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Orange County fishermen angle for unusual catch: Giant squid

February 1, 2010 |  8:47 am

Squid An invasion of giant squid in Orange County has fishermen and women hitting the waters off Newport Beach, angling for an unusual catch.

The squid, some up to 60 pounds and 4 feet long, were first caught Thursday afternoon, and anglers began making twilight expeditions Friday night to catch the nocturnal sea creatures, which spend daytime close to the ground and rise to the surface at night.

Robert Woodbury, manager at Newport Landing Sportfishing, said anglers who signed up to fish on one of the company’s evening excursions had caught about 400 squid since Friday night. The squid, which tend to run in the 20- to 40-pound range, are somewhat elusive, tending to follow a food source, such as anchovies, rather than a season.

It’s unclear when the squid will leave the area, but as long as they stay, fishermen say they will chase them every night. The anglers come in two main types, Woodbury said: Those hungry for the relatively pricey delicacy, and the sports angler eager to tangle with a feistier sea creature.

“Most of the fish we catch are better to eat, but they don’t give you much of a fight,” Woodbury said.

These squid, on the other hand, do not  stop struggling even after getting hooked and tossed into the boat.

"They’re trying to crawl around and blow ink all over everybody,” he said.

The squid make for a messier prize, but that is part of the fun, he said.

“When they’re lifted out of the water … they become a giant squirt gun,” Woodbury said. “Chances are you’re gonna take a faceful or a chestful of water – and probably ink – when you pull them out … everybody laughs.”

-- Amina Khan

Photo: Fisherman with a giant squid. Credit: Newport Landing

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