Monday, December 31, 2012

In the 'Flow'

One of the reasons that we do an extended stay in Mexico is because it takes a while for me to get into the flow of a slower life. I'm a guy that has to do everything and I usually do everything now, my friend Tom Shya says that instant gratification isn't fast enough for me. So, the first few weeks here can be a bit intense for my running partner. Already we've gone to the Isla, a baseball game, the Christmas Midway, fished everyday, walked the malecon, had coconuts and Menudo, been to the mercado and here's a pic of me and MP with our new haircuts. We had the girl at the mercado's tamale stand take the pic after we ate.
We met Felecia a couple years back as we walked the neighborhoods in Centro, she saw that long hair I'm famous for and wouldn't take no for an answer, she's been cutting my hair ever since. I'd have loved to take a pic of her and the salon but I just couldn't do it, I like her to much to have her think that I think theres anything unusual about her place, its just spartan is all. She's fabulous, I get a great cut and a 1/2 hour Spanish lesson as well as an ear lobe trim and nose hair extraction....I just wish I hadn't got her a little side tracked so she'd remembered to do BOTH of my eye brows. I got one that's perfect and then I've got the Andy Rooney side. And MP's cut, well what can I say...she looks great.
That's a view from the malecon right after we got off the #1 ' Johny Boy' bus on the way to the ball game. The Venado's won the Caribean World Series a few year back and like my Mariners this team is light years away from thoseglory days. But we did win, beating Hermisillo 3-1. They had a special event night to honor a guy named Wille Aikens that played here in the mid 80's and went on to stardom with the Kansas City Royals. We even got our pics up on the megatron, that was kinda weird. Here's a pic of our guys celebrating the win.
I have yet to catch a roosterfish and its driving me nuts. The last two mornings at sun up I've been all around them. 90% of the problem are all these toro's, you can't reel in without catching one and all the while you're getting the hook out the roosters are slashing around at your feet. For you Kenai guys its like wading through the pinks with a pixie to get at the a factor of 3. As you can see they chase these baitfish onto the beach so the first part of your retrieve you're in the game, and then as soon as you're close ...toro on. As far as fishing problems go, to many fish is not a bad problem to have but I gotta to tell'll make ya crazy when you're handling this little guy all the time theres a 35 pound rooster splashing around 15 feet from this morning.

We have a low pressure rain system that just hit. Its strangely warm yet overcast and the rain is like I've never felt, its NOT cold, its  pleasant to stand in the rain and fish. So...that's exactly what we do. Me and MPeasy wading and throwing and I lead and she questions it and I get her really splashed well navigating some rocks and she says she new better than to trust me and I change her lure and  she thinks its a crappy one and I say it ain't and she wants to pick her own and.....gawd, its just perfect.
Happy New Year to everybody. We wish you success in love, life,health and wealth in 2013....

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Robalo Syndrome

My goal for the last two years is to catch a 20 pounder to add to my mount collection. Its not that they're rare, in fact this year there seems to be a lot of them, its just that I can't catch one. Big or small. Of course Slah catches them, my friend Joe catches them, Jason catches them and I saw a gringo guy named Steve from Costa Bonita condos the other day with a nice one. And now here's a pic of my friend Bill Radke with one, caught on his first ever Mazatlan surf fishing adventure....jeez....
Bill and Sharon had to go back to Slowdotna so I figured Bill might want to fish on his last day, he's a fish bum like me, heck he fishes with the world famous Spence Devito. So we get to the rocks at Holiday Inn a little late and I suggest a top water lure for him. I hoped he might catch a snapper or a toro but I was really thinking that with the top water at least he wouldn't lose any of my lures.  Well he did catch a toro and a few minutes later from my spot down the beach I see him pull in a long lean one....could it be? you suppose ?....yup, he's got the first Robalo I've ever seen caught on a top water, then asks me if we ought to release it....RELEASE IT ? Next to the rooster and certainly for eating that baby is the holy grail of surf fishing. So anyway, thanks Bill, a day later my ego is a bit better.And it was really good last night, really good.

So this morning found Team X norte. This is the view looking back to where the city is awakening.
I caught a toro that I tried to paint into a robalo and then farther up the beach I caught a nice little sierra that fought well...kinda like a robalo. Here's a pic looking north from our fishing spot, this could be any truly isolated wilderness beach in the world, but its ours and it gorgeous. The isolation of the beach mirrors the isolation of surf fishing itself. Its not like sitting in a boat chatting. To fish the surf you're all alone, moving in and out with the waves, walking,  casting, looking and wondering.
The next pic is my fishing partners. Slah you know, on the right is Sergio who is just a wonderful guy and about as fishy as any of us. He's a fish bum for sure, spent time chasing salmon in the Seattle area and of course he knows this beach. One thing he said today that stuck with me for sure...we were talking about the strength of the rooster and the jumping of a silver salmon and the tugging of a big toro when he said " Jeff, theres nothing like that first run of a King salmon".

Today we moved into our usual unit, its real nice and we're at home here at LaMarina. But..its killing me to not own a place. All our friends own houses or condos. But I think I'm finally getting MP worn down on that deal as we're looking at some units. Always the practical one she is insisting though that we don't waste time by looking at things we can't afford, it happens to her in real estate often so she encourages people to stay within their set budget. Today we looked at our first listing.
Tomorrow I'm chasing the rooster. I've seen them every single maybe....

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Its a small world

My first corvina for the 2013 surf season, tonight its being dusted with Shore Lunch batter and its going to be soooo good. So far I've caught snapper, a corvina, many toro and I've hooked 2 roosters. Yesterday morning I got a bit of buck fever and screwed up a really good chance at the Roosterfish. He chased the mullet within about 30 feet of me, I cast but he didn't get the lure so I retrieved quickly and really wond up with all 190 pounds for the long cast and....air knot. Jeez. Out of the game. It happens every so often with the braid and because its 20 pound test the size of 6 pond mono it can take a long time to sort out. And, its so expensive that you have to, cutting it is not an option. Slah uses a special German made braid that's even smaller diameter so when it happens, patience is the key. That's a huge part of fishing. Here's Slah at work on an air knot, from him I've learned.....sit down, be cool, take your time, breath through your nose.
Kinda funny. Last fall I'm out for a bike ride and run into a couple we know who are about as active as us. Don't ever get into a walking contest with Sharon Radke...but anyway, we talk and find out that they go to Mazatlan and will be there for three weeks like right now. They're river people like us and Bill comes through our boat launch. When my sister was head of the Union,  Sharon was in school administration so they were sparring partners.  So, yesterday we went on a Stone Island excursion together and now we're better friends, we had a great day. Here we are, Bill , Sharon, MPeasy and measy.....smilin.
So we're sitting at 'our' palapa place. Pele's which is run by our old friend Rudy. We're doing what you do on the Las Isla, having cerveza and for some reason we were cheating on Mazatlan and having Corona's right when Santa came by on  a sleigh being pulled by a 4-wheeler. I have to get a pic but I'm a little slow so Rudy says lets jump on the wheeler and head him off at the pass.
Well wouldn't ya know, we get around in front and I hop off for my photo opportunity so I can be a famous blogger and walla.....Santa's little helper is ANOTHER  friend of ours from Alaska. Its Jimmy Torpey and as you can see he already has his hand out for a shake. My friend Curt Syness used to say " its a small world...until you try to paint it".
So it was about as good a day as you can have in Mazatlan Mexico, 25 miles from the tropic of Cancer on the day after the day after of when the world was supposed to end.  We even ran into the sandman while we were heading headed to the water taxi AND he was  decent enough to be wearing a swimsuit.
Merry Christmas to all of you that read Mile 14. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas in Mazatlan

That's the view from our balcony last night as we played scrabble after a supper of slightly over barbied fresh tuna and shrimp. I thought I had the tuna right, purple in the middle and seared on the outside but I let it go just a bit to long and she was kinda medium rare. Next time. As always MP is on the cutting edge of caring, she put up the first Christmas lights in our building for everybody to enjoy... and they're Chili Pepper lights at that.

One of the reasons we're here now is Christmas. With Max and Sam both in the 48 and my sister in Oregon  and brother in Montana and MP's family as well....that big ol prime rib just seemed kind of weird with just the two of us remarking  how wonderful it was.  So here we are and already I can tell this is going to be a dandy, I'm feeling ju - ju just like this couple of sun worshippers I came across while fishing this morning.
In Slowdotna the city puts snowflakes up on the light poles, well here in Mexico they go a bit farther and use what they have at hand. Its the land of the Deer so its easy to find a Venado to pull your sleigh.

Right around the corner from the Aquarium that we so much enjoy is an old fashion Midway set up. Its got it all, vendors selling special Christmas indulgences like Mary Kay products as well as farm animals and of course the kids favorite stuff...rides. And its all gorgeous and well kept, just perfect.
And doesn't MP look cute standing there with frosty. And...we got a pic of me with the kind of tree I always wanted as a kid. Ours were always the same, a real tree with  the same  ornaments and you better not get caught throwing the tinsel has to be placed. But I always liked those white flocked trees with the blue bulbs and a light that turns to change its color, that's what I always wanted.
Towering over the Midway was the Stratosphere cable car. If  any Americans ever feel to far away from home when they're here I think this ride proves how close to home we really are. I couldn't miss noticing the Lady Liberty right there as part of the locals Christmas.
But the coolest of the cool was Mazatlan's first ever genuine ice skating rink. Blew my mind. The mayor can't really make it snow here but he's got the technology to create ice for the kids.  It opens at 11:00 and MP and I get there early. The kids who work it put cones out in the middle to create an oval and the line was 30 deep, the kids were giddy with excitement. And for some reason I had it in my mind that they'd open the gate and the kids would create the usual Currier and Ives Central Park skating scene...... mmmmmm..... all but one or two had never been on ice of course and it was just kind of a Conga line along the boards holding on as they went.

MP and I just enjoyed the dickens out of it, maybe its a good sign when you feel great just to see young people have fun at being kids, just that. It didn't take long and the kids were figuring it out...and you know teenagers, never miss a chance for a hand holder. I thought maybe I'd skate myself, you know me, I'll try anything twice but I kinda figured ' su para los ninos' , its for the kids.

And then we ran into Santa and in Mazatlan he's politically correct. He ain't no red Santa, he's a blue Santa....I mean , who's more liberal than Santa ? He gives everything away to everybody, he doesn't burn fossil fuel and he  works for milk and cookies....way to go Santa.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Wew...what a week

18 bucks a day for Internet in your suite at Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan....didn't they hear we had a bad year ? I started to post from their Internet cafe but it was 85 degrees in there and I had these nasty black ants biting me so, it had to wait. But now life is better, we're home at our building with perfect Internet and perfect....well just about everything.

The resort was fantastic but we had a day of rain and 3 days of clouds and wind. So we did something I said we'd never do, a timeshare presentation at Emerald Bay. You guys know what I'm talking about. The next time we decide to save / make money the easy way I'll just give myself a root canal. The resort was fantastic, just gorgeous, my first reaction was " wow this place is way to nice for us" but we got all showed around by a real nice gringo lady named Cheryl.
I guess most people are  impressed with the fountains and the pool areas or maybe even the fact that they stage the suite with a bubble bath already drawn....I was wondering if they had beer in the fridge actually but the coolest thing I saw was this 100 year old cactus, I mean that things like old General Sherman the huge tree in Sequoia National Park.
And the gym was out of this world. For all my gym rat buddies at home I have to say, it was the nicest one I've ever seen, marble, fountains, hot rocks, water plunges and everything a fitness freak needs, including free weights...I had to try the dumbbells.
Then after touring you through all the ornateness in the world and the fanciest restaurants and bars staffed by the friendliest people you end up going through this door, nothing on it and tucked away out of earshot....yikes. That don't look good.
Theres a really nice guy in there, the closer and his names George. I know that for sure because I called him Joe by accident. It went like this after all the modern math...
" so just why don't you want to purchase today, you know the special rates are only valid today"
" I'm just not feeling the qwan"
"the WHAT ?"
"the qwan George...spiritual people like me are driven by their inner selves, we listen to our sub conscious"
"that's the craziest thing I've ever heard"
"I'm sure you're a great guy George but frankly I'm just not feeling connected"
" you're not connected alright buddy"
" maybe if we had 10 or 15 minutes of silence I could muster up the vibe"
" you gotta be kidding".......

Then the darnest thing happened. I asked if I could take a picture of this worksheet of his, I mean the guys an expert and this thing is like a Picasso.
And that's when the wheels came off the cart. Old Georges' face got the color of an old spawner and he semi yelled " you're one of those guys that doesn't trust ANYBODY ! "..... I said " no, no George, I trust everybody, I'm a writer and that thing there in front of you is super cool".  Ol George is semi furious as he tells me he's been doing this for 30 #&*(# years and I'm the first one to ever take a pic of his work sheet....yikes I knew right then that getting a pic of George for the blog was out of the question. So, it was interview over, hello fillet minnon and a 42 dollar bottle of wine. Walla.

Tomorrow the serious fishing starts. Its crazy here, there fish everywhere. The other day I hooked two roosters and lost them both and I had a school of maybe 30 or 40 of them within 25 feet of me. The waters warm and Team X has been catching way better corvina than usual. So please keep and eye out for Mile 14, many fish pics coming soon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Thats a mighty long airplane ride

With a world record jet lag I just couldn't sleep in the morning. I assembled the 11 footer and high tailed it up to the Holiday inn where I know we have some rocks. Its perfect, high tide and the water as well as the weather is way warmer than usual....I cast the top water for about 20 minutes when I see some sardines being chased. I quickly unsnap and get the mirrolure on and walla....first cast I've got my first gorgeous snapper . So tonight we'll have him cooked at Loco Loco's... I canhardley believ it, its another Forrest gump moment, things just seem to go right.

I'll keep this blog short as I'm at the resort where they charge big Pesos for this service. I just wanted everyoneto know that the eagle has landed, we're fine and have comm set-up, but reconfiguring my computer for tthie place was a bit frustrating and needed a Pacifico. So I'll blog more but when we get to our place next week we'll let er rip with the blog in earnest.  And the pic above....mmmmmm haven't you ever seen a happy cow holding a fish?

Saturday, December 8, 2012


I used to hate that term. When I was a young construction hound I thought it kinda implied weakness or meant you couldn't handle Alaska...well, now I know its just a natural migration, a way of life. So tomorrow me and MPeasy are 'jumpin the jet' as Geno used to say and in true Jethronian style we went and saw Denzel Washingtons new movie Flight  to get us warmed up to the experience. Here's a couple of pics of what we leave behind...the ol Minnow 4 looks kinda chilly wouldn't you say?
The Stats speak for themselves I'd say:
Sunrise Mile 14, 10:00 am, sunset 3:34 pm, 5 hours and 34 minutes of daylight, current temp +2
Sunrise Mazatlan, 6:35 am, sunset 5:20 pm, 10 hours and 45 minutes of daylight, current temp  + 73

So for the New Year I'm really not setting any new goals or resolutions like I have in the past.  I'll just continue on this course I've set to be a lead a good life. So one thing I recently decided that I've attended my last fisheries related meeting, from here on out I'm done being an insider and I'll get my fisheries news in the paper just like most people. Here's  a verbatim conversation I over heard at the coffee machine of the last Cook Inlet King Salmon Task Force meeting.
Ron- " Paul, how ya doin? "
Paul-  " how do you think I'm doing ?...we didn't fish."
Ron- " we didn't fish either Paul".
Paul- " yeh...too bad".
For years I've expected our community to come together and be there for each other and the fish. But I think we have to first have the right atmosphere to problem solve and a mutual respect of all the community's importance...I'm afraid we're a long ways from that.  I used to tell people the commercial / sportfish divide was a good thing, if we fight over fish that means we have fish , right?. Well that might be true but from here on out I can't be around people who lack even any plain old common courtesy, civility.  I guess I have a way of condensing things down to the simplest form but what Paul said there was really and my family are more important than yours...So I leave those fisheries meetings disappointed in people when I'd like to be uplifted by them, well, I used to  because I'm done with that.

One of the coolest things we ever did  for Christmas here at Mile 14 were these luminaries, it was MP's idea. In the last blog she made some luminaries and our friend Lori builds them as well so I thought she'd like to see.
As you can see on my counter we're closing in on 60,000 reads since I started this blog a couple years back.  That's pretty darn cool for me so thanks to you all that come visit. My next edition I guarantee will be fun and colorful....and I'd bet dollars to donuts they're be some fish involved, fishin is the mission for the musician. But since I was a bit serious in this blog I'll push that theme a bit and end with a few things you and I know about life but doesn't hurt to review....

Don't mud wrestle with both get dirty and the pig likes it.

What people think of you is none of your business.

You're in charge of your own happiness, find it and then share it.

Its impossible to worry and fish at the same time.

Creating things makes good moe-joe....luminaries, bottle trees, gardens and music, compost and bokashi and...... Happy Holidays and best fishes

BUT.... I am going to miss the wilderness feel here at Mile 14, the Fitness Place, my sauna, my Gibson guitar, running into old friends, Christmas on the River, Jet-Dog and of course my all time favorite machine....the snowblower.


Monday, December 3, 2012

What gardeners do in the winter

I don't know why it took the mad mower 35 winters in Alaska to figure out that she could play with water but she finally got it. And, if you play with water when its been below zero for two weeks every day you can make shapes and textures and colors and....well you can get them old creative juices just a flowin...for about 5 minute intervals in between when you come in to warm  up your hands.
It starts like this. If ya want a globe, balloons. If ya want a dent, a Pacifico beer cup. Notice  I'm taking the pics through the window....
Now you'd think freezing water would be simple eh? Well, try freezing it in a geometrical form. The outside freezes and seems to insulate the inside and when you think its frozen you're astounded that after a full day at -10 the inside is still liquid ....but the good news is  that the law of unintended results delivers you some nice cracks and 'texture' as the artist would say .
Then after 3 days of freezing your hands, creating a hip breaker ice layer on the porch and leaving the door open during the football One of us suggested we pile them up in a pyramid shape, has to be random and spontaneous. I forgot.
So.....if any of you have a little cabin fever just play with water, its great....or you could go to........
So Lisa, when we leave go ahead and illuminate the house, its sooooo christmasy. And  warn everybody about that #$$%&&*$  spilled water....I mean art... safety is no accident.

You know, I joke. Its one of the many things I love about somebody and ya know what ? I guess we're in the Christmas spirit here at Mile 14.