Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Hunt For Red October

At Mile 14 I have the largest collection in existence of  Kenai River lost articles....anchors, knives, pliers, seats and props etc. And so I should, after all I invented the sport of Marine Salvage. So it did my heart good to get to sleepy ol Mexico and find that I haven't lost my touch. Being the first on the beach every morning means that I get to high grade the shell piles and sort through the beach glass but boy oh boy did I ever hit the mother load with this find the other morning.
Yup....genuine Russian Navy marine grade binoculars. Now my friend Tony is like me, he reads a lot and knows his military history so I was a little disappointed when he discarded them as a kids toy.  He has forgotten that the USA has always had a technological edge on the Russkies so be careful to not apply our standards to their products. I remember reading about the first Mig 21 that a defector flew to Japan and on inspection the USA guys were shocked at how primitive it's construction was.  So I think it's the same deal. These guys came off a Russkie Nuclear Submarine that emergency dived with the binoculars outside because and American Coast Guard Cutter from Ice Station Kodiak had discovered them on the surface smoking cigarettes .....You remember the scene in the Movie....I jus vant to go to Moooooontaaaaana.....

Speaking of Tony we decided to do a black op for Christmas Eve, you know a secret gift to our building. Me and MPeasy had all the planning done but Tony is an operational genius. We mobilised  at 0200 hours and within a half hour we had a message for our building and the entire world I guess. It wasn't long before everyone noticed it and I was reminded that in the early 70's some called it ' the foot print of the American Chicken'....mmmmm,,,,it's just simple peace and love I think.
So having worked with some candles me and MP were duly impressed when on  Christmas night we saw UFO's floating past the house. In the beach lot next door some young Mexican couples were releasing these mobile luminaries. They really flew and MP said they were sent aloft in remembrance of loved ones gone. It was gorgeous and there certainly was something spiritual about this wonderful addition to our Christmas.
And here's a pic of our building taken from the beach on Christmas night. Everyone was in a great spirit and I have to say we had a wonderful, although quiet, Christmas. The next pic is MP and Sharon Radke at the band stand in the Plaza Machado which is all decked out for the holiday season. As you walk the Plazuela it has a European feel, Music over flows from many of the restraunts and it's about as cool a hand holder as me and MP have ever done.
So with Christmas over and Shark Team X on vacation we needed a project. So it was off to the Sierra Madres and the small town of Concordia to find a chair. The ride is just gorgeous and Tony wanted to find his way around the new Maxi Pista (pay road from Durango) so we killed two, maybe even three birds with one stone....I just forgot what the third bird was but I know we did it.
Concordia is the Chair / Furniture capitol of Sinaloa and maybe even all of Mexico. The Concordia rocker is a standard issue here in Mazatlan and you should be able to get one for about 80 bucks, depending on the day and your negotiation skill. Here's a whole line up of those babies and a pic of a custom model.
You drive the town of Concordia and every house has a wood shop building furniture, you can smell the cedar being worked, it's awesome . But also kind of weird in that there are few places to purchase furniture, that's saved for the little town of Messina just down the road where they have high end shop after shop. The town is perfectly clean , I guess this broom seller figured something out.
I guess I better print a pic of the church in Concordia. Most towns have one similiar but this anchors the town for sure. It has the square and band stand with city hall across the road and even the bank speaks to the history of this wonderful town, it's real for sure. 
So me and MP here at Mile 14,425 would like to wish all of you a Happy New Year. I hope 2015 finds you all healthy and happy. I appreciate that you find what we do interesting enough for some of  your time. So I'm sure you all know that this unique lifestyle we've honed out of this old world is largely due in part to my friends, the fish and the future....thanks to all.
And gawd dang it Tony.,...why'd ya have to go and do that to my Nikes.....that ain't #%&@^ funny !
OH....Team X went fishing as I went to Concordia. Just another example of Jeff's laws of life...." when your ship comes in....there's a good chance you'll be at the airport".

Monday, December 22, 2014

Robalo Quest phase 138

I love a challenge, after all most of my life has been one....But, trying to catch that big Robalo to go with the other trophies in my office is getting ridiculous, This morning we mobilized Shark Team X and went to our most favorite place for Robalo and once again for me, nadda. I'm personally on the side or earning them and so today should have been the pay off. We struggled to get there. As any of  you old clam diggers know the soft stuff at the top of the beach is the scariest but once you get through it down to firmer sand it's duck soup. Well with high tide at the same time of morning darkness as we're headed up the beach and we have a 3 mile trek of nothing but the soft stuff....and never mind all the stumps, flotsam, jetsom and general garbage to dodge along the way. To put it in short version, you haven't really adventure fished until you have the 4X4 buried up to the axel on a secluded beach, not once but 3 or 4 times.....But Team X is good in a pinch and we arrived to find slow fishing. Now I'm nobody to have fish envy and lord knows I've dished out my fair share through the years but my buddy Ernie is killing me, just killing me. In the 5 or 6 years since Team X baptism by fire he's caught 5 or 6 or maybe even 8 huge Robalo,,,,but who's counting. Me, that's who. It goes like this. Ernie has one bite....fish stays on and it's perfect. Jeff has one bite, fish spits the hook and back lashes the reel....
But I always say the joy is in the pursuit so I'm just gushing with joy right now. On Saturday I got to fish the very most scenic destination of my life. Ron picked me up at 3:30 in the morning, then into old town to change rigs and then 75 miles south with Ern, Slah and Ramon to Chamleta. It's a gorgeous estuary area which is full of smaller Corvina and some Snook. It's exactly the kind of fishing that I've always wanted to do. wading and casting through the mangroves, sighting the fish and then tracking them down. At this place we are totaly isolated again, just us and nature.
The guys are used to catching a lot of fish here as it really needs to be worth a maximum effort. So everybody was a little hinky as the morning wore on with no fish. But as me and Ramon made our way to the mangroves we started to see some fish and after I caught one at the very edge of my cast I put on a castmaster for extra distance and walla, we're in the game. These ain't the biggest Corvina we've caught but for me Honorary Captain and Morale Officer for Team X it was the very best fishing trip I've ever had. Wading thigh deep and looking, hearing the birds in the mangroves behind you and being....alone...in a new wonderful place.
I did pretty darn good at Chametla despite being a little hobbled. It kinda reminded me of my dad when he was about my age. He was traveling for work a lot and was sleeping those tremelous dreams in a pitch black strange to him motel room. Well he got up to take a leak and rammed is big toe squarely into a cinder block that was holding up the corner of the bed, By the time I saw the toe several days later it we 10 shades of black and blue with the nail curled up and seeping a weird looking fluid....I remember saying holy**** that looks like it hurts...and he said...." really, ya think". They say the apple don't fall far from the tree so as I was break dancing through the rocks in the dark the other morning in my bare feet I replicated old Wally's accomplishment. He'd be proud.
That baby was a little tender, I'm here to tell ya, But it wasn't all in vain as I caught this nice Pargo that same morning. So like I said before, if you're fisherman that feels like you've worked hard and earned your fish well with a toe like that this fish got me vested in the union and I should have a pension coming as well.
So I really needed a day off my feet when my friend Kiki invited me to his house in Colonia Pradas Del Sol to play some music. I'm a lucky guy. Kiki likes the heavy metal so the duets didn't work out so good but we did a little blues alright and just had a great time. Old Kik being a bit of a computer wizard cut a You Tube track for me that I think really turned out nice. If you want to hear the 6 foot man with the 10 foot voice just go to You Tube and search Jeff King, We were in Love. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGxtkqiF00E
As I was scrolling pics for this blog I came across Santa's helpers and was reminded to wish all of a you a Very Very Merry FISHMAS.....I appreciatte all of you reading my blog and it's my biggest hope that it brings you pleasure. All the happiness and good health to you all in 2015....we'd love to see you in Maz or at Mile 14, we'll leave the light on.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Making sense instead of cents

Fishing lends it's self to theories. It's the self made science of why this happens or when that happens and in a lot of cases when this or that doesn't happen, some people would call those excuses but not fishermen...We've heard them all. Waters to warm, waters to cold, waters to wet, waters to murky, waters to clear, waters to high, waters to low....you know. So then  you also know what I'm leading up here to eh?...yup, it was a tough week of fair chase for your's truly and Shark team X. Locally here I caught just a few Toro. We were struggling so we fished new spots and the rewards were few . Here's a pic of the team and the only nice fish of the week...Mickey Mantle knocked it out of the park again, nice fish Slah.

So, with the fishing a bit slow it gave us time for the usual shopping, exploring and the ebbs and flows of life in general. One of the cool things about Mazatlan is that it's a big working city so you can find and do just about anything you can do anywhere else...but differently. For instance we just had to see the new Hunger Games movie Mocking Jay. So we went twice. The first time we had a research gremlin and got to the Grand Plaza for the matinee just to find it out it was only in Spanish with no sub titles. But it all worked out fine because they had great Chinese food at the Plaza and the next day found us at the new Mall in Cinemex Platino, about the nicest movie theatre I've ever been in....great movie. I love Woody Harrelson's character. I took this pic of my favorite film critic.
So with our first movie date rained out we had time to get to the music department at the Cimagel in the Gran Plaza. I bump into this young guy who with his mom was in the midst of buying what I assume was his first electric guitar. He was a little reluctant to play them so I kinda came in handy for him, you don't buy shoes without trying them on ya know. So I grabbed an Ibanez and rattled off the little lead guitar I know, nice and loud....Inna Godda Divida ....He was excited and so he should be. I wanted to tell him welcome to finding a steady thing in your life. It's the music, it's always the music. As we grow older, sadness and happiness slip your way, friends betray and love leaves, success comes and the truth stays...through it all you have this one thing that never changes, that's always the same...it's the music, it's yours, it's always there for you....that's what I wanted to say but instead I just gave him a red star hole pick and a simple "buenes suerte"....good luck.
I snapped this next pic the other morning as I fished in front of El Rancho one of our old friendly places. You can see what the hurricane did but in true Mexico style we carry on. It kind of tells the story of this place I love. Sometimes it's a little rough, sometimes you need to adapt but it's always welcoming and entirely Mexico....it's the real deal.
Speaking of welcoming....we got on a Cerritos Juarez bus on our way to get shrimp. Now I've seen many ornate buses that the drivers customize and most are usually family and religous themed. So it made me feel good and welcome to see the art in this bus. The ceiling is first, the back of the bus is second and walla....old glory proudly depicted to all.
As MP picked out our shrimp from our favorite shrimp lady Monica a tour bus pulled up from off a cruise ship. These folks were loving it, music blaring and seeing sights that are all new to them. I got to feeling pretty lucky for being a bit more....ahhh...engaged in Mexico than them. But's it's that newness that makes for special memories, they know it and I know it so I try to find that same newness everyday. Some times we do, some times we don't.....but me and MP are looking for sure. I guess I found out that it's easier to find things when you're looking, even if you don't know exactly what it is you're looking for.
Being a world authority on sunsets I kinda like this one. Dave the bum was fishing and even though there were many toro around I gave it a rest and if I hadn't I wouldn't have gotten this cool pic. Life at La Marina...

Monday, December 8, 2014

Just slooooow down a little

Nothing like a gorgeous air assist sunset to start a blog entry. In fact people think there's not a lot do around here but if you keep busy like me trying set a world record for the most Mazatlán sunset shots the days go by. And of course my goal isn't just that simple, I'm also collecting all the assist sunsets I can ( birds, boats, airplanes, whales, fish, mountains....ooops, ain't got them....you get the idea) and someday I will publish the ultimate sunset authority.
As you can see I'm pretty darn lean. But in the truth in reporting department I have to tell you that I can't do the speedo shot I promised. For one thing I never hit my goal of 185. About 10 days before we left Alaska I hit 187 and just stayed there. It was strange because I had time and my training was going so good. So sorry about the pic....and ya know even if I had hit the goal MP told me the other night she would have exercised her veto power. One thing I've learned about gym muscles/ training...it doesn't necessarily translate into a better real life experience, after our first few days of walking mile after mile and casting and retrieving for 2 to 4 hours every morning I was a pretty sore dud. So I guess there's lookin at muscles and then getting it done muscles.
The other morning I met Ernesto at Sabalo point. We could see schools of pretty large predator fish on the sardines pretty good. I knew they weren't Roosters because it was sardine bait and not mullet. Many times I threw right into them with a top water and metal and these fish just won't bite. Finally I'm chatting with a couple (as luck would have it they were from Alaska) and as we talked Kenai I went through my bag and found the smallest heavy metal I had and made a prefect cast right into them. Instant, fish on. This fish I had hooked was strong. I told the couple from Alaska that when I landed it I'd bet he'd be 15 or 20 pounds.....well these guys are ultra strong. If a 5 pound tuna fights like that I can only imagine what a 40 pounder fights like. Amazing fast and strong. He's a Skip Jack tuna, my first one. They have a real dark dense and strongly flavored meat so I released him to the ocean. Now I know some of you detectives will notice the placement of my fingers....I was multi tasking and practicing a 'G' chord at the same time.

The next morning I passed up a chance to go destination fishing with Shark Team X. I just wasn't feeling good and wanted them to have 100% members along. I just have trouble getting acclimated here and I tend to run to hard at first. I had some tourista which I get often and the 75% humidity has me a little bronchial messed up.....So I just wandered out front and in the twilight of morning caught my first Roosterfish of the trip. It's not the biggest I've ever caught but I think it signals a great year for these fish, the surf casters holy grail. I've seem many of them to far offshore to cast to  and the waters warm (day time temps are up to 85) so all the conditions are right for more.
I got that picture up at Marmol the other day. I'm a guy that's never to proud to borrow a nice fish for a pic opportunity. A lot of fisherman won't do that but me....I have no pride when it comes to catching, talking, chasing, eating or anything fish related, it's all good. From what 'm seeing here we are going to have a banner 2015 fishing season and some how or another I have the feeling that's going to be the same deal on the world famous Kenai River. I know one thing, you can't catch em without fishing for them.
And in the unusual department.....hows about this guy who works the dredge at the Marina's daily commute ?
 And the pic below I took for the Dept. of Alaska Fish and Game. They seem to be all focused on 'invasive species' with the Pike and the Killer Elodea plants that could cause the end to natural life as we know it in the lakes of south central Alaska. Well if they had plants like this to deal with who knows what would happen....we'd need a special budget request, a management plan, a few scoping sessions and an Advisory Board and maybe find out....it's part of nature and ain't hurting a thing. In fact pretty darn impressive.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Marathon Man

It was brutal getting here. Red eye flights are bad enough but add in a nice delay at LAX and it becomes painful. But we got through it an when I awoke Saturday morning I could hear music, a banda at 7:00 a.m. Well it  was Mazatlan's yearly world class marathon race event and around here you don't do anything without music. I was drawn to it about a mile from my house...I love that tuba
 So I'm enjoying the band and watching these guys run past and they seemed to have a nice steady and practiced gate, but what do I know about running eh ?  And I'm chatting a bit and acting kind of like this marathon thing is so impressive when really it's just not much of a spectator sport. I was remembering my brother telling me about this 'runners high' that he experienced that really sounded more like oxygen deprivation to me. Then on the other side of the 4 lane I see the lights coming and they're coming fast....So I hustle over and sure enough , it's the lead pack of one American and a half dozen Kenyans. and let me tell you I WAS impressed...for real .
 If he first guys I saw were running well these guys were sprinting, They were moving at about the speed I go when I really hump it on my bicycle. Being self absorbed and a bit of a gym rat I know fat and what fat looks like. These guys are 1to 5 % body fat guys. The sweat was just poring off them. I 've seen a lot of well conditioned people but....they make body builders look fat. That guy on the left is Stephen Njoroje from Kenya, the 2014 champ. And oh,when the lead pack went by the closest people behind them were at least 10 minutes and that's at the half way point.
 The pic below is the lead women's pack. Absolutely great athletes as you can see....did I mention that it was about 80 degrees when they finished?
 MP took this pic of me last night doing my own marathon. I'm no finely tuned athlete but everyone that knows me knows I ain't no quitter. Some of the successes I've had in life I attribute to just one thing....stick-to-it-tiv-ness. So last night the wind blew the bait into shore and  on my first night of fishing we had an incredible toro bite. I caught one. Yup, one. I ran to the beach with just one lure and it had single hook on it and they just kept spitting the darn thing out. It was like the Kenai when they banned treble hooks. We all thought the difference will be small...well it ain't. The way I figure it  treble hooks work 3 times better than singles. Makes sense eh ?
 But I made up for my poor performance last night with this gorgeous sea serpent this morning.  Really, I haven't got  a clue to what that thing is. But I'll tell you this, his beak was sharp enough to get me bleeding all over my new Pesca Maz fishing shirt.
 So with that beautiful gods creature carefully released I swang back and fired again. My first air knot. On the ten scale this baby is only about a 2 but that's what you get when your attention lapses. You have to look at your real each cast to make sure you have no loops. You have to look at the tip each cast to make sure you're not looped.....Did I mention that I blew the insert out of the tip of my favorite 11 footer by getting a little buck ever and reeling the barrel swivel through it??? So, we have a start to this fishing marathon and I'd say it's a pretty usual start. Ya win some, ya loose some, and some you shouldn't even have showed up for.