The past two days have been near perfect and so on Wednesday morning we headed to the Bonanza. I had not been there in a while and was looking forward to seeing if it had changed – True to form we were not disappointed -
With flat seas, it was a quick ride and as we approached there was a large fishing boat sand anchored right on top - After a quick discussion over the radio, we lucked out and they were pulling anchor. We moved over, dropped a line and two of us dropped in to tie – The water out there is very clear all the way to the bottom. – As I dropped down I noticed the sugar sand bottom just like I remembered. I was in heaven – the water was warm, vis was 30 foot, tons of fish and what we come for - LOBSTERS!!!! – its amazing how much ambient light there was, no light needed. As I swam along I kept grabbing eggers, letting them go, and to be honest, I didn’t care. I was just taking in the entire wreck, we were tied right by a large hauler and I was keeping an eye out for any stray artifacts. I would not be disappointed….
Ok so here I am at 110 feet and looking back, I must have been a little narced,. I mean I was on 30%, it could be possible?
Anyway, as I go along the wreck I see something unusual stuck between the ribs. Having recovered deadeyes in the past I immediately recognized the shape, I could not believe my luck. As I dug it out, I was amazed how heavy the iron wood was – I soon saw it was a pulley but hey thats cool to. I hustled that pulley out, man it was heavy, and stuffed it in the bag with the lobsters and some stray dive equipment I found. A quick clip off to the shot line, filled the lift bag and back to the boat I went. I was hooting on deck saying I found something nautical, very nautical.
The lift bag made it easy to pull up the chain and soon my artifact was aboard. It was heavy and I explained to the newbies that ironwood is the most dense, hard wood in the world and that why it was used on old shipwrecks.
I opened the bag and there it was… well it was not a deadeye, or even a pulley, it was a ballast stone… a 40 lb ballast rock…..
Oh man this is going to be bad – everyone just stared and then the comments started and the laughter. – it was funny, I have to say that – this big rock I just hauled to the surface – and so thats how the day started. lololololol
We headed in and did two more inshore reefs – vis inshore was less and darker, but still pretty good. There seems to be dog fish everywhere and not the tiny ones. There were the 3 to 4 footers, all around, and acting just like the little sharks they are – I kept wanting to drill them with the pole spear. How can these fish be on the endangered list – they are everywhere. In the end we totaled up 9 lobsters, one lost triggerfish and several hand caught seabass – not too shabby.
Thanksgiving we ran out for a quick two dives on the sea girt reef figuring we could stay close and get home fast for the fixins – With me was Capt Stan and Howard. The first stop was the Travis tug – very nice - not to deep, covered in nice mussels and just a tiny bit silty. Well it got a lot siltier when I started grabbing mussels and soon I was presented with an 20 lb anchor, chain and 70 feet of rope that my friend Stan happened to find…
Stan is great for finding stuff as I would soon see…
Our next stop is an often hit barge that continues to attract fish and today I was told we were after Blackfish. For the most part am not a big spear fisherman but if someone wants a fish or two I am willing to help out – I was instructed that the minimum size is now 15 inches – I am thinking, I am going with a polespear, so the chances of me getting a blackfish were slim but I will only take a giant if I see it.
This time the vis was very nice and the mussels here were even bigger. I took some time to pick some big ones. I actually put down my polespear and was swimming around looking for Stan – I soon saw he was under the decking in some far away dark space and I was like well thats nice and kept going. There were several decent blackfish swimming about, looking me over and keeping their distance.. Soon Stan comes back with some strange piping and stuff for me to put in my empty bag, and as I am watching he goes into this convulsive charade act that if I am interpreting correctly is describing either a huge fish or possibly a small whale. He is motioning me to bring the spear – OK I am game, show me this fish, we will see – well for some reason, whatever he wants to show me is inside this really big piece of metal we are diving on – So now I hesitate, I am not a big fan of going inside, not because I am afraid of the dark, (looking left and right nervously), but because the of the state of the art lighting I carry. I am a big fan of led lighting and sometimes, not often, but sometimes they go out – and I don’t like being in the dark without a light (makes sense, rite) – I know what a few of you are thinking, he also has a light that electrically shocks the user at depth, but I am no longer using that model, so stop.
So Stan sees me holding back, points his light and there is a huge fish looking back at me – I mean a big one – like over 12 lbs, a Goliath Blackfish if you will, possibly a record – I am like ok, its go time. Now armed with my custom bent polespear for shooting around corners, I pulled back on that single band and the rest is the stuff legends are made of. It was a struggle and in the end I am carrying that fish back to the bag of mussels I had left on deck. Just like on youtube, with those spearos shooting yellowfin tuna, you know they are swimming, holding the fish in two hands around the head.. it was crazy
Back on deck Howard is smiling when he sees the fish, so am I, so is Stan – it was warm, the sun was shining and seas were flat. It was a great end to a perfect two days