Other Common Names: blues, snappers, choppers, taylors
Scientific name: Pomatomus saltatrix
Related Species: (no close relatives, just similar looking) Cobia, several Jacks
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|Range: Atlantic Ocean -Maritime Provinces to the Tip of South America, Including the Gulf of Mexico and Carribean, some areas off Europe, the Azores, and Africa.|
Up to 45lbs, Common 2lbs-20lbs (Gulf of Mexico Blues 1lb-6lbs, Max at 15lbs)
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Habitat: Coastal Ocean-Smaller blues exist nearly year-round in bays and estruaries from the Chesapeke south to Brazil, while larger blues (3lbs+) are migatory and segregate by size. North American Bluefish migrate from the Florida Keys in February, up to Nova Scotia by August, and return to the keys by Late January, leaving each area when the water hits 45-50 F, while in the spring they head north as waters warm to 54-60 degrees F. Larger fishes will enter bays during their migration and isolated large blues will remain year-round on deep Gulf Stream reefs and Gulf of Mexico reefs. Gulf of Mexico Blues are substantially smaller than their Atlantic counterparts, and migrate in a less organized fashon, going from the Keys and Cancun north as the water warms above 65 degree F, reversing the migration as the water drops below 55 F, with numerous stragglers.
Spawning Habits: Not alot is known about their spawning habits but likely they congragate in large spawning aggregations over deep reefs or offshore shelves in Florida, the bahamas, or the carribean in Dec-Feb and the fertilized eggs float feely until hatching, then the little blues migrate into estruaries and bays until the reach 3lbs, and for their own schools segregated by sized.
They make pirahnas look tame when in frenzy! They are strictly
carnivourous. Smaller blues eat mostly other fishes and squids, with
some shrimp. Larger blues eat fish and squid, especially herring,
atlantic mackeral, menhaden, and mullet, but they will consume any fish
they can fit into their mouths with one or two bites. They mostly feed
in schools, following baitfish and forcing the baitfish onto beaches and
into tight balls. They feed at any depth the bait is at, from the surface
to 200 feet and more. They also in frenzy will attack anything that
moves or loosely resembles food, often eating until full, regurgitating,
then eating again. Blues, especially smaller blues, will often bite
at the tail of a baitfish, first chopping off its tail, and then returning
to complete the kill.
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A viscous feeder which readily attacks all manner of lures and baits,and
strong, blistering fighter make this fish a favorite among anglers.
Once bluefish are located, usually by first locating its food, they are
seldom picky. They can be caught from the surf as they migrate north
and caught many bite-offs for winter reef anglers in South Carolina, Georgia,
and Florida. Smaller bluefish are an important forage for King Mackeral
and Blackin Sharks, while larger blues are forage for Bluefin Tuna, Mako
Sharks, and Tiger Sharks, which often follow migrating bluefish schools.
When fishing for bluefish over 5 lbs a steel leader is a must due to their
rows of extremely sharp teeth (similar to the piranha) and very strong
jaws, but for blues below 5 lbs 50lb mono-30lb mono will deter most bite
offs. Large blues can be caught by freelining live baits in the 6"-14"
range using the party-boat flyline rig, or by trolling plugs or spoons
at what ever depth the fish are hitting at. Blues often crash into
the surf during their spring and fall migrations, and a wide variety of
plugs, poppers, jigs, and spoons. Small blues are easy targets for
most largemouth bass sized lures. NOTE WELL: MANY AN ANGLER
HAS SUFFERED GREVOUS INJURY BY TRYING TO REMOVE HOOKS WITHOUT A HOOK REMOVER
OR PLiERS--WATCH OUT FOR THOSE TEETH!!!
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