While Kelp Bass are not big fish, they do put up and fight and tend to tangle in the kelp beds.

Spring is one of the best times to catch Kelp Bass, though the autumn is the next best time. The month of May corresponds to the beginning of their spawning season, which lasts until October. It is also noteworthy that the Kelp Bass can spawn as many as four times during the spawning season. As a result of warmer water coming up from the equator and from seasonal changes, the Kelp Bass become more active, are spawning and are very hungry and go on an aggressive feeding binges during this time.


The greatest populations of Kelp Bass are in the southern end of their distribution from southern California to the mid Mexican peninsula largely due the the health of the kelp forest.

While they have a preference for the kelp forest for protection and nourishment, they can also be found in and around seaweed flats, in shore rocky areas, around reefs and in estuaries and bay areas.

They can be found at various depths, going as deep as 150 feet. Bass Fishing Gurus recommends the use of a sonar and GPS combo unit if you are or will be a regular angler of kelp bass.

Food Preferences

While they have their preferred food, they will go after a wide range of migratory prey like anchovies, sardines and the always present perch, little blacksmiths, shrimps and crabs. If any of these foods move out, they will then go after the next best food or move altogether. In fact, they will only change their location if the food stocks run out.


Based on Kelp Bass’s natural food, rig up metal jigs with a whole squid and streamer flies. Chumming is an effective way to creating attention and attracting kelp bass. However, chumming is often effective several days to a week up to the day of fishing. If no bass are present, chumming will have little effect. In this case, cast you line towards the edge of the kelp forests or on top of them, but be quick to reel in after a strike or they will tangle the line and you may lose your tackle and fish.

Bait Casting

While these are not big fish, they do put up and fight and tend to tangle in the kelp beds. Selecting the right tackle is critical. Don’t go with anything less than a monofilament 12 pound test line, but come prepared with a twenty-pound test line in case you get too many line snaps. Use a one ounce egg sinker with alive squid hooked through the tail using a 4/0 hooks. We cannot stress how much kelp bass love squid and go after it with the same zeal that freshwater bass go after crayfish.

Fly Fishing

Concentrate on bays and estuaries around weed beds. Most Kelp Bas can be found in the first 10 to 15 feet of water. Use a #4 or #6 density, sinking shooter taper line.