Once you are fully suited up with all of your equipment you’ll need an abalone iron to pry your prey from the rocks. But even before you start popping abs off of rocks, you should check to make sure it is at least 7 inches long. Anything less needs to stay in the ocean.
This is what a standard abalone iron looks like:
The problem with a standard iron is that you also need to carry an abalone gauge with you. A standard gauge looks like this:
I have seen people keep their gauge tied to their tube, which means they are guessing about the size of their abalone. They measure it AFTER they’ve pried it from the rocks. Popping an abalone from the rocks can do a lot of damage to the little creature, and they have no ability to clot blood flow. Once you figure out the abalone you grabbed is too small, it’s your duty to put the abalone back where you found it. Even with a strong effort they don’t always take hold and then become easy prey.
One solution to this problem is to use an abalone iron with a built in gauge. Like this one:
This gives you one less thing to worry about. You can measure the abalone while it’s still stuck to the rocks and leave it in peace if it’s too small. Your mask tends to magnify the size of everything underwater, so it’s very easy to mistake a small abalone for one of legal size.
And the Ab Grab bar is a solid piece of metal that you can pass down through the generations.
If you need more gear recommendations check out our big checklist of abalone diving gear.