Snappers, Tailors, and Gators: A Lexicon for Fishing Bluefish

Sep 8, 2017

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Forget for a moment those finicky, glamour fish species, those end-of-summer albies and bonito. Here's a primer on hooking up with a fish that's not picky, that's fun to catch, and makes great eating.

Bluefish are going mad for the seasonal abundance of baitfish in our waters.

Kevin Blinkoff, of On The Water magazine, says it can be helpful to regard bluefish as coming in three distinct sizes. Since bigger bluefish won't hesitate to eat smaller bluefish, blues of a particular size will school together—and each of the three sizes has a different general habitat. 

These are:

Snappers: Young of this year, already grown out to 6-8 inches. Typically found around docks and inside harbors. They're great for children (and grown ups) to catch. Use a "snapper rig," which you can pick up at any tackle store. 

Tailors: A regional nickname of unknown origins. 2-5 pounders, these are common once you get out into Vineyard or Nantucket Sound. They travel in big schools and are very aggressive.

Gators: These are the top of the bluefish food chain. Can be 10 pounds or more. Typically found a bit offshore, but this time of year they can follow the bait inshore and will put up a tremendous fight, as well as jump from the water, as you reel them in.

We've got more details, as well as a roundup of the week's fishing action, in the Fishing News below.  Give it a listen.