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Learning How To Fish Southern California Kelp Beds & Paddies


Author: Bullbuster Team

Learn How To Fish Kelp Beds & Paddies In Southern California


Calico Bass Caught Near A Kelp Bed

There are a few different ways to learn things. The first thing to do is to gather information, the next thing to do is to try it out, make mistakes, and then turn around and teach. It is said that teaching is the best way to learn.  When it comes to fishing lets get started with the information gathering part.  The topic at hand is fishing San Diego Kelp beds and kelp paddies.  

The two best ways to gather information nowadays when it comes to fishing, is by doing your own research, and then meeting people with actual experience to be your mentors. Then you should get out and try it yourself, because this gives you the freedom to learn new things that people who have been at it a while haven't realized, and to actually see where their wisdom stands.  Get better out there on your own, and then teach somebody. In this article you will get more information on how to fish kelp beds and kelp paddies. 

How To Learn To Fish Kelp From Experienced Anglers 

To learn in person from experienced people, the two best ways in Southern California are to jump on a boat at one of the landings, or to join a fishing club.  Below are a list of landings, and a list of fishing clubs. 

List Of California Landings Where You Can Get A Fishing Charter

When you get on one of these boats you will instantly be able to see who the regulars are.  Ask good questions of these anglers and be observant. 

List Of California Fishing Clubs

When you join a fishing club, be sure to contribute in any way you can.  You will find the club members can be very generous and teach you a lot about local fishing. 

What Is The Difference Between A Kelp Bed & A Kelp Paddy

What Is A Kelp Bed?

A Kelp bed is an area where kelp grows up from the ground. Its actually a kelp forest, because kelp is like a floating tree. It provides plenty of shelter for a number of species as kelp can grow up to 175 ft long.  Thats structure for everything from crustaceans to juvenile fish, to your favorite Calico bass to hide in.  It also provides good hunting grounds for the "wolves" of the kelp forest such as Yellowtail packs, and White Seabass to hunt around.  Around the edges of these beds you can also find halibut waiting for unsuspecting prey to come of the edge of the bed. 

Below is a video posted on Youtube by "Usoceangov" that gives you an underwater view of a kelp bed. 





What Is A Kelp Paddy? 

The Kelp paddy is a different animal, it is a piece of kelp that has broken off from the bed and is now drifting out on the open ocean.  These "paddies" are like an oasis in the desert of the open ocean, and you can often find a number of baitfish hurdled just underneath them.  This means there will be predators around such as Yellowtail, Dorado, Bonitas, and Yellowfin Tuna. 

The video below posted on Youtube  by "Dana Point Fish Company" shows you how well a Kelp Paddy can retain bait: 





Below is a video posted on Youtube by "Your Salt Water Guide" a fishing tutorial website where Cpt. Dave Hansen gives his advice about fishing in Southern California.  This video shows you what a typical paddy looks like and how anglers target fish on them. 




Where Are Kelp Beds?

Kelp beds mostly hug the coastline in Southern California they can be found at the mouth of San Diego Bay, all the way up the coast to La Jolla,  along many of the Channel Islands (See List Of California Channel Islands), in front of San Clemente, Dana Point, Newport Beach and further up the coast. 

The image below links to a website that gives the GPS numbers to find local kelp beds. 



Southern California Kelp Beds
This website has the numbers for Kelp Beds in Southern California

Where Are The Kelp Paddies?

Kelp paddies are not going to be as easy to find as your local kelp beds, because, well they move!  A good pair of binoculars is going to help you with this one.  If you see a wind rip in the water or an area where the current changes, this may be an indication of an area where you may find a paddy. At the end of the day it takes a good pair of eyes, constantly surveying the water. 

How Do Anglers Target Fish In Kelp Beds?

Most sport boats will pull up to a paddy and start pounding it with live chummers. This gets the bass and yellowtail in the area to congregate and start getting into feeding mode.  In this case you may want to fly line a bait, or throw an artificial lure into the mix.  Some of the most impressive displays of fish boiling often happen at the Chanel Islands where a kelp bed may not have been targeted in some time and the bass action can be intense. 

Below is a video posted on Youtube by "Sport-fishing.com" about fishing the Kelp beds aboard the Clemente out of Dana Point. 


A private boat may approach the same kelp bed and do something similar, however they have less bait capacity, so it is probably a better idea for a smaller private boat to target the kelp bed with artificials. Artificials can be deadly for this application. However, this is not to say a private boat will not catch there share of fish on a fly lined bait. 

Below is a video posted on Youtube by "WarbaitFishing" that shows you what a Kelp Bed fishing trip looks like: 



Kayakers often can get right into prime zones where larger boats cannot, so they can be more targeted with their artificials. However, now even kayak fishermen have live wells. 

Below is a Youtube video posted by "OC Outdoorsmen" about his kayak trip to the kelp beds offshore Dana Point in Orange County: 

What Lures Do Anglers Use In The Kelp Beds?

Many anglers fish soft plastics and crank baits along kelp beds. In fact there is intense competition in the soft plastics market for the best soft plastic to hit the kelp beds with similar to in the bass fishing market.  Below are some videos posted to Youtube by companies who make lures for fishing the kelp beds: 

Warbaits Video (Fishing Cedros Island)

Hookup Baits For Fishing Kelp Beds

This lure company has taken Southern  California by storm, triggering many knock off companies to make similar lures. 



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