- 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.
Horse-eye jack (Caranx)
The horse-eye jack has a deep and compressed body similar to a jack crevalle, but the horse-eye jacks head is more rounded. Known for its large eyes, the horse-eye is gray to bluish-black above and a silvery-white on its sides and below. A row of dark-colored scutes extends from the middle of the body to the center of the forked tail fin. In addition to the dark and light contrast on the overall body, the horse-eye jacks tail fin is yellow, which is often highlighted in black on the top edges. The horse-eye can also be identified from other jacks by its chest, which is covered entirely in scales.
The horse-eye jack can be found in the western Atlantic Ocean from New Jersey to Bermuda and from the northern Gulf of Mexico to Brazil. In the eastern Atlantic they can be found off the coast of northwest.
Horse-eye jacks are mostly found in open water at a variety of offshore depths, but have been known to travel up coastal streams and rivers. Adults are found among reefs in open water, whereas younger horse-eye typically select sandy shores or muddy bottoms to inhabit. They often school in both small and large groups in water up to 60 feet deep, but individually they may inhabit depths of up to 400 feet or more. They generally seek water with an average annual temperature of 63 F.
Little is known about horse-eye jacks reproductive habits. The spawning season, which takes place in offshore waters, is believed to run form March to July in the southeastern waters of the United States, with June being a peak time for horse-eyes further south.
The horse-eye jack’s diet consists of fish, crabs and shrimp. Although individual fish will seek out crabs and other organisms on or near the bottom, most feeding takes place as schools of horse-eye encounter schools of small baitfish and shrimp.
Known as a brawler by anglers, horse-eye jacks are often caught while moving swiftly in schools. They can be taken with live bait such as mullet and pinfish, as well as jigs, spoons and plug lures, and even flies on occasion. Light- to medium-weight tackle is preferred, whether spinning, bait-casting or light conventional gear. Line weights used range from 8 to 15 pounds.
- Although edible, the horse-eye is not known for its taste. However, its quality of meat may improve by cutting off its tail and bleeding the fish immediately after catching.
- Along with other jack, horse-eye jack have been associated with ciguatera poisoning, which is caused by consuming a fish whose flesh is infected with a potent neurotoxin called ciguatoxin.
- Considered a friendly fish to humans, horse-eye jacks will often approach scuba divers.