Dark & Nasty... PV Bug Diving (long)

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Posted by tleemay on October 30, 2004 at 10:31:03:

Greg and I did an all nighter at PV this morning. Started
at one of Capt Tim's secret spots and worked our way N
from the Marineland Point area.

You know, Tim and I have been having discussions for
over 8 years about the fact that most lobster divers
will not be happy diving the further off shore spots off
the entire PV area, and that's too bad. It's some of
the most beautiful diving in all of CA. There is only one
problem though... the vis is not always the best when
compared to Cat. It is also some of the most productive
bug hunting area if you can get past the inconsistent
vis conditions.

We got to our first site at 10:15 pm or so. There was a
bit of wind blowing, but it was not too tough to set and
hold anchor. We were about 175 to 200 yards off shore
and found a nice 40 ft high spot. This area, along with
most of this portion of PV, has thousands of large
limestone rocks on the bottom with lots of shelves,
nooks and crannies for the bugs to hide in.

Vis was perhaps 10 ft at best with lights, but we could
see far enough ahead to make way.

Boy there are alot of dead animals on the bottom. Two
small bat rays, a 3' blue shark and a couple other
smaller fish that haven't been dead that long. Greg
suspected that rainfall runoff and whatever was in it
may have caused most of the deaths we saw.

But with dead animals on the bottom come the other
animals that feed on them.

There they were, like it was a Sunday afternoon and
they were all walking home after church. I commented
to Greg that it was like they were walking from rock
pile to rock pile visiting and then moving on. It was
common to see them cruising two at a time on the

Rather than fill up a limit on one dive, which we could
have, I decided to seek the more quality bugs and
bypass those I knew would need measuring.

On this dive, the larger ones were still hunkered down
inside the ledges and holes. I pulled 2 nice ones, the
largest being just shy of three lbs. Greg took 4 with one
going just over 3 lbs. Out of the water and onto the
next spot.

I love the area right below the lighthouse. You can find
bugs there shallow and deep. There was another boat
there when we pulled up. He was just pulling his anchor
from the area we originally wanted to anchor, so we
moved further N to another spot.

Vis was much less here, about 5 ft. This was going to
make picking up lobsters off the sand tough. The swell
was not too bad, so we had opted to surface swim to
shore and check out the bugs shallow. Ther were there,
and a lot of them at that, but they all had that San
Clemente Isle problem - too short.

Swam for deeper water back to the boat and things
started to improve. The vis was back up to 10 feet and
the bugs were getting larger. The boat was sitting off
the sneaker about 100', so the depth of the anchor
was about 70 ft. Just under the boat we found the
anchor line.

And we found lobsters - big 'uns.

The anchor was hooked into a mushroom shaped rock
that came up about 15' off the sand. Inside this rock
were numerous ledges and crevices. Inside the
numerous ledges and crevices were numerous lobsters.

My biggest and most worked lobster came out to be 3
lbs 14 oz. It took me about 10 minutes to actually beat
her out of the hole. I was not sure I would be able to
get her out when I first saw her. But, I was able to
incorporate two distinct techniques to achieve success;
I performed the Michael Gallagher Cortez Banks Magic
Trick (hey Terry, watch me pull a 5 lb lobster out of a 3
lb hole) and the Moose Brother's Tarqua Springs Gawd
Damn Bug If I Can't Have You No One Will approaches.
I won, and now had 3 more for a total of 5. Greg took
two more himself, for a total of 6.

Greg's crappy bendable anchor was rocked. We moved
it so it would not be hindered when it was pulled. It
came up without any problems. But now the wind was
picking up along with a slight fog. We decided to move
closer to MDR incase we had to bolt. We had one more
tank each and set the compass to Dominator Point.

Cool, not one other boat in the area. Problem though,
the fog was still just off shore. The wind has died down
and the cloud cover looked to be moving in. Greg
motored around the numerous trap floats while I held
the light. Down went the anchor.

35 feet of water with some of the wreckage and rocks
showing up at 25.

Nasty nasty water for a night dive. Almost no vis and
a very consistent surge. Perfect water though for
huntin' bug.

For those of you who dive the wreckage regularly, you
might know of the long piece of something that sticks
out of the rocks and sand. I say long as in about 20 ft
in length, a ft wide and about 3 to 6 feet off the bottom,
depending of where the shifting sands are at that time.
It was in this area we found lobsters. They were not
big, but they were more than legal. Greg and I each
filled our limits within 5 minutes. We spent the rest of
the dive in the crappy 5ft or less vis (usually less)
looking for other critters.

Other than a sand bass here and there, it was not a
heavily populated area. Our total dive time here in this
shallow spot was 18 minutes. Greg did say he saw an
octopus in a piece of the wreckage.

Back on the deck, we stowed our gear and motored
back to the dock at MDR. Fought the freeway closures
on the MDR and SD freeways only to take PCH back

Cold weather and dark vis, in this case, led to a very
productive combination for us. I had the biggest single
bug as well as the heaviest bag this time. I had all
the bugs tailed, cracked and freezer bagged by 6 5:30

If you haven't dove PV for lobster before, I highly
suggest you try it. It's not easy diving when the
conditions bring up wind and swell, but no one ever said
lobster hunting was to the timid and passive. If you
do dive PV, use a boat to hit the further off rock piles.
Shore diving is possible, but it can be an awful long
night surface swim and not the safest thing to do
anyway unless you stay close to shore. I have done
well here for lobster during the day as well, but that's
another recount for another time.

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