- 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.
Cubera snapper (Lutjanus)
The cubera snapper is the largest fish in the snapper family. They have large, stocky bodies that vary in color from gray to dark brown. The body often appears to have a reddish sheen. Some specimens have pale spots on the upper body, which are especially prevalent in the young. They are usually darker above the lateral line with their color fading below.
The cubers two dorsal fins have 14 rays and 10 spines, respectively. The pectoral fins are small, not reaching the anal fin when against the body. The dorsal and pectoral fins have a metallic gray color, while the pectoral fins can appear translucent. The anal fin is rounded with 7 or 8 soft rays and a reddish color. All of the fins can occasionally have a blue tinge.
Cubera snapper have large mouths with thick lips and a projecting lower jaw. Both jaws are very powerful. The teeth of the cubera are in a triangle shape at the top of the mouth. The canines are large enough that they are visible even when the mouth is closed. The dark red eyes of the cubera appear large in relation to the size of the head.
This fish is often confused with the gray snapper. Anglers can distinguish between the two by the anchor shaped tooth teeth on the gray snapper and the triangular shape patch on the cubera.
Found in the western Atlantic from Florida to the Amazon Basin in Brazil, cubera snapper are most common between the Florida Keys and Cuba. The cubera has been seen as far north as New Jersey and Nova Scotia. Overall, they are considered scarce within their entire range.
Cubera snapper are found away from the shore at depths of several hundred feet. Like most snappers, cubera are usually found near underwater objects like shipwrecks, reefs and oilrigs. They also prefer to be near steep ledges and rocky bottoms. The cubera is a solitary fish avoiding the snapper schools that also live around reefs. Young cubera snapper can be found in shallower water close to the shoreline in grass beds or mangrove areas.
Spawning season for the cubera snapper is late summer, usually July or August, and they only spawn for a short period of time, often during full moon phases. Spawning occurs closer to the shoreline than they typically inhabit, at depths of approximately 200 feet. Like many reef fish, cubera snapper reproduce in spawning aggregations, large groups of fish over a small area. During spawning, eggs are scattered in the open water and are then fertilized externally. The cubera does not stay to guard the eggs after fertilization.
Cubera snapper are known as aggressive feeders. They are carnivorous, feeding mainly on medium-sized fish and crabs. Their large, strong canine teeth also allow older cubera snapper to eat larger crustaceans such as lobster. Cubera typically feed near the bottom in rocky areas near reefs or other underwater structures.
The cubera snapper is usually caught along rocky bottoms near underwater structures like reefs, shipwrecks and oilrigs. They are known as ferocious fighters that pull extremely hard as they attempt to retreat to reefs or other objects when hooked. Bottom fishing with natural baits at depths of a few hundred feet is common. Crab, lobster (if legal and available) and cut baitfish are popular natural baits, though jigs and jigging spoons can also be effective, especially when tipped with pieces of natural bait. Short, heavy boat rods (6 to 7 feet) and conventional reels with at least 300 yards of 15- to 30-pound line are recommended. The best time to fish for the cubera is at night, the time the fish typically feeds.
- While cubera snapper meat is considered a delicacy, the meat of the larger fish is too rough to eat.
- Conservationists are attempting to prohibit fishing for cubera while they spawn off the coast of Florida. This is considered to be the main cause of overfishing for the cubera.
- Eating the cubera fish has been associated with ciguatera poisoning, a seldom fatal digestive disorder.