Museum Director Catches Mystery Fish

What does a director for the Cabrillo Museum do on his day off? He goes fishing for exotics for the museum aquariums.

Larry Sukuhara of San Pedro went fishing recently on the half-day boat Matt Walsh from L.A. Harbor Sportfishing, as he often does.

With a light rain and calm seas, the Matt Walsh headed to White’s Point and before the anchor had taken hold the bass boiled on the chum line.

Sukuhara found a squid in the bait tank, hooked it on his leader with a 4-ounce sinker and 20-pound test line and went down to the bottom fishing for halibut.


After several minutes, he said, his bait was being hit. He thought it acted like a halibut moving slowly on the bottom. In a few minutes he set the hook and reeled in slowly. The fish did not offer much fight until it came close to the surface, and Sukuhara knew this was no ordinary catch--but a rare exotic. It was put aboard in a net, Sukuhara carefully removed the hook and put the unidentified fish into the bait tank.

The fish had a mixture of brown, red and black coloring and big blue eyes. All the anglers aboard had a look and tried to guess what it was.

The fish was transported in a container and put in one of the museum’s holding tanks.

Sukuhara and his staff failed to identify the prize catch immediately. Chief aquarist Lloyd Ellis was called and he gave it a positive ID--a gulf coney that normally ranges from the Gulf of California to Peru.

The fish is on display in a tank at the Cabrillo Museum.

This is one fish that won’t be served on a dinner plate.

South Bay Catches:

Guy Shonweier of Santa Monica, fishing aboard the Sharpshooter at Twin Roads with live squid and a halibut rig, caught the whopper of the week, a 26-pounder.

Howard Reyes of Torrance, aboard the Redondo Special at Rocky Point, won the jackpot with his 23-pound halibut.

Tony Perez of San Pedro, on the Southern Cal at Catalina Island in 600 feet of water, brought to gaff a 19 1/2-pound lingcod.

Richard Mendoza of Harbor City, fishing aboard the Hitless Miss at the drop-off area in 300 feet of water, landed two fish on his cod rig, a 16 1/2-pound cow cod and an 11-pound sheepshead.

Fish Reports:

The weather failed to halt boats that carried anglers in rain gear.

Despite showers and light wind, they caught halibut in Santa Monica Bay.

Catalina rock cod trips produced near limits when boats could cross the channel.

On local shallow rock cod and surface trips, most of the catch has been bass and sculpin.

At Marina del Rey Sportfishing: The Happyman on a half-day trip fished Santa Monica Bay and 23 halibut went into the sacks, plus 18 sculpin, 15 sand bass and 5 black sea bass, which were released.

The Betty O rock cod trip to Redondo Canyon resulted in a catch of 275 groupers and reds.

At Redondo Sportfishing: The Redondo Special morning trip to Rocky Point produced 64 sculpin, 12 sand bass and 1 halibut.

The Sea Spray fished Torrance Beach and anglers sacked 94 sculpin, 16 whitefish and 5 halibut.

The Blackjack anglers scored at Santa Barbara Island with 210 rock cod, 7 cows and 4 lingcod.

At 22nd Street Landing: The First String fished the back side of Catalina for white sea bass with live squid and 8 went into the sacks, plus 25 calico bass, 14 sheepshead, 14 blue perch and 5 halibut.

The Monte Carlo worked Catalina and chalked up 37 shallow-water rock cod, 21 whitefish, 16 sheepshead, 8 sculpin, 6 calico bass and 1 black sea bass, which was released.

The Mustang on a surface fishing trip to Catalina returned with 175 calico bass.