I went out on the Sonoma Coast this past weekend. Saturday morning I went to a spot where I was hoping to find some big abs. I walked down to look at the water before getting my gear together, glass!!! I went back to my car got all my gear ready, handed the keys off to my friend who was doing a scuba class at Salt Point. She took off, I made my way to the coast and by the time I got there the wind was now howling at 25-30mph, white caps and wind waves everywhere. I got in and dove a couple short hours while trying not to vomit. Found a few 9-3/4″ abs but no 10s, also took a scallop. It was not particularly enjoyable and I went back to the parking lot to await my ride, I awaited and awaited, and I kicked myself for letting her take off with my car only to leave me stranded two hours beyond our rendezvous. Lol.
Sunday, after the prior day’s conditions and sunburn from falling asleep in a parking lot, I decided I would take it easy and not stray too far from my friend and her class. I saw white caps in the distance, but as luck had it they never really arrived. Visibility was close to 20′ and the wind was MUCH abated. I wasn’t looking for abs and instead just swam out from shore to look for fish at a spot by no means secret or hard to access. The fish were out, and I started hanging lings on my stringer. I moved to a wash rock and turned my attention to blues, one of my favorite eating fish, one ripped off and I chased it down. The moment I put my spear back through it a large lingcod, maybe 35″, lunged and grabbed the fish. I let my spear fall, and when I returned on the following drop he was still holding on. I didn’t have a second weapon with me and so I began gently pulling him towards me, it didn’t work and he fled for a crag so deep and narrow I could not follow. I squeezed myself in until my chest pressed up against the sides and began jabbing my spear towards the back, but nothing. I moved on.
I had a number of blues and wanted only a third ling so that I would have plenty of meat to gift to friends and family. I dropped down and began debating taking the shot on a smallish ling I found resting on the reef. While I sized him up and contemplated his fate a MUCH larger lingcod swam right over and began evaluating me. With this ling there was no debate, my jaw dropped, and inside my own mind I began screaming “Don’t spook him!!!!! Stay calm!!! No quick/jerky movements” I loaded the polespear, took aim and from only a foot or two away punched down and through. He thrashed as I followed through, but I took no risks and soon had my hands on either side of the shaft which had skewered him. I smiled, hollered to the tourists on the bluff, and started making my way back to shore.
I got out, did my best to humble brag to anybody who would listen and went to check on my friend and her class. The course was over and the class had broken up into smaller groups to go back out for a third tank dive. I told her I was going to go visit The Mayor of TC (a buddy of mine who lives in Timber Cove and has been given the affectionate sobriquet ‘The Mayor’) and that I would be back in an hour or so, or maybe I would just leave her stranded in the parking lot, lol.
I came back a short while later and the mood had changed substantially. I walked down to meet with the class and arrived just as the instructor was finishing a very somber debriefing. Some friends of the instructor had joined him for a dive and during the dive one of the divers in the group became unresponsive and passed on. It had been a beautiful day, and conditions did not warrant the untimely event. It was an unfortunate end to what for me was a great day of fishing.
These photos were taken about 30 minutes prior to the incident, it was in the background of the first photo that everything occurred. It was a sunny and fairly calm day, but no matter the conditions the ocean is an awful place to suffer any sort of health complication. Rest in Peace.