Onshore,Offshore, Nearshore, Reef, Wreck
7 - 28 pounds
5" - 36"
The Leather Bass (Dermatolepis dermatolepis) is a ray-finned grouper found in the eastern Pacific. It can easily be recognized through its laterally compressed body that has a distinctive color pattern of white blotches and small dark spots on a dark to light gray background. The same patchy pattern and gray color combo is also present in all its rounded fins although the fins have yellow thin bands on the edges. The dorsal fin is long that runs from where the head ends to the base of the tail fin and contains several spines and soft rays.
During spawning, Leather Bass congregate in reefs at dusk. Each female would pair off with a male and head to the surface to release their eggs and sperm into the open water from which the eggs would fertilize externally. As soon as the sperm and eggs are released, the parents would leave the fertilized eggs on their own. Juvenile Leather Bass are found living within the spines of sea urchins for protection from predators.
The Leather Bass is known to be a voracious predator and eats pretty much anything it can catch, which mostly happens to be small benthic fishes; although it would sometimes also feed on small crustaceans such shrimps and crabs. And although the fish can grow a little more than three feet, most tend to be between fifteen to eighteen inches in length.
As Leather Bass often stay way down at the bottom of reefs and rocky underwater terrains, the best way to catch it is by treating it as if you’re targeting a grouper. A medium heavy bottom fishing tackle with a thirty to fifty-pound class reel equipped with a fifty-pound test monofilament line will do the trick. As for the bait, most successful anglers who have caught this fish used cut bait of either squid or small fish; or small live baits can be pretty effective as well.
Lastly, as soon as you feel the fish is firmly stuck to your hook, crank on your reel as hard as you can and make sure to not allow the feisty fish to swim back to its rocky lair or you will surely end up with not just a lost fish, but a snapped line as well.
The Leather Bass can exclusively be found in the eastern Pacific—particularly from southern California to Ecuador; as well as within the waters of the Gulf of California. The fish also prefers coral reefs and rocky bottoms between depths of sixty and one hundred and thirty feet from which they would stay for most of their life.