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     On the 4th of July weekend these toothy critters show up on Stellwagen Bank, about 22 miles off the Boston, Massachusetts shore. Bluefish are sometimes called "The mouth that swims!"  Steel leaders keep your tackle safe.

     Presented here is general information of Bluefish, its reproduction, habitat, food, fishing season, angling tips, handling and cooking.
  • General information:
    The bluefish is something of a misnomer, as this species is most commonly a sea-green color above, fading into a silvery shade on its lower sides and belly.   Bluefish are native to both the American and European-African coasts of the Atlantic Ocean.   Along the western Atlantic they are abundant from Argentina to Cape Cod and are occasionally found as far north as Nova Scotia.  Bluefish rarely exceed 20 pounds and 40 inches in length.  Both male and female bluefish reach sexual maturity by the time they are 2 years old. You can capture them using any type of fishing lures and weights.

  • Reproduction:
    Bluefish occurring between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and New England spawn between June and August. Spawning occurs primarily offshore, over the continental shelf when water temperatures warm to between 64 and 72 degrees.  After hatching, larvae inhabit surface waters and are swept along the continental shelf by prevailing currents.  The fecundity (number of eggs produced) of females is related to their size.  A 21 - inch female produces about 900,000 eggs while a 23 - inch female produces about 1,100,000 eggs per year.

  • Habitat:
    Bluefish inhabit both inshore and offshore areas of coastal regions in temperatures ranging from 66 to 72 degrees F, with the young fish (first year of life) called "snappers" often frequent estuaries and river mouths.  This species normally travel in large schools which may contain up to several thousand individuals.  Bluefish display an annual migration pattern that is keyed to the seasonal warming and cooling of coastal waters.  Larger fish initially inhabit deeper waters but move progressively shoreward into shallow areas as the summer progresses.  Although many adult fish migrate southward during the fall their majority migratory movement appears to be offshore toward the warmer deep waters of the continental shelf.

  • Food:
    Snappers eat a variety of small-bodied animals such as shrimp, small lobsters, crabs, larval fish and larval mollusks.  Adult bluefish are opportunistic feeders, commonly focusing upon schooling species such as menhaden, squid, sand eels, herring, mackerel, alewives, scup, butterfish and cunners.  Bluefish generally feed in schools, actively pursuing prey in tidal rips or in inshore shallows where food in easier to catch.  The feeding behavior of this species is legendary!   Bluefish are reputed to dash wildly about within schools of prey species, biting, crippling and killing numerous small fish that do not get eaten.   They frequently drive schools of prey species into shallow inshore areas where it becomes easier to cripple or catch fish that are trying to escape.

  • Fishing Season:
    June-mid October

  • Angling Tips:
    Bluefish anglers fish from boat or shore along nearly every harbor entrance, town dock, beach and jetty.  Wire leaders are a must in order to prevent hooked fish from cutting the line with its sharp teeth.  Anglers use a variety of plugs, sand eel type jigs, squid like or mackerel like lures when casting or trolling.  Pogies, mackerel or eels are the preferred live baits.  When these are not available, many types of cut bait also do well.

  • Handling:
    With most fish, the quality of the flesh and thus the flavor, will be best if the bluefish is bled, gutted and iced as soon as possible after capture.

  • Cooking:
    Bluefish filets can be marinated in acidic foods such as vinegar, lemon or lime juices, or wine, or they can be cooked with fresh vegetables such as tomatoes and onions.  These methods will lighten the flavor as well as retain the oils that confer the full healthy benefits associated with eating fish.
     The links to the left provide current marine and local weather reports, extended local weather reports, tide charts and the U. S. Coast Guard Navigation Center, featuring GPS information, DGPS sites (which are a must for anyone with a differential GPS), LORAN-C information, Local Notice to Mariners plus a boat load of miscellaneous navigational links and my Site Map.  Although most of the links to the left provide local information, my out of state visitors can also find nationwide marine and weather information.

     The remaining links to the right have my Boating, Fishing, Knot Tying, Fish Fileting and Tackle Tips pages.   Following those are my Search Engine pages, one with short descriptions and another in a table form, plus my Research Page.  Last but not least, is my Doll House Gallery featuring the Farmhouse and The Garfield!  These keep me busy in the winter.

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