Sunday, September 10, 2006

Grunion Hunts in the Spring; Snipe Hunts in the Fall

Dear Carlene,
By now you have googled "grunion" and know that it is a little fish, a smelt, I suppose. Believe it not, you are restricted by state law to catching grunion by hand.
Yep, you can only take grunion when they come up on the beach to spawn. They come in grunion runs at certain high tides at certain phases of the moon that are predictable.  Then you go wait on the beach for the right wave. And...if you are lucky enough to be at the right beach, they don't come to all beaches all at wave will bring in millions of dancing little smelt.  Well  they are not dancing...they are mating, they just look like they are dancing.
The male wraps himself around the female and she stands on her tail (I'm not kidding) and burrows tail first into the sand and deposits the eggs,just fertilized. 
His life's work is done:  Her life's work is done.  Grab 'em by hand and put as many as you can catch in a sack. Taint easy, they don't just sit there.  The wiggle, they bounce.
And you gotta be quick.  The next wave washes them all out to sea again.  Grunion run over.
  You can take 'em home, but the romantic thing to do is pan fry 'em whole on a camp fire on the beach.  You eat 'em whole too.  They are tiny, finger sized, and crunchy.
   But the most fun about a grunion hunt is that you rarely ARE on the right beach at the right time.  You are there with your sweetie and a bunch of beach loving friends in skimpy suits in the middle of the full moonlight remember...
   I am 82, and been on a LOT of grunion hunts and have only seen the run about three times.  I think I have caught ONE grunion. (Just enough to prove they exist.  They are not like snipes.)
   And wouldn't this make a neat entry for my journal.  Thanks for asking.


tendernoggle said...

LOL!!! Thanks CHUCK!!! lol

plieck30 said...

How interesting. I thought a grunion was a fish but I didn't know all this and I know what a snipe is not. lol Paula

garnett109 said...

Now Explain to me what a snipe is and do they really exsist?

msecz said...

I never went "smelting" but my son and daughter in law did many times . I didn't know they were called grunion...they sell smelt at the super market at that time of year also.... I have never eaten them though... :) thanks for the lesson. Sandra

chasferris said...

You ask >>> Now Explain to me what a snipe is and do they really exsist?
Wait a minute, I'll go ask Santa Claus.

firestormkids04 said...

I'm certainly not 82, but I remember both!  Continued to go grunion hunting until my kids were in their early teens.  Snipe?  Well, I'm not going to tell if you don't.  Blessings, Penny