Fly Life Magazine

… but where are the bluefish?


By Charles Witek for One Angler’s Voyage

Here on Long Island, bluefish have always been a big part of the angling scene.

We curse them when they chop up an eel cast for stripers, or destroy carefully-rigged ballyhoo before the tuna even get a chance to sniff them, but it sure feels good to know that, from the beginning of May through the end of November, when other fish decide to ignore you, the bluefish will always be there.

Photo: A. Derr

Except, lately, they’re not.

There’s still a big run in the spring, with fish of mixed sizes, including some truly large ones, invading the bays and ripping up bunker outside. But that run isn’t lasting too long, and once it’s over, bluefish have been hard to find.

Sure, they show up in pulses, sometimes offshore, sometimes at Montauk, sometimes in Long Island Sound. But summer blitzes of bluefish have become localized events, few and far between, and not the sort of thing that might erupt anywhere, at any time, the way they did not too many years ago.

Last season, I shark fished from August into October, concentrating my efforts along the 20-fathom line south of Fire Island. I caught makos. I caught hammerheads. I caught sandbar sharks. I even caught some very nice dolphin (mahi-mahi). But in all that time, I didn’t have one single bluefish pick up a bait.

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