Sea bass are delicious, hard-fighting and easy to catch. As of 2009, coastal regulations for sea bass require a minimum length of 12.5 inches and allow anglers to keep 25 fish per day, year round. Sea bass are a schooling fish. Once located, the action is fast and furious, with double- and triple-headers common. Although the All-Tackle IGFA record for sea bass is 10 lb., 4 oz., you can expect most sea bass to weigh about 2 lbs.
Where to Find Them
To catch sea bass, you have to go out on a boat. Whether you go on a party boat, charter boat or your own private boat, sea bass are easy to locate. They inhabit wrecks, reefs and rough bottom, such as mussel beds. Most quality marine charts, like Capt. Seagull's, include latitude and longitude numbers for well-known wrecks and reefs.
Sea bass live over rough bottom areas in 40 to 60 feet of water. While you drift over these areas, look for fish on your sonar. When you read them on the screen, mark the location and repeat your drift.
What They Eat
Sea bass love crabs, clams and squid. They are easily caught on a 4/0 hook tied several inches above your sinker. Use a piece of squid, clam or crab for bait. Keep your bait on the bottom as you drift.
According to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, anglers can legally use up to fifteen hook points in New York. Your state department of conservation will have information on the maximum number of hooks allowed where you live. Keeping your rig simple keeps tangles to a minimum. Most fishermen targeting sea bass do not use more than two hooks at once.
You can replace the sinker in your rig with a bucktail or diamond jig. Anglers using a lure for a weight often catch two fish at once because sea bass school tightly together. Starting with your sinker or bucktail on the bottom, tie a dropper loop approximately six inches up the line and attach a 4/0 hook. You can tie another dropper loop six inches above that for another hook, but remember; more hooks means more tangles.
Since sea bass stay on the bottom in relatively deep water, they cannot be caught by other methods, such as trolling or fly fishing.
Article Written By Stephen Byrne
Stephen Byrne is a freelance writer with published articles in "Nor'East Saltwater," "Sportfishing" magazine, "Pacific Coast Sportfishing" and "Salt Water Sportsman." As a fishing charter captain, he was also interviewed for a feature in "Field and Stream." Byrne studied environmental science at the State University of New York at Delhi.