The only member of the Pomatomidae family, the blueﬁsh is an extremely voracious and cannibalistic saltwater ﬁsh.
IdentificationThe body shape is fairly long, stout, and compressed, with a ﬂat-sided belly. The mouth is large and has extremely sharp, ﬂattened, and triangular teeth. The ﬁrst dorsal ﬁn is low and short, the second dorsal ﬁn is long, and the anal ﬁn has two spines and 25 to 27 soft rays.
The coloring is greenish or bluish on the back and silvery on the sides; a distinguishing characteristic is a dark blotch at the base of the pectoral ﬁns. The tail is dusky and deeply forked, and, with the exception of the whitish pelvic ﬁns, most of the ﬁns are dark.
Size/AgeBlueﬁsh can grow to about 45 inches in length and more than 44 pounds in weight. They average 1.5 to 2 feet and 3 pounds, although it’s not uncommon for a ﬁsh to weigh around 11 pounds. The rod-and-reel record is a 31-pound, 12-ounce ﬁsh. They live for about 12 years.
Life history/BehaviorAtlantic coast bluefish spawn mainly in the spring in the South Atlantic Bight and during summer in the Middle Atlantic Bight. Blueﬁsh migrate out to open sea to spawn, anywhere from 2 miles offshore to the continental platform.
The eggs are released and drift along with plankton in surface waters, hatching about 48 hours after fertilization. Adult blueﬁsh are commonly found in schools, especially when foraging on schools of baitﬁsh, menhaden in particular. Along the U.S. Atlantic Coast, blueﬁsh migrate northward in the spring and southward in the fall.