Kelp Bass River Fishing Information and Facts
Harbour, or river fishing, is best done with a seven or eight foot fast tapered salt water graphite rod with a smooth casting but tough cranking reel.
Distribution & Habitat
Kelp Bass are an offshore ocean fish that live along the coast of North America stretching from the north border of California all the way down to the Mexican Peninsula. The best fishing is actually at it’s most southern end of this habitat.
They prefer rocky bottoms that have debris scattered across them like shipwrecks and sunken debris like trees. However, their main habitat comes from their name sake – the kelp forests. The kelp forests offer them protection and nourishment. They also enjoy the harbour environments like estuaries bays and river inlets with weed beds.
Not A River Fish
While the Kelp Bass can be found in the mouths of rivers like the Columbia river, the Kelp Bass is not a fresh water fish. They can only be found in saltwater or the brackish waters of estuaries and river mouths. While they can be found several miles in, this usually occurs as high tide comes in, bringing increased salinity into the river along with other favourite baitfish.
The best river fishing habitats are the last few miles of a river as it enters the sea, located around weed beds with rocks bottoms.
Tackle: Rod, Reel & Line
Harbour, or river fishing, is best done with a seven or eight foot fast tapered salt water graphite rod with a smooth casting but tough cranking reel. Crank the drag tight – don’t provide any give.
A good line test strength to start off with is a 15 lbs to 20 lbs. While this is a lot for most fish, the Kelp Bass could still easily snap the line if you don’t manage the drag well. While many choose to go with a 25 lbs line, try to stay with 20 lbs being the max line strength – as you learn to manage the drag, will will have a much better experience than with a 20 lbs test. After all, these fish don’t get any bigger than 15 lbs and these lunker Kelp Bass are very rare.
Chumming in Low Light
The best hours to fish for Kelp Bass are in the low light from dusk and dawn. They are most active during these hours. During dusk in the warm water months from May until October, they can also be found spawning during these hours.
Chum the waters as this will drive the fish into a frenzy and increase your probability of landing a lunker Kelp Bass.