Grunion, the small, delectable fish that periodically beach themselves to spawn late at night in coastal waters, will begin hitting the beaches at 10:22 p.m. Sunday for four 4-day spawning runs during April and May.
During these two months it is illegal to catch them. However, hundreds of grunion-watchers are expected to line Orange County's shoreline to watch the elusive creatures beach themselves long enough to lay their eggs in the sand at the edge of the surf.
The next four-day run when grunion may be caught (by hand only) will begin at 10:36 p.m. June 4. Subsequent runs will begin June 20, July 4, 19 and Aug. 2. Each run follows shortly after a new or full moon.
During the runs, the female grunion dig holes with their tails and deposit 1,000 to 3,000 eggs, which are then quickly fertilized by males before they all slip back into the ocean.