Saturday, January 14, 2017

Fishing experts

You know how I feel about those Robalo, they're just the best. so was I ever enthused when Ern caught about the nicest one I've ever seen.....Team X has been kind of languishing. Our ringleader Slah is building a restaurant so he's to busy to fish much and some of the guys aren't here and some aren't fishing because, well, the fishing has been dead dog slow. But if you cast enough and work enough and stay upbeat enough...magic.
Ern said it was a big one and the way things have been going I didn't want any 'schamoozles' so I set down my gear satchel and laid my rod on top of it and grabbed my little gaff hook. This fish took forever and when we finally new what it was we almost in unison said holy @#&##*....So finally it comes time for the coup de gras and Ern picks the right wave and rides him a good ways up the beach. As he comes up the beach I position myself between ol slimey and the water when the inevitable happens.....kerr snap, line breaks. Not really surprised as Ern is fishing with the light gear and just the added tension on being dry makes the hook spit or the line break quite often. Many a time I've seen the fish escape by swimming right back down the beach on the next wave.  I hear Ern let out an OH NO and I tell him I got it Ern and I stabbed him as the next wave pushed him down to me.....duck soup.  You can see where I gaffed him right through the gills and the green rubber swimfish that killed him, an oh Ern says the lure cost 50 cents....Canadian.
Man was I impressed with these fish experts me and MPeasy came across on our early walk on Olas Atlas.  They had a huge Corvina as well as several Skipjacks and Pargo. You can see the elevation we're at and I've often thought the structure would hold fish but the rocks are impossible, right ? Wrong...as I use my Spainglish skills and a good bit of humor I find out they have a rock just a bit lower that they safely get to and then the secret is ,,,,a young guy. You can barely see him on the right but he's equipped with an 6 foot gaff hook and the nimbleness of a Dall Sheep. Here's the rock they fish from.
Fish experts #3.....Holy Moly.....a 125 pound Marlin in a 16 foot boat. These guys are like ' The Old Man and the Sea ' material. Tony had been out the same day and saw Marlin at twelve miles which is actually really close as they are normally at 20 or 25. I was lucky enough to catch them when they showed up to sell the catch and check out their boat, It had a fairly new but well used 40 horse 4-stroke Mercury on it and the gear was all serviceable but far from new and they just seemed real comfortable with what they do...pretty cool....Steady is about the biggest compliment I give to people and you could just tell these guys fit the word ' Steady ' perfectly.
I spotted this guy right in the middle of the day on the roof of an apartment building right on the main drag of the Gold Zone. I only took one pic as I didn't want him to see me seeing him as I take to heart the advice my Mexican friends have given me about safety and that is ' don't get involved in anything here in Mazatlan'. But MP and I watched him from a distance for several minutes and there was no doubt about what he was doing.....looking over the ledge into apartment after apartment with a mirror on a stick, we could even see the reflection of it. Ya sure don't want to rifle a house just to find out they don't have a flat screen t.v. I guess.
People come to Alaska wide eyed with dreams and until I got here I used to think it was a place with more than the  usual amount of  broken dreams. In Alaska you see unfinished houses and stacked logs that never got any further.  Here there are countless buildings in different stages of construction with rebar running wild and things left to fall down. I took this pic of the beach stairs on a high rise Condo building in the Gold Zone....if the rest of the building was put together the same as these stairs it's no wonder the project stopped.....dreams interrupted.
The exchange rate for the American dollar is almost ridiculous. I don't know whats fueling it or even how it could be true but the values here in Mazatlan for Americans is crazy. The Canadian Looney is up as well against the Peso but not like our Dollar. We had some friends coming over so I went to the beer store and this is what ten bucks gets ya. I think it's a wonderful thing for us but I hope it's not lost on anybody that it's probably not so good for our Mexican friends. The Ballena's are about 3 twelve ouncers and a nice bottle of Chardonnay ....or something kinda like it.
We walked 3 miles for this coconut. I guess I'm getting to be a bit local as I eat them the same ways as the locals...squish lime over it entero and then a generous pour of salsa picante...oh baby.
Tonight me and a couple other musicians are going to play in the bar for the building. Somehow somebody thought it would be fun to have a night of  ' easy listening ' music' , mmmmmm,,,,, well 'easy' and my name don't usually collide in the same sentence so it oughta make a good story next week,,,,,,keppee yiiii yeeehhh
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Friday, January 6, 2017

Isle De La Piedra

It ain't really an island, it's a peninsula across the harbor from town that is crazy popular mostly because there's just not much to do there. The place underlines the secret's of beach life like ' the problem with doing nothing is that you never get done ' ...and wouldn't know it if you did. So me and MPeasy   migrated on the day everyone else in Mazatlan shuns, Cruise Ship Day....you know me , I LIKE PEOPLE.
As you can see it's a happening place. For 1/2 mile down the beach is palapa restaurant after palapa restaurant, maybe 30 of them total and everyone has their favorite. You know how I am about loyalty, so we always go to Rudy's but this day Rudy was resting and his wife was in charge. The food wasn't very good, the service wasn't very good and .....it was perfect. We played Scrabble to a draw and watched the show....Here's a Stone Island selfie.
On the water taxi over I came across my kinda guys. They were trolling the lures with oars even though they had a nice new Yamaha 4-stroke bolted on, didn't want to scare the fish anymore than they already were I'd guess. Ahhhhh, just like the Budget Charters days of old, " hey Neil, how's about bailing some of that water while I work on the motor ". Pass the life jackets please.
When I was a kid me and my brother were skiing Mach 1 at Breckinridge Co, It's reputed to be the steepest run in the west, like a quadruple diamond. Well we stop to rest and I see a runaway ski flying down the hill with a boot in the binding and leg up to the knee....yikes....so only a few times in my life have I wondered if the poor guy would lose his leg and got to wondering that same thing  at Stone Island....Now I can see taking you leg off for this or that but your pants too ?....just caught my eye, that's all.
Being the first guy on the beach every morning means I find all the goodies. If you've followed this blog you remember the Russian Binoculars and the commercial fishing High Flyer. Well the other morning I found the best and biggest and most perfect shell ever. It's exactly like the expensive ones they sell at Sea Shell City ( say that real fast 3 times....I dare ya ) My friend Mark's mom told me she had a shell collection from every beach she's been on, Hawaii, Phuket, Australia etc. so I gifted this guy to her for her Mazatlan collection and boy did she like it.
So I was feeling pretty good about myself and the beach rewarded me with an almost perfect ' naval assist' sunset. I took three pics and one of them has the sail almost perfect in the old bulls eye but I picked this one to publish because I like the two heads bobbing around in the foreground. I'll bet your thinking that ol guide #003 took Photography in College like my friend Roy Morris but nope....it's just plain simple good luck that seems to follow me.
 This last pic is my attempt to carbon copy a famous album cover by the Beach Boys. I'll bet you remember seeing it, the four guys are wearing red and white surfer shirts and each one is looping their arms over a long board in unison as they head for the beach. Mine is just the same except that it's just me, short board, muscle shirt, country music and some imagination, same deal, right ?
Well she's got her daddy's car and she's cruising through the hamburger stand now.
Seems she forgot all about the library like she told her old man now.
And with the radio blasting goes a cruising  just as fast as she can now.
And she'll have fun , fun , fun till her daddy takes her T-Bird away.....

Thursday, December 29, 2016

My left foot

I used that title for a blog post many years back about my first / last ever pedicure. I liked it then and I like it now so here goes....I've been in Mazatlan fishing every single day now for pushing two months now and believe it or not I hadn't done anything stupid until yesterday so as we all know it was just a matter of time.
I'll bet ya said ouch....me too. My big toe next to that index  or whatever your podiatrist would call it was broke doing the same thing the same way two years ago and now it barely bends and goes numb from time to time. So now I got two. My Team X partner Ernie gave me hell for not wearing the water socks he gives me every year but Ern...I need to feel mother nature under my feet brother, I got feeeeeel it...and so I am. It quit throbbing last night at 2:00 a.m. so no worries....It kinda makes me sympatico with my buddy Chris who is nursing broken toes in Alaska right now and we both agree that walking is an under appreciated part of life.

Christmas Eve me and MPeasy gotta started on ' Project Soldotna Star '  because it's Christmasy and the Stars have won a record 40 some football games in a row. We've done peace  signs and fish and smiley faces and....well.....we just new this was another easy project. BUT, we're both math challenged, creative people ya know and this thing was confusing. Ya call it a star and it's easy but when you call it a Pentagram it gets really weird. I forgot the basic tenet of construction that you can't locate anything with only one reference point but our friends Candace and Rueben Dressler came to the rescue and pretty soon we had the north star just a shining bright. The building loved it and so did we,
That morning it was my job to hustle down to North Beach and meet the boats coming in so I could get Lobster for our Christmas Eve. Walla, I got 5 just like the ones this fisherman is holding for 270 peso, about 14 bucks Alaskan.....oh baby.....As you can see, this guy was fun, Happy New Year amigo.
So with our langosta safely iced and put away in the back pack we made it into old town for breakfast and to try and find MP's  Christmas present. We buy our own presents ( I got two Mirro Lures from Pesca Maz ) so MP was in search of a metal Our Lady of Guadalupe statue at her favorite store and ....well...it's Mexico and things are just different here. The look you get when you see a sign like this was pretty special. Breath through your nose baby we'll find it.
After six years and many set backs.....like somebody forgot to install plumbing, the Shark Tank at the Aquarium is open and ya all oughta go. It's just like the one at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas except a little smaller but really cool. It's got the 360' viewing tunnel and of course sharks and 700 fish for them to eat. I took this first pic because I thought it was weird light and just a cool scene and I was spot on. Then a nice gal took a pic of us in the tunnel of the Tiburon....
Now if the Musky is Minnesota's fish of 10,000 casts then the Robalo is his Mexican cousin....they're just darn hard to find. In fact they're so hard to find that the Mazatlan Aquarium with maybe a total of 40,000 fish had only one....and I found him sharing habitat with some plain ol Snappers.  This fish here is the perfect sport fish, a challenge to find, a challenge to trick and real challenge to land if you're lucky with the first two.
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I want to wish everybody who reads Mile 14, heck I want to wish everybody period a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. Mile 14 seems to have about 400 regular readers and I'm humbled, I really am. I wish I had some great wisdom to pass on but being a pretty darn contented guy I'll say this about happiness...I was gifted this thing of life twice in my life, once in 1953 and again in 1973... I've always been a guy who was a little like a salmon, always swimming upstream, fighting the current. Well, some time back I decided to be happy, that's all, I just decided. It's a quest I'm still on but I'm winning and of course still have some edges to whittle off but the big thing was that....I decided. 
I'm gonna end this blog with a pic of me and Gilberto who runs the water taxi at El Cid Marina. He and the other staff call me ' Peter' for the Fisherman....and that's ultra cool to be known as that guy....and your friend Gilbert who's trying to have a good life and a wonderful 2017 just like I wish for all of you.....Happy New year.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Is it Christmas already ?

What a great time of year. Just the other day was solstice and one of my friends reminded me that Alaska had already gained 11 seconds of daylight,  I'm a little concerned here in Mazatlan as the other night me and MPeasy took off on our yearly trip to Santa's Village to take pics of the kids and the Blue Santa for this blog and.....it was gone.....moved to the Sams Club Store. Yikes, whats going on ???? you CAN'T just move Santa any ol time you want. How's the kids gonna get his new address ? How's the Reindeer gonna know how to find their way home after a long night ? So no new Santa Village pics this year, bummer. But I guess it'll all work out so Merry Christmas from all of us at Mile 14 to all you, my friends. I hope you find a loving family, friends and good health under your tree....and a smile.
Every Sunday we go for an hour long walk and then end up at an authentic Mexican breakfast buffet that is new to us every week. . This last weekend it was only average food but right across the street we ran into virtual 'buffet' of music...and you know me. These guys were doing their drill on the playa and the sound just drives right through a guy. Fantastic ! If you've not listened to a real Drum and Bugle Corp take a listen, it's only 30 seconds long . Ya know when they started beating those things during the approach to battle I can see how it inspired the troops...and scared the hell out of the the others.
While we were eating the ice guy delivered driving the coolest motorcycle / pick-up truck. I don't know which one I'd rather have under my tree, the truck or the dandy little Datsun ' Honey Bee ' that was parked next to it.,,,,,mmmm,,,,,I'd like to go with the Honey Bee please Santa.....actually Santa, forget the car and everything else and just give me good health so I can have many more years just like this one....OK ?....
I caught many a Toro this week and never had anybody along to help with a photo so I was lamenting the old ' you won't believe this but....' part of the blog when my friend Ron Schroeder saved me with this Bottete he caught. This guy is a cousin of the Puffer Fish and is reputed to be the best eating in Mazatlan, people rave about these fish, BUT....they say you have to be careful not to rupture the guts as it can make you sick and Ron reports the meet is like jelly. I'll pass, thank you.
Yesterday Alejandro said it was a good day for Snook . But he always says that. So I'm casting into 12 ft. breakers and the foamy white water in front of my is brownish with the disturbed sand and I fooled everybody by catching a fish. My first Pompano from the beach, I can't describe how excting it was so I'll just post the pic and move on.
Christmas Eve we have our traditional ' project Luminary ' coming up. We still haven't decided what to make so come back and see. We'll be a little short handed on the Black Op's as Tony is 'Still in Jersey and won't hit MZT for another week. I'll be playing some music again this week so wish me luck and we wish all of you the VERY best, thanks for being our friends and sharing this quest.



Friday, December 16, 2016

Life's one big exercise

if you ask me. Yesterday at days end we watched sunset from the Playa Bruja just a short 3 mile beach hike from our house....then this morning we got up early for the biggy. 1/4 mile of steep terrain untill you get to the 387 steps that takes you to the top of the Faro which they say is the tallest natural lighthouse in the Western Hemisphere. It was weirdly foggy at 7:00 a.m. which is the prudent time frame with 90 degrees and more 100 % humidity in the day.
A sign at the bottom tells us it is 25 minutes to the top....me and MPeasy did it in 24 proving that once again that I'm an average guy.
So we get back to town and waited an hour for our breakfast to be served which is really not to unusual in these parts when MP spots another Christmas tree and of course I'm the designated operator. Now I'm going to take a chance with three pics, especially the 3rd one. It's just that the unusual is normal here and normal seems to be unusual.....know what I mean ? When I took that 3rd picture in the grocery store I noticed a couple Mexican ladies who noticed that I noticed....they 'weren't laughing...I hope you are, I mean really, Victoria's Secret meets the grocery store ???? And of course the other tree's are made with whats available unlike the gorgeous Alaskan Blue Spruce that me and Woody got one year....well they were gorgeous before we dragged them 30 miles home behind a snow machine at 60 mph. In any case, Mazatlan is in the Christmas Spirit.
I was going to post a video of the Rock concert we went to but our internet is just to slow to download it and I don't have but a couple beers to do this blog with. I'd call and try to get it fixed but the last time I complained about the Telmex service they sent a guy over and turned it off for 10 days...So a still pic will have to work, my internet is just fine thank you Telmex if you're reading Mile 14. In a weird way I left Hector Ortiz rockin out all the oldies with a big smile, my ears ringing and the same girl that I took to a Rock concert on our first date...It was Bachman Turner Overdrive.
So by now all you savy Mile 14 readers are thinking ' he's writing about girly stuff because he didn't catch a single fish this last week ',,,,,well har har har yee who doubt. I was on fire..... It started with a good case of cabin fever and I was having a powerful urge to escape the building. I hiked up the beach with my sun protection on and Gary Allan playing in my ear. It was low tide and no birds, it's the heat of the day and my distance is lacking ever since I shattered my best stick but low and behold an afternon snapper and a nice one at that.
Being an expert fisherman doesn't really require a lot of that grey material in your nogan. I'd like to think so but it's really basic stuff. Work hard, trust your instinct and get out of bed in the morning is the formula. So in this situation I kinda sensed a pattern might develop, I mean after all if I can catch a nice snapper under the worst conditions what can we do with the best. The next morning and hour before sunrise I landed my first snapper while it was still dark ( which was really fun) and before 8:00 a.m. I had 3 snapper AND a Corvina. Mucho Suerte.
So you know me...old ' whats worth doing is worth over doing ' went hard at it for a couple days. Just hard enough to make my back complain or should I say com-pain. I timed my casts and I average between 80 and 100 per hour...depends on how much talking I do. So with my back killing me I leave the big rod at home and take the little Loomis Salmon rod and caught one of the hugest Toro's of my life....thanks for the assist on that deal Ern. This fish here can eat you up..
I told MP I'd only fish an hour the next day and then rest my back because she's the one that has to listen to all the sniveling....well I caught a huge snapper and just about everybody that I like and who like's me now has had fresh pescado for supper.
We mobilized Team X and spent a morning 10 miles north, the place of many fishes through the years and.....nadda. Ernie caught the only fish and it was a nice snapper that had lines on it like I'd never seen. There must be a 100 different looking snapper around here and I aim to see em all.
Slah, Ramon and the guys were disappointed. I was ecstatic. Here's a pic to the north and then to the south. We're with friends, we're in the wilderness and we're FISHIN....
So for Slah all was not lost on a slow day. The fast action combined with a side order of senior citizen kinda put  Ernie to sleep and Slah got a nice video of him snoring contently away. very nice.
OK.OK, now you're asking yourself the same question I get to wondering whenever a certain friend of mine starts a story.....' does this story have an ending' ?.....yes it does and it's now.....or soon....but first, how about a new twist on the venerable sunset picture. We got sunsets, we got sunsetters, can't have one without the other.
I'd like to end....really.....with just a taste of the cultural and artistic appreciation that I'm known for. Our local artist Armandeo Nada was at the museum , His stuff is wonderful.