The black sea bass (Centropristis striata), occurs along the Atlantic Coast of the United States from Cape Cod to Florida, reaching greatest abundance between the Capes of New Jersey and North Carolina (where sea bass fishing is quite popular). This species generally does not occur in the Gulf of Maine, but it is an important groundfish west and south of Cape Cod. Black sea bass are fairly stout-bodied fish, with a long dorsal fin, and large pectoral and pelvic fins. The rounded tail sometimes has a long streamer trailing out from the top edge. Each gill cover has a flat spine near the outer edge. Mature males have a fleshy dorsal hump just anterior to the dorsal fin.
Sea Bass Fishing
In recent years sea bass fishing has become an important charter and party boat activity. This is due to improved numbers and increased angler attention.
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Sea Bass Feeding Habits
Black sea bass are opportunistic feeders, eating whatever prey is available, but especially crabs, shrimp, worms, small fish, and clams.
Sea Bass Reproduction
Black sea bass are very interesting when it come to their sex and reproduction. Black sea bass change sex from female to male between to ages 2 to 5. Although some fish may have always been male, the majority of adult males are sexually reversed females. Researchers are not certain why females change to males but speculate that the relative scarcity of males in a spawning group may be the stimulus for a female to switch sex. Females produce between 30,000 and 500,000 eggs in a spawning season, depending on the size of the fish. Black sea bass generally spawn between March and September starting down near North Carolina and working further north later on.