Learn about bluefish

Bluefish are also known as tailor or snapper elves. Read on to learn more about bluefish.

Appearance

  • Bluefish are usually 20-25 inches long, but can get up to 42 inches in length.
  • They are blue or blue-green along their back, fading to silver or white along their sides and belly.
  • Bluefish have two dorsal fins, with the second far larger than the first. They also have forked tails and v.ery sharp teeth.
Bluefish

Bluefish facts

  • Species name: Pomatomus saltatrix
  • · Bluefish are distributed throughout the world’s oceans from tropical to temperate waters. They are common throughout the Atlantic Ocean, but are also found in the Indian and South Pacific Oceans.
  • Bluefish are pelagic, schooling fish, staying mainly within the water column. They are voracious predators and can be seen feeding at the surface on schools of bait fish.
  • Bluefish eat plankton when they are young, but transition to a piscivorous diet as they get older.
  • Early in life bluefish are hunted by larger fish such as:
    • Striped bass
    • Larger bluefish
    • Summer flounder
  • As adults bluefish are hunted by:
    • Tuna
    • Sharks
    • Billfish
    • Seals
    • Dolphins
    • Porpoises
  • Female bluefish lay between 400,000 and 2 million eggs. The eggs are buoyant and drift on currents, hatching after approximately 48 hours. They are only 0.08 inches long when hatched,  but will start to take on the physical characteristics of adult bluefish when they grow to be about half an inch in length.
  • Commercial fisheries usually use gillnets to catch bluefish, but sometimes bluefish are caught by hook and line gear or trawls.
  • Regulations are created by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. NOAA Fisheries implements these regulations.
Bluefish distribution map

Additional Resources

Angling tips

  • Anglers catch bluefish near inlets, shoals, and rips where large schools aggregate to feed on bait fish. Bluefish can bite through weak line, so use line of at least 40-pound mono or braid with a wire leader. Single hook top water plugs with a lure work best.
  • Bluefish meat is light gray blue or brown when raw. There are dark sections that have a very potent flavor due to the oils. Many anglers cut this area out before storing or cooking it. Bluefish is often smoked or grilled fresh.

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