- 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.
One of the smaller snappers, the deep-bodied schoolmaster is brassy-yellow in color on its back. Its sides are a similar color but become paler at the belly. Additionally, the sides of the schoolmaster are marked with eight pale vertical bars, which may fade away in large adults. Similar to the dog snapper, the schoolmaster has a blue line that runs under the eye and over the gill cover. However, as the schoolmaster ages the blue line may become interrupted or disappear completely. It has a long snout and a large pointed mouth, which has a pair of enlarged canine teeth. Its lower jaw also extends slightly past the upper jaw.
Found throughout the western Atlantic Ocean as far north as Massachusetts, schoolmaster are most abundant around Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
Known as a schooling fish, the schoolmaster inhabits warm, shallow, coastal waters over coral reefs or rocks. As they age and become larger, they may seek out deeper water. Juvenile fish of this species found strictly in shallow waters, often in large resting clusters. Young schoolmaster may also enter brackish waters at times.
The schoolmaster spawn throughout the spring and summer, with the main season occurring in July and August. It is an open water egg-scatterer and there is no parental guidance after hatching.
The carnivorous schoolmaster feeds on crustaceans, small fish and gastropods.
Schoolmaster are considered fair to excellent eating. A schoolmaster will take live and dead bait, as well as artificial lures. Natural bait is considered more effective. They can be caught on various inshore gear, and, despite their size, are considered good fighters.
- A schoolmaster that has lost its stripes looks very similar to a dog snapper. However, the schoolmaster does not have a white cone-shape mark on the gill indicative of the dog snapper.
- The name schoolmaster is devised from the large schools of fish often encountered by scuba divers among shallow reefs and wrecks.