The adult bass lives in coastal waters down to about 330 feet, but are more commonly found in shallow 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 the eastern Atlantic Ocean from Norway to Senegal, into the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.

The adult bass lives 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. 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 their tail propels 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.