- 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.
Blackfin snapper (Lutjanus)
Blackfin snapper are a medium-sized, stocky fish. The coloration is bright red on the back and upper side, fading to silver-red on the lower side. The belly is white. The caudal, anal and pelvic fins of the blackfin snapper are a yellow-orange color. The anal fin is rounded with 3 spines and 8 soft rays. The dorsal fin is red and has 10 spines and 14 soft rays. The pectoral fins are red and short, not reaching the anal fin when pressed against the body. Blackfin snapper are often confused with the red snapper. The crescent-shaped black blotch at the base of the pectoral fins distinguishes the blackfin from the red. Also, the red snapper has a pointed anal fin that the blackfin snapper lacks. Blackfin snapper have large heads with long, v-shaped snouts. The mouth is large, with the lower jaw projecting slightly. The teeth are small, but they are very sharp. The eyes are large compared with other snapper.
Blackfin snapper are found in the western Atlantic, as far north as North Carolina and as far south as Brazil, between 36 degrees north latitude and 5 degrees south latitude. They can also be found throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. They are most common around south Florida, the Bahamas and the Antilles.
Blackfin snapper live in offshore habitats near the bottom of the ocean over sandy or rocky areas. They are often found close to ledges, drop-offs or continental shelves. Young blackfin snapper are found in shallower water between 100 and 200 feet. As they mature, blackfin snapper move to water between 200 and 650 feet.
Blackfin snapper start spawning around the age of 2. The female deposits her eggs in open water where they are fertilized externally and float to the bottom. The eggs are unguarded. Unlike most snappers, blackfin snapper spawn throughout the year without a peak season.
Blackfin snapper are carnivorous predators that feed near the bottom of the ocean. They are opportunistic feeders and tend to feed on any small fish that they can catch. Younger blackfin snapper will eat shrimp, worms and small crustaceans. However, as they mature, blackfin snapper prefer small, deepwater baitfish such as finfish.
Blackfin snapper are strong fighters that can often be difficult to catch due to the depths at which they live. Many are caught while drifting over cliffs and ledges near continental shelves. Typically, the fish are at depths that are too great to catch while anchoring. Sonar is frequently used to find schools blackfin snapper, after which cut bait, small fish and even nylon jigs are used to probe the depths. Light tackle is preferred, though weights and lures needed to reach typical blackfin depths are fairly heavy and may necessitate the use of heavy line.
- Blackfin snapper are fished commercially and sold as red snapper.
- Eating the blackfin snapper has been associated with ciguatera poisoning, a seldom-fatal digestive disorder.