Game Fishing > Bottom Saltwater Fish types > Porgy


PorgyThis is another plentiful and common sea fish known by many names. In New England it is generally called scup, while about New York it is paugy or porgy, both being abbreviated from the Narragansett Indian name, scuppaug. On the Virginia coast it is called the "fair maid." The porgy is found along the U.S. coast at all seasons of the year, but it is more numerous in June and July. The first run takes place about the beginning of May, and consists of large breeding fish, weighing from two to four pounds and measuring up to eighteen inches in length.

On first coming near the shores they do not take the hook readily, being too much occupied in spawning, and two weeks elapse before they can be caught on the hook. They present themselves in schools of immense extent, numbering many millions, moving very slowly at about the rate of three miles an hour.

The porgy is mostly a bottom fish and depends very much on mollusks and shell-fish for subsistence, its especial food being small crabs, shell-fish, shrimps, and small minnows, but for bait the clam is by far the best; they also like the claws and legs of shedder crabs.

Each leg when split open will make two or three baits just the right size for this fish. They will also go for small sand worms and blood worms when they will not touch other bait. They are gamy; if fine tackle is used their play is similar to that of the fresh­water perch. Sometimes the larger fish just nibble and the angler will hardly feel a bite yet the hook will be stripped clean. For that reason small hooks are much the best, Nos. 5 Tackle to 7 are the sizes.

Large-sized hooks are only used when big fish are running. The sinker should be heavy to keep the bait in one place. Place the first hook six inches above the sinker, the second hook another six above, and it may be of larger size than the lower hook.

The porgy has a large head and hard mouth; so that when even a touch is felt on the line, give a sharp, quick strike to firmly embed the hook. For tackle use a light spring rod, though a reel is convenient to give a longer line at varying depths. Use a very fine line and small but extra sharp hooks.

From the first of August to the last of October many anglers enjoy catching this gamy little fish; outside the sport of landing them, they are much coveted as a pan fish. In flavor the porgy is surpassed by few other fish on the coast, although its superabundance causes it to be under-valued; the smaller ones especially are sweet and nutritious.