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So….I missed a shot on a BEAUTIFUL, big LingZilla last week…

Can see here how the tip of my speargun dropped right before I pulled the trigger and the shaft went straight under her chin…

Despite the obvious frustration and heartache of missing the shot on such a nice fish, I was VERY grateful to have been able to get the chance to see her, AND to capture the encounter on my GoPro.

I did bring home a few fish that day (26 and 29 inch Lings), so it was still a success…

After I shared the footage of the Ling miss online I went through a whole bunch of different emotions….embarrassment at having missed such an easy shot at such a big target; self doubt about my technique, gear, abilities etc; anger at myself for the miss…

Receiving advice from people online about why I might have missed (while for the most part well-meaning) only served to make me question myself more…maybe I’ve been shooting my gun wrong all along…maybe there is something wrong with my gun…maybe my bottom time/diving skills aren’t good enough cuz I’m out of shape and that’s why I rushed the shot and missed…blah blah blah….

Spent the whole week dealing with these emotions…while at the same time studying the footage and structure with the idea of going back to that spot and tracking the big Ling down to “redeem myself”…

By the time Saturday afternoon rolled around and I was free to paddle back to the reef I was an emotional mess…and struggling with the feeling of wanting to get that fish to “prove” (mostly to other people) that I wouldn’t miss again versus wanting to just get out there and put in the time exploring that particular reef to see if I could find her again…

On the drive down to the beach I made myself slow down and reflect on WHY I was diving…not to prove to anyone that I can make a shot or find a big fish or not…but rather to challenge MYSELF physically and mentally while enjoying being underwater in a beautiful dynamic environment…

A recent online interaction about “happiness” with my buddy Dave Grigsby who owns Kayak Connection came to mind…the interaction and philosophy was deep but simple, and these wise words of Ray Wylie Hubbard came up: “The days that I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations…well, I have really good days”.

I have SO MUCH to be grateful for (both when it comes to diving, and with life in general), and as I got to the beach and was paddling out I started thinking about just a few of the things that I had to be super grateful for on that day:

-I have a family who loves me, and a job, and a house, and we are all in good health
-I have friends and people who believe in me and support my underwater adventures, regardless of what size or type of fish I shoot
-The sun was shining and the ocean was calm
-My knee was strong enough now that I could carry my kayak to the shore and launch without any help from anyone
-The wind wasn’t TOO bad, and even though most kayakers were already getting blown off the water, I was able to make headway easily in my Kraken 13.5 and the ~2 mile paddle to the reef was actually enjoyable
-The water was CLEAR!!! Crazy, ridiculously clear…could see the reefs as I paddled over them, and when I jumped in I could make out the structure from the surface even in 45+ FOW…diving in that kind of viz is SUPER rare up here and it felt great!!
-I had no problems with my technique or gun…took two shots and both were perfect headshots
-The two fish I took were yummy and nice sized, 20.5 inch Cabezon and 27.5 inch Lingcod.
-I was able to do over 100 dives on this reef and did not see another diver or angler the whole time.
-The wind died and the ocean was flat on my paddle back in
-The showers are working again at the beach, and there was no one there so I could take my time and enjoy a shower beer under the hot water.

I didn’t find the big Ling again, but I had a really good day and am very grateful for being able to paddle and dive in such a beautiful place.

Here’s a quick vid showing the beautiful conditions and the two fish I took:

Thanks for looking!!