- 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.
Atlantic salmon (Salmo)
Atlantic salmon are long, sleek fish with bodies five times as long as they are deep. They are covered with round or cross-shaped spots. Atlantic salmon are bluish black on top and bright silver on the sides. The scales are large and there are 120 to 130 on the lateral line.
Atlantic salmon are found in rivers and streams on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean from Greenland to Cape Cod, Massachusetts in the western hemisphere and from Russia to Portugal in Europe during spawning runs, as well as in the Atlantic Ocean during the rest of their adult life. Atlantic salmon have also been successfully introduced to the Great Lakes region and parts of South America.
Atlantic salmon are anadromous fish; they live in the ocean as adults, but return to fresh water to spawn. The freshwater habitats are almost always rapidly flowing, clear streams that empty into the Atlantic Ocean. The streams are cool to cold in temperature with gravel and rock bottoms that, combined with the strong current, provide enough oxygen for proper spawning.
While at sea, atlantic salmon undergo migrations of various length and destinations. Maine atlantic salmon, for instance, can migrate to the waters around Greenland, off the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador, or remain in the waters near Maine, a variety of habits that help sustain the species.
Atlantic salmon usually spawn in the fall, although different runs may be found anytime from April to November. Their coloration changes during spawning, with salmon returning to the brownish olive of youth. During this time, the species is often confused with brown trout.
They migrate from the ocean to cold, freshwater streams, with 99 percent of them returning to the same stream of their birth. The trip is strenuous, swimming upstream an average of four miles a day and jumping waterfalls as tall as 12 feet.
Atlantic salmon do not eat during spawning, and typically lose half of their body weight during the trip. Unlike the pacific salmon, which die after spawning, atlantic salmon can spawn up to three or four times.
Female atlantic salmon lay between 10,000 and 20,000 eggs in egg pits dug by vigorous flapping of their tails. Females have more than one set of egg pits, called redds, in which they deposit some eggs. They then move upstream to dig another, and so on, until all eggs are deposited and the displaced gravel has covered their downstream redds. The eggs hatch in about three months and the young salmon remain in the freshwater systems for two to three years.
Atlantic salmon feed on plankton when young before moving on to insects, insect larvae and small fish, such as minnows. When the young atlantic salmon reach the ocean, they initially eat insects and crustaceans, but turn to herring, shrimp, capelin, and sardines for food as they age.
Atlantic salmon are highly prized game fish because of their beauty, fighting ability when hooked, and the orangish-red meat, a desired table fare.
Fly-fishing is one of the more popular methods for catching atlantic salmon, though taking them with spoons, plugs, and live bait is also common depending upon the environment being fished. The salmon are highly active when hooked and may jump numerous times.
- At one time, atlantic salmon were referred to simply as salmon; but are now distinguished from their cousins in the Pacific salmon family.
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services put the atlantic salmon of seven Maine Rivers on the list of endangered species in November 2000.
- During the transition from freshwater to saltwater the atlantic salmon's kidney changes so that it can excrete salt rather than retain it.
- Sebago (lake salmon), Salmo salar ouananiche, is a subspecies of the Atlantic salmon.