Posts Tagged Bluefish

Late Summer Salt

Late Summer Salt . . .

A sweet spot for the salt tenkara experience.
(08 01 2020)

One rod. One line. One fly. Many, many ways and places to fish. One of these, the salt, continues to fascinate and engage a nascent facet of tenkara’s potential.

The more mellow environment of the sod bank back bay flats gives one a perfect place to wade and cast for game fish in close quarters in the salt.

The primary species remains the summer flounder, the fluke, although as August progresses, juvenile bluefish, called “snappers” by the locals, have returned to provide additional action.

The rigging could not be more simple; a Clouser minnow, Lefty’s Deceiver, or a Gotcha tied directly to the 10-20 lb. tip of a flourocarbon level line.

Fluke rig in the field.
(08 21 2020)

Practice in action reveals the best time to fish, and catch, is during a low tide when fish are more concentrated and feeding. In the case of the fluke and bluefish, feeding on spearing, mummichog, and other small baitfish.

(08 20 2020)

These fish fight exceptionally well on tenkara tackle. Fluke, even shorts, and bluefish, even snappers, fight like stream trout of the 20-inch class. Both species are built for strength and bursts of speed and provide a wonderful, sporting fishing experience during the freshwater doldrums of late summer.

A “keeper” fluke landed on a mudflat during low tide.
(08 19 2020)


Bluefish of “snapper” size.
(08 23 2020)

— rPs 08 31 2020


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Summer’s End

Summer’s End . . .


The Beginning: Rain
(09 2018)

The autumnal equinox brings a change not so much of physical character, not at first, but in the immediate of light, light lost, as an evening falls so quickly, dramatic, perceptible, noticeable, between the beginning, the center, and the end of September.


The Beginning

FALLfish: (September Tarpon)
(09 2018)


The Center

September Sands (North Atlantic) (09 2018)

September Cocktail
(09 2018)


The End

September Bank Foliage
(09 2018)

Big Belly Bluegill
(09 2018)

— rPs 09 30 2018


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Sparse Silverside

Sparse Silverside


Swegman’s Sparse Silverside
(NYC 05 30 2018)

Spring warms toward summer. Tenkara takes to the salt again. Fluke on fly, bluefish off the jetty, schoolie stripers on top.

The pattern, a Sparse Silverside, size 2, bound to 3X, can attract all of the above when a little agitation through animation is employed along the water, often as the tide bottoms out, or at the top plateau of the high.


Schoolie Striped Bass
(05 2018)

– rPs 05 30 2018



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Blue Trout

Blue Trout . . .

Bluefish, Pomatomus saltatrix
(09 2017)

Temperatures have held high in humidity after a cool valley where August met September. Days have become shorter of light.

The seas have been swollen, due to the newsworthy vortices from the south and east. The view is broad, dynamic waves, bass from the raw power of waves that tackle rather than slap.

Time for albies, but before the linesiders, the bigger striped bass of autumn, both fish far too much for tenkara designed for trout. There is from the same jetties some times of clear sky and slack tide in September when the cocktail, quite the snapper in tooth, makes itself vulnerable enough, as in close enough, for successful multiple cast-hook-catch landings in the net.

Number Two Fish, Bluefish
(09 2017)

Tenkara in the salt remains an experiment rewarded. Bluefish of this size fight, the manic headshake like a trout of twenty inches, a trout with teeth. Most small Clouser or Charlie type patterns will lure fish. To land fish, your own skill at the cast in coastal breeze, and in arm wrestling with fish, is up to you.

Silver lining; the view:

Blued View: Bluefish Weather
(9 2017)


— rPs 09 29 2017

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The Salt on the Level

The Salt on the Level . . .

Hudson River High Tide (photo taken 07 2014)

Hudson River High Tide
(photo taken 07 2014)

The Salt. I have been trying, toying in earnest, to infuse my tenkara with diversity through variety in waters flowing and still, freshwater and . . . salt.

The Salt; Saltwater: Some older classics of the printed literature hold titles such as “Dock Fish” in which a sense of history can be linked to the facet of the sport perhaps best named saltwater panfishing. During this second decade of the 21st Century, add the urban angle in Manhattan, USA, and that offers two fishes of note: black sea bass (Centropristris striata) and bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix), in particular the yearlings known regionally as “snappers” (pronounced “snappas”).

The Black Sea Bass

Black Sea Bass (photo taken 07)

Black Sea Bass (photo taken 07)

The black sea bass (those I have lost and caught and released) on the tenkara rod have coerced me to believe this is a saltwater sporting equivalent to the green sunfish found in freshwater streams. Previously I extolled on the green sunfish. The black sea bass is just as worthy.

The black sea bass is by classification a grouper, a smaller one, hardier to cold temperatures, a member of the family more well-known by its southern relations that range in color, pattern, and in size up to a 70s fly Volkswagen beetle.

The black sea bass exhibits broad shoulders, a flank thickness like the green sunfish, dressed in pearled black scales that hold an iridescence that glows bright blue around and along the lateral line. Vermiculation of a similar color resembles that of the green sunfish. The size encountered off my Manhattan dock(s) range from six to twelve inches. Only the very few largest are potentially one in the hermaphroditic phase, an interesting fact of this fish, which sets in at around specimens of ten inches or longer, in weight reaching eight to ten pounds.

Fish take a fly firmly and quiver shake in resistance. Bright weighted streamers, a chartreuse variety of Cllouser, can be cast, sunk, twitched on a line twelve feet in length supplemented by a leader of similar length tipped by the fly. Such a pattern on a swing with slow pulses of the wrist will take fish during one or two parts of a tide, often on incoming, but not always. One certainty, speed up the presentation of the fly to be intercepted by another hard hitter.

The Bluefish

First Fish! (photo taken 07 2014)

First Fish!
(photo taken 07 2014)

Closer to the surface cruise little toy soldier pods of juvenile bluefish chasing fry and rainbait schools. The schools of bluefish cutting baitfish like class come in and go out on quick waves that rarely last longer than two caught fish. Several hours of fishing will provide one half dozen waves of two minute bites on most occasions.

There also are changing skies to contemplate and inquisitive tourists, in between, plus a smorgasbord of aviation and ship sightseeing.

Fly patterns remain consistent with those best for the black sea bass. Simple half-and-half Clouser patterns tied for skinny water. Cinderworm patterns are normally ignored, although any dartible streamer of white can do. Sizes 6 through 8 are small enough for the tight-lipped bite of both fishes.

Hooks require a line. Level Line, not traditional tapered, is advised to be used. The Salt. I attach twelve feet to a small swivel and add a straight leader of monofilament in 5 or 6 lb. test. I want the leader to be breakable in case I hook into a piling of wood; an admittedly occasional hazard.

Hudson River Low Tide (photo taken 07 2014)

Hudson River Low Tide
(photo taken 07 2014)

Close fishing to the docks works best when peak tides and solunar tables meet. Check predictions on the website Tides4Fishing and study saltwater access nearest you. Tenkara may work on croakers and bergalls and many other fishes of The Salt that can fit into a pan if you force them, by hook.

Panfish, or Handfish? (photo taken 07 2014)

Panfish, or Handfish?
(photo taken 07 2014)

– rPs 07 25 2014

Postscript: Tides4Fishing

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