- 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.
Striped mullet (Mugil)
Striped mullet have an elongated but irregularly round body shaped somewhat like a torpedo. It is made for speed. The body is covered with large scales that are olive-green or bluish gray on the back and upper sides, fading to silvery on the lower sides and white on the belly. There are indistinct horizontal black stripes on the side. Striped mullet have a small head and mouth. They have two dorsal fins, the first with five spines and the second with 8 softrays. The tail fin is forked and the pectoral fin is short.
Found world-wide in warm water oceans and seas, striped mullet inhabit areas from the Bay of Biscay (Spain) to South Africa (including the Mediterranean and Black Seas) in the eastern Atlantic; from Nova Scotia to Brazil (including the southern part of the Gulf of Mexico, but not the Bahamas and most of the Caribbean) in the western Atlantic; from California to Chile in the eastern Pacific.
Striped mullet are inshore, coastal fish that often enter estuaries and rivers. They prefer areas with dense vegetation and sand or mud bottoms and will travel in sizeable schools.
Like the other mullet species, striped mullet frequently jump from the water. It is speculated that they do so in an attempt to increase oxygen in their body, since studies have shown that the lower the oxygen level in the water, the more frequently they jump.
Migrating offshore in large schools to reproduce, striped mullet have long spawning seasons that vary greatly in different geographical areas. In the mating ritual, males and females generally swim slowly into a current, the males surrounding the females and bumping them during the procession. Eggs are then fertilized externally and scattered.
Striped mullet are bottom feeders and either scrape off material from rocks with their spade-like lower jaw or pick up the material from the ocean floor and strain digestible plant and animal matter with their gill rakers and teeth. They spit out all other matter. A gizzard-like stomach breaks down any hard material that gets through the straining process and aids in digestion. They feed almost exclusively during the day, with a diet made up of zooplankton and other tiny marine forms, as well as detritus (dead organic matter).
Best known to anglers as excellent baitfish for larger species of fish, striped mullet are also excellent table fare, although smaller fish are so diminutive and bony they may not be worth filleting. Because they do not readily take hooked baits or lures (they feed mostly on algae and have small mouths), they are usually either caught by cast nets or snagged with small treble hooks. When caught with a hook, this species is known to fight hard when hooked.
- Striped mullet roe is considered a delicacy.
- The striped mullet is the only one of the roughly 70 members of the species to be found off the Pacific coast of the U.S.