Porgy fish, also known as Scup, is a schooling fish and member of the Sparidae family. They can be found from Massachusetts to South Carolina. Their oval-shaped bodies are flat laterally, almost twice as long as it is wide. The eyes are high on their small, steep heads, which are pockmarked with dark patches. They have one long dorsal fin, and two anal fins. Their skin is a dull shade of silver with light blue spots. They have many horizontal strips and a white belly.
Porgy are a heavily fished species both commercially and recreationally. They are managed by the Commission and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. To curb damage to the species, regulations have been put in place. These include limits on size and bags. Equipment regulations were installed as well as fishing seasons. At this time, Porgy are not considered to be overfished.
Porgy can grow up to be 18 ½ inches in length, but most max out around 14 inches. They will rarely exceed two pounds. They are sexually mature around eight inches in length.
Larvae will initially feed on their yolk reserves. Once those are gone, larvae will feed upon copepods and other microscopic organisms. Adults feed upon vertabrates that reside on or around the ocean floor, like small crabs, clams, mussels and jellyfish.
Once a Porgy is hooked, they will begin to fight erratically. They provide an entertaining fight when using a 10 to 20 pound test line. Bait fishing is the optimal method when fishing for Porgy. You can use sea worms, squid strips, or pieces of clam. While they will nibble at the bait, Porgy do not readily bite the hook. Therefore, it is important for the fisherman to set the hook himself when fishing for Porgy. 1-3 snelled hooks tied to loops above the sinker is an ideal setup. Porgy will not deteriorate as quickly as some fish, but immediate icing will provide the sweetest meat.
Porgy will spawn between May and August. The height of their reproduction occurs in the month of June. They reach sexual maturity by age three. Porgy release their buoyant eggs, and once fertilized, the eggs will hatch typically around 40 hours.
Porgy’s swim in similar-sized fish schools. They swim in areas that have smooth or rocky bottoms, congregating in areas with piers, rocks jetties or mussel beds. They swim at depths of 6 to 120 feet. Porgy will swim into harbors during high tide, then return to deep channels when the tide goes back out. Their preferred water temperature is between 55 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit.