(A.K.A. - Blue, Snapper, Skipjack)
Key Distinguishing Markings:
- Bluefish get their name from their color. The fish are greenish-blue with silvery sides and a white belly.
- Bluefish have a pointed snout and a large mouth.
- The lower jaw of a bluefish sticks out past the upper jaw.
- Bluefish have a sturdy compressed body, a large head, and pointed razor-sharp triangular teeth.
- Note the black blotch at the base of the pectoral fin.
- Bluefish are the only members of the family, Pomatomidae, and are closely related to jacks, pompanos, and roosterfish.
- Bluefish can live to be 12 years old and can reach 40 inches in length.
- Bluefish in the Atlantic average about four to twelve pounds.
- Bluefish are found throughout the world and are a migratory species that range from Nova Scotia to Florida off the Atlantic coast and can be found in the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Texas.
- Along the east coast, bluefish migrate northward in the spring and summer and southward in the fall and winter.
- During the summer, bluefish are concentrated from Maine to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and during the winter, most tend to be offshore and south between Cape Hatteras and Florida.
- There are bluefish in all the world's oceans.
- They can be found throughout the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries, and in the Atlantic Ocean and coastal bays.
- Bluefish are voracious predators and sight feeders; they will strike at almost any object in the water column.
- Consequently, they feed on a variety of fish and invertebrates, including butterfish, menhaden, herring, sand lances, silversides, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, weakfish, spotted seatrout, croaker, spot, and squid.
- In the Chesapeake Bay and other estuarine habitats, bluefish primarily feed on bay anchovies, white perch, American shad, alewife and blueback herring, and striped bass.
- Most juvenile bluefish spawned in the south during the summer in the mid-Atlantic and in the fall-spring in the South Atlantic remain in the coastal waters, but some summer-spawned fish do enter the lower Bay for a couple of months before they return to the coast in the fall and join the adults in their move southward.
- Most bluefish mature by age 2 (approximately 14½ inches), and females can produce from 900,000 to 4,500,000 eggs.
- Spawning and larval development takes place offshore in the South Atlantic (North Carolina to Florida) in the spring and to a lesser extent in the summer and fall, and in the mid-Atlantic during the summer. In Maryland, peak spawning occurs offshore in July.
- After they spawn, bluefish move inshore with smaller fish generally entering Chesapeake and Delaware Bay and larger ones moving northward.
- Juvenile bluefish grow quickly and by late fall, there are usually two size groups along the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts.
- Those fish that were spawned in the south during the spring are 6-8 inches, whereas those spawned in the summer are 2-4 inches.
- Most juvenile bluefish spawned during the summer in the mid-Atlantic and in the spring in the South Atlantic remain in coastal waters, but some summer-spawned fish do enter the lower Bay for a couple of months before they return to the coast in the fall and join the adults in their move southward.
Striped Bass are the most popular saltwater gamefish on the East Coast
Striped Bass are the late Fall specialty fish of The Queen Mary.
We fish for them every day from November 1st through December 7th.
Information about Stripers from our friends at http://www.striperspace.com/.
- Striped bass tolerates both salt and fresh water.
- Striped bass live in the ocean but spawn in freshwater rivers.
- Atlantic Ocean stripers have been transplanted successfully to the Pacific Ocean.
- Stripers accidentally landlocked thrive in deep freshwater impoundments.
- Hybrid striped bass, resulting from crossing striped bass with white bass, now inhabit many freshwater lakes.
- In the Chesapeake Bay area, Striped Bass are called Rockfish.
- In the Spring stripers migrate north from deep waters off the Virginia and North Carolina coasts to New England waters. In the Fall they migrate back down to the south.
- Stripers mainly stay in the vicinity of the coastline.
- Stripers swim fast, but not the fastest, so they don't always chase down prey like bluefish. However, they have large tails and can maneuver well, and they can swim with control in fast-moving turbulent waters. Stripers prefer to ambush prey that are stirred up and disoriented, by turbulent water.
- Striped bass have a preferred temperature range of from 55° F to 68° F.
- In the spring stripers are seldom caught until the temperature reaches 50° F.
- In the fall they can still be caught until the temperature falls below 44° F.
- Stripers are most active in the fall and early spring.
- Striper peak feeding times are the hour before sunrise and at dusk.
- Striped bass don't have eyelids. When the sun comes up they will retreat to deeper water to avoid the bright light.
- Striper fishing is mainly a nighttime activity in the warmer months.
- Stripers will eat almost anything, but favorites are bunker and clams.
- Older, large female stripers are called "Cows". Younger, smaller stripers are called schoolies or shorts.
- Female striped bass grow larger than the males. If you catch a striped bass over 15 pounds it is probably a female, with the potential for producing a million eggs for every 10 pounds of the body each spring. Don't take her out of circulation. Gently release her.
The Atlantic bonito is a fish that travels in huge schools within 20 miles of the shoreline. It is located in the southern Atlantic and the Gulf Coasts year-round and in the northeast during the summer when the waters are warmer. Fishermen with smaller boats usually target the Atlantic bonito. A surface feeder, the Atlantic bonito usually averages from 3 to 8 pounds.
Catching Atlantic Bonito
Chumming can also be effective, but it can be challenging at times. They will often feed on the chum, but refuse to eat any of the baits that are set up with hooks. Using lighter line and small hooks are a must. By burying the hook completely into the bait, you will have a much better chance of fooling the Atlantic bonito. Ground-up menhaden and other forage fish will work for chumming. Jigs, bucktails, and other artificials are usually the best method to catch these fish. The bonito is one of the fastest swimmers. It spends September and half of October in the New Jersey waters. This is a sportfish that the Queen Mary specializes in during the early fall.
The fluke, also commonly known as summer flounder, is one of New Jersey's two most common flatfishes. These fish are easily recognizable because they are flattened from side to side, allowing them to inhabit their bottom-dwelling niche very successfully.
One of the eyes in each of the flatfish species migrates over the top of the head as the larval fish matures. In the case of the fluke, the right eye moves to the left side - the upper side - of the fish. This upper side is heavily pigmented, allowing the fish to blend in when it is lying on the bottom. The right - or lower - side is white, making the fish difficult to see from lower down when it is up in the water column.
Fluke are known as voracious predators. As their scientific name indicates, they are well-supplied with sharp teeth and are adept at feeding on smaller fish. Large fluke, known as "doormats" for obvious reasons, can reach upwards of ten pounds but the most common size coming to market are under a foot and half in total length and yield fillets that are the ideal size for a single meal.
Black Sea Bass
(A.K.A. - Black will, Sea bass)
Key Distinguishing Markings:
- Black sea bass are members of the Family Serranidae or true sea basses and groupers.
- They are typically large-mouthed, bottom dwellers that are bluish-black in color with light spots that form longitudinal stripes.
- Their scales are relatively large and their dorsal fin is continuous but notched with 10 slender spines.
- Black sea bass are reported to grow to a maximum of 24-25 inches in length and live 15-20 years.
- They range from Maine to the Florida Keys and into the Gulf of Mexico.
- Along the Atlantic coast, black sea bass are divided into two stocks for management purposes.
- The northern stock resides north of Cape Hatteras and is seasonally migratory.
- The southern stock resides south of the Cape and is not migratory.
- Adult black sea bass are considered to be temperate reef fish.
- They are typically bottom-dwelling marine fishes and are most often found on rocky bottoms near reefs, wrecks, oyster bars, pilings, or jetties.
- They are predators, relying on their large mouths and swift movements to capture their prey.
- Although black sea bass are not schooling fish, they can be found in large aggregations around structure or during inshore-offshore migrations.
- Adults migrate inshore and northward as water temperatures increase in the spring.
- They return to coastal and ocean waters, moving southward and offshore in the fall as water temperatures drop.
- Black sea bass typically feed on crabs, mussels, razor clams, and fishes.
- Black sea bass are protogynous hermaphrodites, functioning first as females and then as males.
- Sex reversal may not occur in all fish; only 38% of the females in the mid-Atlantic were observed to be hermaphroditic.
- Sex reversal generally occurs between the sizes, 9½-13 inches: most fish 8 inches and below are female.
- Sex reversal is probably a post-spawning event since it occurs most frequently from August through April.
- Social interaction may play a role in sexual transformation; the removal of large male fish from a local population may induce one or more of the largest remaining females to change sex and assume the male role.
- The recreational fishery for black sea bass is important along the Atlantic coast of Maryland. Approximately 35% of the Mid-Atlantic coast (Maryland & Virginia) recreational black sea bass landings are harvested from state waters, which includes bay waters out to 3 miles.
Family: Serranidae (Sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets)
Order: Perciformes (perch-likes)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)