- 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.
Tiger musky (Esox)
Tiger muskellunge, commonly called tiger musky, are a hybrid of muskellunge and northern pike. As a hybrid they show many of the characteristics of both parent fish, including the long, tube-like body. Tiger musky have dark, mostly green vertical bars on a lighter background that give the fish a tiger-like appearance. In general, their fins are rounded like the northern pike with the dark stripes and spots of a muskellunge. The dorsal fins have 18 to 21 rays, while the anal fin has 16 to 19 rays. Round, bill-like mouths contain several rows of sharp teeth used to devour the tiger muskys prey.
Although some natural hybridization occurs within the native range of northern pike and true muskies, tiger musky exist almost exclusively in waters where they are stocked. These areas include, but are not limited to, the natural range of northern pike and muskellunge. There have been regular, though inconsistent stocking and introduction programs throughout the United States, particularly in the Northeast, Midwest and eastern Great Plains states.
Tiger musky have been stocked in scattered bodies of water in approximately 30 states, primarily in lakes. Generally, their range runs from the southeastern limit of the Great Lakes region west to Iowa, north along the Red River through western Minnesota into southern Canada. It is found in greatest numbers in the states of Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
Tiger musky habitat is clear, clean lakes that have shallow areas for feeding and deeper areas in which to retreat for cooler waters. Just as in the case with pike and muskellunge, tiger musky need weedy areas, stumps, and logs for cover and for feeding during the early morning and evening. They are less tolerant of warm water temperatures than the musky and they tend to be in deeper waters throughout the summer.
Tiger musky are the result of a cross between northern pike and muskellunge. Although it can occur naturally, in most cases the hybrid is created in hatcheries by the fertilization of female muskellunge eggs by a male northern pike. While male tiger musky are always sterile, small numbers of females may be fertile. However, in order to maintain populations, tiger musky must be bred in hatcheries and stocked repeatedly.
Just as with both parent stocks, tiger musky are carnivorous. They are aggressive predators that will feed on whatever it can find in its environment with fish such as chubs, smelt and perch their top preferences. Like northern pike and true musky, they have been known to consume ducklings, goslings and even small mammals.
Tiger musky are fast swimmers and can attack and capture whatever prey it pursues. Its many sharp teeth are used to devour prey prior to swallowing.
Tiger muskellunge are an important game fish in the areas in which they are found. Because they are more eager to strike a lure, they provide more action than muskellunge, though they are more selective than a northern pike.
Though sometimes caught by accident, tiger musky are prized by many anglers because stocking programs allow them to be found in waters where neither the muskellunge nor the northern pike exist. Their aggressive strikes and ability to battle for long periods make for exciting fishing.
Anglers in search of tiger musky should locate underwater structures such as rocks, logs and weedy areas near the shore in spring and fall. During summer, they tend to inhabit open-water areas near the edges of deep weedlines.
Trolling and casting are both effective techniques, often with the use of traditional pike and musky lures, such large bucktail spinners, spoons and jointed plugs. However, downsized tackle common to bass fishing can also be effective, including skirted spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and crankbaits.
- Tiger musky are often stocked in lakes with heavier fishing pressure such as those near large cities.
- Tiger musky are known to attack hooked bass and panfish that are struggling on a line.