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Florida Fishing - Species

BLUEFISH

Regulations

Minimum size 12" (fork length); no closed season; 10 fish per person per day limit

General Information

This fish travels in schools and migrates up and down the Atlantic seaboard following schools of bait fish. The meat is good to eat and is best when eaten fresh. It does not freeze well. Schools of bluefish will go into a feeding frenzy when the encounter a school of baitfish. Anglers around when this happens can cast bare hooks into the melee and catch fish.

Distribution

The best time to fish for bluefish in Florida is during the winter months. The largest concentrations and the biggest fish are caught on the Atlantic side of the state. Fish tend to be smaller and less numerous along the Gulf coast. Bluefish schools travel close to shore and that means surf and ocean pier anglers and nearshore boaters have a good chance of finding and catching these fish.

Tackle and Techniques

Surf fishing, especially along the Atlantic coast in the winter, is a popular place to find bluefish. Anglers who fish here will need a a big surf rod so they can cast far enough offshore to reach the troughs where the fish congregate. A smaller rod and reel with 12 pound test line can be used off the ocean piers. Bluefish have a mouthful of sharp teeth so you will need to use a 50 pound test or heavier leader to avoid cut offs.

Bait

Live baitfish is one of the most reliable baits for this species. Gold and silver spoons and jigs tipped with shrimp that are worked through school usually attract attention. Pieces of cut bait and large spoons work when trolling. If the feeding frenzy is hot and heavy, a bare gold hook will create enough flash to attract a bluefish.

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