Point Pleasant Bluefish

Score on inlet blues at Point Pleasant

By Dennis M. Lubin

MANASQUAN, N.J. — As the water warms along the New Jersey beaches each spring, hordes of hungry bluefish invade the many inlets along their northern migration route.

Though the big slammers or alligators stay further offshore on their migration, the smaller blues seek the protection of the shallow-water inlets to flee from their own kind and to feed on schools of baitfish.

What they fail to realize, however, is that there are gangs of anglers waiting to greet them.

Two good spots to intercept them are on either side of the Manasquan River below the Route 35 bridge.

Lure selection

One thing about blues is that during a feeding frenzy they will hit almost any metal lure thrown at them, but the Ava 17 and 27 with chartreuse, red or orange tails work well, either from a boat or a sea wall.

One hot lure that has worked well is a three-fourths-ounce bleeding shad Rat-L-Trap.

Three-ounce diamond jigs and 2-ounce bucktails with a strip of cut fresh mackerel added to the tail are good. Also try Storm’s 3 to 6-inch Wildeye swimbait shad in bunker, mullet or sardine.

It’s a lot easier to unhook a single hook than a treble hook, so replace the back treble on your plug or spoon.

Tackle

Take a spool of high-impact fluorocarbon leader in 50-pound test and use a 6-foot piece as a shocker. Blues can still cut through the leader, but you get more hits than on wire.

When fishing for the speedy blues a balanced outfit with a smooth drag system is very important. Okuma makes a Rue Epixon reel that has nine sealed ball bearings.

For river fishing we suggest a spool of 20-pound Power Pro line with a 6-pound diameter on a 7-foot rod.

Always hungry

Blues are one of the few fish that will eat even if they aren’t hungry. They appear off the Jersey coast from April to November.

Chumming with ground up mossbunker and butterfish chunks are the most popular methods of catching them on party boats row.

While blues are quite plentiful and relatively easy to catch, we can remember when anglers would leave garbage pails of blues on the docks.

I’m glad to say that that although there is no size limit, New Jersey has a 15-fish limit.

Remember, we are all stewards of the sea. Anglers don’t want to say one day when talking about blues, “I remember when.”

Info

For more information or tackle, stop in to Brielle Bait and Tackle (732-528-5720) at 800 Ashley Ave. in Brielle.