Dicentrarchus labrax Bass are a streamline bodied fish with a large head and mouth. They have small silver scales covering their body and two dorsal fins, the front one having 8-9 sharp spiny rays. Spines are also noticeable on the lower part of the gill plate. Bass are found sub-tidally down to around 100 m around most of the UK. Young fish are often found schooling in shallow waters, estuaries and the lower reaches of rivers as is commonly seen in the Kent and Essex IFCA district.
Larger adult bass are found in deeper water usually but come closer inshore to warmer waters from March to Mid-June peaking in May after spawning. Bass are a relatively slow growing species with males reaching minimum landing size at a mean age of 4 years and females from 5 years in the UK. Bass is a schooling predator of smaller fish species such as members of the herring family, sandeels and other small schooling fish.
They are also an important predator of small crustaceans and squid playing an important part of food chains in estuaries and coastal waters.
Commercial bass regulations for ICES areas in the KEIFCA district (IVc and VIId): please see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bass-industry-guidance-2022/bass-fishing-guidance-2021 for bass regulations for 2022
Recreational bass regulations for ICES areas in the KEIFCA district (IVc and VIId): fishing is catch-and-release only until 1st March, and then 2 per person per day. Please see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bass-industry-guidance-2022/bass-fishing-guidance-2021 for more information