- 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.
Yellowtail snapper (Ocyurus)
Yellowtail snapper have slender, streamlined bodies with a prominent yellow stripe that starts at the snout and broadens as it runs to the tail. They are blue, olive or violet above the lateral line and silver to white below with small red and yellow stripes. The entire body is covered with sporadic yellow patches. The caudal fin is yellow and white and is deeply forked. The two dorsal fins are yellow; the front with 10 spines and the rear has 12 to 14 soft rays. The anal fin is white with three spines and eight or nine soft rays. Yellowtail snapper have a small mouth compared with other snapper. The lower jaw is projected, with villiform teeth. The upper jaw has smaller teeth and around five small canines. The eyes are red.
Yellowtail snapper are native to the western Atlantic from Massachusetts to Brazil, though hey are seldom found north of the Carolinas. They are most common in South Florida, the Bahamas, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.
Yellowtail snapper are found in coastal waters near coral reefs. They prefer sandy areas around the reef. Unlike most snapper, the yellowtail snapper is found above the bottom of the ocean at depths of 10 to 300 feet. They prefer warmer water temperatures between 75 and 85 F. They are found both in loose schools and solitary. Adults move progressively further from shore as they get older. The young are found closer to shore near back reefs in weed or grass beds. Younger adults are found in rock bottoms. Older fish tend to stay closer to the reef. When mature yellowtail snapper establish a location, they seldom move far from it.
Yellowtail snapper begin spawning between two and four years of age. Spawning occurs between April and August depending on geographic location. They move to deeper waters in groups to spawn, and females produce between 11,000 and 1.5 million eggs, which are externally fertilized. Eggs are scattered and unguarded prior to hatching.
Yellowtail snappers feed on small fish, worms, gastropods, plankton and small crustaceans. They feed in open water and on or near the bottom and feed actively at night. Young yellowtail snapper eat more plankton and small worms. As yellowtail snapper mature they eat more small fish from the open water.
Although small, these fish fight hard for their size and relatively light tackle is preferred. The yellowtail snapper has a small mouth and are not hooked easily, so small lures and bait hooks are most effective. Angling success is often improved when fishing at night, when the fish typically feed.
Yellowtail snapper can be caught from the surf, bridges and piers or by boat. Anglers can fish the bottom off of bridges or in the open water close to a reef. Either way, the best technique is to establish a chum slick with cut fish or shrimp. Chum will get the yellowtail to come closer to the surface near a reef.
- Yellowtail snapper are fished commercially. The meat is sold both fresh and frozen.
- Yellowtail snapper are often raised in captivity. They can be found in many show aquariums.
- Eating the yellowtail snapper has been associated with ciguatera poisoning, a seldom fatal digestive disorder.
- Artificial reefs have been created in an attempt to increase fishing for yellowtail snapper in certain areas.