- 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.
Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus)
Coho salmon are dark metallic blue to black on top with bright silver sides. They have black spots across the top of their body and on the top of their tail fin, but not on the bottom, which distinguishes them from chinook salmon. The gums of the lower jaw are gray or white. They are excellent swimmers and have muscular bodies that are both long and thick.
The native range for coho salmon is from California to Japan and, because they are so adaptable, they have been successfully introduced in the Great Lakes region and many lakes in Canada.
Coho salmon spend part of their life in the ocean and part in small, coastal freshwater streams. They choose streams with a weaker current than other salmon, such as chinooks. Young coho salmon also require adequate streamside cover to hide underneath, such as submerged branches and undercut banks. Some coho salmon spend their entire life in lakes, particularly those transplanted in the Great Lakes region.
Like most salmon, coho salmon return to the stream of their birth to spawn. After two to three years in the ocean coho salmon enter their natal stream anywhere from July to November, depending upon variables such as water level, length of migration, and temperature of water.
As spawning approaches they will eat voraciously, gaining as much as one pound per week to prepare for the coming upstream spawning run.
During their spawning run, both sexes lose their silver and blue colors. Their heads and backs become dark while their sides turn maroon to reddish. Also, the males develop a prominent hooked snout. Though they often spawn in the same rivers as chinook salmon, coho salmon choose spots with lower stream velocity, shallower water, and smaller gravel.
Females lay between 2,400 to 4,500 eggs into nests they dig in the gravel, which are then fertilized by the males. Within two weeks the adults will die. The eggs hatch approximately five to seven weeks later. Most young migrate to the sea after one year, but some stay in fresh water for up to three years.
Before entering the ocean, young coho salmon feed on aquatic insects, zooplankton, and small fish. As adults in the ocean, coho salmon use their sharp teeth to feed on other fishes, squid, and crustaceans. The large amounts of euphasid shrimp they eat account for the deep, purplish red of their flesh.
In the Great Lakes, they eat alewives, lake chubs, rainbow smelt, and herring.
The coho salmon is one of the most popular game fish for anglers on the Pacific coast. They are considered good table fare. Coho are also spectacular fighters and considered the most acrobatic of the Pacific salmon, often leaping when hooked in the ocean.
While in the ocean, coho salmon are taken by trolling with herring or other fishes, as well as on spoons.
Casting with a fly is also successful, as long as the fisherman can handle a long line to cover the fast-moving schools.
The appearance of seagulls or other birds gathering to feed can tip off the angler to the whereabouts of schooling coho salmon.
In fresh water coho strike salmon eggs, flies, spoons, or spinners.
- The hook that male coho salmon develop in their jaw during spawning is used to fight off other males for breeding privileges.
- The largest coho salmon ever caught was 31 pounds in 1947.
- Some Great Lakes fishermen locate coho salmon by watching for seagulls attacking herring in the water. Herring travel along the surface in large, tightly bunched groups.