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FISHING / DAN STANTON : 1st Grunion Run Will Be Wednesday

The grunion will begin to arrive on South Bay beaches Wednesday for their annual mating ritual.

Grunion are the subject of a unique recreational fishery each spring and summer.

The sardine-size fish are among the few species that come ashore to lay their eggs on sandy beaches.

Grunion runs appear at first glance to be an uncontrolled stampede on the sandy beach.

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As each female grunion arrives on the beach, she drills her body into the sand. Once encased in her sand nest, she deposits up to 3,000 eggs, then one or more males will fertilize the eggs.

The female returns to the ocean on the next outgoing tide.

Grunion may be caught by hand only during March, June and July. No buckets or nets are allowed. The closed season is April and May.

“Meet the grunion” programs, will be offered by the Cabrillo Marine Museum starting Wednesday.

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Participants will meet at the museum exhibit hall for instructions at 9 p.m., then gather on the beach to await the runs.

During the closed season of April and May, the museum will offer observation programs on the beach. Information: (310) 548-7562.

The recent rainstorms and a shortage of bait slowed the yellowtail and seabass action last weekend.

Fishing on half-day boats improved Tuesday with a good supply of anchovies. Bait haulers are checking areas for squid, used for catching white seabass and yellowtail.

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Warm water conditions continue to result in some unusual winter catches.

Among these is sand bass, which normally arrive on sandy beaches every June to spawn and move out of the area in October. Normally, few sand bass are caught in the winter.

Captain Myron Ackerman, who skippers the Long Beach Sportfishing half-day boat Southern Cal, said it appears an abundance of red crabs also has helped to keep the bass in the area.

Between last weekend’s storms, Ackerman said 10 anglers aboard the Southern Cal returned with a limit of 100 sand bass.

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The 22nd Street Landing half-day boat Monte Carlo had a catch of 77 sand bass and a small yellowtail.

Dick Rankin of Palos Verdes returned last week from a tarpon trip to Costa Rica.

Rankin and a guide fished off a skiff and used 20-pound test line and a jig. Rankin battled a tarpon for an hour and 20 minutes before it was brought to the boat. The tarpon measured seven feet and was estimated to weigh 100 pounds. Rankin released the fish.

South Bay catches: Pat Conklin of San Pedro, aboard the New Hustler at the west end of Santa Catalina Island, caught the whopper of the week, a 41-pound white seabass.

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Dana Kirk of West Los Angeles was aboard the Happyman out from the Venice reef when he caught a 32-pound halibut.

John Lee of Redondo Beach, aboard the City of Redondo at Rocky Point, caught a 23-pound halibut.


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