Coastal Angler Magazine features TISIRI's encounters with strangely buried sea bass. The article can be viewed on page 40 of the Coastal Angler online publication (click on the image below to view) and the content is provided below this image as well.
(Text content from the Coastal Angler publication below)
I can confidentially say that the black sea bass is one of the most popular fish we encounter during our underwater expeditions offshore northeast Florida. We find sea bass on just about any reef site that includes structure. Regardless if it is natural live bottom or an artificial reef, sea bass are present.
The interesting fact is we not only encounter sea bass on practically every dive, but we find them in great numbers. In fact, sea bass are often so thick in quantity that we are unable to observe the structure they are in front of or swimming over. At times this is frustrating because our underwater efforts require us to be able to photograph reef structures. We are forced to spend valuable under water time trying to choreograph the sea bass away from the structure we are to capture images of. It never works!
Spending so much time underwater with so many sea bass over the years, I and other TISIRI divers have observed interesting behaviors. The most common behavior we observe is what I would describe as curiosity. The fish will come right up to our mask as if they are looking at themselves in the reflection. They also take great interest in our equipment such as cameras, tools, and dive gear. This curiosity sometimes evolves into aggression or hunger. Sea bass will begin to bite at anything. This includes movable parts on equipment as well as fingers, faces, and hair. Just the other week I was watching a sea bass that just grabbed my hair swim over to TISIRI diver Ed Kalakauskis and bite him square on the cheek! I have never laughed so hard underwater before.
I have thought I have seen it all when it comes to sea bass and their typical behaviors but during a recent aircraft wreckage investigation, we observed something that I have never observed before. We were at a site that contained very little structure including two partially buried civilian aircraft engines. Sea bass were everywhere. When swimming from one engine to another I noticed what I thought was a dead sea bass partially buried on its side. As I approached it I noticed its one exposed eye was moving and following me. I took a few pictures and moved on not knowing what I had just observed. A little bit further in my swim another sea bass popped out of the ground right in front of me. I did not see where he came from. From then on I started paying more attention and found three or four more sea bass buried like a flounder with one eye facing up. We have never seen this before!
To see more images of this strange sea bass encounter visit www.TISIRI.org and search the term “sea bass.”