Well, the grunion run is about to begin and that means the coast is about to get inundated with a lot of bait and the game fish that follow them. This ranges from sharks and rays to bass and butts. One of the most sought after game during this time is the Shortfin Corvina (Cynoscion parvipinnis) as they aggressively attack the grunion as they move into the shallows to spawn. These west coast variety of sea trout or weakfish rove in small wolf packs ranging from 3 to 12 plus fish in a school and herd up bait as they slash their way through the bait with open mouths and big appetites. One of the most fun and exhilarating way to catch these fish is on the top water. The Zara Super Spook (One Knocker) in bass or chartreuse pattern are some of my all time favorites for all of our local gamefish during this period. These corvina are not the strongest fighters and have very weak mouths, but are very aggressive in their strikes and also have a knack for shaking off before you get them to shore. Anything resembling the size and color of a grunion will work just fine, but be sure to have a more loose drag when fighting these guys to prevent them from throwing or pulling the hook.
As you would guess, just about everything eats grunion. You will catch halibut, bass, bonito, white sea bass, perch, yellowfin croaker and even corBina while fishing a “run”. With all of this smaller bait and smaller game rushing in to eat the spawning grunion, there will also be bigger gamefish in right behind them to eat the fish that are eating the grunion.
Leopard sharks, Sevengill Sharks, Soupfin Sharks, Bat Rays, Shovelnose Rays, and even Thresher Sharks come into the shallow water chasing the bait as well as the game fish that is feeding on it. Here is where a fresh perch head in the surf with a steel leader rig will bring you any of these fish on the wheel of fortune. The toughest part is to find the beach where the grunion are going to beach themselves, but when you ID the beach and are there during the run, look out. Some other tricks are to fish the beach the morning after or just fish the beach that a grunion run has happened on. The fish will come in and out for a few nights in a row and the game fish will stage in the area getting ready for the next run.
So whether you are fishing the small rod or long rod, grunion runs just means it is time to get your gear prepped and ready for a possible workout! It is always an exciting time for fishermen when the grunion run begins.