I found this small seabass in the northern Gulf of Mexico off the Florida panhandle. Depth = 102 ft. Size is about 3 cm. Several were hanging out with fish of similar size on a flat, hard-bottom artificial reef. Water temp 75F. Obviously some type of seabass and likely a juvenile.
Speculations include crosshatch bass (Serranus luciopercanus), Tattler (S Phoebe), and S atrobranchus. None of these are a perfect match.
Any help appreciated.
I think the mystery has been solved. I have seen similar fish on two other locations that turned out to be Tattler Bass. They all are deep fish that like flat, hard bottom. I've added a photo of the more recent findings. In the third photo above, you can see a dark bar starting to develop on the body of the mystery fish. That would correspond to the bar on the tattlers.