Spotted bass (Dicentrarchus punctatus)
BASS member, Bob Cox has sent us these photographs of a spotted bass, Dicentrarchus punctatus, of one and a half pounds, taken in a trawl a few miles off Clacton, Essex. It is believed to be the first one caught from the UK mainland for 50 years.
These fish are normally found from southern Biscay, throughout most of the Mediterranean, and down the west coast of Africa at least as far as Senegal. They may not grow much bigger than 60cm, and can be distinguished from European sea bass by having 57-65 scales in the lateral line rather than 66-74.
photo – european sea bass above, spotted bass below
Is this another case of fish moving northwards as the seas warm up, or an escapee from continental fish farming experiments, like the recent reports of striped bass from Holland?
Keep your eyes open, the first caught on a rod should be an instant record!
Remember that juvenile European sea bass may have spots until they reach 3-4 inches in length.
photo – juvenile european sea bass, showing spots