Hunting and Gathering

Knowing and Catching California Spiny Lobster

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Lobster season opens Saturday, October 3, and many California divers are eagerly awaiting it. This article provides information on the life cycle of these savory crustaceans as well as tips and techniques that will help you catch them. First, let’s take a closer look at Panulirus interruptus, aka the California spiny lobster. The most obvious difference between it and the East Coast’s American lobster is that the American lobster has big claws and the spiny lobster has none. While some sea creatures are involved parents […]

The Thrill of the Hunt: A Diver’s Guide to Lobster

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Who says we don’t have seasons in California? We most certainly do! There is lobster season and everything else. We’ll keep this simple: California spiny lobsters (“bugs”) are very tasty. They’re also hard to find at local seafood specialty stores and restaurants — and are often outrageously expensive when you can find them. Finally, they are a lot of fun to catch while diving! If you have not already done so, perhaps it is time for you to try lobster hunting. Is it easy? Well, […]

California Abalone Diving

Strange things happen in Northern California during springtime. Campgrounds and motels that were unoccupied most of the winter are now sold out. Coastal roads that were once empty are bustling with traffic. Large numbers of employees are mysteriously absent from their jobs. A case for the X-Files? No, it’s simply the beginning of abalone season. The red abalone is the world’s largest, and this mollusk thrives on Northern California’s inshore reefs. Red abalones are not as abundant as they once were, but with a little […]

Recipe: Seared Halibut

Halibut is a favorite of many seafood lovers because of its mild flavor. The meat has a firm, large flake. I suggest pan searing halibut rather than grilling it. If you decide to grill it, remove filets from the grill when still slightly undercooked and cover with foil for several minutes before serving; the retained heat will allow the fish to finish cooking while keeping it moist and tender. One of my favorite go-to sauces is a fresh sage chiffonade with brown butter and toasted […]

The Scuba Chef: The Magical Flavor of Fresh Sea Urchin

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When I was 13 my father took me camping at Rosarito Beach on the Pacific side of Mexico’s Baja peninsula. We set up our tent right on the beach. The next day a local fisherman took us on his small wooden boat to a shallow reef just a half-mile off the coast. It is a day I’ll never forget — it was the day I discovered the magical flavor of sea urchin fresh from the ocean. The bright orange roe was firm and possessed a […]

A Giant (Rock Scallop) Mystery

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An ex-boyfriend once complained: “I’ve never met a woman who asked so many questions!” At the time, of course, he was trying to avoid answering one. What can I say? The mysteries of life intrigue me. One of them involves the giant rock scallop (Crassadoma gigantea). Everything I’ve read says they have orange mantles but that’s not always the case. Some have black mantles; others have dark green, cream or beige. I know this because I have at least 80 photographs of scallops taken in […]

Safe Abalone Diving

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Each spring Northern California divers look forward to the beginning of abalone season with the exuberance of children waiting for Santa Claus. With good reason since abalone are one of the tastiest shellfish that you will ever harvest in California and they are still very abundant. Although diving, in general, and abalone diving, specifically, are very safe activities, a small number of abalone divers seem to get hurt each year. The three biggest safety issues in abalone diving are big seas, kelp, and alcohol. Most […]

The North Central Marine Life Protection Act – Impact on Abalone Divers

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On April 1st the adopted Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) areas in the North Central Region are scheduled to take effect. This follows the creation of protected areas in Central California in 2007. California abalone season also opens April 1st, and it is timely to consider the impact of this legislation on abalone hunting in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties where the vast majority of abalone are harvested. Any legislation represents a comprise between opposing factions. Conservationists wanted more area protected, avid fishermen less. While many […]

One Less Angel. Who Cares?

On a recent lobster trip I was the only photographer onboard doing my duty as a reporter and editor for this publication. The rest of the boat were fervent lobster hunters. A few were spearfishing as well. Those who know me know I don’t have any problem with hunting so long as it is done legally and ethically. Although I have not shot a fish in years, I used to be an underwater hunter and, occasionally, still take lobster. On this particular dive I was […]

Is That Lobster Smiling at Me? (plus hunting tips)

Do lobsters have lips? I’d swear they do for all too often I have seen them smiling at me. During the off-season they definitely look at me with that “can’t touch this” grin and I think I can even sometimes hear them snicker. But during the season it is really upsetting. They crouch back in their deep holes just a smilin’. I have not done well the last few lobster seasons. Now granted, I often have a camera in my hand and it is difficult […]

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