Using Kelp to Catch Fish

Tips for scoring fish in "kelp paddies".

Floating mats of seaweed — known in southern California as “kelp paddies” — are havens for offshore game fish. Baitfish use them for cover in vast stretches of open water, and in turn, cruising tuna, yellowtail and dorado stop by for an easy meal. This phenomenon isn’t exclusive to the Pacific. Mats of sargassum are prized by East Coast anglers in search of dolphinfish. Use these three tips to score in offshore weeds.

1. Fly and Low
Fish will often bite a fly-lined sardine or a heavy-metal jig dropped deep.

2. Perimeter Patrol
Fish can be prowling well away from the kelp, so it isn't always necessary to cast right into the weeds.

3. Shhhhhhh!
Don't run right up to a likely looking paddy. Instead, position the boat upwind so that you drift past, with the weeds about 50 feet off your stern.