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This guest post by David Bond is part of the Spearfishing Story Series by SpearoNation Community Members. Enjoy!
One of my most epic days of Spearfishing White Sea Bass was at Santa Cruz Island for 3 days on the Peace Dive Boat.
Spearfishing Santa Cruz Island Day 1
Saturday (first day of fishing) I was in the water all day without seeing anything until about 6pm. Then the conditions got good, very skittish bait everywhere. I snuck around on the surface, as slow and quiet as I could be. Saw one big White Sea Bass (WSB) but couldn’t get a shot. But holy <bleep>, I finally saw a WSB! I was really excited now. Kept going around extremely slow in the bait. A WSB came out of nowhere and swam right in front of me. The angle wasn’t good but he was super close. I turned my 60″ Wong mid-handle with just my wrist (bending my wrist 90 degrees) and shot sideways one-handed without aiming. The WSB was about 2 feet from the tip of my spear when I shot. Spined it. Woo my first White Sea Bass!
I was super stoked. Finally got a WSB! Best trip ever, etc. etc. Fish was 23 pounds.
Spearfishing Santa Cruz Island Day 2
So then the next day, after a few other dive locations I head out into the same kelp bed. Start paddling around all slow and quiet. My head is on a swivel. 45 minutes later I’ve shot THREE MORE WSB. Holy <bleep> balls!
I spined the first one (21 pounds).
The 2nd White Sea Bass one was stunned, but I could see from the shot he might wake up soon. I pulled him in as fast as I could. I got my legs around him and my hands in his gills just as he woke up. I was kinda riding him for a bit while I pulled out his gills. He went 31 pounds.
The 3rd one put up a fight. I fought him away from the kelp for a few minutes, then pulled him in on my reel line close enough to see that it was a pretty sketchy gut shot with the slip tip just barely hanging in there. I let out some line hoping he’d go tie up in the kelp. I called for scuba, Cody came over and saved the fish for me. It weighed 17 pounds.
So now I’ve shot my limit. Swim back to the boat with all three fish. I’m greeted with high fives and fist bumps all around. Everyone is congratulating me and amazed that just yesterday was my first ever WSB. One guy tells me that he’s been doing this trip for 15 years, and he’s shot 3 fish in one day but never on one jump in a single kelp bed. Everyone agrees I’m completely out of karma and it will never happen again.
Spearfishing Santa Cruz Island Day 3
I’m the last off the boat. I wait until everyone else heads out and notice that no one is headed for a tiny little kelp bed way the hell out there. I swim over and proceed to shoot THREE MORE WSB in 45 minutes.
I spined the 1st one, 21 pounds.
I fought the 2nd one for about five minutes until he tied up in the kelp about 25 feet down. I went down and freed him, all good. 19 pounds.
The 3rd one came along. I stoned it right through the brain. Another 21 pounder. I took quite a while to paddle all the way back with 60 pounds of fish on my stringer but I made it. The reception I got today was the opposite of yesterday… lots of curse words and buckets of water being hurled at me from the boat.
All in good fun though!
There were 23 divers on the boat. 42 White Sea Bass shot, 7 by me. No fish lost by me, no tear outs. I’m gonna remember this trip forever. 🙂
All told I shot 153 pounds of WSB this weekend.
Spearfishing Lessons Learned
Dave shares some insights gained from this trip.
I learned a ton on this trip:
• You don’t always need to dive down to hunt WSB. I shot all seven fish from the surface. You can be a lot quieter creeping around on the surface than you can diving, so if the fish are up top then you should be too. Once I realized I was seeing more fish from the surface than down below I just stayed up top. Slow slow slow.
• The kelp was a lot sparser than I thought it needed to be for WSB. I shot all of the fish on the edges of small sparse beds, way on the outside (farthest kelp beds from the shore).
• When I saw fish I would memorize the conditions (amount of kelp, bait, vis, shadows, etc) and try to find more spots that were just like that.
• You can check how skittish the bait is by trying to spook it with a quick movement. If everything runs away super fast when you flick your fingers then you know things are about to get good.
• I’m sure conditions are different all the time…this is just what worked for me on that particular trip. Your mileage may vary. 🙂
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