Shimmery Superstars: Grunion Swim This Way - NBC Southern California

Shimmery Superstars: Grunion Swim This Way

Land ahoy: The to-the-beach fish are about to make their seasonal debut.



    Shimmery Superstars: Grunion Swim This Way
    Cindy Spivak/
    Seen fish on land? Nope, it isn't just from a fairy tale or children's book. The grunion will soon come ashore at spots around the state, including near the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro.

    If we were to tell the grunion, those silver fishes that wiggle up to shore on particular spring and summer nights, that many of us have work or school in the morning, and thus their late-night schedule wasn't ideal, well, the grunion would laugh.

    Wait. Do grunion laugh? Fish philosophers, ponder that one.

    The reason for the ocean dwellers' famous shore leave is this: The wee swimmers, which are part of the silversides group, shimmy up onto the sand to spawn. They've been shimmying ashore for eons, because high tides and the new and full moons are involved with the schedule-making, and those are appointments you can't cancel.

    Wait. Can the high tides be our new schedule-maker? The one on our phone just crashed.

    And the hard-to-believe phenomenon is about to rev up again for another spawning season in March. Sunday, March 2, if you want to attend one of the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium's Meet the Grunion nights, nights that do, in fact, fall a bit on the late side.

    But, again, the grunion would laugh if we complained; they do, after all, have the moon and the tide on their side.

    The grunion make their camera-ready cameos through the end of July, but only on select nights. There's also a "fish-tival" at the San Pedro aquarium on Friday, May 30.  You'll make grunion origami -- oh yes you will -- and talk with grunion smarties and truly get to know this SoCal-to-Baja superspectacular sight.

    Cost is five dollars for adults, whether you show for a Meet the Grunion night or the fish-tival.

    A couple of things to note. One? The grunion show up elsewhere beyond San Pedro, but definitely not everywhere, so do your research before flashlighting up.

    And two? There are times when you can catch 'em, with a valid fishing license, by hand -- that's "open season" -- but that's not all the time, so get square with the info before making for the beach.

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