Ginormous Squid: It's What's for Dinner

Let's see, there's calamari, calamari salad, calamari tacos, squid sushi, squid burgers . . . Indeed, locals should demand anyone serving the mollusks to lower their prices considering the number of giant squid being pulled out of our waters. It's the law of supply and demand, baby. Call it squid pro quo.

Humboldt squid, some up to 60 pounds and 4 feet long, were first caught Thursday afternoon off the Orange County coast, and anglers began making twilight expeditions Friday night to catch the nocturnal sea creatures that spend daylight close to the ground and rise to the surface at night.

In fact, they can be lured with lights hitting the dark waters. "The light causes the plankton (consisting of drifting organisms) the squid fee on to shine, which causes the squid to rise to the surface to feed; making them easier to catch," said Capt. Corey Lieser of Dana Wharf Sportfishing in Dana Point, where anglers reeled in more than 200 slimy beasties Saturday night.

"We had our limits within two hours--the giant squid were everywhere" said Lieser.

"The fishing was squidtastic!" said San Clemente's Michael Gannon, who was aboard a Dana Wharf boat Sunday night. "My arms are about to fall off because the squid are so huge and put up such a fight."

Squid have been showing up in local waters since 1983, but no one can predict when in the season they will arrive, how long they'll stay and how many of them there will be. Dana Wharf is running Special Squid Trips departing at 5:30 nightly "as long as these giant squid swim in our local waters."

"They're here!" boasts Davey's Locker Sportsfishing in Newport Beach. "Now's your chance to get 'em."

The more these jumbos have been pulled out of the water this weekend past, the more there have seemed to be. Forty-eight anglers aboard Davey's Western Pride caught 625 squid on Sunday. More than 300 were hauled in from the same boat the evening before, and 225 the night before that. And that's just one of two Davey boats hauling them in.

Newport Landing Sportfishing reported 400 squid caught on its boats between Friday and Sunday nights.

Those braving the chilly night air to put their hooks in the jumbos are doing so either for the eats or the sport. Or both. Squid are not only delicious, they put up more of a fight than the flappers anglers usually haul in. Even once on the boat, squid will crawl around and spray water and ink at their captors.

Davey's manager Chris Cunningham advises anglers to get spots aboard boats immediately because the squid could be here today and gone tomorrow. But for now they are here, and sportfishing companies are loving it because bookings are high in what's usually the slow season. Don't forget to take the cocktail sauce.


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