Saturday, February 26, 2011


As you know, I've been on a few fishing trips. I've seen it magic, tragic and points in between. I've fished in a class 5 gale with my buddy Nate and 100 degree heat with Jake Margues. I've caught a few fish, I've caught no fish and I've seen the water turn red behind the boat...but, maybe the best fishing trip of my life was just the other day. It was the perfect combo, all the elements wrapped into one 6 hour trip. Interesting and up beat companions with an international twist, balmy warm with flat seas, good food and some of the most beautiful fish I've ever had the previledge to see.
I usually like to have my feet on tera firma here in Mazatlan. I really enjoy the challenge and athleticism of surf casting and quite frankly I spend enough time in a boat every summer. But my friends had a corvina attack planned so I'm in . The day before the crew lead by Antonio and Thomas had come across some birds right outside the harbor. Thinking toro they slowed down and started to troll metal lures when they looked at the fishfinder and saw huge fish suspended at 20 feet. So the simplest way to get there was with a 20' rapala and in no time the rod goes off...but they're still thinking toro. Well the fish fights and fights and finally comes into view they can't believe their eyes, its a gorgeous yellowtail Corvina just like the one our friend Steve is holding in the first pic. Before stopping at 1 pm they had caught 13 of them for a total weight of over 300 pounds. If records were kept, this would be one, its all the buzz at the harbor, never has a load of corvina came in like this. So the next day we're out and everythings perfect. A half hour in I'm running the boat and see on the screen 5 to 7 large fish, as they hit about mid-screen the rod goes off on the outrigger and its game on. This is no bite, its flat on, the release clacks and clangs and the alarm on the reel goes to rattling. Its a great bite, a bit like when the rod goes off in the holder when you're pulling a K-16 Kwikfish and a 50 pound salmon jumps on it. You hear it as well as see it, the rod kind of stresses and the drag rips out...I'm impressed. The second pic is me and Ern with the double we caught, man that was exciting. Mine hit first and Erns while he was clearing the water. These two fish were the only 'chata's' of the day, as you can see they don't have the yellow and the tail is shaped just a bit different, but gorgeous fish.

No matter where you go its a bit the same, theres no secrets in big time fishing. We're really not far from shore so people see the excitement and of course theres always what I call the seagulling routine...where people look for other people and boats instead of fish. So this 3rd pic is a bit of that, we have a fish on and this panga driver needs to get close to see whats in its mouth. We landed the fish on the other side of the boat of course.

The last pic is Slah moving our load. We had 7 Corvina that ranged between 18 and 30 pounds. I took one home and it was enough to spread around to 6 different people and more for us tonight. Friday night we went to Slah's home in centro Mazatlan. His wife Maria had it prepared Mexican style, baked with nice veggies on top and nice mild red sauce. As we ate Slah asked what I thought about the whole deal....well....I'm thinking those beautiful fish aren't really that far out of my casting distance, I'm just going to have to practice more and work harder, I'll get it out that far next year.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Streeks are made to be Broken

See that green Ranger lure hanging from that toro's mouth? Well thats my favorite lure in the entire world. With the big rod I'm chucking that 3 ouncer at least 125 yards and then a fast retrieve and it skips along the water driving the Jacks and Roosters crazy. For years I really hadn't used it for toro as I thought they were too big so I only used them for Roosters, lately I've found that was wrong, the Jacks eat them, big time. So this week I kind of deserted the team to stay home and fish the topwater, its the best bite in fishing, sometimes the fish follows for the entire retrieve just to take it at the shoreline once he's run out of water. Plus the Jacks are real school fish and rarely come in ones, when you catch them you catch alot of them. Naturaly I prefer the bigger, prettier Roosters and theres finally been some spottings, but if I can't catch them these 'budget Roosters' will do any time.

But Slah called the other day and it sounded like they had the Corvina surrounded out north. I've been having trouble catching the darn things but today the streek ended, we waxed em pretty good. The next three pics I'm leaving uninterupted and in order. Its Slah landing the first Corvina of the day for Ernie. You really need someone in the surf to help with the gaff, the darn fish have a fairly soft mouth and the extra drag of pulling them up the beach is when they're most often lost. Now Slah is a guy who's always in a hurry, I guess its because he knows exactly what he's doing so watching him land a fish is no different. This one here he sliced, poked and wacked at for a minute then said "%@*&^ it!" and reached down and grabbed it. I was glad it was him and not me, theres alot of responseability with it and I don't need the stress of a 'shamazle' as Ern would say. This one was just a semi-shamazle, happy ending.

The next pic is me with a typical Corvina, its the yellowtail variety and about as good a food fish as you can get. We're fishing the rocks and the metal lures are what they like best so it gets a little expensive. A two and a half ounce Krocodile costs over ten bucks and we routinely snag em or power cast em off the line, but, its the the price of glory eh? The other day I chucked one off on the first cast......emmmm....

The last pic is the boys with the mornings catch of 7 nice Corvina. Our friend Thomas there is in town and holding down the lead off spot while Jay is in California. Pretty chuckly time on the beach, just fog and us.....Its 5 am as I type this so Its out the door in just a second for another run at them, I'll report back. Thanks for stopping at Mile 14.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Life's an Art

That first pic is MP and our friend Connie doing colaborative research for MP's art. Her talent was really what I first fell in love with, well, that and the fact that she actually liked me. Through the years she's done stained glass, charcoal sketches, oil paints, pottery, water colors but right now she's stuck on sunsets with acrylics and they're turning into a must have for the people here in our building.

Being a guy who grew up drawing tanks and rockets in art class I've always been impressed with real art. MP has an eye for life. She not only blends the colors and sees things some people don't but the way her art captures depth and action is amazing. And...she does all that in no time at all. The beach scene on the right that she just completed might have taken two hours. I watch her as she works and its kind of like film developing in the tray, they just keep getting clearer and prettier and then she just knows the right time to quit fiddling with it and be done. I think thats a part of art that translates to a good life, you gotta know when to quit fiddling with it and MP's got that mastered.
The cool thing about MP's art is its permanency, long after we're pow theres going to be somebody somewhere with one of the thousands of her creations saying " I just love this one"... Or , " my great aunt Patty did this in Alaska"...thats a cool thing. So, unlike her art mine is a one shot deal, you gotta be there. After 40 years of struggling with the guitar I finally like my sound and I finally consider myself a real musician and I guess most folks do to. I've been playing alot here in Mazatlan. Now that I kind of have the music I'm learning that there's way more to it than just belting out a song. Its about entertaining, its about including people in the music, its about emotion and communication and its about sharing...So thats the part I'm working on now. The music is like air for some people, they gotta have it and even though I'm continuely drawn to the next new song I'm learning that theres nothing wrong with belting out an old Hank Williams song for the 10,000th time, some people want their air to be familiar.

For some reason it seems that my generation spawned more than its fair share of musicians. Everywhere I go I'm always impressed with the folks I meet that make magic. This guy I'm singing with below is me and Slah's friend Antonio. He's an amazing guy, art is in his blood. He does oil on ceramic for visitors with only his fingers at the New Riu resort. Oh, and he's one of the best fishermen in my old friend Curt Synness used to say...." how DOES he do it???"In this pic we're at a private party singing a ballad together. On this trip to Mazatlan I've had the opportunity to play with alot of people, from proffesionals to local mariachi's. I've had great nights with 100 people and I've been told to shut up and get a hair cut, its all good.
But this last pic is the creme de la creme...One night I learned this hard lesson....never follow a 12 year old. Me and my friends Steve and Brian were doing a kind of guitar circle one night when my friend Bill Turner asked if his grand daughter Clare could play. She confidently strapped on that black guitar of mine and pulled the mic close. Clare took a few practiced strums and them broke into ' This Kiss'....awesome is all I could say...awesome. Thats how I know life's an art. Just share.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Lost Week

When we first started in Mazatlan I always said I wanted to stay long enough I could forget what I did the first week. Well, I think we're there, I'm even having trouble remembering just last week. It could be because of the foul weather. I hate to complain and I know with all my friends in the frozen north its hard to get and sympathy but it was flat cold here. The official coldest in 50 years, which wouldn't have been so bad but the northern air hit along with hurricane force winds. The first pic was the view on thursday morning from our headquarters here at mile 5214 south. Our friend Deb Germano lives over on the beach in Sabalo and with leaky windows she cleaned the house the next day with a shovel.
My routine is pretty simple. I go fishing most mornings with the team out north and get home around 11:00. Then I love to nap on the north terrace. With the surf sound and people talking and the warm sun on you it creates this sensational cozy-white noise environment that makes me dream some tremulous dreams. The next pic is what I had to do to get that done last week. I'm reading Dan Browns Lost Symbol and about 10 minutes from la la land.
So what do you do when its indoors time in Mazatlan ? go to the casino. You get a massage. You have Pacifico and talk about the weather and you go shopping. So the other day found us at my favorite grocery store, Leys. Anybody that knows me knows that for some weird reason I love to grocery shop, even at home, its social and interesting with me. So that part is even better in Mexico where Leys is the most 'mexican' of the big box stores . Where else could you find all the makings of mexico's traditional hangover cure...menudo. Its a briney tripe soup sometimes with pork shank meat and fat. mmmmm....I really like it.

But nothings forever, especially the weather so it cleared the other day and life is back to normal. We were treated to this sunset last night, I thought it was spectacular. Theres always discusions of the famous 'green flash' when the sun just drops out of the sky. But I prefer these semi-cloudy sunsets where the colors reflect and jump from spot to spot. Sometimes the water and the sky are the same color and I'd bet you the guy in that panga boat and me are feeling about the same at the time I took this pic, feeling our place in the world...inspired with the routine beauty.
This next pic gives you an idea of where I spend most mornings. The best I can figure is that we're about 8 miles north what they're calling 'nuevo Mazatlan'. We usually go to one of three spots and to tell you which is which I don't know. Some of the names are ours and some are known by all....Black Rock, Gringo Point, Two Bridges, 3rd Point, 2nd point , 1st point and the Playground. Sometimes theres other fisherman but never more than a couple rigs, mostly its just us. The guy in the middle of the next pic works in Alaska and has fished the Kenai. I believe Slah said his name is Martin and he's throwing a 13' Breakaway rod and the lure is flying the proverbial country mile. Its a gorgeous thing watching the crew at work. Slah casts far enough that he doesn't like to get his feet wet, especially early in the morning. Ernesto is kind of the ironman, he just stands and casts and casts and casts and......Me and Jay kind of like the rythm of the surf, out to cast, climb the beach as the lure sails and then turn and start the retrieve after it sinks a bit. Thats the routine.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mon De Loan

I don't know how you spell it but I do know how to pronounce it...It's a Mexican saying that means ' man who wears apron'. And because I sometimes rush home from fishing for a hike with MP or decide not to go fishing twice in one day, I'm that guy...mon de lay. The guys think its pretty chuckly but I kind of figure if people notice that you love your wife well maybe you're doing it right. I actually think its a pretty good trade, my Mexican friends educate me on beach fishing and the Mexican way and I astound them with the simplicity of American success and only this 'Happy wife- Happy life'. Our team is a diverse bunch, gringo's and Mexicans, married and single, young and old, we're figurin it out and having alot of fun as we do. The next pic is of the boys this morning as we had breakfeast of fresh Civiche that Slah brought. We've caught several nice Sierra lately and they make the best Civiche. You take a nice big tostado chip and layer on some nice Mayonesa with limon then an inch deep of the civcihe and a little hot'd make a bulldog break his chain. Today the fishing fell down a bit so it was just kind of a field trip with fishing poles. As we eat theres 8 or ten of us and a couple are talking about girls and few of the guys are having a knot tieing clinic while I'm laying down trying to catch a nap. I get to thinking this is all pretty cool. That guy in the foreground is our friend Caleb. He's a pretty cool young guy, he runs the Schooner Patricia Belle and goes surf fishing in a leather coat. The next pic is of our friend Emelio. Emelio is a guy who is always smiling, always, and he's especially happy to be out on the beach with us. We got some awfully funny guys but Emelio
leads the pack in that department. The next pic is of our designated harvester Slah with a huge Sierra (mackeral) and a Corvina. Even though Slah always eeks out a fish or two the rest of us are struggleing up north so for the next few days the plan is to look for new fish. Tommorrow I'll jump the #2 bus and fish the rocks at the Holiday Inn for robalo and then we need to take a peek at the beach on cerritos in hope of a roosterfish siteing. The water temp is only 6o some degrees and we know the rooster likes it warmer but I'm hoping for a miracle....maybe just one roosterfish this year, that would be enough.

The entire town turned out for the Air Show on Sunday along the malecon. And for being only the 2nd year of the show it was really quite impressive. We had skydivers and hangliders as well as 3 dual engine Navajoe's that flew in formation and a couple of prop stunt planes. The high light of the show was a red Mexican Air force jet that did wing overs and loops...all of which I didn't get a single good picture of. I was useing some zoom and trying to get a good shot for the blog here and all I got was about 10 shots of the same sky and palm trees. I guess its a little like shooting ducks with a shot have to lead them. Oh well, next time. But as impressed as I was by the airplanes what caught my eye were these pelicans. They're every where here and unlike our Eagles that kind of live off whats left behind from humans these guys work for a living. They fly the beach catching updrafts from the warm water, they seem to draft off each other an even flap their wings in unison. When they see the small fish they want they climb to an altitude to gain speed and then set their wings and dive straight into the water temporarily disappearing...then up with the fish as you see them put the beak up in the air and thats an airshow.