Sand Bass

From 19th Trip: Huge Day Off Laguna Beach

Barred Sand Bass

Family: Serranidae (Sea Basses)

Genus and Species: Paralabrax nebulifer

Description: The body of the barred sand bass is rather elongate and compressed. The mouth is large and the lower jaw protrudes slightly. The color is gray white on the back, white on the belly and there are dark vertical bars on the sides. Barred sand bass can be easily distinguished from kelp bass by the height of the third dorsal spine. In barred sand bass, this spine is the longest of the dorsal spines, while in the kelp bass, the third, fourth and fifth dorsal spines are of about equal length. Barred sand bass can be distinguished from spotted sand bass by the lack of spots on the body.

Range: Barred sand bass occur from Magdalena Bay, Baja California, to Santa Cruz, California. This species occurs from shallow water to depths of 600 feet; however, most fish are taken in 60 to 90 feet of water.

Natural History: The barred sand bass diet includes crabs, octopus, squid, and small fishes. The adults aggregate and spawn during warmer months. The eggs are free floating. The striped young appear in southern California nearshore areas and eelgrass beds during fall and winter.

Fishing Information: Most barred sand bass landed in California are taken between May and October. They are fished in three main areas: Horseshoe Kelp to Newport Beach, Dana Point to Oceanside and the Silver Strand off San Diego. The best method for catching barred sand bass is to search a sandy area with an echosounder until a school is located. The boat then can be anchored and fishing commenced with live anchovies. Barred sand bass will usually “build” or gather under the boat when chummed so it pays to wait for awhile before moving.

Other Common Names: sand bass, sandy, ground bass, sugar bass, kelp bass, California sandbass, rock bass.

Largest Recorded: 26 inches; 11.1 pounds.

Habitat: Shallow Sandy Environment

Information from the California Department of Fish and Game

About the Author

Sean loves to fish in Southern California and this site is his journal of his adventures in fishing. He started fishing when he was a little guy with his dad David, and has continued to this day with his family. In his day job, Sean has been a graphic designer for over 15 years, designing everything from in-store displays and signage for supermarkets to e-commerce auction sites for an online consumer electronics company. He was a web and graphic designer then later an art director for McMullen Argus Publishing (Primedia), building and working on sites for Lowrider Magazine and Super Chevy, plus 30 other automotive magazine sites. Sean seized the opportunity to teach other aspiring designers - a passion that took him first to Learning Tree University and then to Golden West College in Huntington Beach, CA, where he has been an integral part of the renowned digital arts department for more than ten years. Throughout his teaching career, Sean maintained a freelance business, designing for clients including the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards), Image Comics and many more. See his work at