Gotcha Plugs Get Blues
Bluefish are savage predators in a constant state of migration. All that swimming means they must keep up their strength, and that means eating almost constantly. Lures resembling baitfish are the weapon of choice for catching blues from piers, in-shore boats and the surf. Few plugs produce more consistent results than the famous Gotcha plug. This hard-plastic, torpedo-shaped plug holds a treble hook in the tail and another in the midsection at the belly. The classic color combination is chartreuse (yellow-green) for the body, with a red head.
Jig these lures from a boat, or cast behind the waves when fishing the surf or off a pier, then retrieve steadily.
Fishing the Finnish Minnow
Seasoned striped bass anglers don't visit the ocean unless they have a few Finnish Minnows rattling in their tacklebox. This perennial classic is a thin surface plug about the same size on both ends, thickening in the middle. Longer models are equipped with two treble hooks in the belly and a third in the tail, although most Finnish Minnows dangle two trebles. The lure was originally manufactured by the Rapala Corp., named after Lauri Rapala, who founded the company in Finland in 1936 after hand-carving his first lures from balsa wood.
Finnish Minnows are deadly from boat, surf or pier because of their ability to mimic a wounded baitfish with a distressing wiggle during retrieval. If stripers are in the vicinity, Finnish Minnows have been getting their attention for 70 years.
Stay Flexible: Stock Clouser Minnows
The venerable Clouser Minnow is a wet fly that can be cast with fly-fishing equipment, or tied with a weighted jig head for casting. This lure consistently produces bluefish and striped bass, making the Clouser an excellent choice for traveling anglers who might not want to carry a lot of gear.
Some anglers add a few split-shot weights up the line to give them casting distance. The classic color combination is white bucktail along the belly and throat, topped by a red body.
The Clouser is designed to be fished with the barb pointing upward, which cuts down on the possibility of snags but allows it to stand ready to hook a big striper or savage blue that inhales this deadly lure.