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.



Friday, December 9, 2016

The dog ate my homework

That's the kind of thing you here from fishing fanatics after a less than stellar performance, in my  .case an entire week of no edibles, just a few Toro's. At Mile 14 of the Kenai River it goes like this " the tides are wrong- the waters a little chaulky - the waters a little cold - there's no fish in that river ". Now here at Mile 5014 next to the tropic of cancer it goes like this " the tides are all wrong - the waters a little chaulky - the waters to warm - there's no fish in that river "......mmmmmm.....But Team X is mobilizing for beach assault this weekend so the drought should end...I hope.

But if you don't get out of bed for every sunrise you miss the coolest colors on earth. The ocean gets a bit of what in Alaska we call Alpenglow kind of look. The boats are running offshore and every morning brings that mystery of anticipation, will we or won't we ? It's all what I love.
This week I did catch 15 or 20 Toro like this one my friend Jesus caught off the jetty at Pueblo Bonita. After I saw him lift this guy straight up about 20 feet I decided to call it a day....the last thing I need is another broken stick while I'm still in mourning over the loss of my 11' Fish Eagle. In fact I mentioned to Jesus that it looked like a good way to break a rod and he said he knew for a fact that it is.....
Out on one of our hikes me and MPeasy came across the truck that took us to Alaska. A 1971 Dodge Camper Special with a 318 V-8 in her....and it was darn near the same color . What an adventure it was and still is. Me, her and our friend Robert Gerstlauer drove that truck to Montana for Christmas in 1977. We drove all night through Tok Junction on into Whitehorse with it -45 degrees.....the defroster was on full blast and just kept a 10 inch round circle clear. We didn't turn the truck off for two days and on the Tok to Whitehorse stretch we only saw 3 other vehicles....and only in Alaska one of the three was a truck towing an Airplane with the wing off and tied long ways to the fuselage.
On this hike we found Dozzo Fusion / Asian food restaurant. MP is crazy about Dim Sun which they advertised but didn't have the night we went. BUT what they did have was a dish called ' Hokkaido' that was cream cheese stuffed shrimp wrapped with bacon and the deep fat fried with a layer of crunchy lace like french fries wrapped around them.....Holy cow, make a Bull dog break it's chain it was so good, and only 80 peso. Sometimes when I've had scallops or shrimp that are bacon wrapped the bacon over powers the seafood but this was perfect.
Being a french fry expert and having them be one of my weaknesses I was so impressed to see potato's cooked in a way I'd never seen. They are just finally grated so the crispiness is just wonderful. So knowing that I'm hooked on Mexican Pa Pa's imagine how cool it was to run into these that come with a message.....my kind of message.
I'm always amazed that here in Mazatlan with all the abundance of fresh fish of all sorts how popular Salmon is. It's always fresh in the stores so I kinda know where it comes from and I doubt it's the land of the best Salmon in the world. But people buy it up for sure....guess I'm just kind of a Salmon snob.
The price is for a kilo which translates to about $ 7.50 a pound, pretty fair I'd say.
We had a nice quiet month in November here at our building but now people are starting to arrive and the vibe while always good kinda changes. We had a little excitement when this guy here was found living under the sink in the womens room by the pool. With all the animal lovers around here I just couldn't understand why they didn't let him stay.... I mean we got people, we got cats, we got dogs, we got dogerson's, we got chirping birds , we got gecko's and big ol nasty Iguana lizards as well as cock roaches and rats that are big enough to fight back......so what'd this guy do to deserve the treatment ? I just don't understand.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Something about this place.....

kinda makes you realize how to separate the important from the unimportant and I'm trying to do just that....although I've been a C student my whole life, I'm trying. The Telmex man came 10 days ago to speed up my internet and left with it and the phone disabled. Just today as I wait and wait there was a thread on Facebooks Find it Here Mazatlan asking people if they new how to get the Telmex man over faster.....nobody new but someone did offer that you could marry one. But we're doing fine with our phones and right now I'm using Connies house to write with. It was the weirdest thing, I tried to blog post using my Phone App like the short issue last week and using the voice recognition thing just wasn't working....mostly because I've typed my whole life and the mechanics of it are part of the creative process for me. I just wasn't formulating the sentences and thoughts right while talking to an I-phone...weird. It just wasn't helping my creative juices....

The marathon of the Pacific has come and gone. MP and I got up and walked into town for Menudo that morning and met the runners coming at us. The Kenyan front runners are so graceful they seem to float, you can't hardly hear their feet hit the ground.
video
That night we went onto the Gold Zone for Pho soup at a place we love and as we finished I looked at the clock and we wandered over to the seawall and the best fireworks display I've ever seen started. It lasted a good 1/2 hour and they had fountains and star shells set to go off in sequence for several miles up and down the malecon....pretty cool.
With people telling me the fishing is slow I had one of the best weeks ever. I caught 2 large Robalo which is heck of a trick, about 5 or 6 Pargo and even a nice 5 pound Corvin and of course 15 or 20 Toro scattered around in the mix. It's weird, there's been years and seasons at Mile 14 where we've just crushed the other guys abd the few of them that would have the moxie to ask what I was doing different I'd honestly tell them that I didn't know. That's how it works and that's how I feel now. Both of these Robalo were caught in two different places but by chance the same hand line fisherman that I now know witnessed both,,,,when I catch another I'm going to give it to him,...honest.
These Snook I think everyone agrees are the best sport fish on the beach. This guy hit 20 feet from shore and ran off 50 yards of line. He jumped several times once on the crest of a huge wave that was just perfect and his endurance is remarkable, 10 minutes to land....and they are the best to eat. The perfect sport fish.
Here's a pic of a morning with a snapper as well as a sea bass and one of the nicer snappers I've ever caught a day later....It's momentum, when things are going good they tend to keep going good and when things are going bad....ahhhh, forget about that part....
So if you're headed to Mexico to surf fish here's the magic,,,,he's a Mirro Lure C 5 and he's perfect to fish the rocks and the rocks are where the fish are of course. He dives to about only 2 feet so he's submerged just right so slimey can see him and come up to him but he's shallow enough to not get hung up....usually.
Any of you that have been with Mile 14 a while know that the Jack Crevalle are abundant here, kinda the pink salmon of Mexico. But just because these guys aren't the best table fair don' think we're not happy to catch them. They are a cousin of the Roosterfish which to me is the holy grail and they do pull....look at the size of this one.
I ran into a friend and he had a load of them. He bleeds them immediately and then cuts all the dark meet out and then they're seasoned for tacos, lot's of good protein.
Since the election the Peso has plummeted against the dollar. It's great for us gringo's but terrible for Mexico. People are a little scared for the jobs and their stateside relatives but these know what I'm trying to learn like the title to this blog post, relax, breath through your nose, tomorrow is a new day, there's a sunrise for every sunseta.....and I got the feeling that with people like this Marathoner around we're all going to be just fine....
I really enjoy that all of you enjoy Mile 14....so I'll be steadier and try to post more and at least every week.....we got things goin on ya know. Thanks for reading.