California Sheepshead a.k.a. Goat

BOAT DIVE – This dive was on a beautiful Sunday March 4th, 2012. All the conditions were great. I drove over to my friends house and helped him put on the finishing touches on some repairs he was doing to his boat. We gassed it up and we were on our way. We meet the third member of our group at the marina and launch the boat. We are on our way to the popular “secret” spot.

The water is flat and hardly any current. About 10 minutes from our destination we one of us sees a RIB with like 8 people in it and one of them is waving his arm above his head.

“Are they waving at us?..”

As we kill the motor and come to a stop

PREPARE TO BE BOARDED – It’s the U.S. Coast Guard. Jumpsuits, self inflating life vests, boots, and utility belts complete with guns.

‘U.S. Coast Guard. Have you been boarded before…”

They checked everyone’s ID and called them in to the mother ship to run them for warrants. After an inspection of the vessel and finding that we were in compliance they took another 15 minutes to try to figure out their PDA and wireless printer issue. They couldn’t get it to print and ended up telling my friend they would mail it to him. The whole process took about an hour and it put as at [3:00]pm. With Sunset at about [5:45]pm it we had very little time to dive.

COUNTING SHEEP – Finally, I’m in the water. The kelp is up and it’s looking good. After a few shallow dives to about 20 feet I’m feeling more comfortable. I see my friend pulling up his shooting line and I swim over to see what he shot.

“I missed on a goat…”

I gain a little forward momentum, take my last breath and dive down to check it out. I blow past 20 feet and my neutral buoyancy. I feel gravity slowly pull me down as I stop my fin strokes. With my speargun under me I drift down to 35 feet like in a dream. I see a decent size Sheepshead about 10-15 feet away. I adjust the angle on my fins so I’m drifting at an angle towards it. I close distance, extend my speargun and blast it. The goat didn’t put up a fight. I brought it up and asked my friend…

“This one?”

I have a healthy fear of sharks so I swam the goat to the boat and came back to this spot. I have been spearfishing for one year this month so being able to make these “deeper” dives is a new and wonderful experience for me. The sea life reacts differently. The fish aren’t spooking. On my last dive of the day I’m drifting down slowly from 27 to 34 feet. First I see a goat the same size as the one I just shot. I adjust to drift towards it and I see a small school of Calicos swimming in my direction from my right. When I looked back left to see where the goat was I noticed an even bigger goat making its way towards the first. I extend and blast him too. This is my biggest Sheepshead. It weighed in at 13Lbs.

Sheepshead 13Lbs on a 30" cutting board

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