I hope to be a “Giant” Sea Bass one day

A quick picture of juvenile GSB currently living the sweet life in Santa Monica at The Heal the Bay Aquarium under the pier.  Stop by and check out the baby bass and all the other great exhibits in this tiny ocean educational gem.


Fish Friday – It’s Garibaldi time because Orange is the New Whack!

Yes. I said it. For the first time ever, someone has described the Garibaldi as whack. Totally whack in fact. Why you ask? Because I think we’ve taken this fine inhabitant of the kelp forest for granted for far too long. First of all, it is the state marine fish of California, no small feat in state where everyone wants to be a star. Suck it Pile Perch.

image of a juvenile Garibaldi

Secondly, it has a merit-based hierarchy. Males commonly build nests to impress the lady fish when it comes time to reproduce. The females then take a tour of several different nests and decide which nest she likes best and lays her eggs accordingly. Bachelor fish living in their parents spare nest need not apply.

Finally,  it is fierce. As the largest member of the damselfish family, it will protect its nest against anyone who gets too close. Size doesn’t matter. Like Hulk Hogan, it will fight anyone, anywhere, at any time during nesting season brother! Let’s go the video:

All in all, a pretty impressive resume for a fish that has enjoyed total protection from collection and fishing since 1995. So when you’re out there and see this orange burst of energy swimming by, enjoy and have more than a little mad respect.

Fish Friday – Big Bad Bocaccio

Bocaccio photo courtesy of D. Gottshall

This weeks fish, if it were a boxer, would always be leading with it’s chin. Growing up to 3 feet in length, the bocaccio is instantly recognizable by it tremendously long lower jaw, extending past it’s eye socket into a distinctive bulb-shaped ending. While very popular with anglers and spearos, it’s also showing signs of being over fished,  being federally listed under the Endangered Species Act as a species of concern.  It’s interesting to note, that like other rockfish and unlike most bony fish, bocaccio give birth to live larval young. The more you know.

Judging by it’s expression, even this bocaccio is shocked by the length of it’s lower jaw. Photo courtesy of NOAA.
The namesake of the Bocaccio and inventor of the comma, Sebastian R. Bocaccio.


Sláinte! It’s the Fish Friday Gaelic Edition – How about a “Gliomach” with butter?

With Fish Friday falling on St. Patricks Day, I thought I’d take a little creative license and go with the Gaelic name of an invert we’re all familiar with. Say hello to the spiny lobster, a familiar and popular resident of the California Kelp forests. Unlike his Atlantic and Irish counterpart, he is clawless, but the fact remains he is everybody’s favorite dinner guest.

Have a great St. Patricks Day and an even better weekend. See you out there.



So that’s what the claws are for? Makes sense.

***************Quick reminder, the season ended so take a few minutes to send in your report card results to the CADFW. The information is invaluable and  better data means better management.*********

Fish Friday – Giant Sea Bass

Stereolepis gigas is truly the King of the Reef. Anyone that’s ever encountered one under the kelp canopy knows. Ranging up to 8 feet from tip to tail and over 5oo lbs, these gentle giants have become more commonly encountered by divers since the the end of gill netting in 1994.  That is a great thing to say the least. So hail to the King. Thank you very much.

Photo by P. Colla