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BigOutdoors
05-12-2009, 06:08 AM
Blues should arrive 'any day now"

By Charles Walsh
Correspondent







"They just haven't turned the corner yet" is how a number of veteran anglers explain why Long Island's North Shore, from Montauk to Peconic Bay Oyster Bay Harbor, is loaded with bluefish ranging from tailors to 14-pound choppers and yet there has not been a single confirmed report on the Connecticut side of Long Island Sound. Just what or where that "corner" is only the bluefish seem to know, but sooner or later (probably sooner) they will turn it and show up here big time.
Jason Jadach at Bobby J's in Milford used that term in predicting the toothy critters will arrive at the West Haven sandbar with the next tide swing.
"We've had pods bunker sited in the harbors, so there is bait for the blues to chase," he says. "So it's just a matter of days before somebody hooks one."
Jadach says that last year the first reports of blues came during the second week of May.
Johnny Posh, working the counter at Jimmy O's in Black Rock, predicted the blues would show up "any day now."
Rick Mola at Fisherman's World in East Norwalk has been making regular trips to Hempstead harbor where, according to the store's Nick Massaro, he's been taking some really large blues on surface poppers and swimmers.
As the recuperating Eric Johnson explains in the video clip on www.westportoutfitters.com, the Web site of his new Westport Outfitters store in the Saugatuck section of Westport, the "confluence of currents in Long Island Sound causes
the bunker to congregate in and around the North Shore's bays and harbors. Where goeth the bait so goeth the early arriving bluefish. It is not unusual to find schools of larger blues blitzing bunker in the middle of Long Island Sound at this time of year."
The Long Island bluefish are not only the slim-Jim "runners" that usually arrive just ahead of the big migratory push, but the tailor-sized fish that come in large schools and some big-shouldered choppers. Angler throwing flies and small plugs were taking this fish north of the Montauk light this week.
Although catching bluefish is not exactly rocket science (when they are biting they will usually bite anything that moves in the water), a quick review of a couple of reliable techniques cannot hurt.
When bluefish are feeding on the surface they will usually attract flocks of seagulls and terns feeding on their leftovers. When gulls are spotted on the horizon swooping low over the water, chances are bluefish are blitzing bait directly under them. Despite the sea of slashing teeth inches below their dangling feet, gulls will hover over a fish hoping to nail a missed chunk of bunker or herring.
Blitzing blues are sensitive to boat noise, so it is best to approach a blitz from the uptide side, cutting the engine before reaching edge of the school. For some reason certain unseasoned anglers just cannot resist the temptation of ramming their boat smack into the center of a blitz, an act that causes the school to head for the bottom faster than a bag of cement falling off a barge.
When there are no gulls visible, keep an eye out for the occasional splash of a breaking fish. Cast a popper or some other substantial plug like an Atom or Yo Zuri (soft plastics work, but they rarely survive the teeth of one hit) toward the area of the splash and chances are something nasty will explode behind your offering.
If it is the big choppers between 10 and 18 pounds you are after, there is no better way to get them than deep jigging in the areas where blues are known to hold. It will be June before the blues take up residence in deep holes. Around here those areas are at buoys outside the mouth of Bridgeport Harbor and the Housatonic River. Sometimes just dropping an unbaited diamond jig to the bottom will induce a strike; other occasions the jig must be sweetened with a hunk of fresh bunker or mackerel. Many area anglers use baited circle hooks weighted with four- to six-ounce sinkers that allow unwanted bluefish to be easily released.
Needless to say, no matter which method is used to go after blues, a stout wire or monofilament leader (60 pound does nicely) is a must.
Now all that's left is to wait for those choppers to turn that corner, wherever it is.