FISHING / DAN STANTON : Barracuda Finally Taking the Bait

Warm water currents from Horseshoe Kelp to Santa Monica Bay resulted in a wide-open barracuda bite during the holiday weekend.

Anglers aboard South Bay party and private boats were rewarded with some of the best fishing of the year. Barracuda had been spotted in local waters for several weeks, but only a few had been caught.

Los Angeles Harbor, 22nd Street Landing, Long Beach and Redondo sportfishing boats accounted for an average of more than 1,000 barracuda a day.

The fish were being hooked with blue and white jigs and small sardines.

The overnight fleet fishing the outer islands got into the act, coming into South Bay waters to take advantage of the wide-open bite.

Among the South Bay anglers who returned with barracuda were Zeb Collier of Long Beach, who caught a 9 1/2-pounder while aboard the Southern Cal.

Mario Gutierrez of Carson, aboard the Matt Walsh, caught his limit, with the largest at 7 1/2 pounds.

Jake Connelly of Torrance, aboard the First String, and Long Beach fishermen Troy Sherer and Marc Larson, aboard the Matt Walsh, also caught their limits.

Ben and Doris Grover of Wilmington trolled in their skiff Chat and Nibble from Horseshoe Kelp to Portuguese Bend and caught their 10-fish limit within an hour. Their largest barracuda weighed 8 1/2 pounds.

Island Update--The waters off Catalina and San Clemente islands have been rated as excellent for calico bass fishing. Seabass and barracuda were rated as fair.

Grunion season will be open again from June through August.

Cabrillo Marine Museum in San Pedro invites the public to watch the grunion spawn Tuesday and June 16 starting at 8 p.m. On both nights, a talk and film about grunion will be presented.

At 10 p.m., participants will gather on the beach to watch the grunion bury their eggs in the sand.

Information: (310) 548-7563 or (310) 830-7284.

Paul Gregory, a marine biologist with the Department of Fish and Game, has researched grunion and is releasing some of his findings.

Despite local concentrations, he found that grunion is not an abundant species.

A regulation was passed in 1927 establishing a closed season each year from April through June.

That led to improved fishing and the closure has since been shortened to April and May.

Gregory said that because of the regulations, the grunion appear to be maintaining their numbers.

A fishing license for people 16 and older is required to catch grunion. Grunion must be caught by hand and there is no limit.

South Bay catches--Monte Pazonvich of San Pedro, aboard the Shogun off Catalina Island, caught the whopper of the week--a 27 1/2-pound white seabass.

Gary Yarbough of West Los Angeles, aboard the Betty G off Catalina, caught a 27-pound white seabass.

Ross Le Brand of Santa Monica, aboard the Freedom off Catalina, caught a 22 1/2-pound halibut.

Chris Harves of Long Beach, aboard the Topgun off Catalina Island, caught an 18-pound yellowtail.

Freshwater notes--John Johnston of Gardena, fishing at Irvine Lake, caught two eight-pound catfish.

Gordon Garrett of Harbor City, fishing at Big Bear Lake, caught a six-pound eight-ounce rainbow trout.

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