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Bluefish

Bluefish

Scientific Name: Pomatomus saltatrix


Common Names: snapper blues (young bluefish)

 

The bluefish is a favorite quarry of recreational anglers along the Atlantic coast because of its great fighting ability and its schooling behavior. Since bluefish run in schools, when you catch one, you will often catch several more soon afterwards. The bluefish is most abundant from Cape Cod south to Argentina. During the summer, however, large schools of adults migrate up into the Gulf of Maine. The best time to catch bluefish in New Hampshire waters is from the end of July to the beginning of September. The bluefish has a stout body, a forked tail and a large mouth with numerous large sharp teeth. It has two dorsal fins: the first one is composed of seven to eight short spines; it is followed by a second dorsal fin that is twice as high, made of soft rays, and is similar in appearance to the anal fin. Coloration is a sea-green on the back, fading down the sides to a silvery color on the belly. Bluefish spawn in the offshore areas of the continentalshelf in two major locations: southern Florida to North Carolina in the spring, and the mid-Atlantic to southern New England in the summer. After a few months, the young bluefish migrate shoreward into the coastal estuaries. In two years, bluefish will grow to about 18 inches and be sexually mature.

 

bluefishCatching Bluefish: Most bluefish caught in New Hampshire range between 18 and 36 inches, although occasionally anglers may encounter a school of “snapper blues” (young fish less than 12 inches long). Bluefish are caught by anglers fishing in Great Bay and its tributaries, along the coast and at the Isles of Shoals. Anglers can catch them from a boat or from shore on rocky outcroppings, jetties, bridges and piers. Equipment will vary depending on the type of fishing preferred. Fly fishing, spinning or trolling with bait are all good methods for catching bluefish. When spin fishing, a medium- to heavy-duty rod with 10- to 40-pound test line is recommended. Regardless of the equipment or the technique, wire leaders are a must: bluefish have sharp teeth that can easily cut through most monofilament lines. Swimming lures and drifted bait are effective for catching bluefish. Chunks of pogies (menhaden), mackerel, herring and live eels are good baits. Effective artificial lures for casting or trolling include poppers, spoons and plugs. Effective flies include Clouser minnows and foam-bodied poppers.