Black Sea Bass

NEW: The recreational black sea bass bag limit has increased to 7 per person, per day in Atlantic state waters.  

Black Sea Bass

Black Sea Bass: Centropristis striata 

 Florida RegulationsGulf State WatersAtlantic State Waters
Minimum Size Limit

10" total length

 13" total length

Daily Bag Limit

100 pounds per person

7 fish per person

 State Waters Harvest Seasons


Gear Requirements:

  • Legal Gear: hook and line, spears
  • Reef fish gear required
    • Gulf:  circle hooks, de-hooking device
    • Atlantic:  de-hooking device


Federal Regulations:

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.

Florida Rule External Website

Gulf Federal Waters Rules External Website

Atlantic Federal Waters Rules External Website

Image Credit: Diane Rome Peebles




FWC Facts:
Florida Bass Conservation Center volunteers can assist biological staff in all aspects of fish culture and center management.

Learn More at AskFWC