Dive report - Frontside Catalina

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Posted by Finfan on December 27, 2002 at 16:13:01:

Made 3 dives yesterday (12/26) around the Isthmus area. Small swell out to Catalina and perfect conditions for a fast smooth ride home. First time I came home in the center console and didn't take a bath.

Conditions at the island were great. Got two nice bugs on the first dive, just off of Bird rock near the high spot. Both bugs came deep (65+) and from one crack. One was a solid 3 pounder, the other one about a 1/4 inch over legal size (both good quality). Ended up seeing several more, but they were all fairly deep in their holes.

Second dive, after breakfast, was on the high spot. What a beautiful spot. Saw several bugs, including some real beautys but all were a little quicker than thee. My best opportunity had two bugs better then 2 pounds each in a spot where they couldn't back in any further, but they had a rather large and obviously well-fed moray guarding the front of the hole. I knew the minute I got my hand inside the hole with the bugs the big guy on the outside would be dining down on some arm parts. Figured my elbow would work better without any incisions from any moray teeth.

Something that was very interesting was the numbers and size of the lingcod on the spot. This is always a great spot for fish, but this was the first time I saw so many lings. It was absolutely loaded with ling. I've never seen so many in such a small area. Several were well beyond the minimum size limit, most looked like they were in the 8 to 12 pound class.

What was amazing was how friendly some of them are. I know how dumb they can be with divers, but these guys literally followed us around all dive. It was like they had been hand feed and were waiting for us to start the feeding trough. I bet I counted more than 12 at one point and everytime we moved to a new area on the reef more would appear. When I returned to the anchor line to ascend there must have been 4 or 5 swimming around the anchor. It was incredible, if you want to take pictures of lings go to the high spot.

Final dive was east of Blue caverns right where the rock quarry begins. Not great for the bugs, only saw a couple of shorts. Had some good fish, including a well colored male sheepshead about 15 pounds.

Water visability for the entire day was great at 50 feet plus (we actually could make at the bottom at 65 feet on the high spot), slight wind all day (very mild), sunny, flat seas and cool water.

Typical, great winter diving!

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