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I hate working on my birthday, and try to avoid it at all costs.

Last year I did mutiple dives before and after my actual birthday, and shot my PB cabezon on the actual day:

This year I headed out with Nathan, Joe and Dave. Little bumpy and windy to start but the Cuda14 handled the conditions and the two mile paddle like a champ.

Made the call to check out this beautiful horizontal crack where I have taken multiple Lings and cabs, and where we have played hide and seek with a skittish female sheep several times in the past.

GPS app on iPhone got me in the general area and dropped a marker weight on a floatline and clipped off to some nearby kelp and started looking around for the crack.

Right away I hear Joe hollering and holding up a sheephead!! He had clipped off his kayak close to my marker line, dove down, saw a sheep heading into the crack we were looking for and shot it right in the eye!!!

He tells me “dude, there’s a killer horizontal crack right there you should go check it out!” I say “I know bro, that’s the one I’m looking for!!”

Dive down and scan the crack from left to right…assorted rockies, dark recesses that even the most powerful light can barely touch, and on the very right side a nice fat Ling head. :smt003

My buddy Dave Grigsby (owner of Kayak Connection in Moss and SC) had dove only once before with Joe and I, and even though I found a few fish that I tried to get him to shoot, he still only went home with one small rockie…so this Ling was for him!!

Called Dave over and told Nathan to go down and see the Ling and help me figure out a plan of attack. Nathan comes up and says “man, that’s a solid Ling!! I’ll dive down and when I am on the bottom will wave Dave down. I’ll light it up for him and you dive down with him and film the whole thing.”

Great plan cuz Nathan’s bottom time is way better than mine. LOL!

Dave was struggling a little bit on the surface, but we calmed him down, helped him get his gun ready and then went for it…he cruised down to the bottom at 30 feet, took his time and placed the shaft right in the eye of the Ling. Right away he took off for the surface and I pulled the Ling out of the crack cuz I know how far back it goes and I didn’t want to risk his first nice fish getting stuck.

After Dave pulled the fish to the surface I helped him gut and gill it to maximize quality of meat and then we convinced him to do the honors of eating the still-beating heart of his first Ling!!! Tastes like LIFE!!!

Ling taped out at a solid 33 inches…not bad for a first!!!

Day already a total success because the spot let Joe pop his sheep cherry AND got Dave his very first Ling!!

Moved to another area and Nathan and I checked a spot where we have had good luck. Yep, two nice Lings within 10 yards of each other…we both dove down at the same time and shot the fish and at the surface his was a bit bigger…young whippersnapper!

Then I checked the crack where I have seen wolf eels in the past…no wolfies, but a nice monkey that I shot in the head.

Picked up a few chunky blues and then Dave and Joe headed in and Nathan and I moved spots.

Took another nice almost 30 inch Ling, found a HUGE Octopus that we wrestled with for awhile but could not get out of its cave, and then it happened….

While breathing up and resting on the surface from battling the Octopus a BIG salmon swims right under us!! At first all my brain registered was “BIG fish, get it!” So I loaded a band, took a quick breath and dropped on it. When I got close I saw it was a salmon and took my finger off the trigger…BEAUTIFUL fish….bright, fat thick silver body, spots along back…followed it as it cruised slowly away and then with one quick flick of its tail it was gone.

What a rush!!! No pics or vid, but it is an experience I will never forget.

Moved again and while paddling came across a massive school of big Rissos Dolphins…so cool seeing so many big animals like that.

Next spot was the deepest of the day and on the first drop Nathan gets a solid 23 inch female sheep at 61 feet!! WTG buddy!!

I am hunting down at 50-55 feet but and seeing smallish olives and blues but nothing special…move a little shallower and find big schools of blues in the surgy waters between pinnacles and go to work popping them.

Then head back to the deep section and drop down to 54 feet and there on the bottom hovering amongst the boulders is a fat Olive…glide up on him and stone him. At the surface I am stoked to see that the fish is really nice sized and actually tapes out to be my new PB at 20 inches!!

Another PB on my birthday…heck yeah!!