Goldy

Thoughts on 2022 bluefish

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Ok something very odd happened this year. 
 

i know of a few people that caught bluefish and one was 16#.   Im not targeting 5# blues as i have known they have been around.  But what happened to the jumbos. 
 

I think lack of bunker.  Perhaps big storm. Heavy NE for days.   It had to be something.  
 

a no show is a bad sign

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It's been years since I've seen a lot of bluefish.  I don't feel like its been the same since hurricane Sandy. 

 

I also don't see a lot of snappers in the rivers either.

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Last year around this time I got into a couple decent bluefish bites in totally different areas. I have been trying those spots last couple weeks and have only found a few and nothing close in size. Did get surprised with a couple larger blues last week which got my hopes up, but haven’t found them that size again. Without bunker around, I can’t imagine them being abundant in these areas. 

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Pre sandy I would take my fly rod and go to  the back of moco and catch some snappers … there would be 3-6 snappers chasing my popper at one time , but lately not to many snappers around …

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Too many variables - food, weather, water temps to accurately predict but the lack of them isn’t necessarily doom/gloom, its just part of the cyclical nature most animals. Not too many years ago, thick spring time gators were not the norm, with most of the spring blues I recall being thin racers with giant heads. The thick gators were mostly during the fall. Maybe they are flipping back to that pattern. Or maybe they are just late to the party. 

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Some years, like last year, they are abundant; some years like the year before, they are around in a short window This year they are absent- the only variable I see is the absence of bunker Water temps had been running historically cold but warmed up to normal levels last week 

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I haven’t seen any,  but I haven’t been targeting them per say… but they are a very fun fish to catch. I think they get a bad rap due to their teeth and the lousy taste compared to game fish. 

 

anyways, I agree with the Sandy statements- before that everyone tried to avoid bluefish lol

 

and it seems like everything is a few weeks late this year- so maybe they will show up in another week or two like… hopefully anyways! 

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The Bluefish numbers are way down which is consistent with my experience and is reflected in chart.  It's really simple.  The more fish that are around, the more places they will be and the longer they will be available to catch.

 

In the mid to late 80s when the Striped Bass numbers had tanked, we had plenty of big Blues to keep us busy.  Our Fall run typically started around the 2nd to 3rd week of August and lasted until November, depending on the weather.  Too much pressure on a finite resource.

 

Bluefish.PNG.76bdabf5ffcc36685a2d56a14f85359c.PNG

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3 hours ago, suntzu said:

Some years, like last year, they are abundant; some years like the year before, they are around in a short window This year they are absent- the only variable I see is the absence of bunker Water temps had been running historically cold but warmed up to normal levels last week 

The lack of bunker is absolutely amazing.. I've only seen bunker a handful of times this spring.  The interesting part this year will be in august when I usually take my kid snapper fishing. 

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1 hour ago, Mr.Belmar said:

I haven’t seen any,  but I haven’t been targeting them per say… but they are a very fun fish to catch. I think they get a bad rap due to their teeth and the lousy taste compared to game fish. 

 

anyways, I agree with the Sandy statements- before that everyone tried to avoid bluefish lol

 

and it seems like everything is a few weeks late this year- so maybe they will show up in another week or two like… hopefully anyways! 

I remember 2008-9, i can't remember exactly, fall in lavallette, an absolutely epic gator blitz... Gators pushing peanuts up, beaching themselves.  Just an absolute epic blitz.. 

 

What a gamefish.. They fight like hell

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Posted (edited) · Report post

2 hours ago, Goldy said:

The lack of bunker is absolutely amazing.. I've only seen bunker a handful of times this spring.  The interesting part this year will be in august when I usually take my kid snapper fishing. 

Like u said can't wait for those snappers ...my grandson keeps bugging me to take him out for blues and he can't accept that they are not around...especially since I had him out on Easter Sunday night and he caught his first bass..

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Edited by Bob S.

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Couple years ago, when bunker was thick in the bay, blues made the water run red. Such carnage. We were snagging and dropping for fun, came back with only a head left on the hook after one cast. poor bunkers. 

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I know the bunker is totally not in abundance and yeah you see it and yeah a Striper will have them in the gullet but literally I would see football fields of bunker that would bring all kinds of species in the RB. Perfect example this spring is the absence of the whales chowing down on the bunker. I mean the whales would go pretty deep into the bay foraging. @Goldy you are correct and yes I had 15lb+ gators this year but for like 20mins and literally never saw them after. A buddy ran into them a little smaller but like me they just skipped out after that 20-30min window. Just shows they did not come in like we want them to. Party boats are not even harassed by them on the ocean side.

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Would I rather fish for bass? Absolutely. But Big bluefish are a blast, honestly any fish that it biting is fun to catch in my book. What bothers me most, is the general overall downtrend of inshore fishing in NJ waters. I still catch my share of big fish, but the windows to do so seem to get shorter and shorter each year. I remember growing up as a kid, going down to the beach every night after dinner in the summer with my Dad and Grandpa and plugging the beaches. Every night we got into fish, sometimes bass, sometimes bluefish, and on a relatively common basis, would run into some nice weakfish bites right off the beach. I don’t know that I can point to one specific thing and say “that’s the cause.” In reality it is probably a number of different factors. Either way, regardless of whether you like catching bluefish or not, it’s a bit disheartening, at least for me, for a species to seem like it is in a decline, just for the fact that it seems like the inshore waters around here seem to harbor less and less life each season.

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