one of the trios off (still mashing the barbs on the remaining hooks) or replacing the treble itself with a single hook, again mashing the barb. This will make unhooking the blue exponentially easier and will reduce any physical damage to the fish should it be released. As it’s the won't of blues of any size to thrash wildly at the sense of being handled, a barbless metal will make extracting a hook from a finger or hand far less painful.