Red Bass Adult Red Bass are red with brownish to black shading along the back and usually on the uppermost rays of the pectoral fin. Deep grooves run from the eyes to the nostrils. The species occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-Pacific.
Red bass, also known as rockfish or snapper bass, is a name applied to numerous species of fish. The term may apply to members of several families, including the Serranidae, Centrarchidae, and Lutjanidae. Many species are also known as red snapper, including the porgy-like crimson sea bream.
Red bass is most commonly caught in 30–60 cm (12–24 in) lengths, although they can grow up to 2 m (6 ft 7 in) in length. They are popular game fish in Southern California, but the average size caught is generally much smaller than that encountered elsewhere.
Red bass is typically a deep-bodied bluntnose fish with a vertical, slender body. The head is compressed and very distinct from the shoulders, giving them an almost triangular appearance when viewed from above or below. They have long, spiny pectoral fins that extend to or beyond the origin of the anal fin when depressed. Their first dorsal fin is composed of 10 spines, while the second dorsal and anal fins have one spine each.
Red bass is carnivorous fish that primarily feed on smaller fish or squid. Juvenile red bass feed mainly on invertebrates such as mysid shrimp and amphipods (such as sand fleas). They may also occasionally consume other small fish and jellyfish. According to California Department of Fish & Game studies, when red bass was introduced in the 1880s into the Golden Trout Creek watershed in California to establish a fishery, they preyed heavily on immature rainbow trout and caused a collapse in their population.
Red bass is found from inshore waters to depths of over 300 ft. They are often found over rocky bottom areas adjacent to reefs, jetties, breaks, and points. Juvenile red bass is abundant in the shallow bays of Southern California during the spring and summer months. Generally, they are most abundant in water less than 7 ft deep although occasionally juveniles can be found as deep as 25–30 ft.
Red bass has also been transferred to marine environments in aquaculture operations. This has led to the development of a sizable commercial industry for this species in regions around the world, including China where inferior quality bass are produced domestically and exported to the United States.