- Black sea bass have dangerously sharp spines on their dorsal fin that can puncture human skin.
- The all-tackle world record for black sea bass is 9 pounds, 8 ounces.
- When hooked in deep water and brought quickly to the surface, a black sea bass will often regurgitate its stomach contents.
Kelp bass (Paralabrax)
Kelp bass have the elongate and compressed body characteristic of sea bass. Coloration is brown to olive green, with pale to white blotches covering most of the sides, fading to whitish on the belly. They have a large mouth, a pointed dorsal fin with 10 to 11 spines and a broom-shaped tail fin.
Baja California, Mexico to Washington, though they are mostly found off of Southern California and fairly rare north of Point Conception.
Kelp bass are strongly associated with structure of all kinds, from shipwrecks to reefs, kelp beds, and rock jetties. They are drawn to structure because they use it both as protection from predators and as areas from which they can ambush prey.
For the most part kelp bass are an inshore species found mainly near the surface, though older members can be located in areas up to 200 feet deep.
The spawning season of kelp bass is from spring to fall, peaking in July. Kelp bass fertilize their eggs externally, and these floating (and unguarded) eggs enter the plankton on the surface. Kelp bass do not migrate when they spawn.
Adult kelp bass feed on small fish (anchovies, sardines, surfperch, queenfish), crustaceans and squid, while juveniles eat mainly plankton. Adults have two major feeding periods before and after the breeding season, which takes place from May to September.
Kelp bass are ambush feeders that hide behind structure before lunging to grab their prey.
Kelp bass are one of the most popular sports fish in Southern California, being caught in greater numbers than just about any other species. The best months for fishing them are May and October, just before and after the spawning season.
A great bait for catching kelp bass is live anchovies fished at or near the surface, and usually in and around kelp beds. Trolling with live or dead bait is also productive. Anglers often use chum to attract kelp bass to an area.
Kelp bass will jump from the water while pursuing baitfish.