Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Happy Place

Well Team X, the most misunderstood fishing team in Mazatlan is little short on man power so if you see me on the Beach make sure you turn in a resume...or buy me a beer, either will work. But Daniel and I took the leap of faith and drove all the way out to Puntas Negras which is the 3rd point north of Mazatlan that we fish, maybe 8 miles up the beach from the last high rise. Here's the view to the south and then to the north.
The people you see in the first pic are pneumatico's after oysters, so we're the only other people there and it's simply gorgeous in an isolated and fishy way. In the past it's been the go to place for huge catches of Corvina but today....as my friend Willy says " it was not for the stomach but for the soul" . This Toro I caught I tried very hard to turn it into a Corvina but it just didn't happen. It was a great morning of throwing and we laughed a lot.
One of the reasons we laughed pretty good was because of the road, or what really wasn't a road...It was entirely grown over, nobody had driven it sense last season and Dan's nice new truck took a real 'polishing', it kinda reminded me of how me and Chris's Arctic Cats looked after we drove them over a 3/4 inch willow forest for a mile. This pic of Daniel was right after he'd side swiped a huge cactus that looked like something out of the coyote and road runner cartoon.
He says he learned it from his dad who called that kinda huntin / fishin going ' wooding '. Now I like my old white Chevy to much and would never do that to it but Dan says you get em to use em. Yup. When we go remote like this there is always a bit of safety concern in the back of every Team X members mind but on this day we were as safe as safe could be....ain't no way a bad guy would do that to his truck.
By far the best view from an outhouse I've ever seen was at Petersville Alaska that looked straight at Mt McKinley which is now Mt. Denali....gorgeous....but this one here that we came across  has to run a steady second.
Last night and all day yesterday we had a tormenta. There were 20 ft. waves at sunset so I almost decided to do a hand holder instead of fishing this morning, sure glad I didn't. The tormenta had pushed sardines onto the beach and there were fish EVERYWHERE. I lost a 10 pound Snook when I went for the final pull onto the beach and at one point I threw a rubber swim bait into a bait ball and something bit it's tail off immediately, Yikes. I saw large fish chasing right onto the beach and at first thought they were Roosters but they turned out to be huge Toro. As I fought to land one I looked over at one point and a nice Red Snapper had beached himself for a bit as he was chasing the same bite. I must have caught 10 Toro like this one.
I had one of my light set ups that I use when I expect to throw for hours so it was a high risk maneuver. I knew that I wouldn't break the Loomis rod but these guys could easily jerk the guts out of the Stradic 5000 I was using. One time in Marmol I quit fishing because I only had one Stradic and I could just tell the Toro were to much....but this morning I couldn't stop, me and the slimey's both need the exercise. There was a Mexican man who had one a long long time when he asked for help. He had a large surf rod with a 6000 size reel so I thought he just wanted me to gaff for him but I finally realized he had no drag set, I showed him how to tighten and feel for it and when it was at max. It was the most exciting morning yet and I'm still pumped as I type 3 hours later.
There's something about the jetty at Pueblo Bonito, it seems to be Roosterfish central. I didn't catch one the other morning but we saw many and the local expert Jesus caught 2. This is one Team Xer Bob caught, ain't that just the cutest Guyo you've ever seen ?
Try to love on your wife,
stay close to your friends,
toast each sundown with wine,
don't let the old man in. 
                    Toby Keith

Monday, November 4, 2019

Day of the Dead

I't not as big a deal as Carnaval but it's pretty big ju-ju. MP really wanted to see the costuming and all the art influence for the Day of the Dead celebration where people honor and remember their passed loved ones. So we did our due diligence and reserved a night at the wonderful La Siesta Hotel on the beach in Olas Altas so we wouldn't have to come home  late in the evening, Here's the view from our room for the next two nights...yup , I said two nights, turns out we were off on the main event by one day so whats there to do ? Just wait I guess, what else we got to do.
Everywhere in town are these alters that both commemorate and show the persons interests and outer and inner selves. The alters are tiered to show there ascension to heaven and usually the lower tier will have the wickedness of whiskey or such and the top tier a favorite fruit or juice or pop.  Here's one for the famous Opera Singer Angela Peralta... I never would have figured her for a rounder. One of the things I found interesting is that many of the alters were for long lost loved ones , many generations back, Grieving and love last longer than one lifetime and I guess, I knew that but never really thought about it.
The Venado store had my favorite for Jose Jimenez who must have been a guy like me, an entertainer and musician. They had free beer for us in Jose's honor and later the next day I was to learn what a big part of the traditions free beer is...

So on our ' wrong' night we went and ate at El Tunnel which is the restaurant that started it all for us. The place has more refined than that the El Tunnel of 20 years ago but the food and the service was the same fantastic as always. Sinaloa style tacos which is piled and not folded, mine were potato/cheese and MPeasy had her usual chicken, that girl can eat chicken, We ran into our friend Clara who was drawing at the art school and then we sat on a bench in the Plaza and watched the people and visited with a man and his daughter from Culican who wanted to practice there english. They were in Maz to visit the graves of his parents. 

The next night we sat on the sea wall with hundreds of our new friends to watch the parade. we had every intention to view the parade from street level but about 8:00 the on shore breeze stopped and...did I tell you how hot it is ??? so , as much as I hated to retreat we went upstairs to view from our room patio, kinda cool in two ways...Here's pic of us on the sea wall waiting to report for Mile 14.
Pretty soon all of us see bottle rockets flying and hear music coming from up the malecon and it's upon us. The skeleton head lead the way with dance troupes and a other floats.
Wish my pics had turned out better. Then....the really unusual occurred . We see a truck coming with a hundred or so people surrounding it, I see a projectile or 10 fly into the crowd and realize all the excitement is FREE BEER. They had cooler totes full of Pacifico Light and were giving away hundreds and hundreds of cold ones. People in the crowd would wave and a guy would chuck one too them, man, good thing they didn't have bottles but I'd bet ya a ....beer,,, that more than one person got pole axed by a Pacifico Light that night. I have a great video but I just can't get it to upload....So me and my running partner both say we've never seen anything like that before and Walla...ANOTHER truck comes by the same way ! Then we have some dancers and an old wrecked pirate ship and most likely a politician or two and low and behold....yet a 3rd free beer truck goes by. Yikes, I saw one guy walking along with three cans in his left hand while he power chugged with his right. mmmm, maybe a good thing that we were upstairs. What a place !
I've caught a lot of fish , just no ' consumables ' sense I let that Grouper go to build my karma, But this morning I caught my first Roosterfish of the 2019 /20 season. Oh baby....he hit hard, ran off line and jumped like silver salmon....and weighed every bit of 10 0unces...I'm not exaggerating, He was awful cute just a bit on the svelte side. A fish like this you don't have long enough arms for so don't even try, you'll look ridiculous.
Many, many Loco fish. They're boney and look a bit like a Mullet, They jump and and are hard to land as they have a soft mouth so to catch two at once is a pretty good trick, one on the teaser and one on a lazer minnow. I caught one this morning and my friend Daniel quickly tied on a bare hook and then lip hooked the Loco and let him swim off. I told him that if he catches a fish on a loaner fish he's a first ballot inductee into the Mile 14 Hall of Fame.
See you guys later. Now that we're in Maz I'll write more. And for all of our friends in Alaska we hope the weather breaks and you get to doing some of the winter things Alaskans love.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

OHHHHhhhh, ohhhhhh Mexicooo ( try singing that )

Well, we're here. Got our first shrimp dinner, our first Pacifico...life is good. In fact just arriving at the house and having the air conditioner cycle on like it should was the perfect start that doesn't always go that way. The only speed bump is television and that's only important because of the World Series ending game tonight and the Seahawk games that I'll miss because the building supplied feed is kaput....mmmm... I don't know the reason but  I expect it will make  perfect sense if I asked why , wink wink. But the good news is that even though our Internet is slower than last years King Salmon bite it is good enough to run the Firestick I brought and we have lots of choices to watch....except live sports...I do kinda miss Katie Boulduin on CNN though.

And this morning in the dark on my third or fourth cast I caught this nice little Grouper. He was about a kilo, maybe a bit more and of course they bite and go right back into the rocks so landing him was a challenge and when I did I released him...gotta build my moe -joe and I sensed that was just the right thing at the right time. So this ain't much of a sport fishing triumph pic, lets just call it an anti B.S.er.
One of the reasons we came a little early is that we like it when it's quiet here at LaMarina and MP wanted to see and experience all of the Day of the Dead art and festivities. So here's a pic of the very first Alter we came across, these things are everywhere and sooo cool and we love the honoring of your passed on loved ones. So Friday afternoon we're going to check into the LaSiesta hotel that we love downtown in Olas Altas so we are closer to the events, I'll take many photos and maybe by then I'll learn to be able to publish them faster for you...that fish pic took one third of a Pacifico.
Yesterday we went downtown to buy a shirt and a couple Poppers from my friend Rafa at PescaMaz. I needed the Popper's because I was sooooo excited my first morning here to be fishing that I wound up and threw a powerful cast without opening the bail....yikes....I'll tell ya this, a 220 peso 2 ounce Jansen brand Popper with nothing attached to it flys a loooooong  ways. It was a thing of beauty really.

Right across the street from Rafa's store on Playa Norte we see this, man that's a lot of plastic. It's a floating water park that the coconut telegraph says was anchored there without any of those pesky permits you usually need around any H2o. I'm a little confused with the business model because I don't see enough Tarzan like young people around who could or would swim out and then be comfortable enough in the water all day to continually fall in and get out, maybe I'm missing something. Of course there's the old eye pollution argument that people don't like, but me, I think it's cool and if they get open for business I'm swimming out.
Well I wanted to get this blog out and field test my equipment. I should have some cool pics from Day of the Dead so I hope you come back....and maybe even a fish....or two😎🐟🎸

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Big Fish

As I type we're seeing the first real snowfall of the year...time to leave 😎 I  thought for this edition of Mile 14 instead of moving along as I like to do we might look back a bit. Ya know this place has always been known for it's big King Salmon, they put us on the map...So I went through some of my old pics and quickly found a pretty good representation of what it was like back ' in the day '.  I hope some of you local guides who read Mile 14 might have a take away - we need this again - and get busy promoting good fisheries management as well as some plane old fairness in our fisheries management as well.
The million dollar boat circa 1995 or so. Those three guys have all their fish over 60 pounds.  It was an exceptional day and we released several smaller ones to get these. Right now there are those on the river advocating the release of all salmon like these and I kinda have mixed emotions about that but it sure can't hurt, there must be some sense to the gene pool theory and for those of you think that we are responsible for where the fishery is now all I can say is.... who would have guessed and nobody did anything illegal or immoral, times just changed and the big fish are harder to come by.
That fish there is the first legit 80 pounder I ever saw. I didn't guide it , my friend Carl Butcher did and we had it on a brochure that we shared in the mid 80's . This was certainly the ' golden era ' of the Kenai...many fish, many guides, many boats, pretty exciting. I think it's simple, more fish = more big fish and when we return the numbers to what they were we shouldn't be surprised to see these babies again.
That's my friend ' Latch' , Mark Egholm right here at Mile 14 in the mid 80's. We took that fish to The Maverick Club to show the guys and when a rough neck named Corky Moore asked my where we caught it and I pointed at his lip I damn near got my ass kicked for being a wise acre.
That's my dad, the Colonel with an absolutely gorgeous salmon. He was a pretty steady visitor to the world famous and I had this feeling that he felt like that every time he sat in my guide boat he was recovering another $150.00 of the lettuce he spent on the education I never used.
That fish of my dad's was so pretty I thought I'd follow up with this shiney model of Dale Einwalter's. If I remember correctly that fish was real close to 60 pounds, about as big a female as you'll ever see. Out of the thousands....yes I said thousands of King's I've seen up close the biggest female was 63 pounds...and oh baby did that salmon fight !
I'm kinda load testing my memory here....that fish was the 1st 70 pounder I ever guided. The big guy Kennedy caught it down at the pastures on one of the first trips I ever made that far down river. His buddy helping is ??????? darn it......yahooo on my proof read I just got it, Ed Walsh, he was a great guy.
If any of my friends recognize that fish it's because it's the one I have on my wall. My friend Marty Holleran caught it in the mid 80's and gave it to me mounted. How cool. The fish was an Old Hunter Fisher Skin Mount and about 25 years ago I was sitting in my recliner below where the fish was hanging and I looked up and happened to notice movement...YIKES....it had bugs living in some of the oil that was coming out of it's head. SO, I was doing business with Mark Oslund of Alaska Real Life Taxidermy and he took it and put a fiberglass head on it and repainted it and to this day it is gorgeous. The first time I met Marty he and his brother had come to fish as we had mutual friends in Redwood City CA. Well, Marty got in a car wreck returning from a halibut trip in Homer and spent the rest of his trip in the hospital. Not to be detered he returned the next year and was rewarded with that Jumbo slimey.....love ya Marty !
Neil Devaney from Helena Montana with his first King ever. I know it ain't a jumbo but I wanted you to see the boat with that awesome Merc on it....they called them the ' Tower of Power' as they were an in-line 6 cylinder. That boat with that motor was the fastest it would ever be. In the day the boats were quick enough that if you bored of the lower river or if you thought you might catch better up river you'd just check your gas and go....many a time I ran from Mile 14 to Mile 35 or 40. The custom paint work had to go when I got the Honda sponsorship , it was done by another Montanan and a friend of Neil's named Gary Allison in Homer Alaska, great people I've known along the way. That pic was taken in the spring here at Mile 14 and you can see how low the river was and that I had the riser on the stern to accommodate the Jet Unit we used to run.
I can't tell ya those guys names but I love that pic and the way they're standing in the river. Those fish are easy 50 pound class and a matched set, one boy, one girl.

This final pic is a customer of mine holding that 70 pounder that he's going to catch next year...We're pretty darn good at it but not everybody gets the jerk they desire. He doesn't look to stressed about the situation does he ??? , I like that.
Most likely the next time you hear from the staff here at Mile 14 we'll be temporarily billeted at the Mile 14 Southern Bureau...I'll fish my first morning and post a fish pic that same day, maybe 😕. Hope you come back for a look - see .

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Mexico Surf Fishing 404

I used to figure what I new about it made for an entry level course, ya know what we called the bonehead course that started with a a 0 or a 1.  But after chasing for close to 20 years now and being kinda intense as some of you know I figure I merit at least a 400 level course and soon to make graduate school, I've never lacked confidence.

So I'm finally done with all the fine tuning I need to do for the 2019-2020 season. And I know that there's at least one guy who's a biker that  would be real interested in my yearly MirroLure order that came yesterday.....that's a beautiful thing.
Normally I order 1/2 dozen Catch 5 which is a shallow running twitch bait for when the tide just barely  has the rocks covered and then 1/2 dozen 77M for when it's deep and you need to dive to get down to the rocks where ol slimey lives.  But last year I got the inside dope on MirroLures newest addition to the surf casting arsenal....This baby fishes just like the Catch 5 ( which has accounted for most of my nice Robalo like this one ) but is a full one ouncer and comes in the coolest colors...You guys are gonna want some of these, he's a MirroDine XXL .
Last year when I landed in Mazatlan in early November there were Roosterfish everywhere on the beach so this year I'm landing a full 2 weeks earlier and rumor control has it that the Guyo's are in abundance as I type, they like warm water. I brought home all the rusty lures to hit with Wink and everything else that I needed to fix. My long distance champ is a 2 ounce P'Line Lazor Minnow. They come with the shiniest chrome paint but it comes off easily, way to easily. So I give them all the same paint job as my favorite Ranger Lure for Roosterfish and nice new hooded hooks.
Below the Lazor Minnow is a what I call a stinger that I tie up on a Siwash hook.  What I've been doing lately is tieing a loop knot about 3 ft, ahead of my snap with the lure on it so that it looks like a big fish chasing a small fish. I stole the idea from a guy I followed down the sidewalk in Puerto Vallarta that was rigged that way....he was also carrying a stringer full of Toro. It works great and for the Roosterfish I was able to find some big ones, most of the world calls it a " Teaser'. I've even caught two fish at once rigged this way.
And finally all the ' veterans' that I cleaned with wink and put new hooks on. Some Rangers, some poppers, a few Catch 5 in the lower right and just a myriad of proven performers....do I sound excited to be ready ?
It's gorgeous here at Mile 14 right now. It seems like our hot summer lasted into the fall, we've only had a couple frosty mornings when we usually have all of September that way...so the tree's are finally getting a little ' vibrancy " to them like we're used to. All summer and fall the tree's have been in a shock mode due to the drought but that's done and gone...and me too real soon !
I'll most likely do at least one more Mile 14 edition before me and MPeasy jump the jet so please come on back. And Aaron if you're out there shoot us line and let us know when you land in MZT, we'll go fishing, talk story, go to Taco's Martin ....coooool ?

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

ch,ch,changes

It's that time of year. Pretty soon we transition from fishing and not doing much in Alaska to fishing and not doing much in Mexico. I've been feeling good. I just had my yearly check up and my blood work was fantastic and the new Statin drug I'm on has brought down my cholesterol by a whooping 100 points. As my dad had an aortic aneurysm repaired I had that screening done and that test was normal but with a bit of swelling called ' mild ectasia ' so all in all I'm about as healthy a 66 year old guy as there is. 😎  But ya still ache a bit here and there, the price of a life well lived I'd say.
Every work season for as long as I can remember I would make a list of goals and post them in my fishing gear shed to help me keep focused and remember what I'm about. So this year with no guiding I figured I'd better keep up the tradition but maybe focus my energy on things that really need it other than just out working people and catching tons of fish...so here it is. I got a check on the ones that I have done and am happy about my progress. A few are yet to come and there's room for it to still happen, in any case I so far have 7 of 14 checked... you see I've been a  lifetime C student.
1. Well, that one is not only top priority but about as easy a goal as I have. I do have to say that helping MP rehab from knee replacement this spring was kind of a ' load test ' as Geno used to say....we passed just fine. I'm crazy about that woman.

2. Once again we decided that Mexico is just to far away to drive to and to much lettuce to get there, we're jumping the jet.

3. La Paz...  I've promised myself that as soon as we hit Maz next month I'm going to research the ferry and book a 5 day or so stay at the Blu Hotel in La Paz Baja Ca... almost straight across the Sea of Cortez from us.

4. I have an outline done and I've worked on pictures. I've spent some time mulling over what the book will look like and what the message will be. What I've learned from thousands of fisherman through a life time of fish pursuit.....stand by.

5. mmmm.... for years my goal was 185 pounds, what the hell made me add 5 more difficult pounds that I'm most likely never going to make anyway ? Right now I'm at a pretty lean 192 so I oughta make it into the 80's before Mexico, then it's forget about it. NO WAY can you lose weight surrounded by the coldest and crispest beer, menudo, 3 cheese tamales, papa loco's.....forget about it.

6.  I think I went through the summer waaaay less stressed than when I was guiding. In fact with all the salmon shortages and emergency orders being declared by ADF+G it was a serious relief to not being explaining it all to customers...it's always hard to explain things that on a certain level you really don't understand yourself.

7. I HAD gorgeous Icicle Radishes, next year I need more space MPeasy...

8. When we flew home from Maz last year a lady we know who owns a gringo type restaurant was on the plane . So some night I'm gonna drag that Crafter guitar over and sing her Mama hated Diesels and maybe she'll just put me on the schedule, we'll see.

9. I caught a couple pretty darn nice ones last year  but I need that 25 pounder, caught from the surf of course.

10. Dodged it again....but it's in our future.

11. I did this well...I finally started to manage that Irish temper of mine.  Normally when people are thoughtless, mean, selfish, whatever I would lash out...guess I realized I can't change the world. I'm doing better ....Just breath through your nose is my new mantra.

12. I actually did this with the young guys at the launch this year and I think I helped. It's a hard job and it takes years to see what is really worth max effort and what isn't. I try to show the young guys that the trip is about the entire experience as well as comfort and safety...It's my fondest hope that the guys who come behind me have the same chance to do what I have.  In a soft and somewhat fatherly way I guess, I 've encouraged the guys to stand up, be proud of guiding, let the community know it's importance and most of all...let em know, we're here to stay.

13. Last time I did that I had two flat tires and almost didn't make it home for cocktail hour. But I'm going to try it again, leave in the dark with my fishing gear and then pedal the 10 miles home with that 25 pound Pargo in the basket.

14.  Years ago I broke with a group of friends that I came to know just really weren't my friends to begin with. They were jealous of a business opportunity I had and did everything they could to sabotage it for me. Well, it was hard to do but I quit them.. A couple of them I've never spoken to and one of them I routinely make fun of.....gotta stop that and I'm trying, I really am. Now I know, the best revenge is to just live better than they do....and I'm doing that.  I guess the reason it effected me so was that I embarrassed myself by not knowing what they were all about, I should've known, I was putting fun in front of right and wrong...but I ain't no more.
And yup, those are salmon and I caught them on Monday. A friend of mine who I think would like his privacy is going through a terribly difficult time and needed a distraction so we went fishing on the world famous. What's more distracting than me ?...mmmm.....maybe a circus, I don't know. I gotta quit typing and start cleaning house, MPeasy is coming home tomorrow !

Monday, September 16, 2019

And the rumor is.....

fishing is slow, that's what everybody is saying here on the world famous. I don't know if that's really true or if we're just terribly spoiled. In any case here is my advice for all my Kenai fishing friends, especially those who desire a future in the guiding business...if it is true and fishing IS slow keep quiet about it...the last thing we need is the word to get to ADF+G and then have them decide to try and fix it. Just breath through your nose and go fishing, change your bait, sharpen your hooks and move the boat if you don't have a bite....kapiesh ?

I ran the black boat the other day with Bill and Ed and really didn't think it was all that slow. Although I never had a bite Bill caught his 3 and Ed caught one. We didn't start fishing until mid morning and I'd say that catch ain't all so bad for retired guide #003... and we had at least 2 others spit the hook.
Naturally Bill quit fishing when he kept his third as per regulations and me , well I kept experimenting with this and that so we really only fished  well for a couple hours. Of course it's the middle of September and generally this this week signals the inevitable down turn in our Coho Salmon fishery...No worries. The only weird thing for me was the simple fact that I was out in the rain when I'd told everybody in town I'd never fish in the rain again...well , never say never and you know what ???? it wasn't so bad.
My lover/ friend/ life coach and conscious left for Mooooontana at 5:00 this morning. We put all the garden to bed and I'm in for 10 days of music (loud) food (healthy) exercise ( twice a day ) and even figured I'd catch up on my writing. I got a new song that will be ready for ' human consumption ' soon is the way MP puts it so I'll publish that soon. Promise.
In other news the town is becoming quiet.....we see some of this headed down the road. I just hope they weren't so put off by the fire and slow fishing that they won't come back...see ya next year, we love ya and need ya.
We toured the fire......mmmmm....wow, where to start with that deal. An entire summer of tolerating smoke and who knows what the overall business losses will be for people, especially in Cooper Landing. MP and I have a friend that has severe C.O.P. and that poor woman spent the entire summer in doors. Ya know when the Wildlife Refuge was established and the no suppression burn policy was adopted for Moose habitat this area was only wilderness. Anchorage was less than 100,000 and Soldotna was 500 people....So, I really think ALL of our policies as they pertain to Wilderness , Wildlife and Fisheries need to be really looked at with an eye to having them meet the era we're living in....It's 2019, let's quit running everything like it was still 1965, O.K. ?  Here's the view of what they HAD to protect, the Kenai River in Cooper Landing, a special place on this planet, beautiful.
This is what our visitors and us will see on every trip to Anchorage. One thing I have not heard when all the Moose people say how good it will be for the browse is just what effect did it have on adult animals. Guess I sound like a tree hugger.


The Anchorage Daily News had a great article in Sundays paper. 164,00 acres and the cost as of now is around 100 million...Thank goodness we have well trained professionals who went after it hard when the weather rekindled it in August. The planning and resources they used like the Canadian Scooper planes were really darn incredible, the peninsula is breathing easy again so my hats off to all the fire fighters like our friends Alli and Christa....Mucho Gracias.... And as you can see, when they tell the public to stay off Skilak Lake Road, they're darn serious.