In late spring, most years, bluefish move onto shallow flats around Long Island during flood tides to feed on small baitfish. Lots of anglers keep their focus on stripers, but to overlook the bluefish option is to miss one of the Northeast’s most exciting inshore fisheries.
New York fly-fishing and light-tackle guide John McMurray had suggested we check out the flats on the evening of our first fishing day to see if the blues were around.
I’d flown into the Big Apple the day before, meeting up with Damon Olsen at the Allegria Hotel in Long Beach. Olsen, who runs Australia’s renowned Nomad Sport Fishing and has recently developed a line of lures, Nomad Design Tackle. One of his goals was test out some of those lures, proven Down Under, on New York stripers and blues.
The sun was falling below the horizon when McMurray cut the outboards on his 33 Contender center console. In short order, we began seeing the flat surface disrupted by splashes, tails and wakes. And until dark, we had a real ball with blues to more than 15 pounds following, assaulting and latching onto Nomad poppers and walking lures.
The next day when we discovered that the stripers were pretty small (and a run of big fish off northern Jersey never materialized for us), so we found ourselves unable to resist the chance to tangle with bluefish again on flats.