- 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.
Small fish that are eaten by many predators, pinfish are commonly used as baitfish by anglers. They have a compressed body that is very similar in shape to freshwater sunfish such as bluegill and pumpkinseed. Coloration is silvery or silver-blue overall with blue and yellow horizontal stripes across the side. All the fins are yellowish. Pinfish have a long dorsal fin that has many sharp points, from which the species get their name. The head and mouth are small and they have incisor-like teeth with deeply notched edges. The tail is moderately forked.
These fish are found in the western Atlantic from Massachusetts to Yucatan, Mexico. Pinfish occur in the waters of Bermuda, the Florida Keys, the northern part of the Gulf of Mexico and on the northern coast of Cuba, but absent from the rest of the Antilles and the Bahamas.
Pinfish are a highly schooling fish that have been observed grouping by the thousands. They are mainly an inshore species commonly found in grass flats and around piers, jetties and wharfs. Adults inhabit deeper waters than young pinfish, inhabiting depths from 40 to 180 feet in bays, passes and over reefs, while young often stay in the more shallow water of estuaries. Pinfish are associated with vegetated bottoms, but can on occasion be found over rocky bottoms. They are adaptable concerning salinity levels, allowing them to occupy brackish and even fresh water at times.
Spawning in the early spring at offshore positions, pinfish eggs float and are unguarded. As the eggs hatch, the young swim into bays and estuaries.
Pinfish are omnivorous, feeding on minnows, crustaceans, worms and mollusks as well as seaweed and organic debris. They are aggressive nibblers, a fact that makes them a nuisance for many fishermen.
Pinfish caught by anglers are almost always utilized as bait for bigger fish. When they are in shallow grass flats, anglers can also use a net to collect them. However, in other areas the best technique is landing them on baited hooks. Small pieces of shrimp and squid are effective baits.
When fishing with pinfish as bait, they are often place a foot or two under a popping cork in shallow waters, but in deeper areas they are more effective on the bottom with a slider rig. Pinfish will work for almost any game fish that will strike live bait, but they are particularly effective for redfish, trout, flounder, grouper and red snapper.
- Because of the combination of their metallic silver colors and immense schooling sizes, on a sunny day, a body of water filled with pinfish shimmers in every direction.
- Pinfish are hardy fish that will outlast almost all other baitfish stored in a livewell.