A gill net experiment is under way at South Bay halibut fishing grounds.
Marie Vujkovich, the marine biologist who heads the State Department of Fish and Game study, is testing sizes of net openings to determine mortality rates of the small halibut caught.
Last week a group of veteran anglers was invited by Capt. Russ Izor to observe and aid in the project aboard his boat, the First String.
Gathering data on the trip was Dan Frumkes, a resources advocate, and fish and game official Greg Walls.
On the day before the test, three sets of nets were placed near the Hermosa Beach pier to be pulled for the observers.
To contribute to the study, 25 anglers aboard the First String fished for halibut in 40 feet of water. A steady catch came aboard with the smaller fish tagged and released.
The halibut that did survive the nets and the legal-sized (22 inches or more) fish caught on lines were transferred to a waiting boat and sent to the Edison plants halibut hatchery.
Frumkes said fish caught with hook and line survived but those caught in gill nets had a high mortality rate. The proper size net opening is an important factor in determining how to save the younger fish.
Anglers are asked to turn in halibut tags to the Department of Fish and Game with the time and area where they were caught.
This will help with the study and the angler will be rewarded with $5 for each tag.
South Bay Catches: Jarrett Nathman of West Los Angels, fishing at Catalina aboard the Aztec caught the whopper of the week. Fishing for bass, he hooked a halibut that weighed in at 32 1/2-pounds.
Chris Thomas of Gardena, fishing at Catalina aboard the Intreped caught a 30-pound halibut.
Hector Conti of Gardena, aboard the Brandywine at Catalina landed a 21 1/2-pound white sea bass.
Dennis Mallon of Carson, fishing aboard the Top Gun at San Clemente Island caught a 20-pound yellowtail.
Sidney Simons of Carson aboard the Hitless Miss at The Rigs caught a 19-pound yellowtail.
Dottie Cummings of San Pedro, fishing for salmon in Northern California returned with two silvers weighing 12 and 14 pounds.
Fish Reports: Small bonito have been moving into the Rocky Point area and this could be the start of a spring run.
The outer islands yellowtail counts continue to climb with anglers averaging three per rod with some fish going up to 30-pounds.
At Marina del Rey Sportfishing: The Del Mar fished the bay and returned with 10 halibut, 15 sand bass and four calico bass.
The Happyman on a half-day trip fished outside Santa Monica Bay where anglers garnered 20 sand bass and four halibut.
The Betty O rock cod special fished outside the Rock Pile and anglers cranked up 205 rock cod.
Redondo Sportfishing: The Seaspray found the bonito at Rocky Point and anglers sacked 114, plus 38 calico bass.
The Redondo Special on a half-day trip chalked up 35 rock fish, 15 bonito and 12 sand bass.
The Isle of Redondo Barge counted 48 assorted bass, 31 perch, eight sheephead and two halibut.
22nd St. Landing: The First String worked Catalina for 118 blue perch, 30 calico bass and 20 halibut.
The Grande tried San Clemente Island and anglers caught 180 calico bass and a yellowtail.
L.A. Harbor Sportfishing: The Outerlimits found a wide open calico bass bite at San Clemente Island with 163 caught plus 11 sheephead and a yellowtail.
The Shogun scored at San Clemente Island with anglers catching 45 calico bass, 18 sculpin, 15 sheephead and a barracuda.
The Annie B Barge had a weekend count of 920 kingfish, 750 mackerel and a sand shark.
At Long Beach Sportfishing: The Victory fished Rocky Point with success as 206 bonito came aboard plus 38 calico bass.
The Aztec worked the west end of Catalina and anglers sacked 101 calico bass, 50 sheephead, and four white sea bass.
Freshwater Notes: George De Flipps of Gardena, using a night crawler at Castaic Lake caught a 11-pound, 4-ounce bass and released it.
Tony Varela of Inglewood fishing Puddingstone Dam used a plastic worm and caught an 8 1/2-pound bass.
Edward Lowe of Long Beach, fishing El Dorado Lake caught a seven-pound bass using a crawdad for bait.