Posted by: socalsalty | January 24, 2011

Exploring the Aquarium of the Pacific

Jake and Juju at the aquarium

Salty didn’t get to go fishing this weekend.  What I did have time to do though was explore the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA with Jake and Juliana.  My primary interest in doing so was to occupy the kids for a few hours.  If I was lucky, I’d also get to spend some time observing some of my target species in the big California/Baja tank.

Goal #1 accomplished.  Kids had a great time seeing the fish, and interacting with them in the touch pool.  Goal #2, only semi-accomplished.

When I wasn’t sitting there fantasizing about the tank being a test area/demonstration tank (a la Bass Pro Shops), I did notice a few things worth sharing…

1. The only fish that consistently hugged the bottom were:  sculpin, sand bass, sheephead, cabezon (along with others like the leopard shark who aren’t targeted sport fish)

2. I noticed that the white seabass (WSB) were mid-column and lower when we got there (mid-afternoon) and were mostly on top later in the day. Not sure if that behavior can be translated to the real thing, or it was something to do with the tank itself (feeding time later?), but something to store away in the brain and test on a future trip.

3. The bigger calicos hung out mid-column, next to structure…either in the kelp or next to the faux rocks on the side.

I’ll be down in San Diego on Wednesday to do the Deep Drift Rockfishing.  In the meantime, here are some pics from the aquarium…

Canary Rockfish: a protected species in SoCal

Yellowtail: not a homeguard

Sandies hugging the bottom







So Cal MPA map: red = no take

Giant Spider Crab

Big Queensland Grouper, not from SoCal











Bank Perch: a tasty SoCal fave

Sea Dragon: not So Cal, but very cool



  1. Great pix!!! That Sea Dragon is really cool looking!!!

    • I know, right? Not a So Cal species, they’re native to Australia, but I couldn’t resist including it.

  2. Nice pics man! I always enjoy going to the VA Beach Aquarium as much or more than my kids do.

    • Yup, I may buy the annual pass and hit it up on my own so I can spend more time on the Cal/Baja tank.

      • I hear ya man. Maybe we need to lobby for a testing tank for lures and bait , filled with pelagic species?

        No kidding , the VA Beach Aquarium has (or had) a Marlin fishing simulator. I’ve never seen it working so I always assumed somebody got hurt on it. It actually had a rod and reel and a machine that pulled the line or whatever? I think.

  3. Jake and I riffed on the demo tank idea for a good hour after leaving 😉

    The marlin simulator sounds very mechanical bull. It’d be cool though if you were in a fighting chair simulator and then there’s a matching video playing in front of you with your marlin jumping and stuff.

    BTW, isn’t there a big white marlin tourney out your way at some point? I want to say May/June?

  4. There are a few tournaments out this way. The big one is for Blue Marlin and it’s the Big Rock Marlin Tournament out of Morehead City , NC. This is the one that had all of the articles about it last year because the winning fish was caught by a crew that wasn’t properly licensed. The mate didn’t have his 20 dollar license and cost the boat a $900,000 dollar purse and got their 883 pound fish disqualified.

    This was being challenged in the courts last I heard. I know the mate probably won’t be fishing on many charter boats any time soon.

    • I remember reading about that happening. What a boner move!

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