View Full Version : Who has experience searching for pearls in abalone?

11-21-2010, 16:50
I found a pearl the other day. Nothing worth writing home about -- It's very small (1/4" diameter) and yellow in color. Even my wife did not want it; she at first thought it was plastic, but I put in under magnifying glass and she saw that it was pearl.

Nonetheless, finding the pearl is pretty exciting.

I'm wondering how everyone searches for ab pearls. I just feel it by touching the outside of the pouch; could I be missing some small ones that's hanging in the middle? Or should I empty out the content and sift through it like when panning for gold?

That dark green stuff that's inside the pouch looks a little disgusting...

11-22-2010, 22:19
I love your posts.

They're so interesting.

Makes me want to dive in California.

11-23-2010, 06:34
Yeah man, lots of fun things here. Come enjoy. In fact I'm going spearfishing/ab diving today. Too bad I lost my underwater camera rig in the waves a few dives back, or I'll have some video to show everyone =(

11-23-2010, 13:23
Birthday present from an abalone - Spearboard Spearfishing Community (http://spearboard.com/showthread.php?t=71911&highlight=abalone+pearl)

Somewhere there is a link to a page that someone has done a lot of work with abalone pearls.

11-24-2010, 11:04
That is a great link cmburch!! Almost like a tutorial. That was one lucky diver!!!!

Here is my dive at Fort Ross CA:

We came close to canceling the trip because latest forecast said Fort Ross area will have AM showers and afternoon sun, plus our neighborhood of the bay area was raining at 6 a.m. Ultimately we decided to go, and I'm glad we did because by 8 a.m. the sun already came out at Fort Ross.

Got changed and went down the trail; did not see any diver at the spot. Lots of white caps outside the cove but inside is calm as usual. I made sure I kept inside the 20' line. Water clarity was not too good, maybe 5-7'. There were a whole family of sea lions goofing around.

Got to work around the area between the two coves. Consistent with previous trips, on average I find an ab every 3 dive-downs, a legal ab every 9-10 dive-downs. Finding the real big ones are more unpredictable. The first one I got was 7.5". The second one I got was also 7.5", however the width on this second one is 6", so it looks somewhat round and is bigger than a normal 7.5 incher.

In between I collected a few empty shells that are nicely sanded by the ocean floor. I decided it is easier to collect from ocean than to mess with muriatic acid.

With two abs in bag, I started taking my time to hunt my third, hoping for a big one. After 30 minutes of search, On one dive-down I found a huge ab in a hole under a big rock. I was about to be out of breath but I decided I had to get it right then, because too many times I got up to re-group only to lose sight of the exact spot. I stuck my iron in as hard as I could, then came some massive rattle. Stirred up sediment murkied the water. I stuck my hand in the hole to feel for the ab; it turned out I had dislodged it. I grabbed and surfaced with no time to spare.

This ab turned out to be my personal best, at 9.25".

I saw one lingcod and several rockfish and perch while ab diving. I had my gun, but while I went back to my float to get my gun, I either lose sight of the fish, or the fish had split. I think I need a "side-arm" type of speargun.

After I got my big ab, I was so satisfied I didn't want to spear fish any more (just wanted to go home and brag to my wife) so called it for the day.

Here is a pic of the ab... I froze it whole in my freezer for now. I hope I find some pearls in this ab when I clean it!!

11-24-2010, 12:07
Thanks for the report. Sounds good!

To mark general location.
I use a yellow or orange line that floats. About 25-35' should work for you since need to tie off ends. Make a spare Ab iron from Al stock. I have extras if you need one. Tie line to float/Boogie Board and spare Ab iron. Ab iron act as light anchor. Drop line down to mark your last drop so you can return to same location. I use to use old PG&E yellow line that they left laying around on jobs. I think I got some from here once Rob Allen Float Line, Floatlines - ScubasWorld (http://www.scubasworld.com/proddetail.php?prod=rob3). Walmart may have it. Use a small bag to coil it up in when not in use.

Can also clip off to Bull kelp if near last drop. I sometimes pull myself down Bull kelp.