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By ED WALKER, Times Correspondent
Published December 8, 2007
Schools of bluefish have been holding over high spots on the deeper grass flats of northern Pinellas County and Pasco County. These 1- to 4-pound fish are common during the colder months and provide a reliable target even when conditions make it difficult to catch other species such as snook or redfish. Passing cold fronts, falling water temperatures and slack tides seldom bother the ravenous bluefish.
In 20 years as a fishing guide, I cannot recall finding a school of bluefish that was not willing to strike a lure or live bait that was tossed its way. One of my favorite techniques is to cast a noisy topwater plug and crank it rapidly across the surface. When the fish rush up behind it, cranking even faster really drives the fish crazy. In fact, it is not unusual to hook two bluefish on the same plug at the same time.
Most of the time, a section of 30- to 40-pound test fluorocarbon leader material is sufficient, but when the bluefish are thick, adding a short piece of wire leader will help eliminate cutoffs and save on plugs. Twelve inches of 30- to 40-pound test straight wire with a tiny swivel at the top and connected to the lure with a loop knot is the standard setup in this situation.
The use of light spinning gear or even fly casting tackle helps maximize the fighting efforts of the scrappy blues that can really save the day when fishing is tough.