Rainbow Seaperch

Species: Hypsurus caryi; from the Greek word hyps (high), the Latin word urus (a kind of wild ox) and Greek word cary (a nut)-- apparently in reference to the shape.

Alternate Names: Striped perch.

Identification: One of the most beautiful fish in California, rainbow seaperch have a typical perch-like shape, although they're more elongated then striped seaperch and black seaperch. They have red and blue stripes on the sides with bright blue and red-orange pelvic fins.

Size: To 12 inches; most caught off piers are 8-10 inches.

Range: Rio Santo Tomas, Baja California to Cape Mendocino.

Habitat: Shallow-water, rocky-shore areas.

Piers: Rainbow seaperch are common at only a few piers. Best bets: Gaviota Pier, Monterey Wharf #2, Seacliff Beach Pier, Santa Cruz Wharf, Fort Point Pier, San Francisco Municipal Pier, Elephant Rock Pier, Fort Baker Pier, and the Spud Point Marina Pier (Bodega Bay).

Bait and Tackle: These small perch are best taken with small size 6 or 8 hooks tied directly to your line, or by using a high/low leader. Best baits are fresh mussels, pile worms, bloodworms or small live rock crabs. Fish directly on the bottom.

Food Value: Fair, although they're almost too pretty to keep.

Comments:These fish, along with striped seaperch and pileperch, often enter central and northern California streams and spawn in the tide-water areas; when they do, fish will be caught on nearly every cast. They put up a spirited fight, but for me, their beauty and small size warrants a return to the water.