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Anglers Try to Turn the Tide on Grunion

June 03, 1993|PETE THOMAS

The grunion are coming.

Thousands of the small, slippery fish are supposed to hit the beach late Sunday night, whereupon the females will drill their bodies into the sand, lay their eggs and await fertilization by the nearest male before riding the tide back to the relative safety of the sea.

And grunion hunters will be glad to know that a two-month closure to allow the fish to spawn unmolested has ended. Starting Sunday it's open season, providing you use only your hands and--if you are 15 or older--have in possession a valid fishing license.

Grunion are no fools, however. They will avoid lighted areas and those where there is lots of activity in the surf. A quiet stakeout of a dark stretch of sandy beach is suggested.

Sunday's onslaught will probably begin sometime after the tide starts rising about 11 p.m. and last about four hours. The runs will continue--starting a little later each night--through Wednesday.

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Add grunion: For most people, knowledge of grunion is limited to the fact that they are said to come ashore to lay their eggs, and some who have looked for grunion during alleged "runs" but were unable to find any aren't even sure of that.

If you care to learn more about this unique species of fish, the Cabrillo Marine Museum in San Pedro is offering programs Sunday and again June 20 that will not only verify the existence of grunion but what it is that makes the tiny fish tick.

The event will begin at the museum at 8 p.m. with a viewing of the newly enlarged grunion exhibit, a film on grunion, and then a walk to the beach to witness (hopefully) an actual grunion run.

Information: (310) 548-7562.

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The barracuda bite off Catalina is in its third week and there seems to be no end in sight.

Landings are reporting counts well into the hundreds on a daily basis, and one boat, the Islander out of 22nd Street Landing in San Pedro, didn't even make it to the island late last week, finding a school so huge and willing that the customers boated 530 fish in the middle of the channel.

No such luck for the anglers aboard South Bay half-day boats.

"We've had a couple of good days," said Diane Peterson of 22nd Street Landing. "The barracuda have been coming and going on a daily basis."

Mostly going.

Although there have been periods of fast action--Marina del Rey Sportfishing reported 140 barracuda last Thursday--murky water has all but shut down the local fishing in recent days.

A typical count was turned in Wednesday by L.A. Harbor's Matt Walsh: nine barracuda and one calico bass.

The most consistent bite is in the Santa Monica Bay, where sand bass remain fairly abundant.

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The yellowtail search continues, but with not much luck. L.A. Harbor's Shogun patrolled the coast of San Clemente Island on Tuesday and could find not a single school of breezing fish.

The small mackerel to be used for bait weren't wasted, however. The passengers found it ideal to entice the large calico bass from in and around the kelp. They sacked 208 calicos--some in the six-pound range--before heading home.

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Big fish honors go to Rick Ozaki. While fishing at Catalina aboard the Daiwa out of 22nd Street Landing, the San Pedro resident caught a white seabass that tipped the scale at 64 pounds.

Notes

Ronnie Kovach and the Penn Fishing University will be at the Sport Chalet in Marina del Rey tonight from 7 to 9:30. Guest speakers will discuss the offshore fishery and the latest methods and strategies to catch yellowtail, tuna and dorado. . . . The annual Marina del Rey in-the-water boat show, featuring the latest models and a visit by a Navy ship, will be Wednesday through June 13 at Burton Chace Park-main channel on Mindanao Way. Hours: noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens, with children under 12 free.

Grunion Runs

Date Spawning Run June 6 11 p.m.-1 a.m.* June 7 11:40 p.m.-1:40 a.m.* June 8 12:25 a.m.-2:25 a.m.* June 9 1:15 a.m.-3:15 a.m.* June 21 10:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m.* June 22 11:25 p.m.-1:25 a.m.* June 23 12:15 a.m.-2:15 a.m.* June 24 1:15 a.m.-3:15 a.m.* July 5 10:40 p.m.-12:40 a.m.* July 6 11:20 p.m.-1:20 p.m.* July 7 11:55 p.m.-1:55 p.m.* July 8 12:40 a.m.-2:40 a.m.* July 21 11:15 p.m.-1:15 a.m.* July 22 12:10 a.m.-2:10 a.m.* July 23 1:10 a.m.-3:10 a.m.* July 24 2:25 a.m.-4:25 a.m.* Aug. 4 10:55 p.m.-12:55 a.m.* Aug. 5 11:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.* Aug. 6 12:10 a.m.-2:10 a.m.* Aug. 7 12:55 a.m.-2:55 a.m.* Aug. 19 11:10 p.m.-1:10 a.m.* Aug. 20 12:05 a.m.-2:05 a.m.* Aug. 21 1:05 a.m.-3:05 a.m.* Aug. 22 2:35 a.m.-4:35 a.m.*

*-Where the time of the expected run is after midnight, the date of the previous evening is shown.

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