The recreational black sea bass bag limit increase to 7 per person, per day in Atlantic state waters soon. This change went into effect in Atlantic federal waters Aug. 12, 2016.
Black Sea Bass: Centropristis striata
| Florida Regulations||Gulf State Waters||Atlantic State Waters|
|Minimum Size Limit
10" total length
13" total length
|Daily Bag Limit
100 pounds per person
5 fish per person
(changing to 7 fish per person.
Effective date TBD)
- Legal Gear: hook and line, spears
- Reef fish gear required:
- Gulf: circle hooks, de-hooking device
- Atlantic: de-hooking device
Federal Gulf of Mexico: 10" TL and 100 pounds/person/day
Federal Atlantic: 13" TL, 7 fish per person
Habitat and Fishing Tips:
Black sea bass, which are often called “rock bass,” prefer natural, hard bottom areas and limestone ledges. While they are most commonly caught along Florida’s central and northern coasts, they sometimes venture to south Florida waters during cold winters. Mature black sea bass generally prefer depths of 20 to 80 feet but juveniles can also be caught in shallower water over sea grass and near jetties and reefs. Like many other members of the grouper family, black sea bass prey on fish, squid, shrimp and other crustaceans.
Anglers commonly catch black sea bass incidentally while bottom fishing for grouper or snapper. While smaller than most other members of the family, black sea bass are aggressive and fun to catch, especially if you scale back to lighter tackle. Light to medium weight spinning or bait casting tackle with 10 to 20 pound test line is sufficient. At times (especially during the winter months) black sea bass are so hungry and aggressive that they will hold on to your lead all the way to the surface or the bottom of your cooler. Good baits for black sea bass include squid, shrimp or cut bait, or jigs tipped with squid. As a food fish, black sea bass are excellent and known for their firm white flesh and mild flavor.
Gulf Federal Waters Rules
Atlantic Federal Waters Rules
Image Credit: Diane Rome Peebles