During early and late in the day, the kelp bass can be found around reefs and up into the surf zone.

Kelp bass can be found as far north as the State of Washington, along the coast of California and down along the coats of Mexico’s Baja peninsula. However, they are rarely north of Point Conception, yet are abundant in southern Californian waters including the shores all of the Channel Islands.

The Kelp Bass are primarily shoreline fish, but they can be found along the coastal islands of California and Mexico’s Baja peninsula.

During early and late in the day, the kelp bass can be found around reefs and up into the surf zone. The Kelp beds around Sanata Barbara are considered to be excellent fishing grounds for the Kelp Bass. Prime rocky shoreline locations include the shoreline just north of Malibu.

Despite popular talk, Kelp Bass do not require Kelp to survive. They can be found in locations where there is no sign of kelp. However, when the young fry hatch, they will seek out the kelp until they near adulthood.


A good rod should be eight or nine feet long and heavy duty enough to stand up to the Kelp Bass. Make sure to use a saltwater rod. We recommend looking at a light saltwater baitcaster with a 12 or 15 line. There are several good solid reels to choose from. For starters, take a look at the Shimano Calcutta 4000, the Daiwa Millionaire CV 300 and CV 253.

They are typically found in shallow water, running just below the surface, to as deep as 150 feet/46 metres, being closely associated with just about any kind of structure, including kelp.


The kelp beds offer the young fry plenty of protection and nourishment. As they grow into adults, they still prefer to stay within the kelp as it provides them a launching point to strike out against their prey.


The best kelp bass fishing occurs in late spring and into early fall. As we have reported with all bass covered on Bass Fishing Gurus, cold water causes bass to slow down, become lethargic in really cold water and have a much reduced appetite. Kelp Bass are no different. As the water temperatures begin to rise in spring, the Kelp Bass become energised, increasing their appetite.