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Bluefish

Pomatomus saltatrix

The bluefish, a trophy species hotly pursued by anglers due to it's reputation as a champion battler and voracious predator, is native to both the American and European-African coasts of the Atlantic Ocean. Along the western Atlantic it is abundant from Argentina to Cape Cod, and it occasionally occurs as far north as Nova Scotia.

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. The adult bluefish has a stout body and large mouth that extends posteriorly below and beyond the eye. The lower jaw juts out noticeably. Both the upper and lower jaws are fully armed with large conically shaped canine teeth. The dorsal fin is divided into two sections. The first section, about half as long and high as the second, has a series of stiff spines supporting the soft tissues of the fin. The second or posterior dorsal fin is equal in length to the anal fin.

Bluefish rarely exceed 20 lbs. and 40 inches in length. The North American record bluefish, caught in North Carolina, weighed 31 lbs 12 ounces. The Massachusetts record fish, landed at Graves Light in 1982, weighed 27 pounds 4 ounces. The larger fish caught during a given year generally run between 10-15 pounds.

Both male and female bluefish reach sexual maturity by the time they are 2 years old. The fecundity (number of eggs produced) of females is related to their size, with 21-inch female producing about 900,000 eggs and a 23-inch female about 1,100,00 eggs per year.