Fishermen catching Humboldt variety, which can be up to 5 feet long, in large quantities off S.D.
Oceanside — Gary Robbins • U-T
Humboldt squid — feisty, ink-squirting creatures that periodically appear along the Southern California coast — have surged into the waters of San Diego and Orange counties, where sport fishermen are catching them by the hundreds.
Sunday night, the sportfishing boat Electra out of Oceanside Harbor caught more than 200 “jumbo” squid in an hour, leading the captain to return to port early.
“I have enough for a whole year,” said John Plaziak of Carlsbad, one of the fishermen.
Five anglers on the Sea Trek out of Helgren’s Sportfishing in Oceanside pulled in 143 squid Saturday night, and 13 people aboard the Fishermen 3 out of H&M Landing in San Diego snagged 144.
“We saw a few of them last year, but nothing in fishable quantities,” said Rick Marin, who works in the office at H&M. “It has probably been two or three years since we’ve seen a lot of them.”
Greg Obymato, captain of the Sea Trek, said, “We caught the squid off San Onofre. But it looks like there’s squid from the Mexican border to Dana Point. It’s just a matter of getting on them.”
Travis Reese of Carlsbad was on board the Electra in a driving rain Sunday about 7:30 p.m. “They’re a lot harder to pull up than I thought. It’s really tough, but it’s a lot of fun,” he said.
Fishermen use poles and hooks with no bait. And the squid put up a whale of a fight.
The squid — which can grow to about five feet in length — have long been something of a mystery. They appear unexpectedly and leave the same way. Usually, they stay offshore. But sometimes they wash up on local beaches, as they did in July 2009 in La Jolla Shores. Fishermen love going after them because the squid put up quite a fight, and they often squirt ink when they’re pulled aboard.
“The squirting is like having a fire hose trained on you,” Plaziak said.
Fishermen usually catch these cephalopods at night. Jumbo squid are vertical migrators; they generally move up and down in the ocean, and they’re typically at or near the surface when it’s dark.
And, yes, you can eat Humboldt squid.
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