- Black sea bass have dangerously sharp spines on their dorsal fin that can puncture human skin.
- The all-tackle world record for black sea bass is 9 pounds, 8 ounces.
- When hooked in deep water and brought quickly to the surface, a black sea bass will often regurgitate its stomach contents.
Bluefish are a greenish-blue with a silvery-white belly, and dark fins, except for the pelvic fins, which are whitish in color, and a black spot at the base of the pectoral fins. They have long and slender bodies covered in small scales. Their large mouths are lined with exceptionally sharp teeth. There are two dorsal fins, one anal fin and a forked tail fin. The small front dorsal fin has 6 to 8 spines whereas the back dorsal fin has 1 and the anal has 2. The anal and the back dorsal both have 23- to 28 soft rays.
Bluefish are found in the coastal regions of the Atlantic Ocean. They are commonly encountered from Maine to Argentina, and from the Mediterranean and Black Sea to South Africa. In the Western Hemisphere, they are more commonly seen along the mid-Atlantic U.S. states.
Bluefish can be found in warm to temperate waters and warmwater currents, preferably not less than 60 F, along rocky coasts and rough waters. The adult bluefish prefer deeper waters whereas the younger fish tend to inhabit shallower habitat, such as bays and estuaries. Winter brings the fish south to Florida, and in the spring they stay around Virginia, and they venture north to the New England states and Canada during summer.
Bluefish travel north, around the gulf of Maine and Cape Cod, and spawn from late spring to mid-August. Young bluefish that hatch in the spring will spend their first year in coastal bays and sounds, while those hatched in summer usually spend their first year out at sea.
Bluefish are voracious feeders that hunt for prey in large schools. They will eat almost anything smaller than them including other bluefish. However, they typically feed mainly on baitfish, crustaceans and shrimp. When a food source is located, an entire school of bluefish will often go into a feeding frenzy. The larger the school of bluefish the smaller the fish will be, while a smaller school will have bigger bluefish.
Bluefish are one of the most popular game fish on the Atlantic Coast, mainly due to their savage strikes, strong fighting ability and their tendency to be caught in great numbers when a school is found. They seem to be in constant motion, moving between inshore and offshore in search of a diverse forage base. Therefore, they are caught by pier fisherman, surf anglers, and from party boats and smaller inshore vessels. Finding schools of bluefish is the challenge. Anywhere birds are circling or diving to capture surfacing baitfish, there is a good chance bluefish are nearby. Also, when a school of bluefish is ambushing a school of baitfish, splashes and boils on the surface can be seen and cast to.
Once found, bluefish can be caught with casting, jigging, trolling and fly-fishing tactics. Jigs, diving plugs, tubes and streamer flies are common artificials. Live bait is preferred to dead or cut bait, and the most effective baits are those found naturally in the area. Light- to medium-weight spinning, conventional and fly tackle are commonly used, with line weights from 8 to 20 pounds. When a bluefish is boated or landed, anglers avoid the sharp teeth by using a gaff or vice grips.
- When bluefish are feeding heavily on a school of baitfish, a cucumber-like odor can be smelled near the surface.