The New England region of the USA has some of the nation’s best saltwater fishing. New England states that border the Atlantic Coast include Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. The rich marine environment provides and idea habitat for baitfish, which in turn feed larger species. The following list of species includes some of the inshore fish that thrive in the waters off New England.
Striped bass have several regional names. Known as striped bass, stripers, linesides, rockfish and other names, this fish is highly sought after as a recreational fish, as a commercial species and is even grown in aquaculture operations. Striped bass are fished for extensively in New England and are caught along the shore, around structure and by fishing baits and lures along rips, shoals and other structure.
Weakfish are beautiful fish. Typically, fish have a dark olive back, iridescent blue and copper sides and a silvery white belly. Other identifying features are yellow fins, large canine teeth in the upper jaw and dark spots on the upper part of the body, sometimes forming diagonal lines. Most adult weakfish range from 12 to 18 inches but can grow up to to 3 feet long and weigh 4-18 pounds.
The name “weakfish” comes from the fish’s fragile mouth, which tears easily when hooked. Weakfish are members of the drum family, which includes spot, red drum, back drum and Atlantic croaker. This family of fish make a drumming or croaking sound by vibrating its swim bladder using special muscles.
Bluefish are exciting to catch and are highly sought after in New England. They are found all along the coast, sometimes in large schools.
The fish are voracious feeders and are known for their sharp teeth and ability to demolish even the strongest tackle.
Atlantic cod are caught along the Northeast coast of North American and in many parts of the North Atlantic Ocean. Cod are cool water fish. They have a delicious mild white flesh and are well suited for a variety of cooking methods. Cod are highly prized by both recreational anglers and by the New England groundfishing fleet.
Haddock is mild white fish known for its excellent table quality. Haddock is a great source of low-fat protein and is high in magnesium and selenium.
Fresh haddock has a fine white flesh and can be cooked in the same ways as cod. Small fresh haddock and cod fillets are often sold as scrod in New England The term refers to the size of the fish which have a variety of sizes, i.e. scrod, markets, and cows.
Tautog or blackfish are long lived fish that live along the New England coast. Tautog live in structure such as rocky bottoms, wreckages and reefs.
Tautog are a challenge to catch and thrilling to fish for. The fish live in and around structure such as rocky bottoms, sunken ships and artificial reefs. Tackle and techniques are simple and no prior experience is needed to catch these tasty fish. They vary in size from about 12 inches to perhaps 12 lbs or more. They are very tough fighters and excellent table fare.
Scup or porgy, ranges from the Mid Atlantic Bight from Cape Cod, MA to Cape Hatteras, NC. Scup, or “porgy,” known for its fine flavor and as an aggresive fish that anglers enjoy targeting. Scup are also an important commercial species in New England and to a lesser extent in the southern part of its range. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council jointly manage scup coastwide.
Fluke (Summer Flounder)
Fluke, also known as summer flounder are primarily found around inlets, jetties and dropoffs. They feed on a variety of small fish and crustaceans. Fluke are an important commercial and recreational fish throughout New England.
Winter flounder are an important commercial and recreational fish throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic. Inshore habitat degradation and overfishing have contributed to serious stock declines throughout the species’ range, leaving both fisheries at a fraction of their historical numbers.
Yellowtail flounder reach maximum sizes of roughly 22 inches total length and 2.2 pounds in weight. They are found along the Atlantic coast of North America from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Labrador, and Newfoundland to the Chesapeake Bay. Yellowtail flounder prefer sandy bottoms in waters between 130 and 230 feet.
By Unsplash from Pixabay