- 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.
White bass (Morone)
The color of a white bass is silvery with a dark grayish-green back. It also has four to 10 dark stripes that run lengthwise on its sides, only one of which extends to the tail. The head is small and pointed with a large mouth and yellow eyes. Fins tend to be nearly clear and the dorsal fin is separated into a spiny and a soft-rayed section. The anal fin has about a dozen rays. White bass can also be identified by a single tooth patch on the tongue.
White bass can be easily confused with striped bass, hybrid striped bass, yellow bass, and even white perch. However, they are generally smaller in size and more silvery in color than other bass and have striping that the white perch generally lack.
The typical weight of a white bass is between one-half and 2 pounds, though they can grow to 3 or 4 pounds. The world record white bass is 6 pounds, 13 ounces. Most grow to a length of between 10 and 12 inches, though they can reach 17 inches or more. Their life span can be as long as 10 years, however, few survive more than four years. Like many fish, females generally grow large, faster and live longer than males.
White bass can be found throughout the United States thanks to extensive stocking programs. They are found in large numbers in lake and river systems in the northeastern and southeastern United States, as well as the Midwest. Though they have been introduced throughout the United States, the region where they are most common is bounded by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River on the north, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, the Gulf of Mexico and Rio Grande River on the south, and the Rocky Mountains on the west. Their popularity has grown in recent years and they are found in especially large numbers in the region running along the gulf coast from Florida to Texas.
White bass are freshwater fish that are migratory in nature. They spend most of their lives in the open-water portions of lakes and reservoirs or river pools. These fish will migrate to deeper water as temperatures warm. They are found in greatest numbers in cool reservoirs and lakes with large areas of water that is at least 10 feet deep. Few white bass are found in lakes or reservoirs of less than 300 acres.
When water temperatures rise above 45 degrees F, between February and June, white bass migrate up rivers and streams seeking gravel or rocky bottom areas to begin spawning activity.
Males arrive at the spawning grounds about one month ahead of females. Rather than build nests, white bass spawn in mid-water. As the males and the female move toward the surface of the water, the female releases 62,000 to one million eggs that are rapidly fertilized.
These adhesive, fertilized eggs sink to the bottom and stick to gravel, boulders, or vegetation. The eggs hatch in two to three days, but because the adult white bass do not protect the eggs, few survive. Those that do, however, grow rapidly to 4 or 5 inches in length by the end of the summer and migrate back to open water to join the adults in the main lake.
White bass consume large quantities of prey fish and are, therefore, constantly on the move in search of food. Their favored selections are shad, silversides, yellow perch and sunfish. They will supplement their diets with crustaceans and insects. They have also been known to eat their own young. White bass often make a great commotion when they feed, especially at the surface, which experienced anglers will look for.
White bass are popular among fishermen because they travel in schools and because of their tasty meat. Although they are an aggressive, hard-fighting fish once hooked, they can be inconsistent about going after bait or lures. However, if they are biting, it is not uncommon for a fisherman to catch many in a short time.
White bass are attracted to small, live bait, such as shad, shiners and minnows. They are also more than willing to bite an artificial lure, another reason they are popular with anglers. Such lures as small jigs and crankbaits, as well as topwater lures, have proven successful.
White bass are caught in large numbers during spawning season as they migrate up tributaries and as they return to the open water, a time when they feed actively. Fishermen will have the most success in tributaries that flow into lakes and reservoirs.
During late summer and into fall, white bass travel in large schools, coming to the surface to feed. While surface feeding frenzies, which can often be seen from a distance, can bring good results for the fisherman, it is common to use electronics during the hotter summer months when these fish search out deeper, cooler water. In summer, as during any season, birds chasing baitfish are a good sign that a school of white bass may be nearby. In addition, night fishing, especially with the aid of floating fishing lights (where legal), can be a rewarding technique in spring and summer. Unlike during the spawning season, an angler in pursuit of white bass during summer and fall must be willing to fish in many different locations, as these fish will almost always be on the move. Often, this movement takes them from a hundred yards to a mile away in the same day.
- Cross breeding in hatcheries between white bass and stripers have produced a hybrid, known as the hybrid striper (or wiper), which has characteristics of both fish.
- Scientists are not certain that all white bass migrate to tributaries to spawn. They believe some may spend their entire lives, including spawning, in rocky shallows.