They leap, spring, swim, roll their way out of the ocean onto the sandy beaches.
They are the grunion invading the beaches for a four-day run March 9-12.
The first expected run is between 10:20 p.m. and 2:41 a.m., but the times may vary during high tides at different harbors and bays.
Beaches that often have good grunion runs include Santa Monica, Venice, Hermosa, Cabrillo and Long Beach.
Grunion in the moonlight look like a frolicking mass of shimmering glass glowing silver and are one of nature's reproductive phenomenon.
The female risks her life on the beach, drilling herself into the wet sand. Once buried she will deposit as many as 3,000 eggs.
Marine biologists have determined there are four nights following a high tide when spawning is optimal for grunion.
Related to the jacksmelt, the grunion is a member of the silversides family of fish. Grunion is tasty and the experience of observing or gathering the fish can be rewarding.
Grunion must be gathered by bare hands. It is illegal to trap or use any other method. People taking grunion must have a California fishing license in their possession.
Grunion watchers and catchers may attend seminars at the Cabrillo Marine Museum on March 10 and 24. For information, call 548-7563.
A big change in water temperature at San Clemente Island was noted by anglers on the Outerlimits from L.A. Harbor Sportfishing, who were catching big bull bass when yellowtail started to follow the squid.
Casting toward the kelp, Torrance angler Frank Cronin set the hook on a yellowtail. After 20 minutes he hauled in a 24 1/2-pound yellowtail, the first to be caught this year at a South Bay landing.
South Bay Catches
Dwight Babcock of Santa Monica, on a two-day dive trip to San Nicholas Island aboard the Encore, surfaced with the whopper of the week, a 45-pound halibut.
Scott Ipson of Torrance, fishing at Hidden Reef aboard the Blackjack, won the jackpot with a 23-pound cow cod.
Keith Farmer of West Los Angeles, aboard the Happyman, won the jackpot with a 21-pound halibut.
Jason Ling of Torrance, fishing aboard the Sea Spray, won the jackpot with a 16-pound halibut.
Tosh Okamoto of Long Beach, aboard the Southern Cal at Catalina, caught an 11-pound red snapper.
Deep-water rock cod fishing continues to dominate most of the catches.
A shortage of bait slowed halibut fishing. Sculpin has made most of the local catches.
At Marina del Rey Sportfishing: The Spitfire fished Sunset Beach and anglers caught 40 sculpin, 22 sand bass and 8 halibut.
The Betty O chalked up 155 rock cod, 105 red snapper and 1 lingcod.
At Redondo Sportfishing: The Sea Spray fished the Topanga area and anglers sacked 95 sand bass and 6 halibut.
The Redondo Special fished outside Shallow Rocks and returned with 95 rockfish and 9 halibut.
At 22nd Street Landing: The Magician fished Catalina and caught 15 rockfish, 14 lingcod, 3 calico bass, 2 sculpin and 2 sand bass.
At L.A. Harbor Sportfishing: The Outerlimits worked San Clemente and reported a catch of 61 calico bass, 57 blue perch, 15 sheepshead and 1 yellowtail.
The Grande 85, on a two-day trip to Cherry Bank, caught a limit of 361 rock cod plus 33 cows.
The Matt Walsh half-day trip to Horseshoe Kelp snatched 40 sculpin, 17 rockfish and 5 sheepshead.
The Annie B barge had a weekend count of 1,117 kingfish, 231 jacksmelt, 99 queenfish and 2 sand bass.
At Long Beach Sportfishing: The Southern Cal fished Catalina in 600 feet of water and returned with 378 rock cod and 1 cow cod.
The Aztec worked the 43 Spot and sacked 360 rock cod and 25 cow cod.