Mel, Doing the Bug 08 - 09 Season

"I've decided there is some real interesting diving out here" MM.

Toughing it out before lobster season, 9/23

Mike....good to hear from you. I've been freediving a lot but the fish have been scarce this year. I went to Mexico 3 weeks ago. We saw tuna but none were taken. They were down too deep. We brought them up with chum but they moved too fast for us. I shot and missed once in 3 days. Oh well. Now it's bug season a gain. I got my lobster card, we'll see how that works out. Not much will really change for me just the paperwork. Hope to have you out when you're ready.....Mel

You have to start it out right or the whole season will be a dud.

Since I sold the Raider and bought the Rapture I haven't visited 8 lb Bug reef. I tried a couple of times but couldn't find it. I thought I lost the correct GPS fix. Last Saturday I decided to try again. Coming at the spot from a different angle the ledge exploded off of the bottom on my sounder. After 5 years I was back. The bugs were there too. The visibility was 45 ft. I ended up with a 4.5 lb, a 5 lb and one that was 8 lbs 7oz among the limit. Here is the picture. Hope to have you on the Rapture

Bug grabbing movies

Mike...We went out on Tom's boat, "Dream Maker" on Saturday and visited some deep reefs off of the mainland. We all got some Big Bugs. Here are some pictures of Del's 9.2 lbs and mine at 11.2 lbs. Tom also got one over 8 lbs. I had some scary moments getting my bug. He was backed up deep into a ledge so I had to take my tank off and slide in to get him. I had to squeeze and push myself in to get far enough to grab one of his horns. Once I did I tried to back out but found myself stuck. First I had to dislodge my head from being pinned without losing my mask. Then I found that I still couldn't back out. I was stuck and my body wouldn't move. I was at 80 ft deep and had 2000 lbs of air when I went in the ledge. I knew I had some time but it was scary because the clock was ticking and my life was at stake. I had to get free. I tried to wiggle to dislodge but notice that the area around my hip was stuck. I reached down with my left hand (my right hand still held the Bug's horn) and felt that my weight belt was caught in the top of the ledge. I couldn't move to dislodge it so I reach down and unbuckled my weight belt. I was able to pull it off of my back to the side. When it came off I was free to slide back out of the hole. Before backing out free of the hole, I reached in and pulled my weight belt out and slid it over my back so I wouldn't shoot to the surface. I left it draped there, unbuckled, while I put the bug in the bag. Then I buckled my belt, grabbed my light and continued the hunt. I got a couple more bugs and headed up. On the boat we took pictures and then I scratched a big "M" on his carapace before letting him go back home. Now if anyone catches him before his next molt we'll know it was him. Hope to see you soon......Take care.....Mel

Mike....It's becoming an amazing season for big bugs. This week I got a 9 lb 4 oz brute out on the reefs. A new technique is really paying off. I let him go after the photo

shoot, but I forgot to scratch my mark on him. Here are the pictures. ....Mel
Mike...We discovered more treasure from our secret map. Two were over 7 lbs, two were over 5 lbs and one was 4.5 lbs. One special dive produced all of these ( except for one of the 7 lbs bugs). What fun! look forward to you joining me next week.....Mel
PS. The 2 big boys were let go at MDR jetty that night.

Mike....I went out to Catalina for night dives was very slow for bugs. Next day we went to the LA harbor. We dove several spots and got a few only. Vis was good ( 20 ft.) the water was cold, 53 degrees. We tried a couple of other spots and eventually scratched out a limit for the day. The highlight of the trip was my last dive on and unknown wreck which we found by metering lobster traps. First I found a big halibut in the sand....dead with a big bite out of him, presumably by a shark. I brought him up for a picture. The wreck had a couple of bugs out of reach but one was big and reachable with my tank off. He weighed 8.5 lbs. I brought him up for a photo shoot and let him go with my "M" marked on his carapace. Here are the pictures....Take care.....Mel

Mike ....I just got back...dove all day today, ( 4 tanks, 5 dives) ...had a good time. Dove some new spots and a couple of old ones. I'll tell you about it later. Visibility was very good, 25-35 ft., water temp was 56 on the bottom. Did good on bugs, one was 8.2 lbs ! also had a 5.5 lb and a 4.4 lb. Took limits, but could have had a dozen. Here are pictures. The big one was let go for good Karma. Man, is that Fermin fun ! Talk to you soon....Mel

Big Mikey.....It was the Olympic Wreck I dove first today but I didn't know it at the time. I was on Tom's boat and he didn't have it as a waypoint on his GPS. It was shown on his electronic chart with a wreck icon but no name. I have dived on the Olympic before but it didn't look anything like it did today.... I didn't recognize it. In the great visibility today it looked awesome....Olympic in size. I only got one bug on it but I loved the dive. We dove other spots and I did scratch out a limit. The water was cold ! .... 51-52 degrees on the bottom It was also cold on the deck of the boat. Tom does have a nice cabin heater though. The highlight of the day was the last dive on another wreck, The Johanna Smith, (info to be kept secret for reasons that follow). It was my first time on it ....It was the poorest vis of the day...15-20 ft but enough to see the wreck. First I spooked a big ( 25 lb ) halibut. Then I found a big metal box (this was not the same wreck as last week) and I could see several Big Bugs inside. I found a hole, took my tank off and slid it in before me, then I followed it in and over to the biggest bug....I grabbed him and everything went black from silt being kicked up by his tail. I dragged him over to where the hole was and saw light, and out I and him first and then my tank. I put him in the bag which I had left just outside the hole....He weighed in at 9.2 lbs .... Of course I let him go..... with the "M" on his back. I swear this is not the same bug being pictured every week :) Tom took a good picture on his camera of the bug in mid air falling back into the water...Here it is. Look forward to having you on the Rapture soon...... Take care....Mel

On a very foggy New Years Day, Mel got his personal best, a 12.5 pound bug.
For the full story with some cool pics and a couple of videos, check out foggy New Years Dive


Mike....I finally found one! Yesterday I caught one of my previously released Big Bugs. He had the "M" marked on his back. I found him in the exact hole where he was originally found. His broken antennas were healed over well. He was one of two Big Bugs caught together in the same hole the first time. He weighed 10.2 lbs and his buddy weighed 10.7 lbs. This time he was alone in the hole , except for a couple of little ones. After the photos he was released. Here are the pictures.........


Then.......As if that wasn't enough to make a perfect day diving, I caught another Big Bug ......This one weighed in at 11.5 lbs. Both bugs required the "tank-less slide" technique into tight spaces...but that is what makes the difference so often between a picture and a story ( about the Big one sitting deep in a hole).
Here are the pictures of that one on board, marked and then released.

Both bugs got roughed up a little but they will grow back new antennas and legs and continue their long and happy lives. I may even visit them again from time to time.....Let's do it again soon...Your friend, Mel
Mike...I forgot to tell you...Saturday I caught another big bug on a wreck...... 9 lbs... which was marked and freed as usual...but I accidentally deleted the pictures from my camera....No big deal, it looked just like the other ones..... Mel
Big Mike....This is getting old...Another Big Bug from the secret map. This one was in the same hole as the twin 10 pounders caught 12-30-08 and the recaptured twin caught ten days later....this one weighed 11 lbs. Apparently it's a favorite hole for the big ones. Info that's good to know. We had a great day diving. The visibility went down all day long. We ended up on a wreck with about 2-3 feet of visibility. Yuck! Here are the pictures of the release and Grace holding the rest of my catch........Mel


Yeah, Mike the bugs were scarce...I only got 3...2 barely legal and the big one. Bad vis made it harder to had to be right on the reef with your face. Still I had a blast getting the big one on the first dive of the day. Just so you know...I had to move some big rocks to get at the big one...after I got him I moved the rocks back to encourage other bugs to go in. I'll let you know if it worked....Mel

Big Mike....I was having a rough day at work this week when I got a call from the famous Jon H. He said " It's flat as a lake out there, let's go diving" I said " Jon, I'm swamped here at the office and I have a big meeting tomorrow morning in downtown LA." He said " We'll be home by 11 PM." so I said "OK, I'll be there" We went deep inside the breakwall .....into the living rooms....down the halls....and into the bedrooms and closets where the Big ones hide. It's a secret world where few people ever go. A place where you could get lost and never make it out alive if you don't do it right. One tank later we met at the boat with our 7 bugs each, they were all nice ones. I had lost a big one because I was distracted by my regulator gurgling water as I was stretched out to the limit. I still managed to get a nice 8 lb bug and a couple slightly smaller ones. I passed over many legal bugs looking for the nicer ones. Jon had all big ones. He said he saw a monster bug way way back inside that was maybe 14 lbs ! Well....We'll be back...maybe next time. Jon and I go back a long time as dive buddies. It was good to dive with him again. Take care.....Mel

  • A Golden Day of Diving
  • Lobster Season Closer - 09

  • A Time To Dive - The Raider
  • The Mel Pages
  • Do The Tuna
  • Catalina Cruisin' on the Rapture
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