Kelp/Calico Bass

Kelp/Calico Bass Paralabrax clathratus

Type of Animal:
Sea Bass

Reefs, kelp areas, kelp beds, kelp forest, kelp blades in intertidal rocky areas, seaweed in intertidal rocky kelp forest, rock/boulder areas in kelp forest, wrecks, seaweed flats, shallow rocky areas, rocky nearshore areas, rocky areas in kelp forest, sunken debris, near sewer pipes, near old tires, near oil platforms, near street car chunks, rock ledges, sunken logs, piers, jetties, can be found as deep as 200.13 ft

E Pacific from Washington-Oregon border down to Baja California Sur

Elongate rather deep compressed body w/ pointed snout/large mouth, adults brown to olive green w/ light blotches being lighter below, juveniles light brown, dorsal part of body patterned w/ black/white/olive green blotches, dorsal part of head has mottling of light yellow spots, rows of white rectangle shaped spots along back, piebald/multicolored spotting under pale belly, breeding males have orange chin area, females have lighter chin area

Fish, crustaceans, cephalopods, brittle stars, zooplankton, phytoplankton, algae, macroalgae

Status in Wild:

Subjected to heavy pressure from sports fisheries in years after World War II until size limits & ban on sale enacted in 1950s. Populations then recovered w/ sale now allowed. Careful monitoring of species. Bag & size limits.

Solitary or schools of around 3-200 fish

Additional Info:

Young: Fry
Group: School
Male: 8 lbs
Female: 10 lbs
2 days 

Life Span:
15-30 years

Body Length:
Male: 1-1.5 ft
Female: 1-2 ft
Young: 4 in

Tail Length:
2 in, same for both sexes

Main predators are sea bass, each other, barracudas, & marine mammals.
Spawn from late spring to early fall.
During spawning, females become dark gray/black on upper body & bright white on belly. Males get orange chin & darkens to charcoal color broken by white spots/black vertical bars.
Usually spawn around sunset w/ sperm/eggs being released at same time. Both sexes spawn multiple times.
When eggs hatch, they hatch in pelagic larval phase lasting for at least a month.
Maturity reached at 2 years old, w/ males maturing before females.
Sometimes hunt alone but pack hunting has also been observed.
Adults/juveniles inactive at night while sub-adults have more variable activity pattern.
Kelp areas important places to hide from predators/ambush prey.

Fun Fact(s):
Very popular game fish in California & known for putting up a fight. Very popular as food fish in Mexico but used for sport in both places. Commercial fishing of this species very restricted in US.
Ear bones of these fish have been found in Indian middens.
These fish are very curious.
Meat said to have very mild flavor.
Also called bull bass, rock bass, rock sea bass, checkerboard bass, kelp salmon, lockee cod, bucket mouth, cabrilla, dinner bass, cabrilla sargacera, & police car (for unknown reasons).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *