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Species Information

Scientific Name:Stenotomus chrysops
Common Names:scup, Northern porgy
Environment:Inshore, Nearshore, Surf
Ideal Temp:55-77°F (13-25°C)

About Scup

The scup (Stenotomus chrysops) is a fish which occurs primarily in the Atlantic between Massachusetts and South Carolina.  Scup are deep-bodied (deeper from back to belly than they are wide). They are dusky brown with bright silvery reflections below and spiny fins. Adult fins are mottled with dark brown, and young scup fins may be faintly barred. Scup’s front teeth are very narrow, almost conical, and they have two rows of molars in the upper jaw. Longspine porgy look similar to scup, but can be easily identified by the elongated spines on their backs.

Scup grow slowly, up to about 20 inches long and 4 pounds. They can live a relatively long time, up to about 20 years. Scup are able to reproduce when they reach age 2, when they’re about 8 inches long.

They migrate north and inshore to spawn over weedy or sandy areas in southern New England from Massachusetts Bay south to the New York Bight from May through August, with peak activity in June. Most fish spawn at night, but scientists believe scup spawn in the morning. Females release an average of 7,000 eggs, which are fertilized externally. Then they migrate south and offshore in autumn as the water cools, arriving by December in offshore areas where they spend the winter.

During the summer and early fall, juveniles and adults are common in large estuaries, open sandy bottoms, and structured habitats such as mussel beds, reefs, or rock rubble. Scup are browsers – they nibble on invertebrates that live on the ocean bottom.

Scup are fished for by both commercial and recreational fishermen. The scup fishery is one of the oldest in the United States, with records dating back to 1800. Scup was the most abundant fish in colonial times Fishermen began using trawls in 1929, which increased catches dramatically. The species was termed overfished in 1996, and today there is evidence of a rebound.

The flesh is "firm and flaky", with a "sweet almost shrimplike flavor". Many consumers like their light flavor and they are characterized as panfish. Popular methods of cooking include frying, broiling, and baking. Scup contain many bones, which makes them difficult to fillet. As a result, scup are generally sold and cooked whole, after they’ve been gutted and scaled.

Scup Fishing

World Record:2.06 kg (4 lb 9 oz) Nantucket Sound, Massachusetts, USA03-Jun-1992
# Fish Caught:5844023 documented in database.
Earliest Record:1/1/1830 12:00:00 AM and located at 40.00000, -67.00000.
Latest Record:12/1/2023 4:11:23 PM and located at 41.07352, -71.93953.
Common Techniques:Bottom Fishing
Popular Lure Types:Bottom Rig
Fishing Spots:135 Scup fishing spots.

Latest Scup Fishing Reports and Spots

Fri Dec 1 – Block Island Jumbo Porgies & Knothead Sea Bass - 12/1/2023 4:11:23 PM

Capt JR reports a wonderful day of fishing on the Viking Starship. We had a good catch of sea bass all day in every zone we fished. The porgy bi (View)

Tue Nov 21 – Coxes Ledge Cod & Sea Bass - 11/21/2023 4:27:32 PM

Capt JR reports a stellar trip to Coxes Ledge today onboard the Viking Star. We had slammer jumbo Knothead Sea Bass fishing with a very nice sho (View)

Fri Nov 24 – Blackfish & Sea Bass - 11/24/2023 2:57:26 PM

Capt JR reports a very nice day on the Viking Star. We started a little deep today targeting Knothead Sea Bass and found some very good catching (View)

Tue Nov 14 – Coxes Ledge Cod & Sea Bass - 11/14/2023 4:27:37 PM

Capt JR reports another good trip to Cox’s Ledge. It was a windy day…. But the action was just fine! Lots of Knot Head Sea Bass some giant Scups (View)

Tue Oct 31 – Coxes Ledge Cod & Sea Bass - 10/31/2023 4:12:11 PM

Capt JR reports an excellent trip onboard the Viking Star. We had absolutely SLAMMER Sea Bass fishing with Cod to be had on every drop. Big beau (View)

Mon Sept 11 – Montauk Lighthouse Jumbo Porgies & Sea Bass - 9/11/2023 1:35:07 PM

Capt Dave reports a tough day of fishing today on the Viking Starship. We moved all around to a lot of our local spots with very little luck. Th (View)

Thurs Aug 24 – Montauk Lighthouse Jumbo Porgies & Knothead Sea Bass - 8/24/2023 1:54:54 PM

Capt Dave reports an excellent day of porgy fishing today on the Viking Starship. We started our morning around the Lighthouse and had nonstop a (View)

Tue July 11 – 1/2 Day Fishing PM - 7/11/2023 5:16:31 PM

Capt Dave G reports a good afternoon of fishing aboard the Viking Star. We had a nice catch of Scup with some nice size Blues mixed in. There wa (View)

Mon July 3 – Full Moon Striped Bass - 7/4/2023 4:20:00 AM

Capt Carl reports an absolute bloodbath on the Viking Star Full Moon Striped Bass extravaganza! It was pretty insane non-stop action from start (View)

Sat June 24 – 1/2 Day Fishing PM - 6/24/2023 5:49:33 PM

Capt Carl reports a busy afternoon on the Viking Star. We had rods bending the whole trip catching Sea Bass Fluke Scup and others! Yes a lot of (View)