View Full Version : Fort Bragg

North Star
09-20-2010, 11:55 PM
Calvin, Caleb, and I (with our wives) went down to Fort Bragg in northern California the week of Sept 13-18 to spear fish, get some Abalone, and to compete in the Triton X spearfishing competition.

We had the best conditions we have had in 10 years - no wind, flat ocean, and 30 foot visibility for an entire week. Unbelievably good.

Took along our 20 foot ThunderJet North Star for the first time - in previous years we always dove off of kayaks. Let me tell you, boat diving is the way to go. You can get to places you would never kayak to, you get there rested, you can dive much longer, and you don't have to deal with sand in your gear. Plus, the girls can come along, and provide both help and company.

Got some nice fish during the week, but nothing extraordinary. Caleb got a 32" 11 lb Ling, and we all got limits of 9 inch plus Abalone. My biggest Vermillion was 6lbs. Calvin shot some nice Lings as well. I only got one the whole week.

Saw a 4 foot shark dead on the bottom in about 40 feet of water - not sure what kind. The top of the tail was taller than the bottom of the tail. Strangely, it was missing it's lower jaw - the rest of it was entirely intact. Maybe it bit someones prop while it was spinning. I did not see any alive ones or hear any reports of any sightings.

Competed in the Triton X for the first time and finished in the middle of the pack - about 120 divers competed. No boat diving in the competition, we used the kayaks instead.

Had a great time, won a new mask, Calvin got some gloves and Caleb got a pak of diving videos. Enjoyed meeting a bunch of people I had only read about on Spearboard or known from PM's or posts.

The 12 hour drive down and back is a little draining, but well worth it. Here are a couple of pictures from the week that give you the idea:





09-21-2010, 01:45 PM
Congrats on the nice catch(es)! I was up there for the tourney as well and agree that the conditions were almost beyond belief. Its so much fun diving in water like that! Were you guys mostly scuba or freediving?

09-21-2010, 02:23 PM
Glad you guys had such great conditions... much better than last year. ;)

Tell Caleb thanks again for helping drag my kayak to the car. :D

North Star
09-21-2010, 02:52 PM
ApneaAddict - Sorry I missed meeting you! We mostly freedove in prepration for the competition. Had the best bottom times and depths we have ever gotten. I had to fight a stubborn sinus above my right eye a lot. Haven't had that problem before.

Fuzz - Caleb says he was glad to help. Congratulations on placing second. Awesome haul of fish you got!

09-22-2010, 10:36 PM
Holy smokes the water conditions looked amazing. Great report

09-23-2010, 10:31 PM
Right on - looks like a great trip! Nice year ender with the whole famn damily... (looks like pops still has some pipes! ;) I'd love to make that trip and get some abalone and reds one day...

Did you take your avatar pic? If so what kind of shark?

09-24-2010, 01:02 PM
That looks fantastic! I love the rustic looking cabin! Did you rent it? If so what was the outfits name and would you recommend? Oh and those fish n snails look alright too. :toast:

North Star
09-25-2010, 11:54 AM
Steep and Deep - Yeah, the old man can still kill fish. Those boys are breathing hard on my heels, however, and often out do me. I trounced them both at the Triton X, however, so I still have some credibility.

Along your lines, I just got back from climbing the South Sister in Oregon, the third highest peak in the state (over 10,000 feet) so I got in some steep along with the deep. Pretty sore today.

I did not take my avatar picture, though I could have. That is a great white shark, and we ran into one that size (and that close) off of the north reef at Newport Oregon, about a mile north of yaquina harbor.
You can read about it here: http://spearboard.com/showthread.php?t=103196 in post #8.

North Star
09-25-2010, 12:12 PM
That looks fantastic! I love the rustic looking cabin! Did you rent it? If so what was the outfits name and would you recommend? Oh and those fish n snails look alright too. :toast:

Winklecl - The cabin is perfect for us. Rented it for a week for about $450. It is the Southwest House at Antioch Ranch. Owner is a Christian man, really a nice guy. He has 25 acres and about 4 houses for rent. His phone # is 1-877-460-7095 www.antiochranch.com

Perfect for diving; they have a back porch where you can hang your dive gear to dry, and a hose to wash it up. It is out in the woods, and rustic is the word (but plenty nice); you have to bring your own linens and clean the place up yourself afterward (no housemaids). Leave the place clean as you found it if you want to be able to come back again.

Wood stove for heat, two bedroom with double beds. The owner expects you to behave (no parties) and show respect to the other people there. It is really quiet and secluded, about 5 miles from the coast.

We have been there for 4 years in a row, and would not stay anywhere else. Could not recommend it highly enough.

Edit: We bring a plastic table to clean our fish there, and then haul the guts/carcases to town and dump them in a trash container there - he does not like fish guts in his trash containers.

10-02-2010, 06:28 PM
Nice killing! Looks like a good time.