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Bass, black sea

(Centropristis striata)

(Linnaeus, 1758); SERRANIDAE FAMILY; also called sea bass, black bass, rockbass, common sea bass, humpback (large males)

Found in the western North Atlantic Ocean along the United States east coast from Massachusetts to the Gulf of Mexico; most common from about Long Island, New York to South Carolina. The black sea bass is a bottom species found around wrecks, reefs, piers, breakwaters, and over beds of shells, coral, rock, etc.

The tail or caudal fin is rounded, and the top ray of the tail fin is typically very elongated in larger specimens. The dorsal fin is marked by several oblique, white spots arranged into stripes, and there is a large dark spot on the last dorsal spine. Large males of the species are sometimes known as “humpbacks” because of the visible rise or hump just behind their heads.

The best fishing is in depths of 6 to 20 fathoms from May to June and from November to December, though they can be caught all year round. When hooked on light tackle, the sea bass fights hard all the way to the surface. The action is fast and vigorous, and in spite of its small size, it is very much a game fish. Most are caught from anchored or drifting boats by bottom fishing with baits or by jigging with small metal jigs. Some are caught from docks, piers, or the shore. Baits include fishes, shrimp, squid, crabs, worms, clams and mackerel jigs.

Black sea bass are hermaphrodites; most begin their lives as females and change to males. The white, firm flesh is excellent eating

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Current All Tackle Record

10 lbs. 4 ounces.

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