Rockin’ the Blues at Monahan’s

Monahan's Seafood Market | Fresh Whole Fish, Fillets, Shellfish, Recipes, Catering & Lunch Counter-Ann Arbor, Michigan

Bluefish are amazing. Besides being a great food fish, they are one of my favorite game fish—hard hitters, good fighters and pretty easy to find and catch. When I lived in Connecticut in the early 1970s we would catch small “snapper” blues in the spring on spinner baits. I’ll never forget the first one I caught, it couldn’t have been over 8″ long. I tried to remove the spinner and ended up with a good “snap” on my index finger and it bled like crazy. That little bugger had teeth like a piranha!

Bernie with bluefish

Those little blues will chomp their way into adulthood eating anything and everything. Schools of bluefish will attack any baitfish, squid or shrimp, leaving trails of blood and half-eaten pieces of their prey. The gulls and other sea birds follow the schools for leftovers which makes it easy for fishermen to spot them and just cast into the birds and, “BAM! Fish on!” We also trolled for blues using lures or plugs (always with steel leader because of their razor sharp teeth). It was lots of fun and good times.

If you’d like to learn more about bluefish, you should pick up a copy of a great book, Blues by John Hersey. The author lived on Martha’s Vineyard and he fished for blues there for years. In the book, he meets a land-lubbing stranger on the dock and invites him into his fishing world…taking him out all summer and teaching him not just about bluefish and how to catch them, but he brings up a new subject every day that touches on sports fishing, commercial fishing, conservation, ecology, and life on the water. He also includes a poem pertaining to the subject of the day and some simple recipes. The book also includes illustrations by James Baker, which are really great too. You’ll appreciate Hersey’s respect and awe of these fish. As much as he loved to catch and eat them, he never took more than he needed for dinner.

While I dream of casting for blues in New England, we’re lucky to be able to enjoy eating them whenever we want. We ship them in whole and fillet them fresh. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, those bluefish are voracious eaters, and we have fun sometimes checking out their “last supper” when we fillet. Amazing. Here’s a video that will give you an idea of their ferocity.

VIDEO: Mike Monahan explores the belly of a bluefish

This weekend I’m going to grill some blue with a kalamata piquillo relish.

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