One of the most popular bottom fish off of the North Carolina coast is black sea bass. They are a prevalent species to these waters and are a popular choice for anglers to target when bottom fishing. Sea bass is more than just a good fighter. They are also great to eat. Fishermen can catch this type of fish in more than only North Carolina. They are also in South Carolina and Georgia. Just what is black sea bass.

How to Identify a Sea Bass

The black sea bass is easy to distinguish from other types of bottom fish in the same area. The adults are black with hints of blue. The fish has white spots and stripes along the dorsal fin. Males will have a hump along the back of the fish near the dorsal fin.

What is the Range of A Sea Bass

Beyond North Carolina’s waters, these fish extend down through central Florida and up to Cape Cod. Sometimes they venture as far north as Nova Scotia. North Carolina is nearly central to its east coast range.   

How Big do Sea Bass Grow

Not very often will you find giant black sea bass. The sea bass is typically small in size. Most anglers catch sea bass in the two-pound range, but they can be found up to around eight pounds. Don’t expect to reel in bruiser-sized fish.  

How do You Catch Sea Bass

Believe it or not, the these fish can be caught both inshore and offshore. Most of the fish that are caught inland will be very small in size. The offshore fish are found on rocks and wrecks. Because they are caught on the bottom, use a lead-heavy enough to hold the seafloor in combination with a circle hook.

Medium action rods and reels are more than sufficient but don’t be alarmed by the strong bite. For bait, live or dead shrimp, squid, and cut-up fish will all do the trick.

Are Black Sea Bass Good to Eat

Sea bass is excellent to eat. The fillets of sea bass are mild in taste and exceptionally white and flaky. One of the unique things about the fillets is that they easily flake apart, but the flakes are small. The flesh is very delicate and, as a result, is easily overcooked.

The fish can be cooked in a variety of ways. You can’t go wrong however you decide to prepare and cook them. Some of the most popular methods are grill black sea bass, broiled back sea bass, fried black sea bass, and pan-seared black sea bass.

North Carolina Black Sea Bass Regulations

As a result of overfishing, the state of North Carolina regulates the number and size of sea bass that can be harvested. Depending on what section of the state you are fishing, the regulations change. Always check the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality for the most up-to-date regulations. Lastly, always have a valid fishing license. 

Should You Run Offshore to Catch Sea Bass In North Carolina

The answer is yes. You typically do not need to run very far offshore to catch black sea bass, making it perfect for anglers of all experience levels. They do not grow very large, which is ideal for young anglers because you can avoid having an expensive rod and reel being pulled from an angler’s hands. Lastly, they are abundant so many can be caught in one outing. If keeping them is an option, bring some home for dinner.