In many cases the first real “sport fish” Cape Cod anglers catch is the bluefish. Voracious predators and strong fighters, pound for pound there are few other species as easily targeted by both shore and boat fishermen that can rival the battling blue. Their numbers are quite cyclic – some years they may seem to be everywhere and sometimes they can be rather difficult to find. While a few years ago fish in the mid-teens (pounds) were common and fish approaching 20 pounds were a real possibility, these days most are considerably smaller with a fish in the 12 to 15-pound range considered quite large.
Bluefish are called “choppers” for good reason: they’re equipped with a mouth full of sharp teeth and they are not afraid to use them, whether on a lure or a careless fisherman’s fingers. Soft plastics will certainly catch blues but better bets in terms of lure longevity are hard plastic plugs or metal lures. They will also readily eat a chunk bait fished on the bottom or drifted. These fish are usually not too particular about what is thrown at them as long as it is reasonably the same as the local forage in terms of size and shape. Color is seldom an issue and in fact lures that are flashy and highly visible get the most attention.
These fish are quite oily and their flesh becomes soft and inedible very quickly if they are not cleaned and iced almost immediately when caught. This may be the reason they are not as popular as table fare as stripers or other white-fleshed fish. However, when treated correctly they can be absolutely delicious, especially when smoked or cooked on a grill.
Although somewhat disdained by hardcore striper fishermen, bluefish are undeniably a blast to catch with their acrobatic displays and never-quit, nasty attitude. They are a perfect fish with which to introduce a youngster to the thrills of sport fishing.