Pomatomus Saltatrix



Nearshore, Onshore

3 - 15 pounds

15" - 51"


Also Known As: Elf, Tailor, Shad

Guides Who Fish This Species

Bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) Fish Description

The Bluefish is a common game fish that is known for its delicious taste. In South Africa, the Bluefish is known as Shad or Elf; in New Zealand and Australia, it is called Tailor.

The Bluefish has a moderately proportioned body; one of its distinctive features is its broad and corked tail, and its spiny first dorsal and pectoral fins that are usually folded back in a grove. The Bluefish is generally grayish to blue-green in color in its dorsal area, whereas its belly and lower sides fade to white.

It has a single row of uniformly-sized, razor-sharp teeth.


Bluefish Diet

As aggressively strong feeders, the Bluefish have a complex menu of prey. They can chase after schools of forage fish owing to their fast swimming speed. They  usually go on a feeding frenzy by attacking these schools of fish even after having satisfied their stomachs. They especially like sardine-like fish, Menhaden, Weakfish, Grunt, Anchovy, Squid, and Shrimp.

In return, the Bluefish serve as food for bigger fish like Dolphin, Billfish, Sharks, and Tuna, among others.


Bluefish Size

Commonly, the Bluefish can grow up to 7 inches; they weigh up to 40 lbs. Most of the Bluefish population, however, reach only up to 20 lbs.


Interesting Facts About the Bluefish 

  • The Bluefish is the only remaining living species from the Pomatomidae family. It used to be grouped together with Gnomefish but the latter were separated.
  • Lophar miocaenus from Southern California is an extinct relative of the Bluefish from the Late Miocene Period.
  • Bluefish are reported to live up to 9 years.
  • The Bluefish are cannibalistic and they sometimes eat their own young.
  • The Bluefish are known for churning water like a washing machine, attacking schools in shallow depths. This is called “Bluefish Blitz”.
  • The Bluefish is a common host to many parasites; in particular, it is often inhabited by the parasite named Philometra saltatrix which is found in the ovaries of the fish.
  • Despite being high in omega-3, children and adult women are warned against consuming the Bluefish due to its significant mercury content.


Bluefish — Fishing Techniques

To reel in lots of Bluefish, you can use the following harvesting methods: trawls, hook and line, and gillnet. Note that you are only allowed to use a circle hook and nothing else; recreational anglers can only capture up to three pieces of Bluefish per day (no minimum size). As for artificial lures or flies, you can use only up to a maximum of two treble hooks. Be careful when handling Bluefish since they can bite you leading to some serious wounds.

You can best fish for Bluefish from tidal rivers, bays, and sandy harbors during summer.

A permit must be secured to catch Bluefish in commercial fisheries. Some states also impose a specific catch limit for both commercial and recreational fishing.


Bluefish Habitat and Distribution

As a marine pelagic species, the Bluefish generally inhabit subtropical and temperate waters all around the globe Most of them thrive along the continental shelves of America, (except in northern South America and south Florida), Australia, and Southeast Asia. Interestingly, the Bluefish is also not found in the northern side of the Pacific Ocean.

Typically, anglers find Bluefish in various kinds of habitats including brackish waters, estuaries, rock headlands, surf beaches, or above the continental shelf. From time to time, the Bluefish migrate to open waters in schools.