Calico Bass (Kelp Bass) – Paralabrax clathratus. Common names: Calico bass, kelp bass, cabrilla.

Identifying Characteristics and Biology

  • Fish caught over sandy/rocky areas will sometimes be very light with lots of white and contrasting brown. Fish caught deep in kelp beds will be colored the same color as the kelp, with orange-yellow to golden tints.
  • Calico-style markings on sides in colors of olive, gray and brown.
  • Smaller breeding males sometimes have yellow chins.

Range and Locations

  • Washington state to southern Baja California.
  • Can be found around kelp, rocks, ocean structures.

Market Forms

  • Fresh. Excellent table fare – although this species is commonly a catch-and-release fish by sportfishermen. Illegal to sell this bass commercially.


  • Off Southern California: this is the saltwater version of the largemouth bass, using similar techniques as you would on freshwater largemouth bass.
  • They readily hit jigs, plastic baits, and live bait.
Dana Point Fish Company is Hook up to plate up – bringing together sportfishing and cooking, and creating masterpieces with what is kept on deck. Send questions, media, and photography enquiries to hookuptoplateup at