Bluefish are a migratory fish that live in the Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to Florida. Bluefish get their name from the bright blueish tint found on the sides of their body. Bluefish migrate north as the ocean water temperature increases and are abundant off New York shores from May through November.

Bluefish are a familiar and popular favorite of saltwater anglers all along the Atlantic coast. In fact, more bluefish are generally harvested by recreational anglers each year than are harvested by commercial fishermen. Bluefish are voracious feeders that travel in large groups or schools. The feeding frenzy of a school of bluefish is a phenomenon that has no parallel in the marine world.

Juvenile or young bluefish that are only 4-6 months old are commonly called "snappers". Snappers often provide a great shoreside fishing experience for kids in the late summer months. Snappers are great for pan frying. These young bluefish have milder tasting and lighter colored fillets than their older and larger relatives.

"Cocktail Blues" are intermediate size bluefish, generally 2 to 3 years old, weighing up to 3 pounds and averaging 18 to 21 inches long. 'Cocktail Blues are the perfect combination of size and weight. Fillets are a good size for an adult meal and have a milder and sweeter taste than larger bluefish which have a darker color and stronger flavor. Cocktail Blues that are grilled, broiled or baked with mild seasonings or a marinade will turn those fish eaters whose only prior experience with bluefish has been with an 8 to 10 pounder into new "bluefish believers".

Larger bluefish from 6 to 10 pounds are a good size for baking whole with a pungent herb stuffing. Larger fillets are also great for baking and broiling in spicy tomato and herb based sauces. Anglers should be aware that large bluefish, have been shown to accumulate higher levels of chemical contaminants like PCBs. Current New York State Department of Health Sportfish consumption advisories recommend that bluefish consumption be limited to one meal (one-half pound) per week. Studies have shown that contaminants are stored in the fatty portions of the fish and levels can be reduced by removing the skin and the darker fatty layer under the skin and the strip of darker meat that runs along the center of the fillet.

Because of its higher fat content, bluefish should be handled with care to maintain quality. Bluefish should be thoroughly iced as soon as possible after they are caught and kept cold until they are eaten. Bluefish should be kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator or covered with ice in the refrigerator until they are prepared.

Bluefish are versatile and can be prepared in a variety of ways including pan frying, baking, broiling, and grilling. Because of their higher fat content additional oil or fat is generally not needed. Most recipes contain neutralizing acids in the form of cirtus fruits such as lemon or lime, vegetables like tomatoes or onions, and pungent herbs like rosemary and thyme.