How To Catch Bluefish From Shore (What To Look For & Tips)

Bluefish are a powerful fish, that can be caught on a variety of lures and baits…and the good news is you don’t need a boat to catch them!

You can catch bluefish from shore. They are reachable from the beach, or from piers, jetties and seawalls along the coast.

In this article, i’ll explain how to catch bluefish from shore, what baits and tactics you should employ, and a few other tips to target bluefish along the coast in your area.

Table of Contents

How to Find Bluefish

They key to catching bluefish from shore, is located school of bluefish in your area. Timing is crucial for bluefish fishing. They are migratory and seasonal in some parts of the West Atlantic coast.

The best months of the bluefish run vary from state to state. In general, the southern states do better in the winter, early spring, and late fall. The northern states are better in the late spring and summer.

Look for feeding bluefish at points along the beach, troughs, and cuts between sandbars. Bluefish use the depth contours to easily ambush prey such as mullet and menhaden, also known as bunkers.

How To Catch Bluefish From Shore

Surface disturbances are a great indicator of bluefish feeding activity. During feeding frenzies, large schools of bluefish will swim together and can be seen blitzing on the surface. Baitfish will be jumping out of the water trying to escape.

Birds can also be seen feeding with bluefish, and this can be an obvious indication that bait fish are present. 

Bluefish are super aggressive feeders. This makes it easy to entice a bite, but landing a big bluefish is still a great challenge.

Bluefish Fishing Techniques 

Bluefish are incredibly aggressive and eat anything in their path. This includes live prey like fish and crustaceans, but they will also scavenge for meaty baits along the bottom. 

In fact, for this reason, bluefish have often been called the piranhas of the sea, but don’t worry, they’re not as dangerous as they look.

Bluefish can be caught from shore by three main techniques: artificial lures, live bait, and chunking.

These techniques can be used effectively on the beach, the jetties, and the piers. If there are bait fish around, shiny artificial lures that imitate the bait work well.

Artificial lures such as spoons and plugs are ideal for bluefish.

These are heavy, long casting, flashy lures that will catch the attention of bluefish. Also, these hard lures are durable and will withstand the sharp teeth of bluefish.

For a more comprehensive article about bluefish lures, check out the 12 Best Bluefish Lures & How To Properly Fish Them!

Adult Bluefish

While many anglers prefer artificial lures, live bait is also effective of course! Using live or dead mullet as bait is always a great option, as well as bunker, herring, and even mackerel are ideal bluefish baits.

However, bluefish aren’t picky, and any kind of bait fish usually works well.

Chunking is also super effective. This is a great option if you just want to try a “bait and wait” approach. Bluefish scavenge along the bottom often and will eagerly pick up a piece of cut bait fish or shrimp. 

It is easy to rig up and start chunk baiting. A simple Carolina rig, also known as a fish finder rig, is ideal.

This rig uses a sliding weight above a swivel. A leader is tied to the swivel and the hook is tied to the end.

What Are the Best Tides for Bluefish Fishing?

Bluefish aren’t picky about tides either, but generally, a strong incoming or outgoing tide is great at inlets, jetties, and piers.

These tides move water in and out and can push bait fish into vulnerable areas where bluefish will feed.

Look for these vulnerable areas near seawalls, sandbars, bridge pilings and other structure.

When fishing from the beach, the higher parts of the tide are ideal. These are the end of the incoming tide, the high tide, and the beginning of the outgoing tide.

When the tide gets too low, the fish will move out and will be harder to reach from shore.

Can You Catch Bluefish at Night?

Bluefish are active during the day and night. Most big predatory fish in saltwater feed just as much, if not more, at night as they do during the day.

Some of the biggest bluefish are caught in the dead of night while other anglers are fast asleep. 

Final Thoughts

Bluefish offer the angler a powerful and exciting predatory fish, that you don’t need a boat to pursue.

From Maine to Florida, Bluefish migrate close to shore and frequent the inlets, bays and coves scattered along the coast in search of baitfish.

All you need is a rod equipped for far casts, a shiny lure or fresh bait to enjoy catching bluefish from shore.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!

Growing up in Florida, I’ve been surrounded by saltwater my entire life…and I love sharing my passion with others.

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