- 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.
Yellowmouth grouper (Mycteroperca)
Yellowmouth grouper have stout, elongated bodies. Coloration is tan to brown on the back and side, fading to a slightly paler brown on the belly. The upper parts of the head and most of the body are covered with small brown spots that are set closely together. There are streaks of yellow along the mouth, along the back of the tail fin, on top of the dorsal fin and on the side of the anal fin. There is also some yellow in the eyes. Two dorsal fins are connected, the first with 11 sharp spines and the second with 16 to 18 soft rays. Mouths are large and extend back to the eyes. The fan-shaped tail is slightly concave at the back edge.
Found only in the western Atlantic, yellowmouth grouper occur in waters from Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to Brazil. In general, this grouper is more common in the waters around the islands of the Caribbean than along the coasts of the mainland.
An offshore species, the yellowmouth grouper are found at depths to 180 feet. Adult fish live on bottoms made up of rocks or coral reefs, where, like many grouper, they will hide in the crevices and caves along the reef. Juveniles and young adults often occur in mangrove-lined lagoons and other inshore environments.
Not much is known about the specific reproductive habits of the yellowmouth grouper. Like most ocean species, the eggs are scattered, fertilized externally, and float freely until hatching. Young yellowmouth grouper move inshore after hatching, often hiding wherever they can to increase their chances of survival.
Yellowmouth grouper feed on primarily on baitfish and crustaceans. They employ an ambush hunting style, hiding in crevices and caves among coral reefs and darting out when prey swim by.
Yellowmouth grouper are good fighters and, like most of the grouper family, are considered good table fare. Vertical, bottom-fishing tactics are most often employed due to the depths at which these grouper are found. Live and dead bait and artificial lures such as jigs and jigging spoons are all effective. Heavy weights or jigheads are often needed to probe depths of 100 feet or more, and heavy line (20- to 50-pound test) is usually required to stand up to abrasion from jagged rocks and corral.
� Yellowmouth grouper are a popular fish in large show aquariums.
� The world record yellowmouth is 8 pounds, 2 ounces.