The voracious bluefish richly deserves the nicknames “marine piranha” and”chopper” because it swims in large schools through shoals of bait fish, slashing and destroying everything in its path.
Along the U.S. East Coast, bluefish are found off Florida in the winter. By April, they have disappeared, heading north. By June, they may be found off Massachusetts; in years of high abundance, stragglers may be found as far north as Nova Scotia. By October, they leave the waters north of New Jersey, heading south.
The bluefish is a moderately proportioned fish, with a broad, forked tail.. Bluefish commonly range in size from seven-inch "snappers" to much larger, sometimes weighing as much as 35 lb , though fish heavier than 20 lb are exceptional. The record bluefish catch is 31 lbs off Cape Hateras.
“The bluefish bomb has hit. Scores of monster bluefish exploded on the Jersey beaches and infiltrated the backwaters from Barnegat Bay south to Absecon Bay in what was nearly like fall blitzing conditions. These blues should be somewhat slow-moving skinny "racers" but it ends up they are well fed, fat, heavy and fast moving fish that are aggressively hitting plugs, poppers, baits and anything else thrown in their path.” – Courier Post
Barnegat Bay party boats are reporting big blues from 7 to 15 pounds that were crushing their topwater lures...there were three to four fish at a time visually competing for the lures on any given cast. They were catching them using 10-pound spinning gear The report from Fisherman's Headquarters in Ship Bottom was all about the bluefish. The shop reports the fish are in the bay, the surf, the inlet, the north end of Long Beach Island and the south end and everywhere in between...and hitting just about kind of lure thrown at them...a bunch of bluefish up to 15 pounds in the Barnegat Inlet on SP Minnows and Ava jigs. Surf City Bait and Tackle customers were getting in the bluefish action also; they had reports of blues from the inlet, the LBI surf and the Causeway Bridge. They also had a report of one keeper striper landed...plenty bluefish weigh ins, as it seems that all of LBI is inundated with bluefish. The blue fish were in very thick and as some people reported, they were catching every cast. Graveling Point and Pebble Beach did very well with blue fishing during the day and at night.” – Asbury Park Press
Bluefish is oily that can have a notorious strong flavor. There's a seam of dark flesh down the middle of each fillet that tastes funky, so be sure to remove it; the thin, dark layer of meat just under the skin can be removed with the skin either before or after cooking. As long as you're careful to remove these dark strips, you'll find fresh bluefish "really sweet and mild."
Summer Grilled Bluefish Recipe
4 pounds bluefish fillets
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon dry white wine
Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup citrus flavored seafood rub
Place the fish fillets into a large bowl. Pour in the orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, olive oil and white wine. Season with salt, pepper and seafood rub. Stir to blend and coat fish. Leave the squeezed lemon and lime halves in the bowl too. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat a grill for high heat. When the grill is hot, oil the grate.
Place fish fillets on the grill, and discard the marinade. Cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until fish flakes with a fork. Transfer to a serving platter, and remove the dark blue part of the fish before serving.
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