- 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.
Sand seatrout (Cynoscion)
Sand seatrout are small fish with a thin, elongated body. Coloration is pale yellow on the back and silver to white on the sides and belly. The inside of the mouth is yellow, and they have two rounded teeth at the front of the upper jaw. Young sand seatrout have cloudy markings on their back that sometimes form cross bands. They have two dorsal fins, the first high, pointed and short, the second long and flat like a comb. The back margin of the tail fin is flat.
Sand seatrout are found in the western Atlantic from Florida to the Bay of Campeche, Mexico, in the southern Gulf of Mexico.
An inshore species except during the winter when they migrate to offshore areas, the sand seatrout seems to prefer brackish waters with low levels of salinity. In the summer months, they are often found in their nursery grounds located in the grass flats of river estuaries. In these environments they are often seen mixing with speckled trout. They prefer habitat with sandy, hard sand or shell bottoms in shallow waters. Young sand seatrout are found in shallow bays, particularly in areas where salinity levels are low.
Sand seatrout have a prolonged spawning season that runs from March to September. It is believed that there are two spawning peaks, one from early March to May and the second from August to September.
Sand seatrout spawn in lower estuarine areas near passes and inlets. Females produce on average over 100,000 eggs. Nests are not built; rather, the eggs are scattered and free-floating after fertilization. After hatching, the young move inshore to grassy regions.
Feeding on small fish and crustaceans, sand seatrout particularly enjoy shrimp. When they are located near passes in estuaries they eat mainly fish, especially bay anchovies and gulf menhaden. When they are in areas of lower salinity, shrimp again become more prominent in their diet.
Young sand seatrout eat a higher proportion of shrimp than adult sand seatrout do.
Sand seatrout are considered good table fare. Their small size means they do not have much meat per fish, but they are an important part of the Gulf of Mexicos commercial bottom fishery. They are not considered hard fighters and are frequently caught while fishing for other species. Sand seatrout are an excellent baitfish, especially if they are put on ice immediately after being caught.
One of the best baits for catching sand seatrout is either cut fish or shrimp. These should be fished alone or with jigs at or near the bottom. Because sand seatrout are attracted to light, many anglers shine high-beam lights into the water to attract them while fishing at night.
- Sand seatrout are closely related to the Atlantic coasts weakfish.
- The all-tackle world record for sand seatrout is a 2-pound, 3-ounce fish caught in Texas.