Run, Grunion, Run!! It's Grunion Spawning (& Catching) Time. Cabrillo Beach, CA. Listen in Saturday, June 25, 11AM. 89.9FM KCRW Good Food or KCRW.com.
Just like shootin' fish in a barrel.
It's that time of year, beginning around early March and ending in late August, little, silver, sardine-like fish called grunion head to shores all up and down the coast from Point Conception in Southern California to Punta Abreojos in Baja California, Mexico. They only come out at night, during the high tide, from about 10 pm 'til 3 am when the mood and moon is just right.
Their mission is to spawn. But, the problem for these poor little fish, who just want to get busy, is that we humans like to watch, even worse, we like to catch and then fry 'em up.
Catch of the day!
Good ol', bad ol' Charles Bukowski called us grunion hunters out on this grunion hunting business in his poem "the hunt" in the book Mockingbird Wish Me Luck.
and the grunion ran again
through the oily sea
to plant eggs on shore and be caught
by unemployed drunks
with flopping canvas hats
and no woman at all. (excerpted from "the hunt")
It's the circle of a real tough life. Furthermore, their spawn have a rough road ahead of them. If the fertilized eggs aren't washed away, trampled or eaten, they still have a very small chance of completing this life cycle themselves and returning to spawn as adults.
Which is why many organizations of grunion friendly humans like the Grunion Greeters gather with the hunters every spawning season to educate and expose the public to alternative activities, such as catching, harvesting the milt or eggs and then releasing the grunion or simply observing.
Find out more about this very local natural phenom called the "grunion run" this Saturday, June 25th at 11AM on KCRW's Good Food with Evan Kleiman or anytime after air on KCRW.com.
I had my boots on the ground and my hands in the sand, runnin' with the grunion! Thanks for listening.