Solo

4 Nov

Solo

This was from an older story a few seasons ago…

One of the great things about my job is sometimes I can take time off to go spearing. One of the lame things about my job is I won’t know till last minute whether or not I can take the day off because it depends on what we have going on at work the next day. It’s all up to my boss whether or not I can have the day off, usually it’s not a big deal because I have about 240 hours saved up!

So it was the latter that sent me solo today. Most of my buddies were working or at school, and sometimes it’s nice to just be out alone.   The new areas I’m hunting can be really boring and COLD. It’s not like the reefs up shallow, these are kelp beds offshore, the water is deeper, colder and more murky than some of the other places I like to visit.  At any rate, I HAD to get out there again, tuesday I speared a 44 pounder and I knew that the fish were moving in the kelp beds offshore.I was keeping my fingers crossed, I had one person that gave me an iffy because he’s in the middle of moving his business. He told me if he was going to make it he’d be at the docks at six. That night I made my final preparations, I ate the last piece of white seabass that I had left over from tuesday to give me some indian power :). As usual when something is going to be sketchy, I left a copy of my will on my desk, don’t worry you ain’t getting the mighty skyline or c-level, those are going to my family!

In the morning I woke up early and my back was already sore from diving in san diego for work the day before on scuba. Crap it’s going to be a long day. I rub the sleep out of my eyes and got c-level ready. Checked the batteries and made sure all my equipment was on board. Six am came and my buddy didn’t show. Fag! I took a look out at the ocean and I decided to run anyways. Fired up c-level and then tied myself in and clipped on the engine kill in case I fell over.

The swell was small and the ride was bumpy but not nearly as bad as last time. I passed a big mola mola and had to stop to say hello. An hour later I roll into one of my very favorite spots on the island.

The water was fairly clear and there was a ton of kelp bass milling around, I saw schools of fifty or more. Two gigantic barracuda greeted me and drifted off, my parents love barracuda but I held off on the shot so as not to spook the white seabass. A few minutes and then I heard the croaking start. Baruump baruump. Ten minutes into the dive and I see two schoolies, about 15 pounds and pass on the shot because I heard there were big ones around here. I’m heating up in my 7mm wetsuit and the fucking 24 pound weightbelt is killing my back, partially from the scuba diving the day before. I keep diving and an hour later and I hear LOUD croaking and see five nice fish around thirty pounds milling around the kelp. Dammit I’m running out of air and have to make a quick decision, go under the kelp or around it. I decide to go under, I start to kick slowly towards the fish and as I raise my gun they BOOM out . Strike one. Shit those were twenty to thirty pounders too.

I figured I’d give the bed a rest and my back is killing me anyways, I jump on the boat and drop the weight belt in the bucket and take some advil. I lay out and stretch out my spine the best I can and start thinking. Time to make a move, I headed to my second spot, another one of my favorite kelp beds and set anchor. Unfortunately it was gorgeous in the beds, forty feet vis, too good but fun to watch. I didn’t hear or see any wsb at all so I tried to head back to the first spot but there were a couple of boats working it and I recognized one of the divers and said hello. Spearing is a funny thing, the community is somewhat small and the divers who score a lot of fish know of each other. I know most of the regulars and some of them know me from the big 60 lber that I shot last year :). It’s really nice, like friends you never met but click with immediately.

I make a long move to a spot far away, but its an empty desert, cold water and no bait or fish around. Dammit! I fired up my boat and I tried to hit a nearby point that had a really nice kelp bed. It looked fishy but after an hour all I saw were small kelp bass so I headed back to the boat. On the way there I saw a enormous kelp bass hanging on the outside so I decided to take a look. I’m kicking towards the outside of the kelp bed and the bass spooks. And then to my left I saw some movement and it looked like a school of yellowtail were hauling ass across the outside edge. I kicked towards them and when I got closer they were white seabass! It was a wall of gold, probably fifty or more fish in the school and the most amazing thing I’ve seen.  Holy shit, Big ones! I tried to close the gap, there were at least twenty in the school close to me and they were thirty pounds and up! Now I’m excited and I get ready to squeeze the trigger on my custom wood gun, the voodoo stick. I line up on a thirty plus pound class fish and then see a bigger one a little behind it. As I swing the gun towards the bigger one THEY BOOM OUT . I was cursing myself a fool and figured that was the best chance I would get. Serves myself right for being greedy. Strike two. In my mind I play that scene over and over, shit what a loser I am.

I started thinking, those fish weren’t kicking it in the bed, they were on the move somewhere. My second kelp bed that was clear in the morning was up about a mile to where they were headed. I take a gamble and jumped on my boat and hauled ass in that direction. Drop the anchor and silently drop into the water and began working up and down the bed. The water is murkier now, just right for white seabass with about 15 foot vis. About fifteen minutes to a half our pass and as I was on a ascent I saw a flash of gold and brown and as I looked it was a big school of wsb. I can’t say for certain they were the same fish that I saw before, but they were definitely the same size and hauling ass across the bed headed in the same direction. I line up on a decent fish but see a bigger one so I slowly swing the gun again and luckily they don’t see me and boom out. This time I’m going to try for a gill shot so I can put more pressure on that fish, the last one I shot on tuesday hit solid behind the gill but it tied me up deep and it was a bitch to get it back.

I raise the voodoo stick and squeezed the trigger and saw the shaft zip out, BANG, the line starts peeling off my reel and I let the fish run a but apply a little pressure because I knew the shot was good. I’ll tell you this though, shooting fish in the head makes them really pissed, it’s the second time I’ve done it and I won’t do it again. The fish tied up on the kelp and I could see the glimmer of silver down deep so I dropped the gun and went down to it. It was dragging the shaft all over and I could see the slip tip dangling and didn’t want to take a chance so I kicked down and chased after it. On the second try I grabbed it by the gills and started upwards, the line was pulling me back towards the kelp and I’m running out of air, so I put my entire arm thru the fishes gills and thru its mouth and kick like hell with my new fiberglass fins. I hit the surface and gasped for air. Holy shit it’s a monster! I disconnected the shooting line and hauled that fish towards the boat.

I knew it was a bit bigger than the last one, because it was a bitch to throw that thing over the side of my boat. But man was I happy and I was excited as I weighed it on the scale. It bounced past fifty a couple of times but settled in at 48lbs and a few ounces. Dammit, my buddy still holds this season’s high score with a 50lber he got earlier in the week. I gutted the fish and put it in the cooler with some ice and water, the tail stuck way out over the edge of my 94 quart cooler. One of the biologists told me that when fish die a lot of times the parasites burrow thru the stomach wall and get into the flesh and since I eat wsb sashimi the thought grossed me out.

I’d have to say that was one of the best days of my life, I was absolutely glowing. One of the spearos who I saw earlier in the other cove saw me weighing the fish and asked how big it was, 30-40? I shouted 48! and struggled to hold it up, he shouted congrats and I pointed out where I got the fish.

I got that fish by one pm and decided to check out one of my yellowtail spots. Weird, I was swimming amonst the baitfish and noticed the water was cold and murky. Then they all disappeared, bam. In my mind I remember this is white shark water so and maybe the fish spooked out because there was one around. Damn you never saw me haul ass so fast towards my boat or jump out of the water so fast, lol! No need to push my luck today!

I fired up c-level and headed home, when I got to the aquarium my buddy that spears came running up. “Well?” he asked. “Dude I need you to take a pix for me”. He pulled the cooler open and his eyes went wide “holy shit, MONSTER”. Then he ran into the office to see if he could get a day off next week to head back to the island.

When I checked my d3 freedive watch, it logged 209 dives today, whew no wonder I’m tired out.

I’m still tired today, but you know what? I’m heading back to my spots again next week. Umm two times probably. Do you think I’d go solo again if I have to?

Damn Straight.

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