A Day with the Bluefish

This article was originally written on October 23, 2009. There are no updates other than to say, I have yet to get into another school of bluefish like we got into that day. This remains a vivid memory and one that always brings a smile to my face especially on days when it is either too hot or windy to be out chasing fish.

I promised myself an afternoon on the water, and it will be one that I will remember for a long time for a number of reasons.

First off the weather was about as perfect as it could get. You could have sailed a bathtub out Bogue Inlet into the Atlantic yesterday. The water was amazingly quiet as you can see from the picture of Emerald Isle that was taken well off of Hammocks Beach.

The White Oak River was even smoother. There was hardly a ripple as we approached Swansboro. When we came home three hours later, it was the nearly the same.

Most importantly it was just as quiet as we left the inlet for the ocean. A good fishing buddy had told me to go out the Inlet and fish in the channel just where it was filling in with sand.

When we got out and saw the Corps of Engineers Barge dredging the channel, I thought there goes our fishing structure. It turned out to be one of those days where it did not matter.

We first fished on the east side of the channel. We were bottom fishing with shrimp and getting absolutely no bites. Then my buddy Dean, saw some bluefish feeding. I always keep a rod with a Gotcha rigged so I immediately cast and hooked up with a really nice bluefish. It was big enough that it needed the net. Dean had said he wanted to take home some fish to eat so as soon as I landed the bluefish it went into the cooler. Dean had already hooked one himself, and I was soon into another one. When we got to eight fish, we stopped keeping them. I even caught two bluefish on one plug. That was a challenge to unhook them.

They chewed my line so badly that I eventually launched my Gotcha into the wild blue yonder. We probably caught thirty bluefish in that hole before we decided to move on and try some other fishing.

We moved over to the west side of the channel off of Hammocks Beach. I had put this long silver plug on with red sides instead of another Gotcha, and I had switched it to my trout rod, but we went back to bottom fishing with no results. It was not long before we saw some more bluefish feeding.

It was then that we began some of the most amazing fishing that I have ever enjoyed. The plug that I put on was a bluefish magnet. As soon as it hit the water, two or three bluefish would jump on it. I went on to hook a bluefish on each of the next twenty casts. I finally got so tired of catching bluefish on the lure that I gave it to Dean to try. Even though he had been catching bluefish all along, he was amazed at how the fish went crazy for the plug.

We caught bluefish until I got very tired of unhooking them. We stopped counting around seventy bluefish, and finally headed home when we were only catching a bluefish every third cast.

We both agreed that we had never had an afternoon’s fishing like that. It was especially fun since we were using light tackle. I did not know bluefish would dance on the surface, but we had a few do just that.

The cooler of bluefish that we took home was a nice mess of fish. Since this was to be Dean’s first batch of fresh fish to cook from one of our trips, I filleted the bluefish, skinned them, and cut out the dark meat. It is a lot of work, but it makes for an exceptional meal.

It was a wonderful day. You can watch a slide show of the trip out to the ocean or another slide show from Swansboro back up the White Oak.

The opportunity to have a day like the one we had yesterday is one of the reasons that we live here along North Carolina’s Southern Outer Banks.

You will find more stories about like along the Crystal Coast portion of the Southern Outer Banks at Life Along The Crystal Coast or my Crystal Coast Life blog.