Black Sea Bass

Black Sea Bass are found from Massachusetts to Gulf of Mexico in coastal waters between 60 and 140 feed. The best method to catch Black Sea Bass is bottom fishing using live bait such as squid and cut up bait fish.

black sea bass holding over reef

Black sea bass holding over a coral reef

How to identify Black Sea Bass

Most Black Sea Bass are gray, brown, or blue-black along the upper body. Juvenile sea bass tend to be a dusky brown or grey color. The underside of the black sea bass is paler and white spots may be visible.

black sea bass identification diagram

The caudal (tail) fin is round with a slightly elongated top ray. The larger the fish, the longer the top tail ray. Dorsal fins are marked by a series of stripes and white spots. The last dorsal spine has a prominent dark spot. Male black sea bass have earned the nickname “humpback” due to the hump that forms toward the back of their head during spawning. During spawning, males may turn a bright blue color.

Black sea bass have large mouths with a triangular patch of teeth on the front roof of the mouth. The mouth extends back to the middle of the eye.

Black sea bass grow to 2 feet in length and 9 pounds.

Identifying characteristics:

  1. Triangular patch of teeth
  2. Mouth extends to middle of eye
  3. Black, gray or brown along sides
  4. White spots and bands along dorsal fin
  5. Dorsal fin has 10 spines and 11 soft rays
  6. Hump on back of head of males during spawn
  7. Elongated top ray on caudal fin

Where to catch Black Sea Bass

Black Sea Bass range from the western North Atlantic Ocean along the east coast. The can be found from Massachusetts to the Gulf of Mexico. A few hotspots for catching Black Sea Bass include Buzzards Bay, Narragansett Bay, Cape Cod, Block Island, Long Island Sound and offshore of New Jersey during the winter. Black Sea Bass are a bottom species that prefers habitat around wrecks, reefs, and piers in 60 to 120 feet of water. During the winter Black Sea Bass move offshore to depths of 120 to 240 feet. They also frequent shell or rock beds where food is plentiful.

Range: South
Black Sea Bass Fishing Map

The following are habitats where you can catch Black Sea Bass:

How to catch Black Sea Bass

The best season to catch Black Sea Bass is from May to June or November to December. It’s possible to catch them year round at depths of 6-20 fathoms. Black Sea Bass are fighters and despite their smaller size will fight the whole way to the surface. This aggressive attitude makes them an entertaining game fish for anglers. The most effective method for catching Black Sea Bass bottom fishing from boats using jigs, baits or lures. They can also be caught off of piers, docks, shoals and the shore.

The following are effective fishing methods and techniques for catching Black Sea Bass:

Best Lures, Bait & Tackle to catch Black Sea Bass

Black sea bass will readily take bait and artificial lures including jigs and plugs. Natural bait including strips of squid, small clams, or peeler crab cut up and fished on bottom rigs is most effective for catching black sea bass. Jigs tipped with pieces of squid also gets the job done.

The following are fishing lures, bait and tackle that can be used to catch Black Sea Bass: