Beaches from Imperial Beach to Oceanside
To find out where grunion
are running, call Fish and Game
at (858) 467-4201
Legal in March and from June through August. They must be left alone April/May.
Grunion are six-inch fishes that beach themselves to have out-of-water sex right before your eyes -- but only at night -- and then flop back to sea, each leaving in the sand 1600 to 3600 orange eggs. They do this only under the full or new moon at high spring tide so the waves will retreat, leave the eggs buried in peace for two weeks, then wake the hatchlings 15 nights later. These fish are good for eating (usually rolled in corn flour and fried), but the rules are: one, you gotta have a license if you're 16 or older -- go to Big 5 or Kmart. It's eight bucks, but the fine for fishing without it is 700 bucks. Two, catch them with your hands only. No nets. No digging holes for them to flop into. You're giving them an even break, right? Three, take only what you can use. What's most fun? Actually, watching the sex. She digs in, head up, lays her eggs, then a bunch of randy males come and, well, you have to see it. Next most fun? Helping them hatch: Take two teaspoonsfuls of fertilized eggs, keep in container of damp cool sand 10 to 15 days; add teaspoonful of sand and eggs to one cup of seawater, shake gently, watch eggs hatch into quarter-inch fishlets. Return to ocean.