What attracts bluefish? Tantalizing bluefish into the bite

What attracts bluefish like this bluefish on the sand?

In this article, I’m going to take you through the tactics I use and the knowledge I’ve learned about attracting bluefish to bite over the many years of catching bluefish.

Sometimes you can’t catch anything but bluefish, and other times they seem to be very elusive, not attracted to anything you put in the water for them.

So read on for a quick guide to what attracts bluefish, and how to use this knowledge to get more bluefish to strike.

How do you attract bluefish?

Bluefish are best attracted by baits or lures that mimic their prey in the water.

Bluefish typically prey on small bait fish like menhaden and silversides. Squid is also a major part of the bluefish diet.

Let’s go through how you might attract bluefish using appearance, movement, and also scent.

Learn how to catch bluefish from the pier here.

We’ll look at all three factors separately.


Use shiny lures or fresh menhaden fillets or whole fish to attract bluefish to bite.

Bluefish are attracted by flashing, bright colors and reflections because it looks like potential baitfish they can target in what’s called a ‘bluefish blitz’.

This is when a school of bluefish attacks a baitfish ball in a frenzy. Bluefish are incredibly aggressive, insatiable when they are feeding and can destroy.

Remember, bluefish love a good flash, probably because much of their prey have reflective scales.

Try using an artificial lure that is covered in reflective or shiny metal, like silver.

Other lures that work well are wobbling spoons.

Silver lures like this are how you attract bluefish
A reliable metal sppon lure for catching bluefish


Bluefish love to chase down prey. So lures that look like swimming fish are a great option to use when you fishing for bluefish.

I really like using fast spoons, spinners or topwater lures that create lots of movement, vibrations, and even splashing on the top of the water.

If you can get your lure looking like a fish moving rapidly through the water, or looking as if it’s like a fish that’s injured and is flagging behind a larger shoal, this can be very effective at attracting a strike from a bluefish.


The final way to attract bluefish is through scent.

Despite being primarily visual hunters that seek out the colours, movement and flashes of bait fish and other bait sources, their sense of smell is keen too.

This is why using fresh, bright-cut bait can be a great option for attracting bluefish.

I like to take long strips of menhaden, croaker or sardine fillets and bait them on 3 ganged hooks to present the bait to the bluefish in the most tempting way to tempt them to bite.

You can also use whole fish baits this way too, and you might get even more scent into the water using whole fish. And potentially bigger bluefish.

To attract the saltwater fish we all know and love, I recommend that you use their favorites in terms of prey, but also colours!

In fact, one of the things that those fishing for bluefish often miss out on is the use of light to attract bluefish.

What do Bluefish Bite On?

Bluefish are not difficult to please when it comes to getting a bite.

They will bite on a broad range of fish bait and crustacean and cephalopods and are even cannibalistic – sometimes eating their young.

They have many rows of razor-like teeth, and an aggressive nature; they’re more likely to bite than run from something unfamiliar!

Bluefish are pretty savage when it comes to biting their prey.

Small baitfish like those in the herring family, sardines, squid, crab and other creatures often find their fate at the end of the razor-sharp bluefish teeth.

That said, what can you and I do to guarantee a bluefish bite?

I recommend using lures that reflect light, as mentioned above.

The oblong wobbling spoon lure is a great option and comes in plenty of great sizes.

You should also take into account food types and even color, as we’ll discuss below.

What Colours do Bluefish Like?

Bluefish aren’t picky about colours, either.

Again, bright shining colours that reflect light and flash, or stand out against the colour of the water around them are great.

Many anglers opt for bright whites, silver, blues, reds, greens and oranges to try to trigger a strike from a bluefish.

The key is to experiment, and I’d advise you to keep switching lures every 5-10 casts if you know bluefish are around but aren’t biting. The change in colour might be the thing that gets a strike.

What Prey Does a Bluefish Eat?

Bluefish have some of the strongest jaws and teeth in their category.

They are fully capable of eating large chunks of their prey; they love smaller fish, squid, and, in particular, silversides and menhaden.

One of the most interesting things about bluefish is that they like to attack just for sport, and will sometimes tear up bait fish without eating them.

When you are seeing the water ‘boiling’ at the surface, it’s likely caused by a group of bluefish attacking a baitball.

BEcause they are such ferocious eaters, they cuase a great stir beneath the water’s surface making it look like the water is disturb and ‘boiling’ during their ‘blitz’ of their prey.

How to attract bluefish using bait like these sardines

Will Bluefish Eat Squid?

Yes, bluefish will absolutely eat squid; squid is a part of their natural diet.

Luckily, squid are easy to find in just about every tackle shop there is.

The fresher, and brighter the better.

I always find bluefish find your bait much faster if the squid you are using is fresh, or is displaying its bright white, creamy flesh. The bluefishs locate it quickly in the water.

One important tip is that, because bluefish are so bold and can eat such large quantities, you can fish with the whole squid for targeting larger bluefish, instead of cutting it into strips.

Again, using 3 ganged hooks to present a big strip of cut white squid bait is a great way to target blues and increase your chance of a hook-up.

Does Bluefish Eat Crab?

Bluefish do eat crabs, so can be selected as a bait to catch them. As bluefish move closer into shore they often strike at crabs.

Bluefish are very opportunistic hunters so happily feed on crabs if they are in thier environment and an easy target.

Crab baits also give off a good. scent so that is a benefit too.

It is important to remember that even these fish have their limits, though; stick to smaller bait crabs.

Do Bluefish Eat Snapper?

Bluefish have been known to annihilate thier own young snapper blues in their fierce feeding frenzies.

So you can use snapper blues as bluefish bait.

Chunks of bluefish, and snapper blues make pretty good cut bait because the flesh is quite oily and so emits a great scent in the water.

I’ve used it before and it’s been pretty successful as a bait. Good for burley too!

With regards to larger species of snapper, like red snapper etc., this is not a cntral part of their diet but I’m sure if a bunch of swarming bluefish came across some juvenile red snapper, they likely wouldn;t stand a chance

Bluefish generally prefer bunker, silversides, or porgies, which will give you better results.

However, snapper blues and smaller snapper have been known to get a bite from bluefish, too.

How do Bluefish Hunt?

Bluefish have their own type of feeding frenzy when they hunt, going in large schools to the surface. They attack bait fish by disturbing the water into a foamy swirl of chaos.

\While doing this, they have their mouths and eyes open and will simply feed on anything they come into contact with small enough to swallow!

Like I said previously, bluefish are interesting hunters because they do not always hunt for food!

Sometimes they’ll just go on the attack for the sport of it, and it’s hard to blame them with their access to natural weaponry like razor teeth.