Kelp Bass Reproduction Information and Facts
Both live baits and lures are highly effective at catching Kelp Bass. However, if you plan to participate in the catch and release program, make sure to use lures as the survival rate for the Kelp Bass is higher with lures.
Kelp bass mature between seven and 10.5 inches in length and about three to five years old. Kelp bass form breeding aggregations in deeper water off of kelp beds and rocky headlands and spawning occurs in these aggregations from April through November, but peaking in the summer months.
Kelp bass lay pelagic eggs that enter the plankton in coastal waters. High-contrast, black and white individuals with yellow-orange snouts are males. Fish with golden hues and yellow chins and jaws are usually females. Kelp bass are found in large groups during the breeding season.
Sexual & Seasonal Colouration
Colour patterns in fish serve multiple purposes. They can be used to social and environmental purposes. In the Serranidae family, which the Kelp Bass belongs, colour patterns are used for different species. Moreover, each sex adopts a specific colour pattern, which remains for life. However, these patterns are seasonal in nature. This means that the males develop bright orange snouts during the mating season, but afterwards it goes away until the next mating season.
Spawning usually takes place near, in and around kelp forests close to the shore. Research indicates that the females spawn as many as four times a year. The exact number that survives to adulthood is unclear, though many peg the number to be between 1 in 50 and 1 in 100.
As mentioned above, mating occurs between May and October between sunset and several hours after sunset. Breeding groups generally are between 3 and 20 bass with only one being the female. Research shows that males can congregate in groups as large as 200.
Food Preference During Mating
The kelp bass are highly active feeders during spawning. They eat a variety of bait fish including anchovies, sardines and surfperch. Also on the menu are shrimp, crustaceans and squid while most juvenile Kelp Bass prefer plankton.
Both live baits and lures are highly effective at catching Kelp Bass. However, if you plan to participate in the catch and release program, make sure to use lures as the survival rate for the Kelp Bass is higher with lures. Good lures to use, as we discussed in the Feeding Habits section, include the Big Hammer, Fish Trap and the no longer produced Worm King.
The Kelp Bass can be found in bays, estuaries and grass flats. In these areas, there is ample opportunity for fly fishing. A whole range of flies are effective including poppers, crayfish and a range of baitfish.