Posted by finfan on November 19, 2004 at 17:14:42:
In Reply to: Santa Cruz island lobsters posted by Kwontom Diver on November 19, 2004 at 04:19:24:
I've spent a fair amount of time at Cruz for Bugs. Some of that time has been in the various caves around the island. Although, I don't spend a lot of time diving the really big caves that can hold boats in them.
Early season the bulk of the bugs seemed to be shallow (less than 20 ft). Really didn't see a lot down deep. Yellow and Blue banks was loaded, but I imagine by now most have moved out to some of the deeper water. That follows a typical pattern for Cruz. That said, you can always find some shallow, unfortunately often you have to be right against the shore and right smack in the surge or swell zones. So that can make it challenging. It becomes especially tricky grabbing at a legal bug when you flying by because of the swell and worried about getting pushed into the rocks.
Diablo area has some great caves and can produce some good sized bugs (that's frontside)I think it's because of the depth in some of those caves. The west end has some great bug caves, but water has to be real calm to explore there. Some of the best caves are now in the reserve area.
One word of caution, on the frontside the caves can silt up real bad and so you really need to be careful. I had a buddy who got a little too excited chasing down some bugs in one such cave and we came real close to having a terrible mishap. By the time I got a line strung and found him he was down to a few hundred pounds and had no clue where the cave entrance was. If you do decide to chase them in the caves always use a line. 9 out of 10 times you won't need it, but one time is all it takes. Personally, I prefer the caves at capa. The volcanic rock around the island makes them tougher to silt out so I generally probe deeper and feel a little more confident. In any case, you need to mind how much silt is in the bottom before venturing too far in. The second biggest problem is surge. West end at Cruz is really bad. I'd swear several of those go thru the island so you can (in a blink of an eye) get pushed in really far and become very disoriented. I've seen it where the entire cave almost goes white out from the foam and bubbles being pushed around by the surge. No matter what island it is in the channel islands it seems like every other cave against the island can have some periods of bad surge, so be careful.
I'd say island cave diving for bugs is only for the advanced diver and that diver needs to be able to control that urge to chase bugs versus always evaluating risk. For some that becomes the difficult part. The last thing I'd share with you is that some like to do the long hose and take the tank off to penetrate the tightest spots. I have a 20 ft hose myself and have done that, but only in the perfect conditions. Yes, there always is a crazy one in the bunch and I am a little crazy about bug diving. In the end though, I've watched many a 5/6 pounder walk out of reach simply because I didn't have enough time to evaluate the situation and draw a conclusion to go after the bug. Afterwards, I've found myself thinking that if I would have just reacted immediately I might have been able to get that bug. But then again, I think my ability to control that urge to immediate react and (pardon the pun) "dive in" is probably why I've never been in trouble in a cave.
I guess my final piece of advice would be - if you can get them without going into the caves then don't go in. They taste the same in or out of the caves and it is definetly safer outside.
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