Bluefish

Bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) Family Pomatomidae, Bluefishes

Common names: blue, chopper, snapper

Description: Bluefish are a blue green shade above with silver sides and underbelly. A single dark blotch can be found at the base of
each of their pectoral fins. They have large powerful jaws that are lined with a single row of small, razor ­sharp teeth. Their bodies are stout and powerful. These fish have two dorsal fins, the first being much lower and rounder than the second which, in turn, is similar in size to the anal fin. Bluefish have a large forked tall fin that pushes them swiftly through water.

Where found: inshore and offshore

Similar Gulf of Maine species: none

Remarks: Swimming together in large schools, bluefish migrate north with warming water temperatures and generally, but not always, appear along Maine’s coast during the summer months. They frequently follow other schools of fish, such as menhaden, mackerel and butterfish, upon which they feed. The preferred rig for blue fishing is a medium duty rod and reel equipped with at least twenty pound test line, coupled with a coated steel or heavy monofilament leader. Effective artificial lures include spoons, plugs and tube lures. Baits, either alive or cut, include mackerel, menhaden, butterfish and eels. An assortment of flies are also known to work well. Anglers should take extra care when handling bluefish because their bite can cause serious injury.

Records: MSSAR (Maine State Saltwater Angler Records)
IGFA: All­-Tackle World Record

Fish Illustrations by: Roz Davis Designs, Damariscotta, ME (207) 563­2286

Drawings provided courtesy of the Maine Department of Marine Resources Recreational Fisheries program and the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund.

BACK TO: Maine Saltwater Fish Species List