Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Pesca se Orilla

Shore fishing for us northerners. It's the biggest surf fishing tournament in Sinaloa and a qualifier for the Mexico Championship....and the fishing staff at Mile 14 was there...in fact we were the only Americans there, what a great couple of days.
My neighbor Dan Stewart who fishes about as hard as anybody I've ever met invited me to team up and maybe put some Mazatlan gringo's on the board. My interest wasn't in winning anything because that never happens....did I ever tell you about leading the Kenai Classic by about 3 King salmon worth of inches after the first day just to be given only 2 fishermen the next day by the organizers ????.....well that's another story. But what my interest was is simple and always the same, see old friends and meet new ones and see how it all works. We thought the event was Sunday only and a rules meeting on Saturday. We drove out to Oceanica about 7 miles north of us only to find out that after the rules everybody could fish from 3:00 to 6:00. Yikes it was blowing 25 onshore and just about as miserable  a three hour stretch as I've ever been through. Because of the wind you throw extra hard and I was whooped guy when I hit the sack to get up at 4:30 a.m. to do 6 hours. The wind had stopped , it was a bluebird day.  Here's a pic I took at the tents at 5:30 a.m. an hour before light. We sang the National anthem and had a priest bless the event and prayed for safety and then the siren went off on the ambulance and the chase was on...
When it got light this was how it looked to the south. You'll notice the guy close's to me has a hand line. Of course I had a bit of a technological edge with a Lami Glass rod and a brand new Shimano Stradic reel....we caught the same amount of nothing.
There was 3 Km. stretch of beach open for the tourney. Our strategy was to fish the rocks that we know well in front of the old Betty Ford clinic and fish ultra hard for the first 3 hours as we knew that with high tide at 7:00 this deal would be won or lost by about 9:30. It was apparent that there were few fish around and sure enough by about 10:00 people were moving.....these guys walked by with the tourney shirts on real interested in something,
Well they spotted something most of us had never seen....in fact they spotted something that people like me  who routinely wade and swim in the ocean don't need to see. He was a little excited so we had a friend tell him what they told me when I asked about turning in a one pound Toro I had caught in the wind on the first day...the man said " do not embarrass yourself by taking that to the weigh in station ".
I know that doesn't look like much so I took a close up. Man oh man he had some teeth and what about that weird body shape. The guy took him home and I don't even wanna know what happened to it. Enlarge this pic and look at his head...oh my....
So ten o'clock comes around it's obvious we're pounding salt so I decide to do what I always did when things were dicey in my other life as a construction hound or wood butcher which everr you prefer....I called a safety meeting. Here's Dan, we woke up so refreshed and kinda needed it.
At noon the siren goes off and I decide to walk 3/4 a mile down to tournament headquarters for the awards. This is how the scene looked from the beach. Even though we only saw one fish and a snake caught I expected with about 200 anglers spread out there was going to be some harvest and of course there was. The organizers there were so good to us Americano's and waved for the pic. 
So here's the pic of all the winners. Largest Toro to the right a nice Pargo, a couple of Corvina and at the far right the winning Robalo. Now about that Robalo....Instead of telling the story in another paragraph I'm posting the pic of MY Robalo right below the winner. MMMM.....ya notice that fish is a winner, only if I had caught him in the tourney and not the same morning on our own beach....It's a classic maxim of mine in life, ' when your ship comes in, you'll be at the airport',
You're only as good as your last fish is what we say in the guide business. I'm used to failure. But these guys from Team Rapala in Puerto Valartta seemed a little disappointed with no catch and having come so far. They were fun and we laughed, For guys like us that make a life out of fishing one little skunk job really only lowers your all around average by less than .04 percent...no worries,
So the awrds were given and then the real 'bite' hits....It's time for all the door prizes. They had TONS of stuff. Rods and reels, lures, gift certificates for food, pliers, gaff hooks and back packs, it was amazing. They had enough for everybody win at least one thing and low and behold I finally get called....a Mobil 1 key chain....my friend Sergio Tirado won a fishermans fanny pack and TWO Mirro Lures. It ain't fair. I don't why but the crowd cheered when I got the key chain, Did someone tell them I'm a chronic loser ? Here's the scene.
Then the superest ultra wonderfully cool thing happened.  Our friend Alex from the Evinrude dealership had donated a really good Okuma surf outfit for a special raffle to raise money for travel of the winner to the next tourney. Of course Dan and I shot the locks off our wallets and had a dog in the hunt. Well they pulled the name out of the hat and Alex got this huge smile. He was so enthused for this young guy who was about as excited as he'd ever been in his 10 years. In Mexico people love old folks and kids....what a cool way to end the day.
Here's a last pic....Me and my friend Indio hanging out at tournament headquarters. Indio is the long distance cast champ around here and a great friend. We're talking fishing of course, using spainglish and hand signs for most things and Google Translate for the fine points. Thanks for a great event Mazatlan, we'll see ya'all next year. 😎

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


For a guy who instant gratification is not fast enough for that is a hard thing to learn. But I've got my steady TelMex internet that is training me on the art of patience....and oh...Take a Taps Bus to Puerto Valartta if you really want to test your old waiting patiently gene. I'll be searching for a new bus company on our next adventure. the first leg was 1 1/2 hours late but leaving PV the other day we were on time with a bus that kept the temp at about 62 degrees ( which we had coats and new would happen ) but when were an hour out of Mazatlan the heat went on and we smoldered at 28 celcius, about 85 to us americano's. Oh well, the food is excellent at the stop over in Tepic and the best part ???? we got where we  were going. All I can say is that Mexican travel is ahhhh , a little different.
The Hotel Nadia with only 9 rooms is ultra cool. Although the rooms are small they have a wonderful roof top terrace that is FULL of #+*** kids....Yup, it's my role in life to be surrounded by rude people I guess. The Nadia is no place for kids. The roof top pool is  really just a soaking pool and it's cold. The hot tub is luke warm and big enough for 2 or 3 people.....so the family that took over the place and ' friends' of the owner kinda ruined it for everybody else including us. I would have been horrified for my kids running around a 4 story Mexican Hotel but these people were just oblivious. This family was there for 2 weeks , not fair to the guests and especially not fair to their own kids that should have been at a resort with a warm kiddy pool they would actually get in and events for the youngsters....oh well.....some people.....
P.V. is a smaller city than Mazatlan with more tourist and less beach. The jungle is a plus as Maz is kind of more desert like. We got up to the botanical gardens again and the river is just amazing. Unlike what we see in Maz the water is cool and clear, I drank it and wish I'd had my swimsuit along, wading around was second best.

Here in Mazatlan it looks to me like the Mahi Mahi is the hardest of the offshore fish to find and catch. I see them hanging at El Cid Marina of course but usually just a few and usually the weigh less than 20 pounds, So...I was duly impressed with this catch that I came across at of all places a restaurant . These guys were net caught and it made me wonder just how much Mahi Mahi that place can sell....It's the same old story ....The guys with the nets get the wheat and the guys with the hooks get the chaff.
Of course I had my eye out for surf fishing but there just didn't seem to be enough open space right around P.V.. I 'm sure the little secluded coves and sandy beaches north of town are full of fish it's just a different lay out than Mazatlan. I actually went an entire week without fishing or playing the guitar...It was a hand holder for sure....But I did notice this guy on our walk one morning. It reminded me of when I first got into Rooster Fish right up the beach from here in front of a huge building and I was so impressed that we had this kind of bite right in town that I mentioned it to one of the guys and they said " Jeff, the fish don't know there's a city here".
So a hand holder it was....here's me and my #1 on the pier. I asked a young Mexican gal in my best Spainish ' a tomar o imagenes por favor '. She took the camera and in perfect english said " sure , would you like it horizontal or vertical ".mmmmm....Time for the hot tip. The google Translate app is by far the best I've come across. It never fails and when it's talked to unlike Siri it gets it right. Just the other day I down loaded for a cab driver as we headed for the bus station. He was thrilled and so was MP when we went to talking back and forth when the phone as he drove ...." Jeff you're encouraging that guy to text and drive ".....mmmm, guess I was.
Now if this blog post seems a bit disjointed it's because it is. It's taken me 3 days of being booted of Blogger for slow connection and trying use my phone for hotspot and it's struggle getting the pics to load. But as the Ill fated French climber in the movie The Eiger Sanction stated, ' we will continue with dignity '....and it's amazing,,,we found some love on a manhole cover of all places.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Fishing good is living good....

Besides the usual joy of the chase, the adrenalin of the bite and the fact that I've made a ton of money selling fishing trips there's always this....that's some darn good food. I've been trying to stay off of the knee I hyper extended a bit so that we can hike as usual in Puerto Vallarta next week so my fishing this last week was mostly just dreaming. But the last few days I decided to test the knee and our reliable spot at Mar Rosa sponsored 5 of us to this dinner. All Alaskan's, us and Mike and Cathy Sheets from Admiralty Island a new friend Becky from Juneau...it was kinda nice to talk Alaska politics which although screwed up makes some other political arena's seem like a love in. The Sheets live right above our favorite restaurant so as I trucked down the beach I yelled at Mike and as we stood talking Becky took this shot, pretty cool huh ? Enlarge it and check out the sand on my feet etc,,,,a little into it wouldn't ya say ?
So last night we meet in the dining hall for snapper entero and let me tell you....the crunch of the skin combined with the sweetness of the Snapper with just a dip of garlic butter would make a Bulldog break his chain,
The day before with cabin fever setting in we road tripped to the shrimp ladies for the biggest head on cameron's we could find. I had this idea that they would have nice rich tamale like the lobster do between the head and tail. Well they do, but not much . We got 8 of them and marinated in olive oil and garlic with fresh basil...oh baby, it's 7 bucks worth of shrimp. So now all you guys in Slowdotna that see me every morning at the gym and then walking 5 miles in the afternoon to lose 10 pounds pre Mazatlan know why....it's just living good.
Even though Batman had Robin to help with  a pic I elected to use the timer on the camera instead. I had just asked Ernie to snap a few with my cell phone and he held the little virtual button down until it had taken 18 identical shots,,, and look...no finger over the lens.
So after laying off for 5 days I had a great morning and never twisted my knee. It's the curse of the King family, bad knee's. Both my brother and sister have had replacement surgery. My dad and grandpa could hardly walk as they got older so I have my work cut out for me to avoid the surgery...build muscle mass, keep active, body weight down....Oh, in one day I caught the two snapper, lost a snapper , caught a jug and used my knot making skills to put two little campions on one line with the drop line loup figureing heck, if there's little toro's that will only take little bait why not catch two at once.
So me and the launch lady are off to P.V. on Monday for a get away from our getaway . I scored reservations at the small highly popular Boutique Hotel Nadia. We'll have super with our old friend Roger Langford and hike as far as we can....I'll keep a keen eye ( how's that eh ?) out for interesting things for all of you that follows life here at Mile 14....Hope ya comeback now....😎🎸🎸

Friday, January 5, 2018

Not one , but two

flat tires on one trip....Yikes.
Riding the bikes in Mazatlan isn't as dangerous as it looks but I have to say it's pretty darn crazy. So, if I get snuffed on a bike in my 60's in Mexico please understand that I new better and went ahead and did it anyway, been that way my whole life. It took a while but we've decided the safest way to ride is just like the Mexicans do....act like it's a car and always stay to the right as far as you can. And when you hear the bus coming go steady helm amid ship. But it's great exercise and with MP's knee still about 75 % and mine about the same after a good twist in the surf this morning it's way gentler on the old bones than walking everywhere. Sunday mornings are quiet here and we just love to explore Mazatlan on the bikes.

These bikes we bought from Vallin bike shop are a little quirky ( ah,,,I hate the word cheap so I'll say affordable ) and we knew the inner tubes were weak as MP had already had a flat. So I got a pump and a repair kit and decided to go fishing the other morning out the dirt road past El Delphin to the old Betty Ford Clinic. Good rocks there and it's a place Team X has gotten many a Corvina. You've seen this view before. looking north you see nothing and looking south the skyline. The GPS told me I was 8.5 miles from home.

There's only one person around and it's a friend who is a legendary fisherman here named Bernardo so he and I catch up and talk story as Chris says. I caught a small Paleta which  looks just like a super petite Robalo.  Bernardo had to go so I stayed and fished into the mid morning and packed my rod into the back pack and broke camp....immediately I felt the front tire was low. I stopped at the El Delphin apartments where I know people and kinda sized up the situation and of course being a guy who doesn't ask for help I saw that the tube would hold air for about 10 minutes....So.... I'd pump really hard and then jump on and ride really hard and repeat. At one point while still on the gravel I looked down to see how it was doing and ran right off the road...my first bike wreck in years. I got a little road rash, you know the deal, all the hard points on the side of your body that you sacrifice, For me right now it;s my right hip, wrist, elbow and ankle. MP says she's see me way worse, like when I had motorcycles. But then as I get to about the 1/3 mark I notice the rear tire is low as well.....yikes....now I gotta pump twice and I cracked a genuine Fitness Place Cardio type sweat. At one point as I was pumping ( I did it 10 times ) a guy with a dog on a leash said ' man you sure are sweating ' well his dog was kinda looking for a place to do what dogs do and I told him ' if your dog pisses on this bike you're gonna be sweating to'.  So now we're looking into heavy duty inner tubes and my bike mechanic abilities are improving. Bernardo said there were very few 'big fish' out there but I'll get mobilized and get out there again this week....schamoozle free I hope .
I got that snapper on Ernie's birthday and gave it to him as a present...my friend Ernesto is technology dysfunctional so I was impressed this pic turned out at all. That black bar in the lower left of  course is his finger protector over the lens. Ern caught this gorgeous manta on the same trip and was kinda astonished to see that the old Pelican wrangler himself seemed to be a little scaredy chicken of it.
I reacquainted recently with an old friend from high school over Facebook. Allan recently retired and is right now touring Thailand and Viet Nam which sounds fabulous . He's a fun guy who knows the way....sent me this bit of wisdom that I know for sure....we just gotta notice. And  from right here in Mazatlan I got a pic of this scaffold I pass over daily, it's over the sewer right where I like to fish....it's kinda like this....winter's in Alaska are the same. If you let it keep you indoors then you'll never do nothing. This ol life ain't a dress rehearsal.