Last week I went on a spearfishing trip to San Clemente Island, the southern most Channel Island in California. The goal was to travel to Cortes Bank but weather did not permit. Yellowtail was on the menu and we were hungry for a chance to spear some. The first day we had pretty good luck and saw a fair amount of yellowtail. We caught nine yellows on that day. I laid in bed after the first day and struggled with my decision to spearfish over film. We didn’t see a lot of yellowtail but we saw enough to call it a good day. Picking spearing over filming was a lesson I thought I learned earlier in the year when I decided to just go hunting for white sea bass in PV and saw a grey whale with her calf in the kelp. The whales were hugging the kelp line and swimming into the kelp whenever needed. I witnessed the whales 30 or so feet below the surface dragging kelp stalks with their tails franticly seeking refuge from a pod of orcas. The decision to have instant satisfaction (spear a yellowtail) or potentially get great footage or stills definitely is a hard one. I regrettably picked instant satisfaction on day 2 as well. I was the first diver in the water the second day, and after about 3 dives the biggest school of yellowtail I have ever seen came up from the depths and schooled me. Though I shot a yellowtail, I so wish I filmed or photographed the 100+ fish that swarmed me. There was a wall in front of me and a wall behind me stacked about 5 deep and 10 or so feet tall. It was a beautiful site that I am so happy to witness. A giant school of pelagic fish schooling you is a majestic site to say the least.
After I speared a yellow I got my cameras out and filmed for a bit, but no one saw another yellow at that spot. The next spot had great viz in the kelp and I decided to follow my friend around, and film him spearing calicos. We also saw a soupfin shark(worst name ever) wandering around the kelp. We chased after him for a while, but just could not keep up.
The third day we dove Catalina and had no luck, I saw a pair of yellowtail about 50 feet down, but not close enough to get a shot. All in all it was a great trip, we brought back 12 yellowtail, calicos, a 23 pound (or so, can’t remember) sheephead, and lots of pictures and memories. Check out some of the photos I took on the trip.