FISH TALES: Memorial Day is the unofficial...

FISH TALES: Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of the summer fishing season, a signal for anglers to restock tackle boxes and restring reels. . . . Irvine Lake is teeming with trout, a result of a bigger-than-usual 14,000-pound stocking last Tuesday. Recent catches at the lake, which does not require a fishing license, include a 10.6-pound rainbow trout as well as several aggressive six- to seven-pound bass. . . . According to angler Scott Sargent, the fish have been hitting nearly everything. Sargent was recently out trolling a lure designed to catch trout when a bass bit. "I've never seen a bass do that," he said. A day of fishing costs $11 for adults and $9 for children 12 and under. Kids 3 and under are free.

BAT COOKIES: Strange things are being brought up from Newport's Back Bay lately. "Last week, someone brought in a bat ray that they had caught out in the harbor," said Jaye Apperson of the Balboa Angling Club. Bat rays are relatives of sharks that resemble their flying namesakes but with wingspans reaching six feet. And they can be quite tasty. "Their wings are delicious," Apperson said. "You just use a cookie cutter and cut them into little pieces and fry 'em up."

GOOD CALL: Irvine resident Joe Grant had the catch of his life nine days ago when he landed a 331-pound thresher shark. Grant took 50 minutes to bring in the beast, which he found six miles off Laguna Beach. . . . When a reporter inquired about the Balboa Angling Club record for 50-pound-test fishing line, Grant found out just how big his accomplishment was. A search of the books found that the old mark was 249 pounds, and cheers erupted. Said Grant: "Thanks for asking!"

SHARK ATTACK: Night shark fishing has been born at Dana Point Sportfishing, where a boat is departing Wednesday evenings at 5:30 for six hours of sharking. The maiden voyage aboard the Gamefish on May 18 was a hit: Four fishermen caught 11 blue sharks. . . . The sharks, which are not nearly as savory as their thresher and mako relatives, were all released, said company spokeswoman Donna Hansen.

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