Species Information

Scientific Name:Stenotomus chrysops
Environment:Inshore, Nearshore, Surf
Ideal Temp:55-77°F (13-25°C)
Technique:Bottom Fishing
Lure Type:Bottom Rig
World Record:2.06 kg (4 lb 9 oz) Nantucket Sound, Massachusetts, USA03-Jun-1992
Other Names:scup, Northern porgy

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.

Latest Scup Fishing Reports and Spots

Sat June 25 – 1/2 Day Fishing PM - 6/25/2022 4:45:05 PM

Capt Mike reports a beautiful afternoon aboard the Viking Star. Fishing was steady until slack tide. It slowed for a bit but picked up on the in (View)

Sun June 5 – Montauk Spring Porgies - 6/5/2022 2:29:11 PM

Capt Dave reports red hot fishing on the Viking Starlite. It was a good day of steady Porgy fishing with one drop for the whole day never having (View)

Sports Port Fishing Report June 1st - 6/1/2022 8:08:29 PM

Lots of bluefish in Nantucket Sound in the Osterville Cotuit and Hyannis area. The seabass fishing has been great using squid as well as gulp r (View)

Week of May 26th fishing report - 5/26/2022 10:35:39 PM

By Striper Mike Sports Port Pro Staff The striped bass fishing this past week was outstanding with big bass reported all throughout Cape Cod. S (View)

Sports Port - May 22nd fishing report - 5/22/2022 12:01:07 PM

By Striper Mike Sports Port Pro Staff The bass and bluefish have arrived on Cape Cod and big ones too! We now have reports from all over the Ca (View)

Scup or Porgy? - 2/22/2021 4:09:35 PM

Buzzards Bay fishing at it’s finest.  Make your annual trip plans and get ready.  I really don’t care what you… (View)

Scup or Porgy? - 2/22/2021 4:09:35 PM

Buzzards Bay fishing at it’s finest.  Make your annual trip plans and get ready.  I really don’t care what you… (View)

July 12 2015 - 7/12/2015 6:54:13 AM

We are in full swing of things on the Vineyard!!! Water temps are heatin' up but the fishing is still consistent. Plenty of bluefish to be caug (View)

July 26th 2019 - 7/27/2019 10:28:18 AM

Sometimes the striped bass and bluefishing can be frustrating and produce little to no action. Bottom fishing for scup black sea bass fluke and (View)

Weather and fish cooperate for excellent fall fishing - 10/16/2021 11:03:02 PM

First things first: albies are still here… I played hooky yesterday. There I said it. Thank you Frank for covering the shop for me. Here’s why: (View)