We dove the Pinnacle yesterday and were pleased to see 8 different species of rockfish swimming around. The usual Coppers, Browns and Quillbacks were hanging around close to the boulders on the bottom. There were some really large Vermilions that have been there for years - some near the bottom, some out midwater off the pinnacle. And then there were lots of Blacks, doing their Black schooling thing facing into the mild current. Visibility was pretty nice under 35 feet.
In the past I've seen lots of Yellowtails also schooling, but yesterday only saw two small ones down in the boulders, hiding.
We also often see a few Puget Sounds hiding under the boulders on the bottom, but yesterday in addition to the usual boulder-dwellers, there were hundreds of them schooling out in midwater in the 60-70ft range off the side of the pinnacle. They were about 6"/15cm in size.
BUT THEN!! One of them caught my eye because it looked slightly different
- and I realized that was NOT a Puget Sound at all! I started looking around a little more carefully, and found there were lots (dozens) mixed in with the Puget Sounds that sure looked to me like Redstripes.
At one point a bunch of the Redstripes separated from the Puget Sounds and headed down to a little deeper water together. But later they were mostly all back schooling with the Puget Sounds.
So what do you look for? Here's what I've found: Can you see anything else?
- The eye. Puget Sounds have a very dark, smudged black eye. Redstripes are clear.
- The lateral line. On a Puget Sound, it's a very thin dotted line. On the Redstripe, it's thicker, and whitish pink
- It almost looks like you can see its ribs in the right light! Thin zigzag lines along the side.
So why don't we see them more often? From what I can read, they're typically found in the 500 - 900 foot range.
Why they're in Hood Canal hanging out with the local boys, is beyond my understanding.
Anyway, I am on cloud 9 and plan to go back next weekend to see if they're still there!