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Perch are freshwater and marine fish belonging to the order Perciformes. You can find them in rivers, streams, lakes and ponds, as well as in saltwater estuaries and open seas around the world. Many sport anglers and anglers prize this fish for its size and strength, as well as its mild flavor.
- They are highly regarded by fishing enthusiasts and anglers all over the world for their large size and tenacious fighting spirit.
- During the breeding season, the males turn bright blue and green around the eyes and neck.
- The word is derived from the Middle English word bars, meaning "perch".
- Males are protective of their eggs and fry and will aggressively repel any predators that come near their nests.
- Largemouth bass often consume prey that is 30% to 50% of their size, but sometimes up to 70% of their size.
The term perch is used to refer to the hundreds of different species of fish belonging to the order Perciformes, or "perch-like" fish. The term is derived from the Middle English word bar s, meaning "perch". Black bass belongs to the sunfish family Centrarchidae and includes well-known freshwater fish such as smallmouth bass ( Micropterus haiku ), largemouth bass ( M. salmoides ) and spotted bass ( M. punctulatus ). There are also anadromous temperate bass such as the European sea bass ( Dicentrarchus labrax ), striped bass ( Morone saxatilis ) and white bass ( M. chrysops ) that live in both fresh and salt water. Asian sea bass include Japanese sea bass ( Lateolabrax japonicus ) and blackfin sea bass ( L. latus ). Some other fish with the same name include Australian sea bass ( Macquaria novemacleata ), black sea bass ( Centropristis striata ), Chilean sea bass ( Dissostichus eleginoides ), butterfly peacock bass ( Cichla ocellaris ), and giant sea bass ( Stereolepis gigas ).
Although both belong to the order Perciformes, they differ as much in appearance as they do in similarities. Generally speaking, this fish is a medium to large fish with a strong and powerful body. Small mouths can grow to 11.94 lbs, while large mouths can grow to 25 lbs. Meanwhile, striped bass can grow up to 124 pounds and giant bass can grow up to 562 pounds. Black bass are predominantly olive green with black, brown or gray markings on the flanks. While many have the characteristic protruding jaw, not all species share this feature.
Distribution, Population and Habitat
You can find them in countless habitats and regions around the world. They can be roughly divided into three distinct groups: freshwater, anadromous, and marine. Freshwater bass are native to North America and can be found in rivers, lakes and ponds throughout the continent. Some—such as the native Texas Guadalupe perch (Micopterus treculii) or Australian perch—live in relatively limited ranges. On the other hand, largemouth and smallmouth bass are widely distributed. Today, you can even find bigmouths in non-native habitats like Japan and Spain. Striped bass are common along the Atlantic coast of North America, while European bass are found off the coasts of Western Europe and North Africa. As the name suggests, the Asian sea bass lives in the western Pacific near Japan and Korea.
Similar to distribution, the type of habitat they inhabit varies from species to species. Bigmouths are often found in slow-moving, warm ponds, lakes, reservoirs, and bogs with rich vegetation. Smallmouths, meanwhile, prefer clearer, cooler water and thrive in systems with strong currents. You can often find the Black Sea near rocky substrates in shallow waters and in depths up to 430 feet offshore. As for Chilean sea bass, they thrive in colder waters and migrate between depths of 150 to 12,630 feet underwater.
predator and prey
As juveniles, they have many different predators, including other fish and birds. Once they reach adulthood, most reach the status of top predators in their local environment. However, even large adults occasionally face threats. For example, adult freshwater bass must contend with larger birds such as eagles and herons. Likewise, adult bass are predated by sharks, orcas, seals and large seabirds.
As opportunistic carnivores, they eat anything they can fit in their mouths. When they are young, they typically feed on plankton, insect larvae, insects, worms, and small crustaceans. Once they are adults, their diet consists of crabs, crayfish and small fish such as minnows, whitebait and shad. Adult largemouth bass will even eat small birds, frogs and snakes if given the chance. Meanwhile, juvenile bass tend to feed primarily on insects, small crustaceans and fish larvae. As they grow, their diet expands to include lobsters, squid, crabs and pelagic fish. They have a keen sense of smell and can spot food from great distances. While they can subdue and hunt most fish, freshwater bass typically rely on ambush tactics to scare prey. They wait under cover for their prey to swim close, then rush forward to devour it.
Reproduction and Lifespan
Spawning habits vary by species and environment. Largemouth bass reach sexual maturity at about 1 year of age, while smallmouth bass reach sexual maturity at about 3 years of age. Both species tend to spawn in the spring as the water begins to warm. The males build nests where the females lay their eggs, and guard the eggs fiercely even after the fry emerge from the eggs. On average, females with large mouths lay 3,000 to 4,000 eggs per pound of body weight, while small mouths average about 21,000 eggs. At the other end of the spectrum are white basses. White bass parents do not tend the eggs or fry at all, but they make up for the lack of brooding by laying large numbers of eggs. A single female can lay anywhere from 242,000 to 933,000 eggs that stick to surfaces.
Most black bass live around 8 to 12 years in the wild, but can live much longer under the right conditions. Macrognathus lived up to 16 years old, while the oldest recorded Micrognathus lived to be 34 years old in captivity. Bass can live longer thanks to their delayed growth and the colder environment in which they live. Chilean bass can live to be 50 years old, while giant bass can live to be 75 or more.
food and cooking
Taste varies by species and cooking preparation. While most have a clean, mild flavor, some people find certain species – such as largemouths – to have a watery, fishy smell and taste. Smallmouth, on the other hand, is lighter and sweeter in flavor. Many types of sea bass, such as striped or Chilean sea bass, are high in fat and are therefore prized for their buttery flavor and flaky texture. Different cultures around the world use their own unique methods to prepare them based on local ingredients and locally available species. The most common cooking methods include frying, baking, sautéing and poaching. Larger freshwater bass and perch also do well on grilling, broiling, and other high-heat cooking methods.
Most of their fish populations appear to be relatively healthy, with little or no signs of decline. Additionally, many species, such as snouts, thrive as a result of being introduced into freshwater systems outside their native range. As a result, the IUCN ranks most of these species as Least Concern. However, some stocks around the world are showing modest signs of decline, while others are at significant risk of being wiped out. Chilean sea bass is on several seafood watch lists due to declines in several regions, including Chile. Likewise, while the IUCN lists the Australian perch as a species of least concern, some conservationists believe it is threatened in native Australia due to climate change and water management projects. Currently, giant bass face the greatest risk to the species. Due to overfishing, the IUCN lists them as critically endangered.
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Bass are predators and like to ambush their prey from cover. They eat a wide variety of prey, including fish, frogs, snakes, crustaceans, small birds, and even baby crocodiles.
You can find bass in freshwater and aquatic habitats all over the world. Black bass in the sunfish family live in freshwater, while temperate and Asian sea bass can live in both brackish and fresh water. Meanwhile, many other sea bass species live exclusively in marine environments.
To capture bass, you need to make sure you're using the correct equipment and settings. The type of equipment and method used will vary depending on the species you are trying to capture. In general, larger bass will require larger hooks, rods and baits than smaller bass.
Largemouth bass are one of the most common and popular species of bass in North America and around the world. Known for their aggressiveness, they are also excellent food fish.