December and January usually find lobsters moving into deeper water after molting, so I like to make use of my no decompression bottom time by starting the day further offshore. Deacons, all of the artificial reefs, and the outside bubbles become favorite targets. Most of these sites feature deeper holes extending further back into rocks and crevasses so catching bugs can be trickier but rewarding. Let me offer a few suggestions for your consideration.
Deacon’s is a small rock pile and won’t handle heavy traffic. If you drop down and don’t see bugs right away don’t waste your bottom time. Still, I’ve seen this spot so full of bugs that it looks like a pincushion of feelers on many a December day so it’s worth your while to check it out from time to time.
The outside bubbles feature scattered structure with stretches of sand and mud separating small flat low ledges and small areas of rock outcroppings. It’s an easy place to work if the visibility is acceptable. If it’s not, then working in between these areas can be frustrating. You’ll find small schools of sand bass swimming along the sand outside most of the rocky
areas, and you can use them to guide you toward the better structures. There’s also another area NNW about 100 yards from the marks in the Santa Monica Bay Diving & Fishing Log book. Look for bubbles, and if you find them, it’s worth exploring.
The artificial reefs have varied types of structure to explore and many are often rewarding. You need to vary your technique, reaching swiftly back into the hole beside your target and pinning him before he can back away. Then, if you can get your hand around the horns at the base of the feelers, squeeze tight and work him out of the hole. Quick hands will help
keep your prey from escaping by backing out of reach.
You’ll be out of safe bottom time after a couple of dives on these sites so where you finish your day becomes anyone’s best guess. Visibility permitting, I like the 25-to 35-foot- deep reefs off shore south of Sunset Boulevard, areas inside and off Topanga Canyon, and Moonshadows reef as places to finish the day.
Weather varies greatly in December and January but conditions permitting, Santa Monica Bay can be the buggy place to be. Happy holidays! May all your dives be good ones.