Calico Bass Q and A with CA Dept. of Fish and Game - Facts about Calico Bass

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Calico Bass Q and A with CA Dept. of Fish and Game

I recently asked a few questions about the state of the Calico Bass fishery off San Diego and Southern California with other interesting details on growth rate and how to release a Calico Bass if and angler chooses to do so. Don't get me wrong, these are my favorite fish for fish taco's and typically keep all legal fish to my limit, however I don't like to keep females or larger fish important to the health of the species. I don't advocate either way, this is purely informational and thought it would be interesting reading for my website viewers. For more info and Rob's tips how to land more of the elusive Calico Bass I wrote an article on the fish.

Hello Mr. Mailly,
DFG marine biologist Erica Jarvis provided the following responses to your questions:

Are Calico Bass (Kelp Bass) officially endangered or at risk of endangered due to slow growth?
Kelp bass are not officially endangered. Recent Department analyses on the basses indicate that bass populations are depressed, in part due to cooler than average sea surface temperatures over the last decade and harvest impacts. The Department is currently proposing an increase in the minimum size limit, a bag limit reduction, and a barred sand bass partial spawning season closure. The Fish and Game Commission is holding a discussion hearing on the proposed bass regulations on August 8th, 2012 in Ventura; for more information please visit the following links: and

What is the average age per inch of Calico Bass?
A 12 inch kelp bass is about 5 years old; the average 10 year-old kelp bass is about 18 inches total length.

What is average weight per inch?
Kelp bass weight can vary across individuals. We do know that a 14.5 pound kelp bass caught off Newport Beach in 1995 was 27 years old, while a 9.5 pound fish caught at San Clemente Island in 1993 was 34 years old.

What is best way to release a bull or female Calico Bass? (these are 2 fish of any species I do not keep)
Always try to handle the fish with wet hands or a wet rag to minimize damage to the protective slime coat. Remove the hook carefully with pliers and try to avoid dropping the fish on the deck. Keep exposure time out of the water to a minimum. For more tips on how to safely release fish, please see .

Thank you for contacting DFG; please let me know if you have further questions.

Mary Patyten
California Department of Fish and Game
Marine Region Communications and Outreach
(707) 964-5026
Visit the DFG Marine Region Web site at


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Accurate Boss Conventional Fishing Reels are one of the most popular Southern California angler fishing reel picks for Tuna and Big Game fish - Search or browse for the new Boss Fury single star best price point reel!

Best Fishing Reels Accurate & Avet for San Diego Tuna & Yellowtail

The Accurate Boss Single Speed Boss Series X Single Speed or for turning bigger game fish the BX-2 Series. Both Accurate Boss 400x, 500x or 600x have huge 6:1 ratio great for popular Southern California - San Diego deep "Yo-Yo" technique where dropping deep and cranking in at blazing speeds trigger the Yellowtail bite. Spend the money for an Accurate or Avet one piece aluminum body work horse reels for San Diego game fish like we witnessed in 2015!

Accurate Boss Valiant Fishing Reel

A favorite reel for local tuna and Yellowtail is Accurate Boss Valiant, a saltwater fishing reel every Southern California angler needs in their mix of tackle. Help support if you buy one of these reels by making purchases from Amazon. I've searched and selected my local favorites for San Diego and SoCal sportfishing where diversity and several rod/reel combos come in handy when on a moments noticed you hook-up a 100#-200# class Bluefin Tuna show up at the side of the boat just five miles off San Diego as visiting and local San Diego, CA anglers have been blessed with this 2016 summer.

Multiple Rod/Reel Combos Rigged and Ready!

Big events happen fast and unforgiving when tuna fishing - the key is to be ready seconds after you hear the angler or deckhand yell hook-up! - If you can have multiple rod/reel fishing combos you can be ready for any change in conditions or fish target when that precious moment hits on troll when an angler yells, "HOOKUUUPPPP!" The boat then does what's called "slide" into nuetral and immediately the Captain calls out to the deckhand how much live bait to pitch to keep the tuna on the surface and biting angler lines who should already have a bait or jig in the water. Timing and teamwork is essential in successfull tuna fishing Southern California stand-up hook and line style. When the Captain calls out on com what size fish are being marked under the boat, the listening angler then picks up and casts the saltwater fishing rod/reel combo right for the bite. Having multiple setups all ready to go is awesome and can mean the difference between that bucket list 150# class Bluefin Tuna I mentioned earlier just five miles from San Diego ending up in proud pics and on the plate that night over a beer telling the story how glad you are you invested in all this top-quality saltwater fishing tackle this guy Rob at suggested he get! lol jk of course again I just love helping fellow anglers land those hard to get once in a lifetime fish.

On the same 5am to 5pm offshore trip you can hook up a 20-30# class Yellowtail on the Yo-Yo Iron Jig, a bucket-list San Diego 2016! 150# Bluefin Tuna on a light Tady 45 surface iron, a 50# White Sea Bass or a 50# class Halibut on live squid or a personal favorite of mine (Rob Mailly Owner, a old timer slow-growth lunker elusive Calico Bass while flippin' 3-6' plastics using either my Shimano Calcutta 400

or for lower price and unbelievable casting distance my Daiwa Sealine X SLH20! I sell all fishing tackle I mentioned here and truly part of my personal tackle (I chose fishing tackle over a snappy car and wife, lol jk of course) Here's the best deals on Amazon I found for the Boss Valiant BV-300, Daiwa Sealine Series, Avet and Shimano...I haven't left out the first and very best most trusted fishing reel ever made - Penn's Jigmaster 500. My father taught me as a little kid fishing local 3/4 day Coronado Island's trips to learn how to cast a conventional (bait casting) reel using a Penn Jigmaster 500 and a rent rod. The Penn Squall is a new great bang for the buck saltwater fishing reel.

My dad said learn to cast a conventional reel using a Penn 500 and all other reels with be easy. It's all about picturing a pendulum and not how hard you cast but proper technique that takes years to perfect for most. Also thumb pressure and controlling backlash which newer high-end saltwater fishing reels like Accurate and Avet have engineered into their respective products. That's another article I will cover.

Link to buy Accurate Boss Valiant BV-300 for $399 at Amazon! Accurate Boss Valiant BV-300 - Link to Buy Now at Amazon for a great deal at $399 w/free shipping

Shimano Calcutta Series - Best Fishing For Yellowtail

I love this old school reel! Although demands more frequent cleaning and maintenance, it's well worth the relatively good bang for the buck solid live bait or plastics flippin' reel I personally used my Calcutta 400. If you like throwing the plastics (plastic swim baits) this is a solid reel for the job and smooth as silk drag for burning Yellowtail.