Every year it’s the same thing; where are the stripers? They move in, they move out. Sometimes they’re off the Race, other times they are in the Rips. Are they just off Chatham or out in the deep? One thing that is certain is that if you are looking for a fish that is almost always around in numbers and pound for pound, one of the most exciting fish to catch, then the bluefish is right up your alley. They usually follow the stripers into the Sound late Spring and slowly work their way through the Canal and Rips spilling into the Bay and around Monomoy. They can then be found throughout the Summer all around the Cape. Bluefish tend to be very aggressive and travel in loose packs. They can hit schools of bait fish and decimate them in a matter of minutes. Anglers look for these feeding frenzies or “blitz” as a sign of bluefish action. Top water lures work best, producing some great surface strikes. Care is required to take them off the hook as they are packed with a mouthful of sharp needle-like teeth, which is part of the reason the can wreak havoc on wooden lures and poppers. Blues have a more oily flesh then most fish and therefore don’t appeal to everyone. But take heart, all is not lost. If end you up having a great day on the water catching your share of blues and want to try to feed the family, here are a few tips on preparing them that may help. One tip, bluefish don’t keep that well, so if you are thinking of keeping them, make sure you have your meal planned ahead of time.
Smoking bluefish not only seems to diminish the “fishy” flavor, it also infuses the fish with all of the savory scents and taste of the chips you use. Also, dry rubs can be used to add the the enjoyment of the dish. We carry Smokehouse® Dry rubs that work great or you can come up with your own. After you’ve cleaned and filleted your catch, store overnight in bowl with a brine or saltwater mixture. Not too salty as it will “cook” the fish. (Hint: some people prefer using a little salted milk instead of water for their soak). The next day, towel dry your bluefish and you are ready to smoke. Follow the directions on your smoker for cooking times. A couple of hours should be plenty.
Snapper Blues, or juvenile bluefish start showing up later in the summer and run into the fall. They are a load of fun to catch and will hit just about any small lure you can throw at them. They are a favorite for kids as they can be caught at just about any of the town docks or boat ramps. Most of the estuaries and saltwater ponds will produce them. The other great thing about them is that you can catch a bucket full which can feed the whole family. The easiest preparation is to have them cleaned, de-headed, rolled in cornmeal and pan fried; or you can season them up with a little dry rub and throw them on the smoker for a few hours.
Simeon’s Bluefish Paté
- 1 pound smoked bluefish (skin and bones removed)
- 1 pound cream cheese, softened
- ½ stick unsalted buttered, softened
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, Finley diced
- ¼ cup brandy
- 1 tablespoon old bay seasoning
- 3tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup fresh chives, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
Place all ingredients in Kitchen-Aid® mixing bowl and insert paddle mixer. Mix on low speed until well mixed. You can use a food processor but on the pulse setting so as to not over mix. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Serve on a bed of romaine lettuce on a nice serving platter with, sliced. Red onions, capers, cornichons, sundried tomatoes, and toasted French baguette