Bluefish get their name from their color, of course! This species is a greenish blue with silvery sides and a white belly. Bluefish are the only members of the family, Pomatomidae, and are closely related to jacks, pompanos, and roosterfish.
Bluefish have a large head and razor sharp, triangular teeth. Anglers often use wire leaders to prevent the sharp teeth of the bluefish from cutting their lines, as they are known to be terrific fighters.
Sometimes known as the "marine piranha" because of its aggressive feeding habits, bluefish have been known to strike at anything! In the Chesapeake Bay and other estuarine habitats, bluefish primarily feed on bay anchovies, white perch, American shad, alewife and blueback herring, and striped bass.
Bluefish can live to be 12 years old, and can reach 40 inches in length; bluefish in the Chesapeake Bay, however, average about 12 inches in length. Adult bluefish migrate like birds, traveling north in the spring and south in the fall and winter. During the summer, bluefish are concentrated from Maine to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. They are found in oceans throughout the world and range from Nova Scotia to Florida off the Atlantic coast and in the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Texas.
Commercially, most bluefish harvested in the bay are caught in pound nets, while
those harvested on the coast are caught in trawls and gill nets. For current
recreational size and creel limits, see Maryland's updated regulation page at
Illustration courtesy of Diane Rome Peebles
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