My buddy Pat Wallace and Patthapong just got a new boat and offered to take me out to dive off it. I rarely dive from boats so I wanted to take advantage of how much ground we would cover. We ended up going from Monterey to Southern Carmel and dove the whole way home. We dove a few familiar spots and a few new spots based on some way points we had collected. Having yakked to most of these general spots at some point or another really made hitting them by boat a pleasure because you're not paddling for miles at a time and you can take some of the gear off and drink water between dives.
Vis was sub par but still certainly huntable. It seemed to open up once below the surface to at least 15-20'. We had a few spots of green cloudy 30' vis which was nice but many of the spots were surprisingly lack luster as for fish size or assortment. There were plenty of the usual suspects, but not many remarkable fish. Pat is an excellent diver and even he was coming up short handed for impressive fish. After being on the water from 7a-130p, we were tired and hungry. Literally, swimming back to the boat after the last spot we decided to hit, I thought it would be fun to make one final drop right near the boat. I couldn't see the bottom because it was too far below me, but I just wanted to give it a shot. Got to the bottom and found lots of holes to look into. At this point I was almost accustomed to not seeing anything in great looking vacant ling houses... Nearing the end of my breath hold, almost ready to give up and head to the surface, I spotted a big ling head deep in a small hole. I decided to push my breath hold limit as Pat was above me (and could help if I needed it - points for buddy diving!), so I took the shot right in it's noggin'. It was surprisingly hard to get out of the hole and took me a few more seconds to make sure the ling didn't come off in case the floppers didn't deploy fully. I finally got it out and immediately grabbed it's throat because I saw that the shaft didn't go all the way through that thick head! Dang... I was ready to drop the fish and hold the float line because I was really wanting some O2 but decided to just keep pushing and trying to keep my mind steady. It's amazing to me how much extra time we actually under water when you are just calm and relaxed. A trick I learned in Catalina while going after WSB was that my breath holds were easily 20 seconds longer if I tried not to make any noise, kicked gently, moved slowly and relaxed - probably a no brainer, but it finally clicked for me. I try to keep this in mind now and it helps!
The ling head was unusually large for its 32.5" body, so when I shot it in the hole I had really hoped to finally join the "big" ling club but alas, at least it was a good catch none-the-less. I think my shark juju has trumped any big ling juju. I'd much prefer it the other way around. Lots of meat on those slugs! Head, cheek, collar, belly and fillets. Was able to gift some coworkers a few fillets and collars. Can't wait to try some new recipes! Unfortunately, I flooded two older gen gopros because I think it was the rear of the case leaking when it was the front lens. So I haven't been taking footage while diving and we don't have the funds for a newer gopro. Anyone out there have something laying around?? ;D
The ling pics are below, and if you're interested, here is a post on how I cooked it (with recipe): viewtopic.php?f=17&t=7816
"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." - William Arthur Ward
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