Bait fishing in the breakwaters and around kelp beds is a very popular method when trolling, drifting or even still fishing from a boat.

Transision Season

Autumn is a transition month for Kelp Bass. During the early autumn, Kelp Bass are still mating and the waters are warm. As a result, the Kelp Bass are highly active and feeding regularly and the early part of fall offers the same level of fishing as provided by summer.

Limited Distribution

As with the Australian Bass, Roanoke Bass and the Redeye Bass, the Kelp Bass have a limited distribution. While the Kelp Bass is limited to the coast of North America, from the northern California border to the Mexican Peninsula, they do not have the same issues threatening their habitat. Unlike the Australian Bass, the waterways of the Kelp Bass are not threatened by man-made structures or activity. However, the Kelp Bass numbers there is concern due to the number of Kelp Bass fished each year, about one million, and the slow growth rate. As a result, many anglers actively engage in the catch and release program.

Kelp Bass Fishing

Kelp Bass are best caught with light-tackle. Even though the largest one caught was 15 pounds/6.8 kilograms, with most Kelp Bass being caught much smaller than this due to their slow growth rate. Fly fishing, trolling and casting are all successful methods of catching Kelp Bass in the fall. As the waters cool and spawning ends, the Kelp Bass slow down and do not eat as much. Late fall requires more effort and knowledge to land one.

Bait Fishing

Bait fishing in the breakwaters and around kelp beds is a very popular method when trolling, drifting or even still fishing from a boat. Effective lures imitate squid, shrimp, surf perch, crustaceans and sardines to name a few. Use a monofilament line and sliding sinker rig on active and suspended fish.

Chumming is a pretty common technique so we’d better mention it here. This will improve your chances of landing bigger and more bass than otherwise. Chumming involves dumping bait and bait puree in to the water to attract the fish before casting in your line. Excellent when fishing in the kelp beds.

Nibble, Nibble, Strike…

This is a technique that we like to practice on Kelp Bass. Cast out your bait and let the line free spool – let the bait freely drop, pulling as much line as it takes until you get a strike. After about eight feet, you will start to feel a few nibbles on the line. Let the line continue to free spool.

The nibbles are coming from smaller bait fish like surf perch. What you are waiting for is a heavy strike from a Kelp Bass. You might receive several nibbles before getting a solid strike.

Deep Water

During the fall months, the bass can be found as deep as 150 feet/46 metres so make sure you have a good fish finder.

Sonar recommends the use of a sonar and GPS combo unit if you are or will be a regular angler of kelp bass. While they can be found all along the coast of California up into the state of Washington, the best fishing is along the coast of Mexico and the southern tip of California.

Fly fishing or trolling for Kelp Bass in estuaries and bays does not require the use of a fish finder, but it will make work easier especially if the water is not very clear.