Catching And Cooking Sea Bass

A difficult fish to catch

Catching Sea Bass

Size and weight: Sea bass are under 16″ and typically weigh under one lb.

General Info

A very small fish that is limited to 5, and under 16″ to catch in the Tampa Bay.


Time of year: Year-round.

Location: Sea Bass prefer rocky bottoms.

Time of Tide: Early morning or later in the afternoon.


Bait: Live shrimp.

Method: Reel and rod, with light tackle, and chum. 

Cooking Sea Bass

Drink Pairings

Drinks: No beer, sweet whites, bourbon beforehand


Deliciousness: 10 out of 10.

Flavor: Not fishy tasting.


Strike (knife) behind the head, down backbone, and removing all skin.

De-gutting: De-gutting is not necessary if you are cutting fillets – simply cut around the fish guts. 

De-blooding: Spanish Mackerel, Redfish, Grouper and Sharks are typically de-blooded.

De-veining: Is recommended for larger fish, including Spanish Mackerel, Redfish, and Sharks.



Methods: Pan frying is recommended.

Dishes: Any dish for which pan frying cooking is appropriate.

Traditions: Plain or upscale, Sea Bass is delicious and over-seasoning can mask it’s natural flavor.

Suggested Dishes

Sea Bass goes great with potatoes, salads, grilled veggies, lemon rice, roasted carrots and dill, quinoa, mashed potatoes, and over-baked sweet potato fries.

Cooking Fish, Generally

Traditions: Plain, Upscale, Southern, Creole, Cajun, Western, Southwestern

Cooking Methods

Sautéed (blackened): use a high-temperature oil with minimal flavor. Avocado, grapeseed, linseed, sunflower, safflower. 

Deep Frying: use similar oil to sautéed, but more of it. 

Baking: Method 1: Use tinfoil and leave open.  Seasoning is household seasonings. Lemon pepper and garlic. When fish is done, you’d use lemon juice and butter. Don’t add butter before the fish is cooked. Method 2: same but close foil. 

Grilling: if you want more flaky entrée, low heat. Maybe 10 minutes, both sides. Heavier texture, use a higher temperature.

Dish Descriptions

Entrée: Many people prefer blackened, filet skin on one side and leave skin on the other. 

Fish tacos: Require fileting both sides. Cube, deep fry in a batter. 

Fish soup or stew: Reheats well. A common cioppino or Cajun recipe will suffice. 

Fish salad. Deep fry to keep together, into a crisp. Cover meat halfway full with oil. Cook in a cast iron skillet. Use a Caesar dressing. 

Sides: Sweet potato, baked potato, potato wedges, brown rice, hush puppies

Vegetables: Asparagus, broccoli, salad, sliced tomatoes and avocado, string beans, seasoned collards, okra

Appetizers: Ceviche dip and fish cakes.


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