Big bluefish

bowhnter88

Four Pointer
Looking at trying for some big blues this year. When is the best time? Seems I normally see people talking about catching them around April from the surf and piers. What beach is normally the best? Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks!


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kilerhamilton

Twelve Pointer
I’ve ran down the banks many miles chasing schooling choppers.

Braid
Storm suspending baits
Rattle traps
Top water.

You want something you can cast a mile.


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bowhnter88

Four Pointer
Thank you for the input. I’m going to give it a try. Is oak island normally good for the big chopper blues?


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Justin

Old Mossy Horns
I’d you find them you can have the dang things. They caught a 36” last spring, all head.

Largest was 17lbs out of Oregon Inlet. In 06 or so
 

23mako

Ten Pointer
I’d you find them you can have the dang things. They caught a 36” last spring, all head.

Largest was 17lbs out of Oregon Inlet. In 06 or so
The largest ever? I thought that it was caught back in the 70s or something. out of Hatteras.
 

Steelshot

Spike
Can’t say which month but I know all the grown ones I’ve decked came when the water was about 70 degrees. Oak island has a healthy population of choppers in the spring. Float a large live bait with a stinger. Big dome heads love a live bait.
 

Wildlifer

Twelve Pointer
I’d you find them you can have the dang things. They caught a 36” last spring, all head.

Largest was 17lbs out of Oregon Inlet. In 06 or so
I miss those days! Blitz’s of stripers and bluefish working down the beach when it’s blowing a gale in January. My PB was also 17 when one of those blitz’s hit the beach. 25lb stripers and 15+lb blues were washing up in the surf.
 

1SHOT1KILL

Old Mossy Horns
I've caught a few that were well over 20 pounds back in the mid-70's to early 80's. Back in those days, starting in late November through late April, if you could find the "Blitz" (hell Ray Charles could see the Blitz from 3 miles away) you could catch hundreds of 15-20+ pounders a day if you wanted to catch that many. After about 20-30 or so though you'd start getting wore out from casting a heavy 10'-11' rod and 3oz-4oz Hopkins spoons and fighting the big son of a guns. That was back when you would and could see the "Blitz" from miles away, cause every bird on the island would be working from horizon to horizon to horizon, as far as you could see in every direction.

There were a few times there at the Hatteras point where the blues were chasing the trout right up on to the beach and after I caught all the blues I wanted at that moment, I'd take a 5 gallon bucket and walk the beach and picked up flopping 2-4 pound trout. I would have to walk but about 100yds in either direction to get a bucket full. I can remember a couple times (once up around 38 south of Avon and another was down around 49 or Billy Mitchell airport as we called it back then) they did the big croaker the same way and I'd picked up almost a cooler full of 1-1.5 pound croaker. Those were the good ole days of surf fishing. Now days you just get a small school "Blitz" or two of blues come through and you catch a dozen or so. Back in the day, you could catch them all day long, as the "Blitz" school would be miles long and the bite would literally last all day long.
 

HotSoup

Ten Pointer
I've caught a few that were well over 20 pounds back in the mid-70's to early 80's. Back in those days, starting in late November through late April, if you could find the "Blitz" (hell Ray Charles could see the Blitz from 3 miles away) you could catch hundreds of 15-20+ pounders a day if you wanted to catch that many. After about 20-30 or so though you'd start getting wore out from casting a heavy 10'-11' rod and 3oz-4oz Hopkins spoons and fighting the big son of a guns. That was back when you would and could see the "Blitz" from miles away, cause every bird on the island would be working from horizon to horizon to horizon, as far as you could see in every direction.

There were a few times there at the Hatteras point where the blues were chasing the trout right up on to the beach and after I caught all the blues I wanted at that moment, I'd take a 5 gallon bucket and walk the beach and picked up flopping 2-4 pound trout. I would have to walk but about 100yds in either direction to get a bucket full. I can remember a couple times (once up around 38 south of Avon and another was down around 49 or Billy Mitchell airport as we called it back then) they did the big croaker the same way and I'd picked up almost a cooler full of 1-1.5 pound croaker. Those were the good ole days of surf fishing. Now days you just get a small school "Blitz" or two of blues come through and you catch a dozen or so. Back in the day, you could catch them all day long, as the "Blitz" school would be miles long and the bite would literally last all day long.
In your opinion what changed that caused such a decline?
 

1SHOT1KILL

Old Mossy Horns
In your opinion what changed that caused such a decline?
I've never been a fan of eating big blues (or several other big fish for that matter) as they are strong tasting, oily, and don't keep or freeze well. Even back in the mid-70's when I first started going fishing on Cape Hatteras we never kept but maybe one or two big blues for a fish chowder, a fish stew, or blue cakes, and the rest were all released back in the surf alive and well (as we did big drum as well). Even today, I will only keep a few of the smaller 1-2 pound blues to eat for dinner that night (they are pretty darn good when fresh and small).

I would say over fishing is the main reasons. Not only over fishing of the blue fish themselves but of the bait fish as well. The commercial fishing for the Menhaden and other bait fish (to include other fish we fishermen like to fish for such as speckled & grey trout, croaker, spots, etc.) for the fish oil and Omega 3 oil is the last 2 decades has been another major factor in the decline of the numbers of blue fish and other species as well. Back in the day the water would turn black as far as you could see because of the bait fish in the water. You don't see that these days. There just isn't the bait fish to support the large schools of blues and other fish like there was 30-40 years ago.

The daily limit is currently 15 per day, per person, and only 5 can be over 24". I personally could live with daily limit of 10 per day, per person, and none over 18" or 20", because I am going to release them in the surf anyways. Like I said the bigger ones don't eat that good anyways and the smaller are much better if you are going to eat them. That is not going to really help the number of blue fish that much, but maybe it would allow more of the bigger ones to get even bigger. Until they can resolve the over fishing of the Menhaden and other bait fish (and I am not calling for a halt or ban, but maybe some sort of limits), the large horizon to horizon blue "Blitz's" of yester year are not going to come back.
 
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HotSoup

Ten Pointer
I dont eat them but will keep 1 or 2 for cut bait. They sure are fun to catch in tje 2lb range, couldn't imagine the real big ones. I watch them catch them on ocp in the spring, they catch alot in the 10lb+ range.
 

ECU_Pirate

Eight Pointer
I remember when i was a little kid in the 90's and seeing hundreds of grey trout washed up and jumping onto the beach during blue blitzes on the OBX. You could literally just walk around a fill a cooler if you wanted.

The spring blues are usually not as fat as the fall ones.
 

Steelshot

Spike
Seeing a 2 -4 lb trout beach it’s self to get away should tell you the size of a bait to use. Big fish eat big baits lol
 

ECU_Pirate

Eight Pointer
Blue fish are not discerning when it comes to eating. Anything big and shiny that moves a little will get hit. When they are in heavy and feeding you can put almost anything in front of them. At some points blues are annoying because you can't keep a bait in the water long enough to catch anything else. Even when bottom fishing.
 

HotSoup

Ten Pointer
The most fun we have is nudging up on a school in the spring with a mackeral tree catching multiples at once.
 
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