Diving for Abalone on the North Coast -- Season Opened April 1
by Leo Maxam
Colorful Abalone Shell
Salmon season is over before it began, but all is not lost for ocean sport fishermen. Abalone diving season opened April 1 and the abs are ready for picking -- assuming you're up to the challenge.
In this modern age of microwave dinners and point-and-spray pancake mix, there are still a few adventurous souls out there who enjoy working for their dinner on occasion. And there is no meal more labor-intensive, or deliciously gratifying, as abalone retrieved with your own two hands from the chilly waters of the North Coast.
"It's challenging, for sure," Sonoma Coast resident and North Coast diver Jamie Barlow said. "Standard visibility is usually just 5 to 6 feet. Good vis up here is like 10 feet, and 20 is excellent. If you need to go get some abs up here, be prepared to dive in one to two foot vis. Hold your ab iron tool for prying the abalone off the rocks out in front of you on a dive. That way you don't run into the bottom with your face like running into a wall in the dark.
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