A Clarion x Passer hybrid with perfect balance of Clarion orange pigmention and hallmark Passer patterns.
Steve Robinson recounts for Advanced Aquarist the harrowing experience of catching this rare beauty:
This hybrid passer-clarion angelfish is the coolest fish I have caught in years. …as well as the most dangerous.
Last week, I was collecting fish in Baja California and after about 6 hours of diving saw about a thousand normal passer angels. Suddenly at the end of the day, with little hope left of finding any fancy fish, this one appears.
We were diving on a hookah compressor with 200 feet of hose each. The water was warm and no wetsuits were needed. We found ourselves short a weight belt and so I just stuck 5 lb weights down each pants pocket and, having some 30 years of commercial collecting experience and over confidence working against me, thought nothing of it.
At 35 feet, my dive buddy and I line up the fish and herd him into a cave. We block his exit with an outstretched barrier net. My partner then charges and, while keeping the fish from escaping down a deeper crevasse, gets himself wedged in the crevasse! I then take over the chase and swim past him to run the fish into the net. I reach the fish and pressure it to swim into the outstretched barrier net. At the moment of the catch with my 1/4 inch square mesh hand-net……my weighted pants fall down to my knees effectively rendering me unable to kick my fins.
The current had picked up and was running like a freight train. With fish in my net, yet unable to swim and orient effectively, I hung on for dear life as the current flung me out of the area. I rode the current downstream bouncing off the reef with legs wrapped up, pants falling down and both hands on the net holding onto the prize. Dying with pants down is not something I had ever planned for. But I thought holding on to the fish was the main thing, while expecting to ram into a rock in uncontrolled flight down the reef.
My partner un-wedges himself and catches up to us with a live well bait bucket. “Don’t let go, don’t let go!” I remember thinking as to not lose the fish during the transfer to the bucket . It went well and we had [the hybrid angel]. I looked around to see if anyone noticed … and in 35 feet of water, pulled my pants back up. Then, after an hour of decompression for the fish and an hour topside for us, we head home with the setting sun.