• Posted by Nick Honachefsky
  • On March 23, 2017
  • Comments
  •  5

Getting ready for the early season run of chopper bluefish in New Jersey? Nick breaks down his setup and techniques for tackling these brutes in this week’s blog post.

The past two year’s bluefish bombardment of New Jersey’s Barnegat Bay, Manasquan Inlet and Barnegat Inlet has been unprecedented as a literal invasion of tens of thousands of choppers from 5 to 20 pounds stormtrooped into the waters starting in April and lasting through June. On the premise we have a repeat of that occurrence this spring, you had better be rightly prepared or be left in the maelstrom of tangled lines, busted lures and bitten fingers. Whether fishing by land or boat, start with a stout 7-foot Penn Rampage RAMBW3050S70 30 to 50-pound class spinning rod, matched with a Penn 5500SS class reel.

Try to stray away from spooling with braided line, as it can create quick slicing cuts on your hands and instead opt to spool up with 14 to 17-pound Sufix or Yo-Zuri Monofilament line. Lures can span the gamut, but most importantly, you don’t want to bring you’re A-list lures to the party, use less expensive offerings as you will be inevitably losing a few. Start with rigging with a 100-lb barrel swivel, a 24-inch section of 40 to 50-lb monofilament Trik Fish leader, and then a 75-lb TA Power Clip to interchange lures.

Poppers are hands down the most exciting way to hook up fish especially in the backwaters with offerings like the Williamson Popper Pro 160, Tactical Anglers Crossover Popper, and Guides Choice M80. If you’re fishing the rippy waters of inlets at Manasquan or Barnegat, toss out single hook metals such as Ava 007 or A17 jigs, #4 Deadly Dicks, or a Hopkins No-EQL 3-1/2 SB.

Its recommended to wear gloves, such as the Deep Ocean or Pelagic End Game models to handle lines or to swing fish over a rail or wall as well as to get a good grip on the blue for a release. To unhook lures from the chomping maws of gator blues, pick up some extra long needlenose pliers such as the Mustad MT-011 pliers to insure you save all your fingers. Gator blues are no joke. Be prepared for some arm-wrenching battles this spring!

Gear Used


SSV5500 Spinning Reel

A more advanced edition of the Spinfisher series reels. The Spinfisher V Series spinning reels are made with Penn’s new Water Tight Design which protects the reel from saltwater making its way into the gearbox or drag system.



RAMBW3050S70 Rampage Boat Rod

Penn Rampage Boat Rods were designed for charter boats or anglers that need durability in a variety of fishing situations. Constructed with tubular glass blank for extra strength, Penn Rampage also features a solid glass tip that helps keep the rod tip from breaking even when high sticked.



Siege Monofilament Fishing Line 17lb

Sufix Siege Monofilament fishing line has superior casting distance with pinpoint accuracy due to its proprietary extrusion process. It has up to 15X greater abrasion resistance then other lines on the market and has exceptional knot strength and smooth handling.


Tactical Anglers

CrossOver Popper Lure

Tactical Anglers CrossOver Popper SMART LURES have undergone extensive testing to ensure maximum durability and functionality.


Leave Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *