Years ago our buddy John Banks was watching spearfishing videos that my brother, my friends Kirby, Sam and I had put on Youtube. He saw our dive floats (modified body boards with bungees and net bags to carry our catches). He liked the idea so much that John designed the "Banks board" pictured above! They come equipped with bungees for carrying spearguns and pole spears, a dry hatch, a loop at the bow to attach a floatline, and a huge mesh bag that has plenty of room for abalone gauges, irons, tags, and way more room left over even when it's loaded up with a catch as pictured above!
Check them out! http://www.banksboard.com/
Well, as you can see from the image above, we had a nice and productive time freediving and spearfishing the California North Coast the other day! I got abalone, blue rockfish, a black rockfish, a greenling, a black and yellow rockfish , and my brother speared that fine cabezon!
When I lived seaside I would have only taken half of this catch knowing that I could return soon for more. Now that I am landlocked in the central valley however, I decided to do my best to stock the freezer back home and feed my extended family with a fish fry back at camp! That being said, I was selecting that black and those blues from schools numbering well over one hundred! The abalone were a days limit taken from an area where I counted around 25 on a single breath of air. Freedive spearfishing is the single most selective and sustainable method of bringing seafood to the table!
Mom made Spanish rice and beans while I battered and fried the fish. All 15 of us ate like royalty!
Just as exciting as the clear waters we encountered while diving was the abundance of perfectly ripe huckleberries growing around camp!
Red huckleberry (left) and blue huckleberry (right) plants (blue is way sweeter!)
I couldn't stop picking them...and neither could my cousin's daughter! Though I think only a third of her harvest made it into the bag because they were so darn good!
My cousin's little ones wanted to see some tide pools and try a little fishing the next day so we took them to a secret cove. We watched harbor seals play in the surf about ten feet away while we fished.
My brother and I had not planned on hook and line fishing so we used hand lines and hobo fishing rigs.
Justin rigging up a hobo fishing rig with a sprite bottle for a reel
I can't believe I landed such a nice fish on such a simple hand-line rig!
That afternoon I pounded my dad's abalone and we fried up another feast that night!
Mom made some awesome blackberry cobbler which we cooked in the Dutch Oven.
The next morning we had a great campfire breakfast complete with mom's Dutch Oven biscuits!
It was a great weekend to say the least!
On the way home I stopped at the family orchard to see the Gravenstein apples in full swing and the blackberries just starting to mature!
When I returned to the central valley, it was tough to get out foraging in the 100 degree heat...
...but I did anyways! The figs are perfect right now! And the fig preserves are absolutely fantastic!
I am gonna be cooking up the rest of the abalone tonight for a party so that should be a heck of a good time!
Well, I hear tell the salmon are running in the delta and making their way up the rivers...I sure hope to be there to greet them!
Keep the old ways alive!