Don’t Overlook Using Bluefish As Bait!

Due to their strong smell and abundance in the wild, Bluefish make excellent cut bait, especially if you target sharks, rays, or barracuda.

Additionally, bluefish heads make excellent bait for stone crab and blue crab traps, due to their high oil content and durability.

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Why Is Bluefish Good For Bait?

As stated above, Bluefish have a very fishy, or gamey, taste to them which makes them great bait. This comes from a combination of their “if it fits in my mouth, I will try eating it” diet, and their long migration patterns that make their meat denser.

Is Bluefish Good For Bait?

Fish “smell” in a similar way to humans, where they pick up a scent in parts-per-million (PPM). Due to the fact they are always hunting, their ability to pick up scents is said to be thousands of times stronger than yours and mine.

Bluefish are also known for their high mercury content, which is toxic to humans if over-consumed. However, for fish, this is not the case since they have a simpler brain and nervous system.

This means that not only will you enjoy the fight from catching one, but if it is larger, you will have a lot of cut bait!

If you want help with catching Bluefish, check out the 12 Best Bluefish Lures.

What fish can I catch with Bluefish?

Bluefish Fillet

Cut bait is one of, if not the most versatile things you can use to try and catch fish. With this being said, you have an enormous range of fish that you can target when using Bluefish as cut bait.

You can break down the sizes of cut bait into what types of fish you might want to catch.

  • Less than 1-inch pieces of cut bait: 
    • Small baitfish like Pinfish, Hogfish, and Grunts. 
    • Most juvenile species of medium game fish like snappers, pompano, drum, and groupers.
  • 1-to-4-inch piecesof cut bait:
    • Medium size game fish like jacks, flounder, snapper, groupers, drum, pompano, seatrout, and snook.
    • Standard scavengers like stingrays and small sharks.
    • Depending on where you are, you might have crabs take an interest.
  • 5 inches and larger:
    • This is larger predatory fishing. You will be specifically targeting sharks, rays, barracuda and even goliath grouper.

How should I rig-cut Bluefish?

Now that you have a rough idea of what you can target based on how small or larger you cut your Bluefish pieces, let us talk about how to rig those pieces. I will list the smallest to largest.

Small Cut Bait Chunks

If you are cutting pieces this small, you will want to maximize the number of pieces you are using so that the fish have more meals. 

One of the most popular rigs for this will be the Chicken Rig.

These rigs are commonly found prepackaged at tackle shops and consist of a single piece of line that holds 2 to 5 hooks, a swivel on top for your line, and a clip on the bottom for your choice of weight.

If you are fishing from heavier structures like bridges, docks, and ramps, you can use small jigs (e.g., banana jigs, wiggler jigs, pompano jigs) and just hover the small pieces near the bottom of the structure.

Medium Cut Bait Chunks

Rigging pieces this size is more common, and much easier since you will use fewer pieces at once.

The Chicken Rig is still an effective method for using bait of this size. The only difference will be choosing a rig that has slightly larger hooks to match the size of the pieces.

If you are fishing bridges, docks, or reefs, another good rig is the knocker rig. This rig is simply a long leader, your choice of egg sinker threaded on that leader, and a circle hook tied to the end.

Large Cut Bait Chunks

This is where you will upsize and simplify. Whether fishing bank fishing or boat fishing, bait this size will only need a heavy-leader rig with a single large hook on it.

At this point, you have mentally prepared to pull in large fish, and hopefully, you do!


Bluefish is commonly known as a catch-and-release gamefish but can serve a greater goal. With their heavy fish odor and ability to make a plentiful amount of cut bait, they are certainly an excellent choice if you find a school of them when fishing. 

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