On Halloween, Josh Kim and I were looking forward to another day of good
north coast diving, since the swell had dropped and the vis increased. As
we passed Jenner, we saw the ocean was blue and even the areas along the
cliff face south of Ft. Ross which are normally milky out to a hundred yards
were only stirred up close to shore. We were excited at the prospects.
From Salt Point we planned to head north, but with the slight southwest
wind, we decided to head south. The visibility at Gerstle Cove looked like
an easy fifteen feet. A quick paddle took us to the south point of the
cove. We jumped in for abs.
We were a little disappointed with the relatively poor vis there. The
current seemed to be pushing the sediment through the green water, and vis
was reduced to about ten feet.
Josh located a cluster of fat abs and quickly took his limit. Half an hour
later I only had two. We moved to another location.
After a dozen dives, I spotted the head of a 9-10 lb ling extending outside
its hole. I popped him and dove the new hole again for future reference. A
3 lb cab had already taken up occupancy there, so I evicted him. By then we
decided to return to Gerstle Cove.
Since Josh already has a freezer full of fish, he was hunting with his
camera. I had a special rendezvous with an anti-social fish. The score
with this one was already Fish 2: Tom 0, and I had to redeem myself.
Tuesday, following this years Randy Fry dive, found me still camped out at
Salt Point, and foraging for a meal. A small scallop beckoned to me, and I
obliged. Although I was looking for some decent abs, I kept focusing on
ling cod. Finally, I saw the entrance to what could only be ling hole.
Working my way into the entrance, I lit up two rooms, but saw nothing but
small cowering blacks. As soon as my dive light reached the third room, I
saw the tail of a big ling cod, and followed it up, and up, and up, until I
finally made out the head. Definitely over twenty pounds of fish!
I surfaced for some air, and had to make a couple of decisions. Should I
take this one out today, or save it for another time? Do I really feel like
cleaning this fish today? Was that Dave up on the bluff watching me?
Better do it now.
I went back to my kayak for my gun, and dove on the hole. The fish was
Wednesday I dove the hole again, trusty ab iron in one hand, dive light in
the other. The fish was home! I went back to the yak for my gun, and
returned to the hole for dinner. The fish decided not to join me.
Time for deep thought. I had nearly a week to figure this one out. During
that time, somewhere in the space between my ears was a lonesome astronaut
shouting, "Tom, you have to be smarter than the fish!"
Back to Halloween I locked in my gunsight coordinates from the previous
week, and dove the hole with my dive light in one hand and my SPEAR GUN in
the other. Yes, every now and then I get a touch of pure genius!
I knocked a couple of urchins out of the way in preparation for my egress
from the ling's entranceway, then I drew a bead on its cheek, and pulled the
The ling tried to spurn my dinner invitation by performing its version of
the samba using my spear shaft as a rock chisel. It couldn't find its way
out of the hole. I let it continue to take out its aggression on the shaft.
Meanwhile the double flopper, rock point held true.
As I was braining it, Josh pointed out the bent shaft. I still find it hard
to believe the fish bent a short 5/16-inch steel shaft like that. As I
tossed the fish into the hatch, the shaft slid out from the head. Hummm.
I'm going to have to rethink this one.
After weighing in around 34.5 lbs on my spring scale, I decided to make the
ten-mile run to Stewart's Point for a certified weight. They had closed
early for Halloween.
Today I weighed it out on a certified scale at 34.25 lbs. It was 41.75
inches long, with a 25-inch girth. It was female with an 18-inch, 1.5 lb,
half digested fish carcass in its stomach. I don't know what kind of fish
that was, but it had four-inch long rib bones.
So what does this all boil down to? Simply that Dennis still rules from his
21st century ling cod throne.