Species #155 — Black Sea Bass

This photo doesn’t do it justice. These fish are flat beautiful for a fish with no color.

Species: Black Sea Bass (Centropristis striata)
Location: Tampa, Florida
Date: July 13, 2018

Perhaps the biggest surprise of my first “real” Florida trip was this Black Sea Bass. Note: my actual first trip to Florida was a single night fishing in Pensacola the summer before, but this was an extended stay. The Black Sea Bass took a piece of shrimp on a Sabiki rig, and I was shocked. I had no idea these fish made it as far south as Central Florida.

Though it wasn’t the rich blue-black with white tubercules I’d seen in pictures, it was still a Black Sea Bass, and I was up to 24 species on this trip. Not bad.

I released it after a quick pic and moved on to the final fish of my Florida trip.

#SpeciesQuest // #CaughtOvgard

Read the next entry in #SpeciesQuest here: Species #156 — Atlantic Kingfish.

Species #134 — Florida Bass

*No picture available*

Species: Florida Bass (Micropterus floridanus)
Location: Lake Fran Urban Wetlands, Orlando, FL
Date: July 7, 2018

I’ve made some dumb choices over the years when fishing. Putting aside the ones that caused me physical harm, wasted time, and damaged gear, I still had plenty of things I would change.

For starters, I would take better pictures.

So many of the pics I’ve taken over the years for my “Lifelist Photo,” have been great. The fish is on a solid background (preferably in water or on damp vegetation), and is fully visible, facing to the right.

Left-eyed flatfish aside, I’ve mostly been able to accomplish this for most species — especially those caught within the past few years.

But not for Florida Bass.

I caught my first one by hand at night when it wouldn’t take anything else, just to say I did.

Of course, I wouldn’t count that because it wasn’t a legitimate catch.

I returned the next day and caught four more, all larger than my initial micro. As I spoke with the local anglers and found spots to fish, they all mentioned “Florida Bass,” but I just assumed they meant the “Florida Strain Largemouth” prized for their fast metabolism and ability to attain a greater size.

In 2002, though, they gained official status as their own species, Micropterus floridanus.

Though a few organizations contest this, the consensus is that they are their own species, and the simple disparity in their size and coloration would reinforce this to the layperson.

I failed to realize that “Florida Bass” were anything special, and since largest one didn’t even break three pounds, I failed to take one picture.

I didn’t even add it to my Lifelist until 2019, fully six months after I caught them, because it was only then that I learned it was a separate species, acknowledged my most powers that be.

Cool cool.

Since my Lifelist is only for me, really, I count it without the picture. I caught nine total that trip, and I was even with half a dozen other anglers for some of those catches for several.

Chris Fowler, an Austin-based angler who specializes in European-style carp fishing and flyfishing for bass and carp, was one of my witnesses. He caught a nice three-pounder on the fly, and I took a picture of it. Mine were all smaller, but I caught them.

I’ll just need to add Florida Bass to the list of about a dozen species I never got good “Lifelist Pics” of. It shouldn’t be that difficult, right?

#SpeciesQuest // #CaughtOvgard

Read the next entry in #SpeciesQuest here: Species #135 — Florida Gar.