Although they’re not the largest of fish, black sea bass are one of the most popular saltwater species to catch and eat. Once considered an unwanted ‘bycatch’ species, sea bass are highly sought after for their delicious fillets, and for sport fishing.
Read more about how to catch black sea bass.
➤What do black sea bass look like?
As their name suggests, sea bass are black in color, but can also have a gray body. During spawning season, the dominant male-sea-bass develop a hump on their head and have vibrant-blue color shades. Sea bass have stout-bodies, flat-heads, pointed-snouts, and large-mouths. Juvenile sea bass are brown in color and have a horizontal-stripe running along their body.
➤Where do black sea bass live?
Adult black sea bass can be found in the Atlantic Ocean, from the Gulf of Maine to the Florida Keys. Many sea bass swim in small schools and migrate north to spend the summer months in New England waters. Locally on Cape Cod, there are large populations at Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds, Buzzards Bay, and the Elizabeth Islands. In recent years, black sea bass have pushed north into the Gulf of Maine as the ocean temperatures have increased. Younger-sea-bass tend to live in backwaters or estuaries to feed and avoid being eaten by predators. Since sea bass occupy much of the same habitat as striped bass, they are often caught accidentally. Sea bass spend their days around wrecks, piers, jetties, shoals, reefs, and rockpiles.
➤What do black sea bass eat?
Even though sea bass do not have big, sharp, and pointy-teeth to crush their food like other predatory fish, they do have small and harmless teeth. Adult sea bass are aggressive bottom feeders and are not picky; their menu consists of a wide variety of crustaceans, fishes, mollusks, and worms.
➤How big do black sea bass grow to?
Some adult black sea bass grow up to 2-feet in length and 9-pounds in weight. However, most do not grow over 4-pounds.
➤What do black sea bass taste like?
Even though their filets are on the smaller side, many people consider sea bass to be the best eating northeast inshore fish. Their meat is tender, translucent, breaks into small flakes, and is mild in flavor. Sea bass are not an oily fish and they can be cooked in a variety of ways. However, they can be tedious to fillet because of their rib cage bones.
➤What is the scientific name for black sea bass?
The scientific name for black sea bass is centropristis striata. They’re members of the Serranidae family, which also includes grouper, the often-solitary, structure-loving reef fishes of temperate and tropical waters.
➤Why do black sea bass change sexes?
All sea bass are born females, but when they become 2-to-5 years old, and 9-to-13 inches in length, some change sexes, and become males. It is unclear why the sex change occurs, but there is some scientific research suggesting the lack of males in a local spawning group may be the cause. The change happens during the fall and winter after sea bass finish spawning.
➤Why do sea bass make a grunting noise?
Sea bass have a large swim bladder, which can produce small thumps and grunting noises. The vibrations are produced to escape predators, but they are also associated with competitive feeding.
➤When do black sea bass spawn?
In New England, black sea bass females produce up to 500,00 eggs during the spring spawning season. The eggs float in the water for several days before turning into larvae.
➤What is the black sea bass world record?
The world record black sea bass weighed 10-pounds, and 4-ounces and was caught in Virginia Beach, Virginia.