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White Seabass


White Seabass are the largest members of the croaker family. The can reach upwards of 90 pounds and just over 5' in length. They feed on squid, anchovies, sardines, and the larger fish feed on mackerel. It takes them about 5 years to reach California legal limit of 28". Smaller White Seabass have black vertical strips on their grey bodies that will fade as the fish grows.


These fish range from Magdalena Bay, Baja California up to Juneau, Alaska. Younger White Seabass inhabit shallow bays around piers or jetties. Adults can be found over rocky reefs, in kelps beds, or on offshore banks. They travel in schools or some larger individuals can be found traveling solo.


Spawning occurs from April to August, but you can hunt them from late February to October. They prefer cooler water temperatures ranging from 58 to 65 degrees. I focus on the moon phases when hunting these fish. I try to be in the water about 30 minutes before slack tides. When theres less current the fish like to hang out sleeping in the kelp bed right at the thermocline layer. When there's more current, I usually find them slightly deeper in the water column.


These fish are tough to hunt thanks to their extremely sensitive lateral line on their body. They can spook very easily so be as quiet as possible. Try to not even clear your ears at the same depth that you suspect they are at in the water column. Depending on the visibility, I may not even have to dive at all if the thermocline is only a few feet down. However, if the thermocline is at 30' and the visibility is only 10', I would drop to that depth slowly moving through the kelp. I try to get in the water before slack tide and head to the up current side of the kelp. Another important tip for these fish is getting in the water right at first light or at golden hour in the evening. Most of the fish I have encountered occurred at these times. Recommend gear would be a powerful gun with larger shaft equipped with a slip tip. Seabass have very tough thick scales which is why I recommend at least a 3 banded gun to penetrate their body armor. Reels work great in the kelp while floatlines with carrot floats or no float at all are other good options. I personally like reels for the kelp beds.  

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