California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Recreational Kelp Bass

Kelp Bass, CDFW Photo

Kelp bass (Paralabrax clathratus), also know as calico bass, have historically been a very popular species for nearshore recreational anglers in southern California. This species is taken by hook-and-line from piers, rocky shores, private boats, and commercial passenger fishing vessels.

Recently, CDFW identified over 375 marine fisheries (including finfish, invertebrates, and algae) managed by the state (including those with joint federal management) and prioritized them for future fishery management plans. Kelp bass was identified as a high-priority species, managed only by the state, in need of management and conservation measures to comply with the policies of the Marine Life Management Act.

The current sport angling record for kelp bass is 14 pounds, 7 ounces, caught at San Clemente Island on July 30, 1958 by C. O. Taylor. This species is also taken by divers; the current sport diving record is 12 pounds, 6 ounces caught off San Clemente by Dave Freeman while free diving.

  • Ocean Sport Fishing
    Provides links to current Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations, California Code and Regulations, Title 14, regulation changes, closures, and more.