- 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.
Tarpon snook (Centropomus)
Tarpon snook look similar to other species of snook (fat, swordspine and common snook), but there are distinct differences. The name of this species refers to the tarpon-like upturned snout, which the other snook lack. As with other snook, the lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper. The body is elongated, tapering at both ends, and is silvery with a prominent black lateral line running from the top of the gill cover through the tail fin. The pelvic fin is orange-yellow with a blackish tip. There are 13 to 15 (usually 14) rays in the pectoral fin, fewer than the other snook, and the anal fin has 7 rays, one more than all other snook have. The body is more compressed than other species of snook as well.
Tarpon snook occur in the western Atlantic from around Miami, Fla., south to Brazil, including the Florida Keys, the Caribbean islands and Mexico. It is rare on the Gulf Coast of Florida, though it has been reported as far north as Fort Myers.
Tarpon snook inhabit subtropical coastal waters. They move between fresh water and salt water seasonally, always staying close to shore and to estuaries. Low-salinity brackish water or fresh water is their preference, and they are most common in bays, shaded lagoons and lakes, and the lower stretches of rivers, creeks and canals. They also hang around bridge and dock pilings. Mangrove shorelines serve as their nursery grounds.
Spawning is accomplished by scattering and fertilizing eggs in the open water and sea floor. They do not guard their eggs.
Tarpon snook feed mainly on baitfish, but eat crabs and shrimps as well. They tend to be ambush feeders, hiding amid cover until their prey swims within striking distance. They feed throughout the water column, from the surface to the sea floor.
Because of its small size, the tarpon snook does not rank high among sought after game fish. Still, it is a good fighter, though not as good as the common or fat snook. The lightest spinning, baitcasting or fly tackle should be used, along with small jigs, surface and diving plugs, spoons, or streamer flies. Effective natural bait includes live shrimp and baitfish like small pilchards or pinfish. Casting, stillfishing or trolling are the most common angling methods.
Tarpon snook are not often eaten, but their white, flaky and delicate meat makes excellent table fare, especially if skinned and filleted, or baked whole with butter, lemon and garlic.