Scientific Name: Paralabrax clathratus
Ideal Temp: 66-75ºF (19-24ºC)
Environment: Inshore, Nearshore
Technique: Bottom Fishing, Jigging
Lure Type: Bottom Rig, Jigs
World Record: 6.54 kg (14 lb 7 oz) Newport Beach, California, USA
The kelp bass, sometimes referred to as the Calico bass or western fish (leading to easy confusion with the freshwater fishes from the genus Pomoxis), is a species of marine fish found in the eastern North Pacific Ocean from Baja California, Mexico, to Washington, USA (although rare in the northernmost part of its range). As suggested by its common name, it is typically associated with kelp beds, but may also be found in rocky areas or near hard structures. It prefers relatively shallow water, but may occur as deep as 165 ft (50 m).
It can reach a length of 29 1⁄2 inches (75 cm), and, being a slow grower, live for as long as 34 years. It is considered an excellent food fish, and is a popular recreational fishery species in Southern California. While the population is believed to be stable, large individuals are relatively rare due to fishing pressure. Commercial fishing for this species has been illegal since the 1950s.
It feeds on small fishes, squid, crustaceans, and, when abundant, plankton. During the warmer months (May to September in California), kelp bass form spawning groups in deeper water. After one to two days, the pelagic eggs hatch into larvae, which metamorph into juveniles after about a month. The juveniles settle among blades of kelp.