- 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.
Scamp have stout, elongated bodies that are similar in shape to the body of a largemouth bass. They are usually light gray or brown, but can change their color to match their environment. For this reason, they display a wide range of colors from gray to deep red. Their sides are covered with reddish-brown spots that tend to be grouped in horizontal lines. There is some yellow around the corner of the mouth. Scamp have the large mouth common of grouper. The back of the tail fin is concave, and the anal fin has one sharply pointed ray in the middle that extends well beyond the other rays. The dorsal fins are connected, the first with 11 spines and the second with 16 to 18 soft rays.
Scamp are a western Atlantic species that is found from the eastern coast of the United States through the Caribbean Sea to Venezuela. They are common up to North Carolina, and some scamp, particularly the juveniles, can be found as far north as Massachusetts.
Both an inshore and offshore species, scamp prefer complex structures, and are frequently found at reefs, jetties, pilings and wrecks in depths from just below the surface to 300 feet. Adults move inshore when the water temperature falls below 47 F, while juveniles are common in inshore estuaries and bays. Off the East Coast of Florida, scamp are the most abundant grouper in areas of oculina coral formations, an especially brittle kind of coral reef (also known as ivory tree coral).
Scamp spawn from February to August, depending upon location. They spawn in very large aggregations over reefs and wrecks at a variety of depths, especially around seamounts. Because the scamp population is especially vulnerable during these large aggregations, regulations have been passed to prevent these large gatherings from being exploited by fishermen. Fertilized eggs are scattered in the open water. Once they hatch, the young move inshore, often hiding in vegetation near the surface.
The feeding habits of scamp have not been closely studied. Biologists do know that they are ambush hunters, like many other grouper. They feed on small fish, squid, octopus, shrimp and crabs, as well as freshly dead fish or other sea animals.
Considered good fighters and excellent table fare, scamp are frequently caught by anglers while on party boats in the Gulf of Mexico. The best bait is live bait, including pigfish, pinfish, finger mullet, jumbo shrimp and squid. Jigs are also effective, especially when tipped with squid.
- The closest species to scamp are the black, gag, and yellowfin groupers.