- 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.
White mullet (Mugil)
The long and slender white mullet is bluish-gray on its upper body, which fades to silver on the sides and white underneath. They lack stripes, which helps to distinguish them from the striped or black mullet. The white mullet has a small triangular mouth with small teeth. There is a dark splotch at the base of the pectoral fin, and the moderately forked tail fin is edged in black. The dorsal fins of the white mullet are widely separated, with the second beginning just past the start of the anal fin.
In the western Atlantic, white mullet can be found from Massachusetts south to Brazil, including Bermuda and the Gulf of Mexico. They will occasionally stray as far north as Nova Scotia, Canada. White mullet in the eastern Atlantic inhabit waters off the coast of Africa from Senegal to Namibia. In the eastern Pacific, white mullet can be found from the Gulf of California to northern Chile, but nowhere along the U.S. coast.
White mullet are schooling fish that are often seen jumping out of the water. They prefer warm coastal waters of less than 50 feet deep. They may inhabit sandy coasts, coastal pools, muddy bottoms of brackish waters, coral reefs and may even venture into fresh water. Juvenile white mullet spend six months in coastal estuaries and lagoons during their early development.
Throughout the year white mullet spawn offshore, although spawning reaches its peak in the spring. Several million eggs are scattered in the open water where they are externally fertilized. The eggs then drift inshore where they hatch in coastal waters.
The white mullet feeds on algae, detritus (dead organic matter) and other marine microorganisms. They ingest food by picking up mud from the bottom and sifting edible material through its gill rakers and teeth. Inedible material is spit out, while the edible substances are digested in a gizzard-like stomach that is similar to that of a chicken.
Like other mullet, white mullet are not normally taken on hook and line. When they are hooked, they put up a good fight and will often display repeated jumps. They are normally caught with nets or by snagging them with small treble hooks cast into schools. Many white mullet caught by anglers are used for bait rather than dinner, but they are considered excellent table fare when eaten.
- There are several theories as to why white mullet jump, including to escape predators, remove parasites, clean gill rakers, coordinate spawning migration, or aid in respiration.
- White mullet roe is considered a delicacy by many and may sell in excess of $100 per pound in foreign markets such as Japan.