small fishes, squid, crustaceans
to 28.5 inches (72 cm)
sea bass, groupers; Family: Serranidae
Pacific coast, Oregon to Baja California
Usually loners, kelp bass join together to prey on small schooling fishes. They attack the school from all angles and may leap out of the water in hot pursuit.
Even though they're called kelp bass, these fish don't require kelp. They'll congregate around any type of structure, like shipwrecks, rocks, pipes and pilings.
Kelp bass are a popular recreational fishery species in Southern California.
Larval kelp bass drift along as plankton and settle on blades of giant kelp. The kelp acts as giant sieves, straining larvae out of the water.
The ear bones (otoliths) of kelp bass are occasionally found in Indian middens (refuse piles).