It was very popular to head to the beach in the middle of the night at certain times of the year to hunt grunion. Grunion are a small (about 5-6 inches) silvery fish that come ashore to lay their eggs in the wet beach sand. The fish usually come ashore between March and September, but only spawn on certain nights after the highest tide associated with a new or full moon. When the fish do spawn they are totally out of the water. They lay their eggs in the sand and then catch the tides to wash them back to sea. There may be one or two grunion or thousands, depending on the run.
My Uncle Tim and Aunt Avis decided to go to the beach one night and hunt for grunion. I was invited and it was a large group of people who gathered on the Southern California beach. It was a cold night and everyone had to wear jackets. There was a fire for cooking, but many of us huddled around the fire for warmth. The adults bar-b-qued hamburgers and hot dogs, and children playfully ran through the surf in bare feet, splashing the water about. I stuck by the fire. We all waited and watched for the grunion. They were supposed to arrive late that night, so we stayed late, becoming colder as the night wore on. Still no grunion. Finally, we gave up, packed up our goods and went home, without a grunion.