Rock Wrasse are a super cool catch the first time. They’re briefly cool when you catch yet another color phase you haven’t seen yet, thinking it’s something new, but in reality, just another Rock Wrasse…

Species: Rock Wrasse (Halichoeres semicinctus)
Location: Mission Point Park, California
Date: August 6, 2018

I was sent to Mission Point Park by a friend, fully expecting to add a few softball species to my list. We’d hit the water hard the day before, and the stingray had hit my foot harder. I figured that meant some karmic reward was headed my way. It made sense, but sense doesn’t always run things.

No, sometimes surprisingly spiny fish with fleshy lips and sharp teeth with more color variation than a diva’s hair run the show.

At this little park, that’s exactly what happened. I spent hours there that morning, and though I slayed the Rock Wrasse, Calico Bass, Barred Sand Bass, and even an ambitious Opaleye, it was slim pickings. I desperately hoped I might catch a Señorita. Not only because it would be a new species, but also because I desperately wanted to use the clever saying I’d come up with in preparation: “California: Come for the girls, but stay for the Señoritas!”

What a wasted opportunity.

I almost got my wish when I caught this pinkish Rock Wrasse that looked a bit like the peach-colored Señorita, but alas, it was a false alarm.

Rock Wrasse are highly variable. The pinkish ones got me going at first, but they were not, in fact, Señoritas.

Fortunately, my disappointing morning would only get better as I returned to the company of Ben Cantrell later that evening for more of the countless species San Diego had to offer. This time, I wouldn’t even step on a stingray just to fish with him.

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#SpeciesQuest // #CaughtOvgard

Read the next entry in #SpeciesQuest here: Species #175 — Diamond Turbot.

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