The barred surfperch occurs from Plaza Maria Bay, Baja California, to Bodega Bay, California. Greater in numbers than the calico and redtail south of Cayucos, California. Barred surfperch dwell in the surf zone along sandy beaches where they prefer to congregate in depressions on the bottom.
The head of the barred surfperch is blunt with a large mouth. The body is olive green to yellow green on the back becoming silver below. And its namesake bronze or yellow vertical bars and spots appear on the side. The barred surfperch is one of three living off sandy beaches with similar size and color markings. This perch can be distinguished from the other two (calico and redtail) by its lower jaw being slightly shorter than the upper (See photograph below for example).
Barred surfperch diet on mostly on sand crabs, with other crustaceans like small bean clams and small crabs comprising the remainder. Tagging studies indicate barred surfperch move very little, usually less than 2 miles, although movements up to 31 miles have been recorded.
Surfperch will happily take flies in the surf. Although generally small in size - ranging from 4 inches up to 18, these fish fight much bigger. Warning: hooking and fighting a surfperch can be addicting! Since these fish tend to feed in schools, the hook-ups can come with every cast if you fishing a hole. The take is a light tap, tap, tap - usually followed my a pull.