By Pete Thomas
The influx of pelagic red crabs into Southern California waters, and onto area beaches, piquing the interest of beachgoers and attracting huge bluefin tuna, which have been foraging on the tiny crustaceans.
The crabs’ arrival, during the past couple of weeks, has been linked to the strengthening El Nino, a warm-water phenomenon originating in the equatorial eastern Pacific.
The bright red crabs, also called tuna crabs, are easy to spot, and some of the live critters, before they become stranded and die, have wreaked minor havoc at surf spots.
“They were pinching me out there,” Ethan Mudge, a NSSA competitor who was referring to one of his heats Sunday at Salt Creek in Laguna Beach, told the Orange County Register. “They were hard to paddle through."
On Monday evening, Capt. Brian Woolley of the Sun Fun out of Dana Wharf Sportfishing, located a massive swarm of crabs on his sonar. The crustaceans later floated to the surface, the way squid schools sometimes rise to feed after dark.
Meanwhile, anglers and spear fishermen have been catching and spearing giant tuna as close as five miles from shore.
The photo at right shows Dallas Clifton posing with a 134-pound bluefin caught off Dana Point. (Photo is courtesy of Accurate Fishing.
One man speared a 130-pound tuna from a Jetski.