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Coronados Islands

September 29, 2017

 

I had been wandering Southern California for weeks without any real interest in diving. After nationals I just had no interest in getting back into the 7 mm wetsuit. I still had not gotten an opportunity at a blue fin and just assumed the run was over. One night hanging out with Julie Riffe we got a report of someone shooting a small one. I scrambled looking for a boat and Scott Darnell came through with a trip to the Coronados. Austin Derry, Scott, Sam and I took off from San Diego headed to Mexico to see what we could find. 


We arrived at the beautiful Coronados islands greeted by an obnoxious sea lion colony and crystal clear water. While me and Sam fawned over the seals Austin and Scott looked at us like we're nuts.

 

There had been a lot of shit talking on the way out and somehow I ended up jumping in with my 75cm pathos to try and shoot a yellowtail. After missing a few opportunities and seeing some really nice fish I connected with a smaller one and quickly landed it. Then I met what had to be the biggest sea lion I've ever seen. He just kinda casually was looking at me as I dispatched my fish and began the really long swim back to the anchored boat. He followed me for a long time getting bolder and bolder. At first I thought it was cool and took some video. The novelty quickly wore off as he began charging me and barking at me underwater. I swam on my back protecting my fish all the way to the boat pretty terrified the whole way. This was my first sea lion encounter and I had no idea if he would actually attack me or was just bluffing. I made it to the boat and put my fish on the platform. As I turned to jump on the boat the fish must have slipped into the water. That was all mr. sea lion needed to swoop in and grab him. I screamed and jumped in the water. Sam who was asleep on the boat finally looked over the side to see something giant fighting with me. She screamed in a way that will be hard to forget. After all the talk of great whites over the last few months she was pretty certain I was just eaten. I recovered my gun and now fully understood everyone's disdain for these beasts. 

 


We reset the boat to up current of the point and began doing drifts. I switched to a proper gun and landed a nice yellowtail. There was a ton of life around and we kept catching glimpses of blue fin. Eventually on one drop within sight of the bottom a wall of tuna cruised past me. I took a quick snap shot with my 115 blue tec raptor. Perfect angled shot in the center and out the gill plate. He ripped 20 feet of reel line and died. I was beyond stoked with my first tuna and got it my favorite way hunting deep reef with a reel. We took a ton of pictures then I drove for a bit. When it was my turn again to dive I was greeted by a beautiful marlin. I had no idea if it was legal or not as we left from California so I yelled to the boat. After confirming marlin were indeed legal of course he was gone but still any glimpse of a marlin is an incredible experience. I had no idea how great the diving could be right off San Diego. Stoked to be spending a bunch of time in Southern California in the coming months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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