Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Grunion are Running!

Carol Nicholls Lebrecht sent this for us to enjoy - I don't have any grunion stories that I can remember... where's that diary of mine?? Thanks Carol!!

Hi Cathy,
A couple weeks ago our local paper carried a story about grunion hunting. I remember being asked to go down to the beach and go grunion hunting under the peer. I never went; because I never believed there were truly any grunion. I thought it was just a way of some guy trying to get you to makeout with him on the beach. I found the article below on the internet. Guess when the grunion are running there are quite alot of people that do show up with their gunny bags.

Does anyone have any stories about going grunion hunting?

Check out grunion for a real Southern California experience

By: ERNIE COWAN - For the North County Times | Wednesday, June 29, 2005

If you are not from around here, the story of a grunion run might sound like the old snipe hunt that every novice camper must experience. Grunion, however, are real, just elusive.

As the gloom of June gives way to clear beach weather in July, the silvery little fish known as grunion will make late night appearances on Southern California beaches for the next two months.

Fishing for these sardine-like fish is a unique Southern California adventure.

During a "grunion run" the fish are actually riding waves into shore during the highest tides in order to lay eggs in the sand. Grunion fishermen are allowed to harvest the fish using only their hands.

It almost sounds like a myth, but grunion make their high-water visits to shore in the spring and summer from two to six nights after the full and new moons. This is when tides are highest.

The female grunion twists her body into the sand, burying herself upright about halfway and then depositing her eggs. Male fish curve around the female and release milt to complete fertilization of the eggs, according to a grunion brochure from the California Department of Fish and Game.

A fishing license is required to harvest grunion for anyone over 16. There is no limit on the number of fish you can catch. No holes can be dug and no buckets or nets can be used, only bare hands.

Grunion can be eaten in a variety of ways, from deep frying to rolling them in flour and corn meal and frying them after being cleaned and scaled.

The big problem with grunion hunting is finding them. The next high tides when runs are possible will be July 8-11 and July 23-26. The runs begin around 11 p.m. the first night and continue a half hour later for several nights, according to the tidal fluctuation.

Sandy beaches such as Del Mar, Encinitas, Oceanside and Carlsbad might be good, but there is no predicting where they will arrive.

Try to find beaches with fewer people if possible. Fires and lanterns should be used sparingly, since light may scare the fish away. Once a wave recedes, flashlights can help locate fish. A small gunny sack or bucket makes a good grunion creel. Plan to stay late. Grunion run dates in August are Aug. 6-9 and Aug. 21-24. Check tide charts for times of high tide.

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And here's some Grunionn pics and a video clip I found on the internet!

5/408 UPDATE

Received this today from Pam Kirkwood - thanks for the email, Pam!

Hi Cathy...

I too, remember hearing about the grunion...but never went...Maybe Carol Nicholls Lebrecht, not thinking there was such a thing as grunion, got "grunion hunting" mixed up with "Snipe Hunting"...


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Click here to read more about snipe hunts!

1 comment:

  1. cool!
    Thanks for all the info!!! :D