The European Bass (Morone labrax & Dicentrarchus labrax) is also known as bass in Europe and white salmon and Sea Bass. In North America, it is most known as Sea Bass and while it can be found there, it is not native to North American Waters.
Salt Water Fish?
We have had a few messages asking why we have a salt water fish, the Sea Bass, on Bassfishing-gurus. Well, for some reason, many anglers think of the European (Sea) Bass as a salt water only fish, which is not true.
The European Bass can be found in freshwater, brackish water and in salt water where it goes to out to spawn in large groups. They like to go deep and can be found as deep as 330 feet down.
Top Game Fish
For many European anglers, it is considered their best game fish on the continent, especially by British anglers, and is very common in the commercial fish industry for both Europe and North America as well providing for a healthy recreational industry.
The European Bass is a member of the Moronidae family and the name Dicentrarchus refers to the presence of two dorsal fins. It is a rather large fish as it can grow to as long as 3.3 feet and weigh as much as 33 pounds. They can be found in estuaries, lagoons, coastal waters and rivers and can survive in freshwater, saltwater and brackish water. It has a rather large habitat and population stretching from eastern Atlantic Ocean from Norway to Senegal, into the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.
The adult bass live in coastal waters down to about 330 feet, but are more commonly found in shallow waters. They are found in various kinds of bottoms on estuaries, lagoons and occasionally rivers. The European Bass enter coastal waters and river mouths in summer, but migrate offshore in colder weather and occur in deep water during winter in the northern range.
This voracious predator is a night feeder, a hunter predator that seeks out it's prey and attacks in a sudden strike.
The European sea bass forms into schools that can get as large as several thousands and may stay together for several years, though the habit to form into schools is something that they tend to do throughout their life. However, adult bass are far less concerned with staying in school as young sea bass, which prefer the company of other bass out of protection.
They are aggressive and defensive as their freshwater cousins. When they encounter a larger predator, they may run or they may defend their ground, pointing their spines in the direction of the predator.
Unlike Striped Bass, the European sea bass' strength as a swimmer increases with their size. Strong tides and currents offer little hassle for them and they have no trouble with surf or back-eddies coastal water conditions. As a regular to coastal rivers, they have to deal with strong tides several times a day and strength is not only a competitive advantage, but it makes for a great fighting fish.
Their swimming abilities are due in part to their large caudal fin and they are able to sustain a high average swimming speed while migrating with their tail being able to propel them forward very quickly.
A good way to spot them is via flashing. Sometimes they turn on one side and appear to rub one flank on the bottom, which is though to remove parasites or to disturb crustaceans. From the surface this appears as a flash, giving away their position.
One odd behaviour of the European Bass is that they sometimes bury themselves in the sea floor. No one knows exactly way this is done, but it is believed that they do it as a way to hide from predators. I guess Ostriches are not the only animals to bury themselves in the ground.
As with many European fish stocks, the European Bass is on a decline. In response to these concerns, the European Anglers are looking for a means to protect the European Recreational Bass Fishery.
The European bass has a broad extended body that is bluish grey on its back, silver on its sides and a silvery white on the belly. Each gill cover has a black mark, other dark markings emphasise the lateral line.
The fins are dark grey and deepen in colour each year whereas anal fins remain tinged with white. Younger bass are usually lighter with a bit of olive or spotted colour on its back but older fish may be slightly brown or yellow.
It has a large mouth that holds many teeth, including teeth on the roof of its mouth and tongue. It’s colour is silvery grey to bluish on the back, silvery on the sides, belly sometimes tinged with yellow. Young with some dark spots on upper part of body but adults never spotted. They also have sharp gill plates.
As with most fish, the front dorsal fin is full of sharp spins and should be handled with care. The European Bass spins are thicker and longer than most bass so be careful.
The European Bass is a member of the Moronidae family and the name Dicentrarchus refers to the presence of two dorsal fins. It is a rather large fish as it can grow to as long as 3.3 feet (1 metre) and weigh as much as 33 pounds (15 kilograms).
They can be found in estuaries, lagoons, coastal waters and rivers and can survive in freshwater, saltwater and brackish water. It has a rather large habitat and population stretching from eastern Atlantic Ocean from Norway to Senegal, into the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.
They are a relatively long-lived fish, living up to 15 years in the wild and a staggering 30 years in captivity.
The adult bass live in coastal waters down to about 330 feet (100 metres) 3, but are more commonly found in shallow waters. They are found in various kinds of bottoms on estuaries, lagoons and occasionally rivers. The European Bass enter coastal waters and river mouths in summer, but migrate offshore in colder weather and occur in deep water during winter in the northern range.
Male bass are the first to mature at a length of 32-35 cm (12 to 14 inches) while female bass have a length of 42 cm (16.5 inches) at the time of maturity.
Unlike other bass, there are a few more options with the European Bass as they like the surf so much. The key to selecting the right tackle is knowing the how big the bass are in the eare where you will be fishing.
These fish can grow large and are feroscious fighters. If you don't pick the right tackle, a broken line could quiet easily end up with a broken rod. We will get into more detail on in the bass fishing techniques section. We also have an extensive bass Tackle section.
Giant Sea Bass
Some anglers claim that the European Sea Bass can reach record sizes of 255 kilograms, or about 562 pounds. However the Giant Sea Bass (Stereolpis gigas) lives in the Pacific Ocean and is a member of a differnt family all together.