- 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.
Flathead catfish (Pylodictis)
Flathead catfish, as the name implies, have long flat heads, small eyes and a large mouth with the lower jaw projecting beyond the upper jaw. Their eight, black feelers or barbells help them to locate food. The mottled back and sides are dark brown to yellowish brown, and the belly is yellowish, almost white. Another distinguishing feature from other catfish is a squared tail, rather than the more common notched tail. The average weight of an adult ranges from 20 to 50 pounds; their length as adults range from 10 to 60 inches.
Flathead catfish are native to the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio rivers. They are found as far north as North Dakota and Pennsylvania, as far west as New Mexico, and as far south as Florida and northern Mexico. They have also been introduced successfully in many rivers and reservoirs throughout the United States.
Flathead catfish prefer long, deep, slow-moving creek pools, rivers, and lakes. They will search for hard-bottomed areas with heavy cover to allow them to rest for the majority of the day.
Flathead catfish spawning activities begin in April and run through September. Males build nests in secluded areas like caves, depressions under rocks, undercut banks, and around hollow logs, at depths of 5 to 20 feet. The male also guards the yellow eggs against predation and help to provide oxygen by fanning the eggs with his tail fin. Once the eggs have hatched, the fry remain in a guarded close-knit school near the nest until they are able to fend for themselves.
Flathead catfish are opportunistic and omnivorous, feeding on both plants and animals. As they increase in size, their diet changes and a wider variety of food items are eaten. Young flathead, up to 10 inches long, feed on vegetation, aquatic insects and crayfish. As they grow older and larger, their diet changes to include fish such as bass, bream, shad, and crayfish. The larger flatheads have been known to take the possible terrestrial and amphibious animals such as mice or frogs when presented.
Anglers pursue the flathead for the strong fight they put up and large size of the fish. They can be fished using trotline or heavy rod and real gear. Large hooks that are baited with live green sunfish, carp, bullhead, large shiners or shad are the preferred method for many. These methods are best employed close to the bottom of deep pools or in swift water below a dam.
Another fishing method is the use of stump or limb lines, a heavy string tied to the limb of a tree or stump, using live bluegill, shad, or crayfish as bait. Flathead catfish can also be caught using jigs, streamers or small spinning lures.
Flathead catfish are fished commercially for its well-flavored firm, flaky, white meat.
- In Japan, flathead are caught and sold as pets.