A highly sought-after, tasty and popular species of game fish, Bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) possess a voracious appetite and reputation for being especially strong and aggressive. An exciting pursuit, angling for “blues” typically yields fish averaging between 10-15 pounds with exceptional specimens weighing as much as 20 pounds and 40 inches in length. The North American record bluefish, weighed 31 pounds 12 ounces.
Bluefish bodies have a blue-green coloration dorsally, fading to a silver-white on the lower sides and belly. Well adapted to their aquatic environment, a broad, forked tail drives this predator at high speed, while sturdy dorsal and pectoral fins provide excellent maneuverability. Exceptionally fast swimmers, boasting mouths full of razor sharp teeth, bluefish are well equipped to chase smaller forage fish and evade larger predators.
Opportunistic feeders, the favored prey of Bluefish includes a diverse list including: shrimp, small lobsters, crabs, menhaden, eels, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and alewives. Schools of bluefish will often eat voraciously, dashing about wildly, biting, crippling, and killing numerous small fish. These sometimes-epic feeding frenzies can turn shallow water red with blood and litter beaches with the bodies of dead, half-eaten baitfish.
A migratory species, Bluefish spend the winter months off the coast of Florida. As waters warm, they begin moving northward up the eastern seaboard throughout June, July and August to feed and reproduce along the shores of Cape Cod, Nantucket and the mouth of the Merrimack River. Both male and female bluefish reach sexual maturity by 2 years old, with females capable of producing about one million eggs per year. By early fall, the quality of the fishing rapidly declines as blues depart the New England coastline, once again heading back to southern waters.
Wildlife Quiz Questions:
1. What fish do Bluefish eat?
2. How much did the world record Bluefish weight?
3. Where do Bluefish primarily congregate during the winter months?
4. Are bluefish good to eat?
5. When do Bluefish reproduce?
6. Do bluefish travel and feed in schools?
7. At what age do bluefish reach sexual maturity?
8. How many eggs do female bluefish produce each year?
Wildlife Quiz Answers:
1. Bluefish eat a wide selection of fish, including: menhaden, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and alewives.
2. The world record Bluefish weighed 31 pounds 12 ounces.
3. During the winter months Bluefish congregate around the coastal waters of Florida.
4. Bluefish having a high concentration of fish oil, fillets should be marinated in lemon or lime juices to lighten the flavor and maintain a good taste.
5. Bluefish reproduce during June, July and August.
6. Bluefish normally travels in large schools, which may contain up to several thousand individuals. One unusually large school sighted in Narragansett Bay in 1901 spread over a 4-5 mile distance.
7. Male and female bluefish reach sexual maturity by 2 years old.
8. Female Bluefish are capable of producing about one million eggs per year.