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Monstrous squid spice up action in Sea of Cortez

October 27, 2008 |  9:26 am


Now that's a lot of calamari.

Actually, I cringe when I see these critters because I once went scuba diving with them in the same region in which this one was captured: beyond remote Muertos Bay and south of Cerralvo Island in the Sea of Cortez.

While diving at 65 feet, four or five of them zoomed toward and past me in what seemed a millisecond. Their tentacles were clasped to sharp points and their large eyes pierced deeply into my larger eyes.

They were like five-foot aliens breezing through outer space. The experience, though real, seemed purely science-fictional. It was scary because these creatures are carnivorous and have attacked humans.

(If anyone reading this has had a similar experience, please share.)

But enough about that. The photo was sent by Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International, which has a headquarters in La Paz and specializes in fishing trips to this region.

According to his report, as well as other reports from fishing outfits dotting the Baja California peninsula south to Cabo San Lucas, these large squid have altered the fishing dynamic.

Humboldt squid, which until fairly recently were infrequent visitors into the Sea of Cortez, now inhabit the gulf by the millions. Sport anglers find them fun to catch and OK to eat, but the novelty of catching them wears off quickly.

Now they're mostly hauled from the depths on big jigs, then sliced into bait because, it turns out, yellowfin tuna and dorado love calamari. "We're using chunks of these guys to slow troll for the dorado outside of Muertos Bay," Roldan writes in his report.

If I may offer a bit of advice for prospective visitors: When in the presence of squid, it's probably best to stay aboard the boat. Because if you fall overboard and fall under attack, nobody will be jumping in to save you.

--Pete Thomas

Photo: Stacy Amos displays a squid measuring almost 6 feet long.
Credit: Tailhunter International