Calico Bass


The Calico Bass, also⁤ known as ⁣the Kelp Bass, belongs to the ⁣family‌ Serranidae. This gregarious fish species⁤ is beloved among recreational⁣ fishers in Southern California for its⁣ sporty fight⁤ and culinary qualities.

Conservation Status

Currently, the Calico Bass is listed as “Least​ Concern” on IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species. This status⁣ means that there are enough of them to keep the population stable.‌ California’s restrictive fishing regulations are believed⁣ to contribute significantly to maintaining the species’ population.

Conservation Efforts

The State of California has imposed size and​ bag limits to protect the Calico‍ Bass. The daily bag limit is ⁣five ​fish per day, and all captured Calico Bass⁣ must ⁣be at least 14 ⁤inches⁤ long.


Average Length Length⁤ Range Average⁤ Weight Weight Range Average Lifespan
17 ​inches 12-28 ⁤inches 2 lbs 1-7.5 lbs 34 years


The Calico Bass can be found along the Pacific coast, primarily between Baja California ⁣and Monterey Bay.

Migration Patterns

While this species is primarily⁣ a ⁣non-migratory, local movements‌ associated‍ with‌ habitat ⁤and food availability ⁣have been observed.


The Calico Bass ⁣prefers ⁣rocky areas and kelp beds‍ in warm saltwater.

Water Type Depth Range Temperature⁢ Range
Saltwater/brackish 3-90 feet 60-70 °F

When and Where to ⁤See

An‌ increase in Calico Bass sightings ​can be observed during the summer months, especially in the early morning or late afternoon.

Best Fishing Locations

If you are ⁤planning to fish for Calico Bass, some of the best spots include:

  1. Monterey Bay, California
  2. Catalina Island, California
  3. San Diego Bay, California
  4. Santa Barbara Island, California

General Tips

Look for rocky reefs or kelp​ beds⁢ where these fish tend to congregate. Also,⁣ consider fishing during tide changes, as this is when Calico Bass are most active.

How to Catch

Preferred Bait or Lures

Calico Bass ‍will bite on live bait such as sardines,‌ mackerel,⁣ squid,​ or anchovies. They⁤ also ‌respond well to ⁤jigs, plugs, ​and‌ other artificial lures.

Fishing Techniques

Fly fishing, trolling, and bottom‌ fishing are effective techniques⁣ for catching Calico Bass.

Best⁢ Time of Day ⁤or Season for ‌Fishing

The ‍best times⁢ to fish for Calico Bass are early morning and late ⁤afternoon during the ⁤summer months.

Identification Guide

Calico Bass ⁣have robust bodies with a distinct lateral line running across their body. They are⁢ typically dark ⁣green or brown⁣ on top with a lighter belly and characteristic dark spots⁤ along‌ their sides.

Culinary Information

How to Cook

Calico Bass ​can be prepared in numerous‌ ways including grilling, baking, and frying. They have a‌ delicate flavor that pairs ⁤well with citrus​ and savory seasonings.

Nutritional‍ Information

Calico Bass is a lean source​ of protein and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, making it a healthy choice for ⁢most⁣ diets.

Additional Information


Calico⁢ Bass are territorial and tend to stake out a home ​range within kelp⁣ beds or rocky reefs. They ‍feed on a ​variety of crustaceans and small fish.

Predators and Threats

Seals, sea ⁤lions, and larger predatory fish are natural predators of the Calico ⁢Bass. Overfishing is a human-induced threat, although conservation efforts have been successful in stabilizing the population.

References and Further Reading

  • Fishbase ⁣- Calico Bass
  • IUCN Red List​ – Calico Bass
  • California⁤ Beaches – Calico Bass Fishing Tips

Please note ⁢that fishing restrictions ​may ⁤change, so always check local regulations.