May is a prime month for catching bluefish while surf fishing, all up and down the coast. And casting out cut bait on a doodlebug rig is usually the most effective method of tempting them. Added bonus: this is one type of surf fishing that’s as easy as one, two, three.

bluefish caught in the surf
Coastal correspondent John Unkart holds up a bluefish that fell for a doodlebug rig, baited up and cast into the surf.
  1. Get a two-hook doodlebug rig with 4/0 to 8/0 hooks, and clip on a surf weight (not a regular bank sinker) of two ounces (a very calm surf) to five ounces (moderately rough wave action).
  2. Lay a baitfish such as spot or mullet into its side, and cut it into chunks between an inch and half an inch wide and an inch to three inches long. If the reports say snappers have been around, keep the baits on the small side. If you hear choppers are in town, go bigger. You can use bunker in a pinch, but it tends to fall off more easily than these other baitfish and can be stripped quickly by crabs if any are around. Fresh is better than frozen, and sharpies will fish a small rod with a mini-doodlebug or a bottom rig baited with bloodworm bits to get fresh bait if it isn’t available at the tackle shop.
  3. Cast as far out as you can, and wait for the bite. If you already have a spot supply and can hold the rod, set the hook the moment you feel a strike. If you put the rod into a sand-spike to free up your hands to fish the small rod, be sure to use a live-liner function or set the drag loose, so a bluefish can take line if it attacks.