Posted by Finfan on January 14, 2002 at 09:13:54:
My wife and I joined another couple for a run over at Catalina this last weekend. Since the swells were basically flat Saturday morning, we thought we would try the backside. We got there only to find really green water. The recent ground swells have really stired it up. We tried one on the backside and only saw a few legals real deep in their holes. No keepers on the first dive, but I did find a light that some unfortunate person donated to the spare light kit fund. The water was cold and only about 10 to 15 feet of visability (yes, this was Catalina). Because of the clarity, we decided to move around to the frontside. From Parsons to the west end, it didn't look much better. I can only describe it as cold green pea soup.
We made our second dive at the deep spot at the Isthmus and hit the jackpot. At 70 feet I found a hole with two legal bugs and while I bagged those, my friend got one over four pounds right next to me. We ended up with 5 bugs between us on that dive, but saw several others and missed a number of keepers. I think all four of us got a little to excited and anxious. Since we saw so many, we decided to pass on a third day dive and do a night dive at the spot. This spot is famous for big current, so we weren't sure if the current was going to stay down long enough for us to do the night dive, but lady luck was with us. It took my friend some time to get into them, but he ended up with 3 more for his wife and himself. My wife and I cleaned house. We got 8 and found one that could have been the twin brother of my buddy's four pounder that he got on the day dive.
We moved shallow for a second night dive just East of the rock quarry near Empire landing (I think) and found two more, neither needed to be measured. Both were in holes and just lucky grabs. I saw several nice legals, but like the backside, the shallow bugs were in the holes deep and were not out even at night. We got up the next morning and made a final dive getting three more to add to a final tally of 21 bugs, two over 4 pounds. The current was up big Sunday morning, so it shouldn't take long for Catalina to get some visability back.
If you are going over stay deep for the bugs and the water clarity. The deep dives had close to thirty feet of visability. I got some pictures coming that I will attach as soon as my friend sends them over.
A couple of interesting side notes, we saw several lingcod (front and backside). One would have been a keeper under the old size limits and the two other were close to 18 to 20". We also saw several nice size pink and green abalones. The abalone didn't surprise me too much, since I do see them fairly regularly at Catalina. What was surprising was the size. One of the pinks we saw might have pushed 8 inches. The others were also well over the old size limits when it was legal to take abalone. Hopefully, these ones are starting to replenish.
All and all we had a great trip - one *hitty green water dive, four clear water dives, 21 bugs and one new light and wonderful weather.
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