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California Spearfishing Talk here about spearfishing on California's Pacific Coast, and post those reports and photos!

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Old 05-16-2010, 12:20 AM   #1
SBH20Man
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Santa Cruz Island Report Saturday 5/15

Hitched a ride with some buddies that were headed over to the island with some kayaks to fish. They farted around in Painted cave for a while, then we headed a bit farther down the front side to get out of the game reserve.

The ride over was smooth but overcast; we came upon a small pod of humbpack whales, and one of the guys captured video of three of them breaching simultaneously. It was pretty awesome - a first for me.

We anchored in a super-secret, nobody-knows-about it-cove (uh, yea right...), in about 60' of water and while the guys deployed their yaks to do some H&L fishing, I jumped off the back with my gun and went hunting. My first thought was "BLEEP its COLD!" (51.5 degrees at the surface), but I headed to some thick clumps of kelp to see what I could find.

Viz was about 10' at the surface, with a lot of "stringy" stuff suspended in the water obscuring the viz (I don't know any other way to describe it). I spent some time sitting motionless in the kelp listening, but didn't hear anything but the constant crackle of copepods/shrimp/etc. I made a few dives down the kelp stalks to about 40', but the viz was a limiting factor - could not really see much to be able to target and stalk; every time I saw a big calico, it would be on the run and it would only be a dark blur just outside my range of vision.

I headed in tight to the island to work some of the rocky formations and started getting into the calicos. They were all hunkered down in the "palm kelp" hanging out with the opies. I took two in the 3-4 lb range and another smaller one, then decided to switch tactics and get my "hole gun" and light and work the crevices and caves.

As soon as I started working the rocky ledges and crevices, I knew why the game had been relatively sparse up to this point - they were all hiding!!

I found a couple of spots where there were surge channels that ran up underwater through some fissures in the rock about 15-30 feet down, with lots of hidey-holes for fish. Hanging upside down and checking these tight spots, I found another couple of really nice sized calicos. I had to mark them, then check the area for exits, then go back down and either spook them back out of their exits and catch them on the way out, or if the "front door" was big enough, I just waited on the surface until their curiosity got the better of them and they came out to check out the sound I was making rubbing my bands. I'd then tuck, dive, and try to stalk them - having about a 50% success rate. Also saw several nurse sharks - one about 6' long waaay back in a deep recess, and couple of horn sharks.

Pretty quickly I started freezing my arse off, but then two things happened; the sun suddenly came out, and when it did, it illuminated a decent ling cod laying out almost as if he was sunning himself. I was about 10' down when I saw him about 15' below me (the sun was shining and I could now see the bottom fairly clearly). I debated going back up for another breath, but he was exactly the color of the swaying palm kelp around him, and I was worried I'd lose him, so I dove down, drawing a bead on him as I did. I had to wait until the surge pushed the kelp out of the way so that I could verify his size; as soon as it did he saw me and started to mosey towards a big opening in a rock fall. I was able to dash forward about 3' and put a shaft into the back of his head, stoning him instantly. Woohoo! My first ling of the season!

At that point the hunting picked up, but so did the wind coming down the channel, pushing us around a bit in our narrow anchorage. I had time to score a few more fish before calling it a day.

BTW, the guy on the right is a cabezon - when I first saw his head I thought HOLY *** that is a big ling, but then saw his body was relatively short and he had those little dangly things above his eyes. The inside of his mouth was blue like crazy artificial blue, but the meat was not that blue (not as blue as the ling, actually).

No pics of the calicos, but we all know what they look like.

Oh, and one of these days I'm gonna learn (and remember) two tricks everyone else on SB seems to have down: 1) take the pictures BEFORE you change out of your wetsuit and put your gear away, and 2) Hold the fish broadside CLOSER to the camera so that they appear bigger.

When I look at this picture, that ling sure doesn't seem as big as he did when I shot him...



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Old 05-16-2010, 12:23 AM   #2
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Report Saturday 5/15

nice cab
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Old 05-16-2010, 09:03 AM   #3
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Report Saturday 5/15

Nice job.... we were on the yellowbanks side and it sounds like you scored better vis than us. We had the "stingy" hanging stuff as well as a lot of jellyfish. And you are right it was damn cold yesterday.... the new bbq worked great though, nothing like some hot burgers after a cold day. I spent some time looking for lings as well, glad to see someone got on them.
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Old 05-16-2010, 09:21 AM   #4
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Report Saturday 5/15

Dang the water is cold up there, congrats on the ling and cab!
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Old 05-16-2010, 09:30 AM   #5
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Report Saturday 5/15

Water is so cold.. Where are the fish.. They still must be at PV.. When diving with Mikelb on friday and the water was 52 the whole day.. Thank god for Hot water on my boat, I found my balls after my dive.

Also no bait, no fish, but lots of hump back whales..
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Old 05-16-2010, 10:16 AM   #6
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Report Saturday 5/15

hey Larry thanx for the hot water it was way too cold that day
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Old 05-16-2010, 11:17 AM   #7
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Report Saturday 5/15

What a nice Cab!
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Old 05-16-2010, 11:42 AM   #8
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Report Saturday 5/15

Sounds like a fun day Brent,
one question about your post i had from reading it tho:


[quote=SBH20Man;1202091]
Also saw several nurse sharks - one about 6' long waaay back in a deep recess, and couple of horn sharks.



Really? did you mean swell sharks? iv never seen a nurse in california but according to some of the fish books they have made it up as far as San Diego, Just curious.
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Old 05-16-2010, 12:08 PM   #9
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Report Saturday 5/15

Nice fish! Nice successful trip, that's awesome.
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Old 05-16-2010, 09:17 PM   #10
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Report Saturday 5/15

nice pics and fish. thanks for the report
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Old 05-16-2010, 10:44 PM   #11
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Report Saturday 5/15

Quote:
Originally Posted by baracudabasher View Post
Sounds like a fun day Brent,
one question about your post i had from reading it tho:


Quote:
Originally Posted by SBH20Man View Post
Also saw several nurse sharks - one about 6' long waaay back in a deep recess, and couple of horn sharks.


Really? did you mean swell sharks? iv never seen a nurse in california but according to some of the fish books they have made it up as far as San Diego, Just curious.
Good call; My dive instructor back in the late 70's referred to them as "nurse sharks" and I've always just thought of them that way when they are over 3' long, but you are right - really probably a swell shark. blunt nose, slanty eyes, totally harmless unless you REALLY piss them off, nocturnal, usually found hiding way back in deep dark recesses during the day time (or in the backs of caves out at the islands where this guy was). This guy didn't have any mottling on his skin that I could see, though - more of an even brown color, but definitely not a smoothound or something like that. Could have been a broadnose 7-gill, I suppose, but I've never seen them hiding under rocks completely motionless before.

Last edited by SBH20Man; 05-17-2010 at 12:03 AM.
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:46 AM   #12
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Report Saturday 5/15

Great post Brent
Glad you got out.
Nice fish!
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Old 05-17-2010, 06:22 PM   #13
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Report Saturday 5/15

Very nice Brent.
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Old 05-20-2010, 04:46 PM   #14
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Report Saturday 5/15

Very cool report! Congrats on some nice fish.
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:25 PM   #15
SBH20Man
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Report Saturday 5/15

Another shot of the belly on that cabbie. Wish we'd had a scale - I would have like to know how much he weighed. Both fish were full of bait fish, but not much else.

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