Kelp Bass

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. 

Species Information

Scientific Name:Paralabrax clathratus
Environment:Inshore, Nearshore
Ideal Temp:66-75ºF (19-24ºC)
Technique:Bottom Fishing, Jigging
Lure Type:Bottom Rig, Jigs
World Record:6.54 kg (14 lb 7 oz) Newport Beach, California, USA
Other Names:kelp bass, calico bass, western fish, calico

Latest Kelp Bass Fishing Reports and Spots

Prime Time has big day of local fishing - 6/5/2013 10:12:32 AM

Saturday…Prime Time hosted a bachelor party with 6 anglers for a half day of local fishing. Captain Chris Abate reported 80 fish caught includin (View)


5-23-2013 Having a Blast with Calico Bass and Sand Bass - 5/23/2013 1:37:26 AM

Today Captain George and First Mate Brandon had Eric Jeff Kyle Brandon and Aaron from Florida. The anglers had a great day on the water. They c (View)


5-24-2013 How many? 47 Calico Bass Caught and Released! - 5/24/2013 1:37:25 AM

Today Captain George and Captain Massey had Rob Rose Roxy Rachel and Steve from Arizona out for a 3/4 day of coastal fishing. The anglers had a (View)


5-25-2013 Catching 55 Rock Fish and Calico Bass on a Half Day = NICE! - 5/25/2013 1:37:24 AM

Today Captain George and Captain Brice had Butch CJ Andy Travis and Rusty from Washington out for a half day of coastal fishing. The anglers ca (View)


Today's Fish Count, Ventura Sportfishing 04/21/13 - 4/21/2013 9:26:28 PM

TODAY'S FISH COUNT:  3 boats and 61 anglers.. 130 Ocean Whitefish, 25 Sheephead, 489 Rockfish, 3 Rock Sole, 5 Lingcod, 2 Calico Bass, 1 (View)


calico bass - 2/15/2013 4:48:52 PM

nice calico bass (View)


calico bass - 2/15/2013 4:49:02 PM

nice calico bass (View)


Oceanside Harbor Fish Taxi’s “Warm” Winter Wonderland? - 12/1/2020 2:59:24 PM

Oceanside Harbor in North County San Diego is a great destination for some winter warmth! It’s clear and 70’s today! Winter fishing is coastal (View)


Fish Count 03/25/17 - 3/25/2017 1:41:43 PM

Fish Count 03/25/17 3 Boats 54 Anglers 510 Rockfish 229 Whitefish 9 Lingcod 30 Red Snapper 13 Sheephead 4 Sculpin 1 Calico Bass 1 Rock Sole   Co (View)


April 17 pm 1/2 day charter - 4/20/2016 11:46:30 AM

John and Chuck came out from Colorado.  We found this trophy 38″ Halibut hanging out with a bunch of calico bass.  This was our biggest Halibut (View)