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Giant Humboldt squid taking Southland anglers by storm

February 2, 2010 | 10:52 am

Squid 016 Giant Humboldt squid have moved into waters off Orange County and are giving anglers such a run for their money that most sport-fishing trips are limiting out within hours.

"We had our limit within two hours -- the giant squid were everywhere," said Dana Wharf Capt. Corey Lieser. Both twilight trips on Saturday and Sunday returned home with a full boat of the squid.

The squid being caught are weighing in at 20 to 30 pounds each, and can be lured to vessels by using lights, according to Lieser.

"The light causes the plankton the squid feed on to shine, which causes the squid to rise to the surface to feed, making them easier to catch."

Dana Wharf Sportfishing will continue to run special squid trips, which cost $25 per person and depart each evening at 5:30 p.m., for as long as the jumbo squid are in our local waters.

Anglers from all over Southern California are crowding area landings for a chance to fish for the giant squid, which are reportedly a lot of fun to catch and put up quite a fight when boated, usually dousing those nearby with gallons of cold seawater and/or ink.

"The fishing was squidtastic!" said Michael Gannon, of San Clemente, who was aboard the Clemente out of Dana Wharf on Sunday. "My arms are about to fall off because the squid are so huge and put up such a fight."

Dana Wharf is one of many area sport-fishing operations that are seeing lots of action thanks to the jumbo squid -- Newport Landing reported more than 200 on Monday's saltwater fish count

Humboldt squid can reach up to 6 feet and weigh as much as 100 pounds and can eject themselves from the water and glide through the air to escape predators.

Also called jumbo squid, they were once found primarily off South America and have slowly expanded their territory.

Humboldt squid returned to Southern California waters in mid-December, when San Diego's Seaforth Sportfishing was sending out vessels full of excited anglers hoping to wrestle in some of the creatures.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Brendan Buckel, of Aliso Viejo, was one of the anglers who caught a Humboldt squid on his trip aboard Dana Wharf's fishing vessel the Clemente on Saturday. Credit: Dana Wharf Sportfishing

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