First and most importantly, a huge thank you to the Fathomiers, especially Ryan Moore Scotty Blumer, and Austin Derry for their hard work in organizing a truly great and widely attended event. Further thanks to Amadeo Bachar for providing a variety of truly beautiful prize plaques, one of which I was fortunate enough to take home. And also to Alex Reynaud for his clear and legible hand writing on the scoreboard 🙂
Ok so, I’ve been a little bit MIA from the forums lately due to work and a restructuring of my personal life. Haven’t had a solid day diving in a bit more than a month and to say I was getting a bit antsy and stressed out is an understatement. Fortunately the Pacific Coast Championship hosted by the Fathomiers was an event I had been planning on and looking forward to and so finally the week ended and I made the drive down to San Simeon during Friday exodus traffic.
Late that night we arrived in camp at San Simeon State Park. The NorCal community was well represented with a large number of Red Triangle team mates in camp relaxing, tinkering with gear, and giddy with excitement. I was overjoyed to hear the comp wouldn’t start until 9:30 the next morning and that I would have a chance to catch up on some sleep before the dive. Beers were shared in pre-dive moderation.
About 7 or so the next morning we awoke, made our way down to the launch area, prepped our gear, took note of the sets, and watched the crowd of eager competitors grow until some 70+ divers mostly on kayaks we’re lined up and ready to punch through the breakers at San Simeon. When it was time Matt, Kris, and Myself made it out with some struggle and started heading north to an area we had chosen based on hope and faith. This was a no scout, no gps, no fish finder comp which could not have been better for me cuz I very rarely scout in advance or use any sort of fish tech 🙂
The day was very hit or miss for most people, our first spot was a total miss, we were seeing nothing at about 35′ or so and so after about 30 minutes we moved out deeper. I was lagging and so was a little slow to catch up to my team mates, they were ready to move again just as I showed up. I did a few drops, found a rockpile coming up off the bottom at 55-60′ and noticed a school of blues. I surfaced, but before I could let Kris and Matt know what I was seeing they had moved on to continue looking. I thought I would give the spot a few more drops before I caught up. Instead I found schools of all types of fish, blues, rubberlip perch, olives, vermilion, sheep, and lingcod. My favorite charter captain, Captain George of the Sand Dollar, says it best “Don’t leave fish to find fish” so I stayed and worked this rock pile the entire day.
I did between 50 and 60 drops down to 50’+, and had to switch from a Blutec Bastard 90cm when the wishbone cord broke to a retrofitted Cressi-Sub 75cm lent to me by the retrofitting artist himself, Matt L. FYI, this is still the beginning stages of my transition into spearguns from a polespear (I’m not entirely foresaking the polespear, it’s still my go to weapon up north) but wow what a difference in range and readiness a speargun makes!!! No slowly loading up and trying to close the gap, just point to way over there, pull the trigger, and wham!!! A lot of fun. It seemed like I was dropping down, seeing something, and landing it on almost every drop for a short period. I was really impressed with the variety and abundance of fish.
By 2pm, I had filled a couple stringers with about 100# of fish, sadly I had mis-remembered the amount of sheep I could enter and so was obligated to leave one out when it came time to weigh in. For the purposes of the comp I had 19 fish, and a total of 91#, a respectable haul that earned me a ranking of 2nd place and a score of 110.03 only .57 points shy of Richard Balta’s winning score of 110.60 (Very well done Richard!!!). My teammate Kris had also done very well with his own 62# stringer, and between the three of us we placed 4th out of 27 teams.
As usual I had starved myself prior to diving and had not brought snacks or water out with me during the day. By nightfall dehydration and hunger were starting to catch up and I was quick to find a bed and beer to drown myself in. It had been a really great day, I had not even slightly expected to perform as well as I did, and I was both elated and humbled to rank among the top of some of the Pacific Coast’s best divers at this long standing event.
Again much thanks to all the organizers, the competitors who attended, the many excellent sponsors, and all my teammates at Red Triangle Spearfishing.