- 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.
Longbill spearfish (Tetrapturus)
One of the smallest specimens of the fast-swimming billfish family, the slender longbill spearfish is dark blue above and silver to white on its sides and below. The pectoral, anal and tailfins are dark blue to gray, often with hints of silver. The dorsal fin of the longbill peaks at the front then dips to form a nearly uniform height until it tapers to the back. Its bill is about twice the length of its lower jaw but significantly shorter than other billfish.
Longbill spearfish have a broad range throughout the Atlantic Ocean, yet they are not commonly found in any specific area. They are more likely to inhabit the western Atlantic, from New Jersey to Venezuela, including the Gulf of Mexico, rather than the eastern Atlantic.
The longbill spearfish is a deep-water, offshore billfish. It will inhabit waters as deep as 325 feet but normally stays between the thermocline and the surface.
Not much is known about the reproductive habits of the longbill spearfish, although spawning activity has been recorded from October to June. They scatter their eggs in open water and fertilize externally.
Like all billfish, longbill spearfish roam at or near the surface to feed squid and smaller fish, such as dolphin, flyingfish, and needlefish. They use their speed and agility to chase prey near the surface and after a burst of speed, they swallow them whole (some experts believe the spear is used to thrash and injure food fish, though there is no confirmed evidence about the role of the spear in feeding).
The longbill spearfish, though comparatively smaller than other billfish, is still a valued game fish among offshore anglers. They display the same speed, power and acrobatics as marlin. Although their food value is probably good, anglers normally release longbill spearfish due to their scarcity.
They are caught with the same tactics as marlin and sailfish, but are better suited for downsized tackle. Because they are caught so infrequently, most catches occur when fishing for larger billfish with heavier tackle. Trolling at a relatively fast speed is the most common and effective method. Surface and subsurface trolling lures and squid imitations are standard offerings.
- The all-tackle world record for the longbill spearfish is 94 pounds, 12 ounces.