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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - Bluefish

Marine Fisheries

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Bluefish

Bluefish

Pomatomus saltatrix

AKA: blues, snappers, choppers, Taylor blues

Description: Bluefish are greenish-blue along the back fading to silver on the sides and the belly. They have stout bodies with large mouths and prominent, sharp teeth. The lower jaw juts out noticeably. The dorsal fin is divided into two sections with the first section about half as long and high as the second section. The second dorsal fin is nearly the same size as the anal fin.

Size: Bluefish grow to 34 inches and 19 pounds. Citations are given for fish weighing 15 pounds or more.

Habitat: Bluefish are found in the western Atlantic in temperate to warm waters from Nova Scotia to Uruguay off the west African shelf. Bluefish school and make seasonal migrations north in the spring and south in the winter. Larger fish tend to congregate in the northern part of the range.

Eating habits: Bluefish have aggressive feeding habits, eating butterfish, menhaden, round herring, silversides, anchovies, sea trouts, Atlantic croaker, spot, shrimp, lobster, crabs, worms, other bluefish and many other items.

Life cycle: Bluefish are a pelagic schooling species that primarily travel in groups of like-sized fish. Females reach sexual maturity around age 2. Spawning occurs offshore in the South Atlantic in the spring and to a lesser extent in the summer and fall, and in the mid-Atlantic during the summer.

Fishing tips: Bluefish will strike almost anything in the water. Anglers fish from boats, piers, bridges and the surf using cut baits fished on the bottom, or casting or trolling artificial lures, such as metal spoons, bright-colored popping lures, jerk jigger style baits and lead-headed plastic grubs. Because of their razor-sharp teeth, bluefish should be handled with care.

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

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