Casting for bluefish is pretty straightforward, especially when you find a school that is attacking bait on the surface. Blues in a feeding frenzy are usually not too picky, so tie on anything you have and cast it out. This is the perfect situation for a heavy spinning or popping outfit and a good splashy popper. Just be sure not to get too close to the school, which may cause the baitfish - and the blues - to sound.

Blind-casting along a beach or around some type of structure can also yield action. Simply keep the boat moving along as you continue working the area until a strike occurs.


When bluefish are holding in 20 to 60 feet of water, deep-jigging can be a very effective way to catch them. Simply drift through the area where the fish are holding and free-spool a heavy diamond jig, bucktail jig or other fast-sinking lure to the bottom, then crank it quickly to the surface. Try different jigging speeds and actions until you find the one the fish prefer. Also, take note of the lure depth when you get a strike so you can fish the same zone again.


As mentioned, chumming is a great way to bring blues to the boat. Frozen bunker (aka, menhaden, pogies) makes chumming easier. A five-gallon bucket, dropped overboard in a mesh bag, will sift out chum for 5 or 6 hours.

Once the blues are in the chum slick, chunks or even live baits are drifted back to the pack. The action can get hot and heavy, as two or three anglers get strikes at the same time.


Casting artificials for blues is ultimately more fun than trolling, but it can't always be done. Many times, the fish are below the surface and trolling is the only way to find them.

The pop-n-troll is a multi-faceted trolling technique, designed to locate subsurface bluefish. Boats that can handle six rods will troll two swimming plugs on flat lines and one swimmer on each outrigger. These four outfits are of the Great Lakes downrigger style.

If the boat is large enough and has additional rod holders, the pattern can be augmented by using two stiff popper outfits in each stern corner. The popper should ride at the surface about 20 feet to the rear of the flat line lures. In turn, the outrigger swimmers are positioned outside and 20 feet beyond the poppers. If you have a seventh rod holder, or a rod holder on a downrigger, then a seventh outfit, downrigger style, can be towed from a cannon-ball at a depth of 30 feet.