Whole Pacific Bumper [Pacific Bumper, Yellowtail Bumper, Chloroscombrus orqueta | Atlantic Bumper, Chloroscombrus chrysurus]

This fish is closely related to Scad, but while there are scads of scad there are only two bumpers - Pacific and Atlantic, and even those two may prove to be different varieties of the same species. The photo specimen is a Pacific Bumper. Pacific Bumper can grow to nearly 12 inches but Atlantic Bumper can grow to 25 inches and supports a larger fishery. Pacific Bumper are found in the Eastern Pacific from Los Angeles south to Peru. Atlantic Bumper is found in the West Atlantic from Massachusetts south to Uruguay.

More on Varieties of Fish (very large page

Pacific Bumper has a pleasant flavor and is milder and softer than its relatives the scads. Unlike scads the "scutes" along its lateral line are too small to be any trouble.

Cooking:   See suggestions under "Skin" below.

Bumper is very easy to fillet:

  1. Scale the fish.
  2. Take your kitchen shears and make a cut along the bottom taking off the keel all the way from the pelvic (bottom) fins to just beyond the vent. This cut needs to be deep enough that you can open the bottom of the fish.
  3. Make the usual cuts around the collar extending them down to behind the pelvic fins. Cut the backbone from the top with your kitchen shears, pull the head off and discard.
  4. Remove any innards that didn't come out with the head and scrape down to the backbone. Rinse clean.
  5. Make a cut from the tail to the body cavity on both sides of the bottom fin.
  6. Working along the top from front to back follow the bones making a cut all the way down to the backbone. Next dip over the backbone and cut down to the previously made cut from the body cavity to the tail.
  7. Working from the front dip over the backbone and follow the ribs down and finish by pulling the fillet off the ends of the ribs. Check for any ribs that may have come with it.
  8. You'll notice some substantial centerline pin bones. Pull them out straight forward for about the first third of the fillet.

Skin:   Bumper skin is not easy to remove - the fillets are small and the skin is thin and weak - but it shrinks without mercy with any cooking method (mostly from top to bottom). Fry fillets skin-on and it'll curl them up. To enjoy this fish without the hassle of removing the skin I suggest these cooking methods:

Stock:   Soup stock made with bumper heads and bones is pretty bad - I don't recommend it.

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