- Black sea bass have dangerously sharp spines on their dorsal fin that can puncture human skin.
- The all-tackle world record for black sea bass is 9 pounds, 8 ounces.
- When hooked in deep water and brought quickly to the surface, a black sea bass will often regurgitate its stomach contents.
Paddlefish are easily identified, because of the broad, flat, bill-like snout, which can be almost half the length of their body. Paddlefish skeletons are made of cartilage except for the jawbone. Paddlefish are gray or grayish blue in color with darker backs and lighter bellies. Paddlefish have small eyes, long gill covers, two small whiskers near the mouth, a forked tail and smooth, scaleless skin. Except for the snout, paddlefish look similar to sharks. As they grow and mature the adults do not develop teeth despite such a large mouth.
Paddlefish live in the rivers of the Mississippi Valley, western Montana, upper Ohio Valley, southern Great Lakes and Gulf Slope rivers.
Paddlefish live in large, open, slow-moving streams, reservoirs or rivers. They avoid fast flowing water and try to move around mainly when the water level is low. Paddlefish tend to stay in shallow water or near the surface in the downstream side of islands or sandbars.
Paddlefish will spawn at the age of 5 to 10 years old. In early spring and summer if no dams block the progress, paddlefish may travel up to 200 miles in a month, moving upstream to gather in schools. For successful spawning, an environment of fast flowing water with temperatures around 50 F and clean sand or gravel is needed. When that environment is found paddlefish swim over it releasing eggs and sperm. The eggs cling to solid objects such as rocks. Females release 7,500 eggs per pound of body weight.
Paddlefish swim, with their mouths open, filtering food from the water with gill rakers. They feed on plankton and insect larvae in the water. Their bills are covered with taste buds, which help to locate the plankton.
Fishing for paddlefish has become popular in some areas on the Mississippi River. In Texas, however, paddlefish are an endangered species, and cannot be caught. Flies, bait, plugs and other lures cannot be used to fish for paddlefish, because they eat microscopic organisms. Paddlefish are caught primarily by snagging. A heavy rod and test line with a 12-ought treble hook is recommended. Paddlefish are sought by anglers, for their good tasting white meat and for their eggs that make excellent caviar. Check state laws before fishing, in some states, such as in Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri and Nebraska fishing for paddlefish is restricted.
- Paddlefish were discovered in the 16th century by Hernando Desoto while exploring the Mississippi River Valley.
- The nearest relative of the paddlefish is the Chinese paddlefish or sturgeon, which lives in the Yangtze River in China.
- Paddlefish got their scientific name from Polydon, a Greek word meaning "many tooth" and spathula a Latin word for "blade."