Schools of bluefish, sometimes up to ten pounds or more will follow, circle and attack the huge schools of silver mullet migrating north. Watching this awesome phenomenon while standing on the beach is a thrill. Mullet scatter and leap everywhere as five and six pound bluefish become completely airborne at times, with a mullet in their jaws.
Anything literally any lure will catch these bluefish. When they are in a feeding frenzy like this, they strike anything close to them that moves. Surf anglers stand on top of their beach vehicles with binoculars watching the surf in both directions, looking for a school of feeding fish. Once fish are sighted, these specialists run the beach to the fish, hop out and begin casting to the frenzy.
Sometimes wading to water waste deep is necessary in order to cast and reach the school of fish. Stories of fingers being chopped and legs being attacked by huge bluefish appear in the news every year. These fish can be vicious.
The bluefish angler will cast spoons and lures and thrill to the fight. But for every handful of bluefish anglers, there are one or two anglers who are just as excited, but a little less rattled. You can see these surf fishermen making long casts with heavy pyramid sinkers and cut bait. They are fishing under the school of bluefish.
Years ago I was witness to an amazing day at Buxton on Cape Hatteras. As bluefish tore up the surface and came close to the breaking surf, flounder, some of them ten pounds or more, were swimming right up on the beach. It seems they were feeding on the chopped up remains of the baitfish that the bluefish were chasing, and the bluefish in turn were chasing them. In an effort to get away they moved to shallow water, a place where the bluefish could not follow. The only problem was, the water quickly ran away from them as the wave retreated and left them stranded on the beach. Surf anglers were running around picking up flounder everywhere. It was an amazing sight.
The bottom fishing surf anglers, fishing under the blues will catch their share of flounder. But they will also catch some very nice redfish. Huge breeder reds, returning from the offshore spawn will also prowl under the schools of baitfish. I think there is no preference on their part as to which baitfish, but they tend to hang with the menhaden shad more than the mullet. Menhaden stay tightly schooled and move slowly up and down the beach. Mullet tend to move more quickly, and I believe it takes more effort for them to stay with the mullet.
Whether in a boat fishing the beach or from the beach fishing the surf, Anglers can catch some huge redfish under a large school of menhaden. How huge, you ask? Guide friends in North Florida catch fish in the thirty to fifty pound range on literally every trip this time of year. They find a school of and catch some menhaden, then drift with that school as they put their baits on the bottom under them.
Along with the redfish come some huge bluefish, an occasional cobia, and what some would consider an over abundance of sharks truly a smorgasbord of fish from which to choose. This next trip, why not give the surf a try? Its time to get out there are get some!