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Bluefish

Pomatomus saltatrix

The bluefish is a large, long fish with a greenish-blue body. (Richard Ling/Flickr)
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The bluefish is a large, long fish with a greenish-blue body. (Richard Ling/Flickr)

The bluefish is a large, long fish with a greenish-blue body and a forked tail. It visits the Chesapeake Bay’s open waters from spring through autumn.

Appearance:

  • Elongated, greenish-blue body
  • Silvery belly
  • Large mouth with strong jaws and sharp teeth
  • Black blotch at the base of the pectoral fin
  • Forked, light green tail fin
  • Usually grows 40-45 inches long and can weigh as much as 30 pounds

Habitat:

  • Forms schools in open waters

Range:

  • Visits the Chesapeake Bay from spring through autumn
  • Abundant in the lower Bay, but also common most years in the upper Bay as far north as Baltimore
  • In early autumn, migrates out of the Bay to spend the winter in warmer waters off the Florida coast

Feeding:

  • Eats squid and smaller, schooling fish such as menhaden and anchovies
  • Uses its sharp teeth to attack and feed on prey
  • May be the most voracious predator in the Bay. A bluefish will kill another fish just for the sake of killing it.

Predators:

  • Sharks, tuna and swordfish may prey upon bluefish
  • Humans catch bluefish for commercial and recreational purposes

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

  • Spawns off the mid-Atlantic coast during summer
  • Juveniles from this spawning period and a southern spring spawning period enter the Bay in late summer
  • Can live for more than 12 years

Other Facts:

  • Bluefish are very aggressive. They have been known to bite humans who wander too close to a school of fish being hunted.
  • The Chesapeake Bay record bluefish was caught in 1986 at Bluefish Rock near Hampton, Virginia. It weighed 25 pounds, 4 ounces.

Sources and Additional Information:




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