Note: I was originally going to try and write this report up in a movie plot style format intending to mimic the Bond film I’ve alluded to in the title. I don’t really see that working but I still like the title.
Also Note: Monikers for friends of mine have been peppered into this dive report, these are the names used by the members of Nor Cal Kayak Anglers and Nor Cal Underwater Hunters.
I pulled into the parking lot at Stillwater South, Carmel CA, it was 9am sharp. Lots of other spearfishers and kayak anglers were getting their things together. Within 20 minutes my car was moved to the hedge row and I was paddling my way north out of the cove. I was feeling particularly smooth for executing such a timely launch.
Well past the cove, I ran into my buddy BigJim, he had been in for a while and just scored a beast of a wolf eel. He was moving spots and told me that strangely for how far out we were, we were in only 30′ of water. He was lying. I started making drops down to the bottom and almost half of my first 20 dives were over 50′. I scored some nice 15″+ blues in the area and then started checking other spots in the area north of the cove. The viz was beautiful, 60′ easy, great structure. Lots of blues, kelpies, and baby lings. I was only interested in the blues of substantial size and so I left most everything alone.
Moving along I paddled over to the wash rock just inside the cove from Pescadero Point. It so happened Jack’sDiving and his buddy Alex were pulling up to the kelp paddy at about the same time. I got in and started doing my breathe up, on my first drop down I was descending the wall and almost to the bottom when I spotted a good sized cabbie. I was just about to stab him when he panicked and booked it for a hole maybe 15-20′ away and 10′ deeper. I went back to the surface and when I realized I had just dropped down to 70’+ and that the fish was in a hole down at 80′ I decided the 18-20″ cabbie I saw wasn’t worth the effort/risk and I moved on. I kept diving the pinnacle and although I was seeing lots of small stuff I wasn’t seeing anything that peaked my interest. The scenery however was blowing my mind. There was one seascape I happened upon while climbing over a ridge. I was under the shadow of the kelp canopy and looking out towards deeper kelpless water. It seemed a vision of a vaulted gold ceiling arching over crystal blue water. From my vantage point I could peer down the steep rock walls to the boulder strewn seafloor. I remember on one drop while I was breathing up I could just make out the rocks on the bottom. When I came back up and checked my gauge I had just hit 64′, excellent viz!!!
I moved spots a final time. Back inside the cove and diving in 40′ of water the visibility had decreased and a greenish haze loomed on the surface. Once descended it cleared up a good bit and I could see maybe 30′. I was checking the ravines and looking for lings hidden away in their crevices when finally I spotted a good looking head. Having a good fish spotted I dropped back down to 40′ and began trying to make space for my pole spear while lining up a shot on a recessed lingcod 3-4′ deep. I let loose my points and firmly staked my claim to his face. I gently eased him out and saw that he was indeed a respectable fish. About as soon as I had him all the way out of the hole my spear points slipped right out of his cheek and he bolted for another hole. I surfaced and began wildly screaming curses in violent fits of frustration. Fuzz was not far away and he perked his head up and became a bit alarmed when he heard my shouting. Finally I composed myself and resolved not to let this fish get away. I spent the next 30-40 minutes dropping down on that spot. The hole he was in was formed by a large flat and round boulder and so the crevice worked its way around with multiple entries and exits. As I kept diving I spotted him again and again and as soon as I put my light on him he got the good sense to move around the corner. Finally I spotted him at the back of one entrance and when I returned to line up the shot he was still there. I reached my 6′ pole spear it’s entire length into that hole, I then squeezed my arm inside and stretched the spear back. Finally I let go and I felt the resistance of flesh and bone. I pulled my spear a little out of the hole so I could see it while descending and surfaced so I could come back and take my time pulling that fish out. When I did you better believe that as soon as it was in reach I grabbed that beast’s gill cover and held on for dear fish. Stoked and vindicated I swam that beast back to my stringer and then I broke its gills. He ended up measuring just under 31″. I dove a few minutes more and then decided to head in and enjoy the party taking place on the beach. It was a great day.