Friday, December 28, 2018

Hard Lessons

Well I've learned a few. I found out the hard way that the big ol ocean we all love can kill you dead real just can't treat it casually.  So having learned it the hard way when I know you need to have faith and be totally familiar with your equipment and have the right stuff for what you're doing.  You also need to be deliberate in nature, no guess knowing these things I was dismayed this morning to come across a  mishap that could have ended in the worst way.
Regular Mile 14 readers know that we live right next to the rock jetty that separates us from the El Cid Marina entrance that it protects. As I watched the sun come up and walked as I cast I see one of those really cool Hobie kyaks made for fishing come around the point, it was one of those ones that you paddle like a bike and I thought how someday I gotta get that deal. As I fished I watched the guy troll along and then realized the guy was in the water, he had rolled it over and was trying to reboard his boat. I watched him splash and splash  unsuccessfully to get back in the boat. Unlike Alaska he was still safe in the warm so I didn't think to much of it at first but finally he was just hanging onto it floating towards the rocks and had quit trying. Several boats left the harbor and didn't notice anything unusual. So after he'd been in the water for a good 1/2 hour I knew I had to do something. There was nothing to be gained by getting in the water to help, the first rule of rescue is don't compound the problem by endangering yourself....and...I kinda know those rocks with the ocean swells that we had were virtually impossible to climb up onto and that's how he would drown. So as fast as a 65 year old fishing guide in bare feet could go I headed for the tip of the jetty to encourage him to make for the beach and not the rocks that are closer. As I got to the light house I looked up the other side of the jetty into the harbor and see a panga boat coming way off. I wait and wait and run to him so he won't miss seeing me and knowing he can't hear from that far I wave and give him the emergency jumping jack like wave. He see's me and I point to other side and give him the ' go fast sign' that Tony has used and he gets to the guy. As luck would have it is my friend the legend Chalio and he helps the guy back into the kyak and then follows him around the point and back into the harbor,

If not for Chalio this could have been the 3rd drowning I have  been around here in Mazatlan. About ten years a go two guys in a Panga got onto those same rocks trying to rescue a swimmer in trouble. The swimmer got back to the beach but each of the boaters tried the rocks and they're just so slippery and the waves you knock you back , one made it , one didn't.

Chalio ends his fishing charters at 1:00 so I rode my bike over to thank him. I find out the man was huge, way to big for the boat. Chalio said he was about done up, no energy. He had an inflatable life jacket on that did not inflate. It was his first time in the boat and obviously didn't know the trick for reboarding a capsized kyak that I think every kyak boater practices....he treated the ocean casually, But, one of my Maxims in life is don't worry about what didn't happen,,,he just learned it the hard way, the lucky way, the way to be avoided.

Wanna hear fishing I'll bet....Well it's surely the year of the pargo. As you know the only slimeys in the really big dept I haven't caught from the beach was a two digit snapper. Well I  got him weeks ago so I got a personel best twice. And the other day although not the biggest I caught my 3rd biggest and the most beautiful. You see how red he his. He was in 2 ft of water at low tide next to the jetty and this fish didn't want was a noble fight . It was Christmas eve sunset so I cleaned him up real good and kept him ' entero' then gifted him to our friends Martin and Mercedes who were tickled to have fresh fish, his daughter told me in an excited voice, " it's big enough for all of us ". It made me feel real good.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Everything except snow

The ornaments at Galarias Mall. We went ans saw Aquaman at the Platino Cinemex.  Platino movie tip: eating super cheese nacho's in a dark theatre will make a mess of you.
Plaza Machado tree. It's perfect.
Revolution Plaza and City Hall.
A virtual forest of Christmas Tree's with the Cathedral in the background.
Plaza Machado near sunset,,,,lots of people and a band stand of course.
The most popular ornament in the Plaza. I never really figured out what it is but maybe like those snow scene water filled deals we shook as kids but this one you get inside and throw the snow in the air.
A Christmas Princess. She didn't mind me snapping a pic and had a troop of admiring boys following her.
Olas Altas...we sit on the sea wall and bid the day good night.
Candelabra at Revolution Plaza.
MP had to have Churro's at the Feast of the Lady of Guadalupe.
The Cathedral is a maze of Photo Booths staged different ways for the kids after the blessing.
Traditional skirts and a proud Papa.
Awful cute.....
This was our favorite setting, the kids making Tortillas....
Of course the boys were dressed as Juan Diego. This guy had the good stuff.
Back at the Mercado waiting for the Sabalo Centro bus we ran into an old friend. Merry Christmas Hilda Lisa and all of you that take time to read Mile 14 and be part of our lives....Me and MPeasy love you all.
Things are just a little different than North of the border.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018


I've been in a slump. Yup ol pro guide #003 hasn't been getting the customary tug on the line and figure I could use this situation to help all the up and comers on how to handle these situations. When you're slumping people will forever ask you why and whats going on so you need an extreme amount of excus....ahhhh...reasons for it. You need an inventory of reasons so you don't get stuck in the middle of a dead dog slow fishing day with the old " that's the same reason you gave me last time".  So here's Pro Guide Tip # 5.5 with a few ways I've handled those through the years. You could even use this as a cheat sheet, keep it with you and fill in the closes option, feel free.

The waters to : 1. warm 2. cold 3.wet

The water to :  1. clear 2. muddy 3. polluted

The dot tide book had a skunk instead of a fish symbol

The barometer is :  1. rising 2. falling 3, broken

The fish are : 1. not hungry 2. over fed 3. smarter than you

Your bait is : 1. freezer burned 2. to soft 3. Chris pissed on it

The tide is : 1. to small 2. to big  3. I was asleep during it

Well you get the idea, glad to help....the biggest thing about a slump is ya just gotta keep fishing until finally pitch your way out of it and start a new one like I did yesterday with this fish that surprised me during a standing nap.
So last mid week I did something I never do just to remind me why I never do it....I went fishing in a boat, in Mexico, on the ocean. Of course it was the usual ' you shoulda been here yesterday ' deal with the weather. It was a typical Jeff off shore day, sea's to 4 feet etc. I was 6' tall when we left and a few hours later at the dock I was 5'10"...I traded my buddy Kiko a river trip for a Mazatlan panga ride, the weather ol Kiko can't control so I'll give you Pro Guide Tip # it a bonus tip here at Mile 14....The first thing they teach you in guide school is take the money. SO TAKE THE MONEY, no barter and if you must barter remember to be the guy that gets the service first.  We actually had a good day all things considered. we caught easily 100 whakachanga's and some Flamingos. I kinda got the feeling we were fishing in the nursery and you know how I go on about that so it's a good thing I took a week off the Homer winter King rant.... and oh, that's a big one.
That last pic took exactly 42 minutes to load here on Telmex ultra slow no G but cheaper than hell service. So I'm going to try one last one to show you where I was and what I was looking at that would be the where I'd rather go deal....Then I'm gonna find a shrink my pics program and then in the next few days I hope to post many pics of the over the top Christmas displays here in Mexico....wish me luck and please come back soon, ya'all hear now ?

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Fish Envy

That second word there is one that I really don't associate with. I just don't have that envy / jealous gene in me, I'm quite comfortable in my own skin, just who I am is all.....BUT... people like us have that wow factor respect deal going with some of those fish that come along only so often in a lifetime, so right now I got about as close as a case of fish envy I've ever had.  37 years of  guiding people onto their own fish of a life time has put fish envy in perspective for me so without further ado I'll tell ya the story....Ol Daniel there hit the fish equivalent of PowerBall. After sunset he was fishing like any good Team Xer would and he felt a large that his popper way out at the end of his cast. These Robalo will take topwater but generally not and usually they are in close to the beach and are usually 3 to 10 pounds, for us a 15 pounder is huge.  He was right in front of his house so he yelled at his wife Becky to get the camera and she snapped two pictures. So, not only does he have the perfect fish he also has the perfect picture and thats all he has because he RELEASED it to live on. Wow, impressive job Daniel, you have earned a one ballot vote into the Team X hall of fame. Everyone who see's this pic agree's that it is all on 25 pounds, maybe more. Absolutely gorgeous .
The water is still unseasonably warn so we have Roosterfish  everywhere. Jesus caught 5 the other morning and  I caught about a 20 pounder this morning with nobody around to snap a pic for me. There are a lot of small ones that are about as cute as the fish you had in the aquarium as a kid. Here's a pic of one Mario caught the other morning, they fight like their parents, they take the same bait as their parent, they jump but hey are just about as big as your hand.
We were out at Oceanica the other day and the birds were everywhere. The Egrets and the Oyster Catchers have a lot of faith in Team X, you can't hardly chase them off as they seem to hang out waiting for you to catch a fish they might steal. This group of Catchers just walked along with me for the longest's why we go fishing I'd say, every morning is fresh and new and every morning I see something I've never seen before...
Speaking of things you've never seen, hows about the happiest wife in Mazatlan, at least she oughta be. This is the kind of husband that really makes Christmas difficult for normal guys like me...can't do a car for ya MPeasy but I can love the you 100% and of course you'll be receiving your customary bottle of Heinz 57 Steak Sauce, I promise, And oh, not just a car but a BMW .
So me and Mpeasy hope everybody is warming up to Christmas like we are. Here it's so different that it can turn even a calloused heart....It's still commercial like we know but not the same, commercial in a fun way and of course so family orientated. The sales are different, give you more instead of charging less, that kind of mom would be proud. I really enjoy the religious part of Christmas here. Tomorrow is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe so we're going downtown like we did last year to see the blessing of the children and eat some wonderful street food. Not to many gringos around and just wonderful family feelings....Love.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Personal bests...

Sometimes they take forever, sometimes they just plain and simple won't happen...kinda like that list of goals I post in my gear shed every season. It took me 15 years in Mexico to get that 15 pound Snook I wanted and now  guess what, another record Snapper. I caught the biggest of my surf career a couple weeks back and the other day I upgraded that to an 8 kilo monster...You that know me or have fished with me know that I'm a true believer in momentum. When things are going well they tend to keep going well and when things are screwed up they....well, lets forget about that part. Dick Hahn says it simple physics, ' things in motion tend to stay in motion', it's on of the maxim's of my life.
I got him on that same Mirrolure. I bull dogged him away from the rocks and then let him tire in the surf....all the time trying to get Ernie's attention so he could be ready with the gaff just in case. Well, ol Ern is kinda focused and it took forever so just as I was getting ready to ride him in when  Ern came running and grabbed the hook and got ready....well ol slimey did what slimey will do, he got almost high and dry and then muscled himself down the beach right into Ern with the hooks that weren't in him going into Ernie's pant was actually pretty comical and just the usual schamoozle for Team X the most misunderstood fish team in Mazatlan. But it was well hooked and as hard as we tried we didn't lose it. I knew that there were a lot Pargo around, we've caught many, in fact the most ever and then I ran into this guy, nice work amigo.
And Ern got on the board with this guy, There's a fish here called a pala--- something or other and it looks like a snook but is smaller and more numerous. I guess I ain't learned it all yet because this guy is either a really large one of those or an extremely small snook....sorry Ern. I know, I know....a feeder snook for all you Homer Alaska fish assassins.
As I came home from fishing the other day I spotted this and knew exactly what it meant. Big boat-small garage-unique solution. I've been looking at boats as now that I'm not tripping I'll be in the market for a boat with a top, seats for me and MPeasy, an electric anchor puller and one of those folding trailer tongues so I don't do what this guy's a little over the top...
Believe it or not but I give up fishing once a year to be on the malecon for the Marathon of the Pacific, It starts at sun up so we have to ready and usually walk against it so we see them coming north and then they u turn and we see them again. Here's a pic of ole guide #003 in my Sunday go to meetings, about as cleaned up as I get.
This is the first pac of the women...there were only a few men ahead of them and they were all pro's I'd guess. I was feeling bad for them as the air quality in our part of Mazatlan is horrible. There is so much development going on that they are continually burning slash and whats worse, burning garbage, just the way it's done here I guess. But the runners were moving along smartly as they say. A great event.
This guy was my favorite....he was sweeping the trail as say in snowmachine riding. He must have had 30 stuffed animals on his running suit and all he could say was ' hola amigo's'....he got as bigger applause than anybody.
I saw this the other day at the Marina. I've seen many a 57 Chevy 2 door but this one was exceptional. I had just snapped this pic and couldn't resist so I was standing real close looking at the interior when a large Mexican man came through the door with his eyes locked on me and walking at flank speed right up to me......ooooo......he got right in my space and said....." ya wanna see the engine" ? ..... I love this place.

Monday, November 26, 2018

It was a GREAT week, but....

 Shortly after I had a nice man behind us snap this pic of Mp and MPeasy at the Beisbol game at the brand new and impressive Venado Stadium I began to feel sick,  It was a replay of the time a few years back when I came home from fishing and MP had bought me a street tamale and when she asked the guy what kind it was he said " bif "... So I made rule, don't eat beef tamales and now I'm adding taco's El Pastor to that code, at least until I get a bit more acclimated to Mazatlan. It was horrible, by the 3rd inning I could feel and almost hear it grumbling, then my acid reflux kicked in and I new I was only an hour and 1/ 2 from launch time. Luckily Gill and Grace decided to go after the 7th inning stretch and I got home just in time to sell my first Buick...Now MP ate 1 of my 3 tacos so it was maybe more me than the food I guess, but then again she's the same girl that used to enjoy pre chewed gum she pried off the sidewalk.  So, a night of no sleep and fever followed by day of sleeping and aching then rehydrate and apologize for being such a soup, it's over.
 I'll bet you can buy shorts like this in the states  but it would just be too weird in Alaska . You know, if you're in a hurry to get that used up - I could care less part of your life.

Now the pic below is amazing. Here we also have a Black Friday kind of deal that they did a week before ours, as if things aren't cheap enough already.  It's called  Buen Fin and at the local grocery we had people filling up carts with liquor, on Buen Fin all liquor in the store was 3 for the price of  2. We were impressed to see one woman buy thousands of dollars of high end imported goods....and then we ran into this guy at Sams Club. Everyone knows this town is fueled by Pacifico Beer and I guess to a lesser extent Compadre Tequila, It's the low price brand that usually goes into Margaritas etc. It's not bad but Don Julio it ain' individual 1.75 lter bottle sells for 90 peso, about 5 bucks Americano....
Well if you made it this far you're probably ready for some fish eh....You guys that read this know that one of my goals has been to get a huge Pargo ( snapper). Well , I got the biggest of my life the other day and let me tell you this guy could pull. I was all alone, which I like and my first bite of the morning was really really strong. The Pargo are in the rocks and when one this size comes up to get the bait he just goes right back to where he was and he's impossible to land once under the rocks again....I've lost many that were to big to catch. BUT, this one, as soon as I new it was a fish and not the rocks I tightened and pulled hard and had him  right in front of me quickly, then loosen up and wait for the right wave to ride him up high and dry. It took 10 minutes. I almost just went home figuring how do you top that but I made a few more cast and hooked another, LARGE,,,,well this one I got out of the rocks but the riding the wave thing needs some practice. As one of my customers once said " sometimes it's good when the fish wins".
So maybe it's my year to get that 20 pound snapper. They get BIG and I'm wondering of we can handle one twice as big as this guy, hope to find out. I did get on the Robalo board, what he lacks in size he makes up in taste.
On Friday me and the newly reconstituted Team X'ers headed to our old stomping grounds at Puntas Negres .... it was to wet and the clay at the third point looked like you could get stuck real easy so we retreated to Oceanica....gorgeous as look north you see nothing and as you look south you see town. Some say it's on the edge of town, I say its on the edge paradise. Me and Daniel caught a few Toro and ran into some old friends so it was a great morning...In the world of fish bums Dan Stewart there has elite status, he builds his own lures, he's a boat guy, he's up EVERY morning....see ya in Alaska next summer Dan, them salmon ain't got a chance. Here's few pics from the morning.
I spotted this on the back of my friend Mario's Van... he's right , who needs one ?

Monday, November 19, 2018

"what did you do now " ?

I've heard that a lot in my life along with " what the heck were you thinking' ? we'll just jump right to Pro Guide Tip # 5 where in the hell you're going.
Trust me, that baby is a bit more purple than it looks and she was aching pretty good for a day or so,,,ahh...what we do for adventure.  And boy howdy, do we have warm water which means Roosterfish. I guess I'm about as close to gringo expert on these guys as anybody around here so it's no stretch when I say it's the most of them I've ever seen....but the vast majority of them are small kinda like the 'feeder kings' that we're removing from the world daily in Homer Alaska. People tell me that these size Guyo's are very good eating but I've been chasing them so long now and they are so rare and hard to catch in the surf that they all go back. So far I've caught 4 about this size and please ignore the story that starts with ' this is no kiddin',,,,,but...this is no kiddin I've hooked maybe 7 or 8 more and lost them all, one was an easy 30 pounds when he spit right in front of me.
 And of course the release, this is what you do when you want fish for the future, like salmon. A quick pic with the single hook removed and ol slimeys swims right of onto the future.
 That morning I caught and released three just about all identical. I had my 20 lb. set up and it was a great fight....maybe even the reason my $ 200.00 Plueger Patriarch broke the next day. But while it was still early I pulled off and walked to the rocks I like in hopes of a snapper for date night with MPeasy. I cast my mirrolure for a full hour and then sat down and had a breakfast bar and an mandarin orange. I gave it just two more casts then and walla....another snapper.
 I know you've seen this pic before but you still have to admit that is a gorgeous thing, MP had her favorite Coconut shrimp as well. Walt Larson used to tell me that eating well is living well.

 So we're off to a record start here at Mile 5014 for the 2018.19 season. Just last night at sunset I was anxious to try an 11' ft, Loomis salmon rod that all the guys like on the world famous. I cut the trigger off and put spinning eyes on it and man that thing makes a 2 ounce metal go global. I was just enjoying watching it fly when I saw panicked bait fish jumping in front of me so I took off the metal and put my home made little ' pluma' on and walla, the fight was on. As it hit right next to shore I thought Robalo but I'm no fish snob , I'll take a nice Jack any day.

We've enjoyed the shopping, everything is so different and even with all we know about Mazatlan we find new things. On our search for a basil plant we had to do pointsetta's ....and this was the small tent.
If we weren't dieting we would have bought this baby. Looks a little like Daryl Hannah eh ?
From our sunset to yours....Happy Thanksgiving from us here in Mexico. I'm still having a little trouble getting Mile 14 to press so please be patient and come back, I'll get this story line polished up real soon....