What is a Snook Fish?

Bass fish spawn in coastal rivers.

The term “sea bass” encompasses about eight species of fish, five of which – the common, small- and large-scale blubber, tarpon and swordsman – are found in Florida. These fish are also found around southwest Texas, Central and South America. The black bass is common in Mexico. All snookfish species belong to the genus centropomus.

Also called a bass, a bass is usually silver or golden with a dark line running down its body. Bass fish have two dorsal fins and a protruding jaw. These are pike-like fish, which is evident from their name – “sea bass” comes from the Dutch word snoek, meaning “pike”.

Bass fish are often found around mangroves and inlets and in both freshwater and, more commonly, saltwater. Young fish often stay in areas of lower salinity until they mature and then move to areas of higher salinity. Bass normally migrate only short distances to spawn in the summer. However, as a tropical fish, it cannot withstand temperatures below 18.3 degrees Celsius (65 degrees Fahrenheit), so it may migrate to its spawning grounds if its wintering location is too cold.

Sea bass spawn in coastal rivers and large ocean inlets. The spawning season starts around April or May and ends around August or September, depending on the weather of the year. Females spawn every two days and lay over a million eggs at a time. If women are not available in an area, men can invert their sex to become women.

Female bass live longer than males, around 21 years compared to 15-year-old males. Females also reach maturity later. Males reach maturity after about two years and females after about five.

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The size of these fish varies depending on the species. For example, in the largest of the Florida species, which is common, females reach about 48 inches (122 cm) on average, and males reach 39 inches (99 cm). Bass can weigh from 2.3 to 3.6 kg, but can occasionally reach 20 kg. On the other hand, Florida’s smallest species, the swordsman, is usually under 30.5 cm (12 inches) and weighs around 0.45 kg.

Bass cannot be fished commercially, but they are extremely popular with recreational fishermen. These fish are prized not only for their meat, but also because they fight when caught. Catching one is considered a challenge and a fisherman who does so gains prestige.

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