In FL if there are no pilchards/goggle eyes/threadfins I sometimes use them for snook and tarpon. They're really not the number one choice, but they are hardy baits. They are considered pest on the sabikis.
We use those for bait offshore, we catch them with sabiki rigs at the near shore platforms. They are very hardy and are excellent live bait for sow snapper, amberjack, ling or any pelagic I can think of. They have fins as sharp as hypodemic needles and can be tricky to handle, we use a rag. One jumped in my boat at the jetty the other night and finned my palm pretty good when I tried to toss him overboard. It hurts but doesn't last long. It won't do any permanent damage. Bigfish
These seem to be what we call blufish on the east coast. Their big and mean as far south as northern fla, then they don't get much over 12 inches thru the gulf. We've hit schools while tuna fishing that hit 20 lbs or so. The large blue water fish (like tuna) feed on these en masse as the schools can go far miles. Somewhere back I saw a saltwater sportsman series of pictures caught with a fast action camera that had a 500 lb blufin tuna porpoising out of the water , chasing and nailing a big 20 lb bluefish in mid air. Outragous!!
When they are this size they are referred to as snapper blues, and they are known to tear the feeder fish into a frothing mess. We used to work the schools with spoons and streamer flys just like we do feeding trout down here. These have sharp-*** teeth too. They hit the swivel before the leader just like a mack. In the Phillipines we got them even smaller. We'd gut and scale them put em on a stick along the backbone and roast them against the fire. Not bad if you soak the hell out of them w/ soy sauce first. Keep 'em tight fellas. G
I caught one on a spoon in the surf the other day. I was trying to get a grip on him and like the others mentioned, I had a dorsal fin in my finger. It hurt like hell, I couldnt fish for 15 minutes b/c my finger was numb.
hey lonestar i think u getting confused the leather backs dont get big at all u siad u called the bluefish but bluefish are completly differetn i dn i dont live on the east coast but i think u might be confused. As for bait there has been plenty of times were i was trying to catch kings and bonita with spoons and these little guys would swim with the kings and bonita and come up and grab the spoon and the kings act like there not even there so if that says anything i dont think there good for bait
We caught about 8 or 10 a few weeks ago the night before we headed offshore. Figured they would be great live bait.....we were wrong! I finally had one hit on one of them and the fish (prob a king) spit the bait. At one point we were in a school of snapper (bottom fishing) and I decided to drop one down. On the average drop w/ a cigar minnow or squid....it took about 10 seconds to get a bite.....after 5 minutes I pull this "leatherjack" up and figure it may work better as cut bait.....drop it back down and notta! I did get about a 2" cut across my palm trying to catch one in the livewell though!!!