Beach Orgy

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Houses in Venice Beach

The annual Grunion Run Party starts at 10:30pm at the Venice Breakwater. (Courtesy Thinkstock)

by Melanie Camp

Get down to Venice Beach tomorrow night, Saturday, May 26th, and see how the Grunion run at the Venice Oceanarium’s annual Grunion Run Party.

Last year, it wasn’t just the fish who crowded the Venice Breakwater shoreline, locals crammed side-by-side, chasing fish with flashlights to watch the Grunion perform their fascinating mating ritual.

Venice Locals Polly, Helen, Kyle, and Arkar enjoying last year’s Grunion fun.

“The seashore is covered by hundreds of sex-crazed fish,” said Tim Rudnick, director of the Venice Oceanarium. The annual Grunion Run Party is the organization’s biggest of the year. “Witnessing this event is life-changing. You’ll never feel the same about L.A., and you will never forget it. These memories are especially vivid for kids,” said Rudnick.

Grunion on Venice Beach.

A grunion is a fish about the same size and shape as a large sardine. Found all the way along the coast from Central California to Baja, at various times during the Spring, female Grunions ride the waves and leave the sea to lay their eggs along the shoreline. Male Grunions follow close behind, chasing fish tail, eager to fertilize eggs.

Despite all the fish you may see down at the Venice Breakwater tomorrow night, the Grunion population is not abundant. “They act as an indicator species for the health of the bay,” Rudnick told Yo! Venice.

Venice Oceanarium Director Tim Rudnick.

You’ll risk a ticket if you fish Grunion during the peak months of April and May. When the season is open, to fish Grunion you need a license and must be older than 16 to apply for one. Grunions taste similar to sardines, and by law, you can only fish them using your hands. You cannot dig holes or use buckets and you are limited to taking only as many fish you need.

This year’s Grunion Run Party starts at 10:30 pm tomorrow night, Saturday, May 26, at the Venice Beach breakwater, on the beach just down from Windward Avenue.

Watch a video from last year’s event here…

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