So Cal Bugging in the Fog

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So Cal Bugging in the Fog

Postby chris oak » November 8th, 2019, 8:49 pm

It has been a great lobster year so far.  Last year was probably one of my worst years, the constant storms and lack of kelp made it tough going.  I'm too old for the opening night hoopla, but I hit it the first week after going to one of the halloween haunts.  Sure enough, the bugs were there but not plentiful.  I pulled a easy limit though.

The next few outings were pretty much the same.  I'd pull a limit but most of the bugs were in deep water and one of my super secret techniques on a low tide is to go with scuba hard booties and scuba fins.  Nothing will make you a believer faster than getting rolled in the surf on the rocks, with the scuba fins it's easy on/off but on the downside if you are doing deeper drops it's a pita, especially in thick kelp because everything hangs up on it.

Even bugging at work has been good, I usually only have time to get maybe one bug on my lunch break but a couple of times I scored two.  Most of those I gave to my starving coworkers and interns since they almost never eat lobster.  Their eyes always light up when I come back with one in the bag. My mutiny lobster bag and gauge has been getting quite a work out!

I was out today and had a  harder time, mainly because the fog was THICK.  So thick I only had about fifty feet of visibility and had to drive slow to oaks reef in Gigas.  Once I got there my luck still was going south, the vis dropped to probably 6-10 feet at best and the surge was so large it was pulling me off the reef.  I dropped the hook where I figured I could find the boat in shallower water near the end of a reef that I knew well.  After kicking about fifteen feet out I lost sight of it.  I figured since I could hear the waves breaking Id find the boat if I swam straight back in a line and I knew the fog would burn off at about ten am with the hot sun.

I'll tell you that was the hairiest two hours of my life.  I kept in the general area but when the sun finally burned off that fog I was amazed that I was probably five hundred feet or more off.  I guess when I was moving around, I mistook the sound of the ocean hitting the rocks and was actually moving parallel to the shore, not straight to it as I thought!  I think I'm going to get a big bell and put it on the boat, one of my friends suggested that once.  In the end, I only had two bugs in my mutiny bag, the surge was so bad and the vis wasn't getting better and I wasn't having any fun so I packed it in.  Water temp dropped to 62 today, about  degrees colder than earlier in the week!  I'll be packing the 7mm next time.


On the way back I planned on getting some reefies for my inlaws but all of oaks reefs were covered in green, dirty water.  Even the outer breakwall was crap so I packed it in early.
I've been playing with different recipes and made a new one that I like, I'll post it up in a bit.  It's basically melted butter with lemon pepper and italian seasoning in it, and you baste the bug meat with it in the oven.  Wow, it was fantastic!

BTW the big bug in the tank is Brian Noh's 10.5 lber which is probably closer to 12 by now. It shed a few times and you can tell how clean it is after this last shed.
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Re: So Cal Bugging in the Fog

Postby Alex Ray » November 9th, 2019, 7:59 am

Yeesh, that situation with the fog sounds like it could’ve gotten real sketchy real quick if it hadn’t burned off. I’ve had a few situations like that, including one about a half mile off the backside of Santa R osa island that gave me some serious willies.

Nice work on the bugs! Related question - how’s your cholesterol fairing? I’ve always heard lobsters are high in cholesterol, but I’ve never dug into it enough to find out if it’s because of the animal itself or because of how it’s commonly prepared.
On great days I shoot fish and on good days I spook fish
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Re: So Cal Bugging in the Fog

Postby Bill McIntyre » November 10th, 2019, 8:52 am

Your fog story reminds me of something similar years ago. The fog was so thick that I couldn't see from one breakwater to the other leaving Dana Point harbor. This was before GPS but I was proud of myself for navigating out to my ab spot using a compass. I sat in the boat until the fog cleared and then went in on scuba. I got my limit and surfaced and the fog had come back and I couldn't see the boat. I just hung onto a lobster trap float getting colder until it cleared.

Another time after I got back into free diving I swam out from the beach at Dana Strands to the outside of the kelp bed and then the fog rolled in and I couldn't see the beach. There was almost no swell so even diving to the bottom and checking for the surge didn't help. I didn't know which way to swim. Luckily it burned off after a while.
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Re: So Cal Bugging in the Fog

Postby chris oak » November 10th, 2019, 10:32 pm

Alex Ray wrote:Yeesh, that situation with the fog sounds like it could’ve gotten real sketchy real quick if it hadn’t burned off. I’ve had a few situations like that, including one about a half mile off the backside of Santa R osa island that gave me some serious willies.

Nice work on the bugs! Related question - how’s your cholesterol fairing? I’ve always heard lobsters are high in cholesterol, but I’ve never dug into it enough to find out if it’s because of the animal itself or because of how it’s commonly prepared.


I surprisingly don't eat a lot of bugs, but my parents and some of my family love them so I give away about 90 percent. The last time I had mine checked, everything came out good...minus the mercury.

Fog is probably the scariest thing I've had to deal with on the boat. Once with erik sun at catalina it was so bad we only hit one spot and I told him to keep the boat in eyesight. The fog never lifted that day and we just hit the one spot and then went home. The other time I almost hit the island because early gps was shit, the differential wasn't spot on because the early units were off because the military was afraid if they were spot on the enemy would be bombing us. Like a fool I was running at night, the fog wasn't that bad as this last trip but bad enough that I should have slowed down. GPS said johnsons was still fairly far away and then I saw smelt jumping out. I immediately throttled back because you don't see smelt in the middle of the ocean, only near the shore. Dead ahead was the rock.

It was foolish to leave my boat this time, but I was confident the hot sun was going to burn the fog off. Since I shore dive that spot my plan was to swim to shore and wait it out if it didn't lift for a while but I'm liking the bell idea even more.
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Re: So Cal Bugging in the Fog

Postby dam » November 12th, 2019, 12:55 pm

chris oak wrote:I'll tell you that was the hairiest two hours of my life.  I kept in the general area but when the sun finally burned off that fog I was amazed that I was probably five hundred feet or more off.  I guess when I was moving around, I mistook the sound of the ocean hitting the rocks and was actually moving parallel to the shore, not straight to it as I thought!  I think I'm going to get a big bell and put it on the boat, one of my friends suggested that once.  In the end, I only had two bugs in my mutiny bag, the surge was so bad and the vis wasn't getting better and I wasn't having any fun so I packed it in.  Water temp dropped to 62 today, about  degrees colder than earlier in the week!  I'll be packing the 7mm next time.

Whoops! :eek3dance: Glad nothing happened!
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Re: So Cal Bugging in the Fog

Postby NaClAddict » November 13th, 2019, 10:18 am

Got lost once when the fog rolled in night diving. Pretty spooky. I followed the ripples of sand. Went the wrong way at first, noticed depth increasing. Never felt so good to be back on land after a shore dive.
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Re: So Cal Bugging in the Fog

Postby gringo sushi » November 15th, 2019, 1:42 pm

When rebuilding the eFishInSea, one of the planned features was to have an intermittent beeper that I could turn on for times like that. My concern with a bell was that I might not be able to hear it if it was dead calm. I have an empty switch and the buzzer but never did install it. I later figured that I'll just wire it off of a 12v jack so that i can store it away then have it to plug in on those once in a blue moon occasions.

The buzzers are super cheap:
https://smile.amazon.com/uxcell-HYT-301 ... 780&sr=8-1

It was an experience similar to yours diving WSB in LA that made me think that it would be good to have. I thought I could keep track of which direction the boat was but found out when the fog had lifted I had no idea. Had to fight off panic for a little bit there.
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Re: So Cal Bugging in the Fog

Postby chris oak » November 15th, 2019, 2:38 pm

Thanks Todd, that might be a good idea and also keep guys from hitting your boat. I knew I could swim to shore and wait it out if it didn't clear, but I was sketchy that my boat could also be floating out to sea lol. Fog terrifies me as much as big swell.
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