Perhaps the most popular fish for Southern California’s coastal anglers, kelp (calico) bass and barred sand bass, are at great risk, according to a study published last fall.
Anglers haven’t necessarily seen or felt the collapse of populations claimed in that study, and would likely be opposed to draconian measures. In fact, what the state’s Fish and Game Department is considering in response could be interpreted as moderate versus a much harder-line response it might be suggesting: a reduction in the (pretty generous) current bag limit of 10 fish, increasing the size limit to at least 13 inches and a closed season of at least two weeks during the species’ seasonal spawning aggregations when they’re particularly vulnerable.
Granted, arguably sport fishermen in no area of the country have taken as big a hit in recent years as Southern California anglers, but at least these proposals may end up helping the region’s popular and accessible inshore bass species without devastating their fisheries.
Read a report on the state’s proposals here.