Thursday, February 28, 2019

It's a Cairn

Fishing is slow, real slow. But you know me, I'm up and out every morning before sun up and the other morning after it finally warmed up and I was sunning on the new rock jetty in front of Escondida that has the power tool engraved petroglyths on it I decided to add to the history and mystery of this place, ya know , like a song - send a message. Being an Arctic exploration history buff I know that in the day Mariners in peril or just needing or hoping to have someone come along and know where they were or were going and that this was where they'd been would build one of these on a prominent point so a passing boat would notice.... a cairn.
Typically after being iced in over the winter, marooned if you will,  a sea captain would build the cairn with a note underneath saying that they're O.K., they're holding up, they're headed north and hope to live, hope to make new discoveries...just like me I guess. So by now you're thinking that guy at the Mile 14 Southern Bureau is whackin out and at the very least has a magnum case of cabin fever...not true, I've just been kinda introspective, learning how to live in retirement and condo life, being alone...movin on, that's all....and if you wanna know what the note says you gotta come fishing the playa in Mazatlan Mexico, we'll look under some rocks...

The only fish I caught this week were all Toro's.... I ain't complaining but it's a little like catching Humpies. the cool thing is that you don't really know for sure what they are until you finally see him on the beach so it's easy to imagine a 5 pound snook and then ....toro....And I caught maybe 7 of them this week and ALL of them were on my new gizmo deal where I throw a 10 dollar castmaster with a 25 cent coho fly 2 ft. up the leader. There's just something wrong with that. I have a locker of high tech divers and floaters, suspenders and poppers and rangers and ...they bite a salmon fly......mmmm..

One sunset as I went in search of more Toro's I quit fishing because I could see hundreds of
Rays in the crest of the waves and just new it wouldn't be long before I snagged one. Most of them are a Skate looking critter but we also have ' Manta' types with the stinger on the tail. Sure enough as I headed home I ran into these kids with their fishing shirts on and wrestling with a Manta they had snagged...wrestling very unassuredly.  So I took the time to show them how to put your foot on that tail while you use the pliers so there is no way the end of the tail can get you, just like lesson 4 at Team X orientation...Well, they weren't having any party of touching that thing in any way without pliers being the only contact...It was pretty chuckly.
Carnaval this weekend so come on back now ya hear ???? I'll take many pictures.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


That's what it's gotta be.... I met a real cool guy on the beach the other day named Aaron Reese who is a Mile 14 reader. I must not have had my journalist's hat on squarely because I didn't get a pic of me and him together, sorry about that Aaron but I will accept your offer to be a Mile 14 Southern Bureau Consultant with a special eye on all projects beach, unique and especially weird related. It don't pay much but's show biz. As Aaron and I got to know each other we talked fish politics some and he's aware that when it comes to Kenai River workings I'm one of the checks in the checks and balances it was no surprise that just the other day yet another emergency order was issued closing our early run Kings to catch and keep but they will let us catch and release. Guess I picked the right generation to retire in. I don't know how ADF+G projects a weak run, the s.w.a.g. theory I'd guess but at least they're doing something and of course it's a good chance they will be wrong but my question is this !!! When you consider that the King shortage is all over Alaska with Little Su and all the streams north of us experiencing a " period of low abundance" ( I love that , I'm going to acronym that and from here on out it's POLA ) WHY is there no overall plan and especially WHY is there no saltwater component ? In the past when just the Kenai was short the rational
 was that in the ocean it's a mixed stock fishery so why deprive people of harvest on fish headed to healthy streams...Now they're all in trouble and in Homer Alaska just a few miles south you can catch and keep two a day...and don't tell me they're Canadian fish, that fails the common sense test it you guys over at ADF+G ever use it.....O.K., I'm done. ( and a big if, if they were Canadian how do you suppose those poor guys feel about thousands of immature kings being intercepted  )
MP has her sister Kathy here with her friend Bonnie...and I thought Max had us busy. We've been walkin and Mercado-in and well, just having fun. It's a simple tragedy of life that you can get used to just about anything so It's cool when new people to Mazatlan are so impressed that we are reminded to keep appreciation for what a wonderful place and life we have. Here's pic of me and the girls on the up and over tour...
I noticed a place at the market I should have found 20 years ago, Mazatlan's biggest hot sauce store. There was a time when F Troop guides like Chris Simmons and Keith and me and Geno would try to out do each other in the ultra hot sauce dept...Simmons was an expert at it. So once we had a all the burn your lips off habenaro sauce you could ever need we would carry it on the boat and when people were cold and wet and admit to it we'd just encourage em to put a few drops square on the tongue and Walla....instant heat....hows that for Pro Guide Tip # 12 ?  Trust me, people will quit complaining about the weather.
Speaking of the weather....(man what a lead in eh ?) it's been cold here, real cold. As I type for the 3rd day in a row it's blowing 12 to 15 on shore and is only 70 degrees. Now I know that's not cold but after you've adjusted to the 80's it's a bummer...but not so much a bummer that I'd change places. I kinda get a perverse pleasure by turning on my security camera and seeing real life Mile 14. Here's the shot from my drive way camera. I know you might think I photo shopped it to make it look that dark and miserable but trust's true...And hey, I earned my snowbird status honorably...did I ever tell you about the stretch I did of 15 years without leaving the State ? True friends said I oughta experience the outside world, it was making me a little we went to Vegas.
I snapped this pic of Alejandro just this morning, you can tell he's not used to it. Our friend Antonio said ' Jeff it's just like Alaska '....I was thinking of suggesting the hot sauce trick for him and Alejandro but I got the feeling it's just a Kenai thing, might not work so well here.
The girls wanted fresh fish and with the weather and all it's been dead dog slow. But the other morning I showed the old persistence that I'm known for and decided to throw until I caught. Well, 3 1/2 hours later and maybe over a thousand casts I got a heavy pull and landed this red was I relieved. Garlic , butter, white wine, great friends and a gorgeous wife = great night.
Now I'm a pretty good sunset guy but I'm for sure a sunrise expert, a fishing life will do that you know. I'll bet I've seen the sun come up more than 80 % of  us earth dwellers so I was super excited to see the ' super moon' the other morning. It was glimmering off the water in the dark and there was a kind of cloud bank separating it from the horizon. I took a few shots and this first one was about as good as I could do. As always I was kinda focused on the morning routine of cast, step sideways, repeat, repeat, repeat when I sideways'd my way next to Willy. I had this same moment at the Grand Canyon years ago.... I said ' wow, how about that moon setting' and Willy said ' look behind you '...what a sunrise , perfecto.
And I have just one more thing to say...throw another log on the fire...

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

All " I wanna " and no " I'm gonna"

That's the problem here at Gulag La Marina Kennel Club. Nobody thinks of their neighbors, it's an everybody for themselves society that wants you to move over for them individually....not only do they want you to move over they want you to pay for it when you do. The south side don't care about the north side, the north side don't care about the south side and the upper floors could give a #%&! about the lower floors. They want ball courts, new floors, new pavement and all the time this very old building needs structure help, it's falling down one shovel full of mud at a time. Here's a display of 5 tiles the genius who put this plan together for the floors wants you to choose upon....anybody notice that they're all basically the SAME !!!! So it's like this, choose  whatever you'd like as long as it's one I like.
So with the yearly meeting coming soon where everybody talks about making the building better  just for themselves and that is daily / hourly from here until the meeting is over I had to leave...this place was making me crazy. It's bad enough that selfishness trumps all here but we also have a smattering of just plain jerks that you can only look at sooooo long. Exit stage left. Two full days at the historic and wonderful LaSiesta Hotel in the heart of Olas Altas doing what I do best....having fun. Breath in, breath out, get exercise, vanquish your anxiety, become whole again and put things into perspective, be a good person and lead by example...
John Wayne used to stay right next door at the famous Belmar so I was feeling in the right zone to slow things down just a bit. The malecon is newly rebuilt and the lighting, sidewalks and all are just gorgeous. If any of you need a staycation like we did this place is perfect and a wonderful value. Our first sunset we laughed and watched this family with their rented scooters playing demolition derby...I new I was right, it's gonna help.
The La Siesta is just a fun funky place, it doesn't try to be something it's not. Just a fun place for the normal traveler not needing valet service and evening chocolates. I loved this mural.
Here's few of the hotel view from #317 during the day and at sunset. just magic. The hotel has a large atrium lit up at night with really cool neon .
So for our first sunset we raided the Kiosko store just steps away. These tiendas are amazing, a lot like the Holiday in Slowdotna but with less space and waaaaay more stuff...even healthy stuff like fresh fruit and eggs. And what a great deal I went for the cerveza and MP found some low carb unsweetened sparkling drink.
So that pretty girl below and me sat on the deck and watched the sun slip away from another day. We talked story as Chris likes to say. Although her message to me is usually the same it just seemed to make more sense in this setting.....Jeff, you can't apply your values to other people, you're not them so why do you get so disappointed in people. We've always set high standards for ourselves but that's the deal, it's for ourselves... So I'm working on that but I don't think I'll ever get used to being outright lied to like I have been recently. Thanks MP.
We went out for really nice pizza and the most authentic Ceaser Salad I've ever had. The salad had actual Anchovy bits in it and tasted like it was made with the coddled egg that everyone in the USA is scared of....did I ever tell you that in Mexico you don't refrigerate your eggs ?  A man came by and I asked him to sing Romatica for us, what a soulful thing and as you can see some of us wear our emotion right out where you can see it plainly....for me  it's just honesty really.
The next morning the malecon is alive with activity. People living healthy, up and ready for the day. We'd been watching the new Green V bikes go by. It's the latest craze here. The bikes are high tech rentals that you run from a smart phone app. You can pick up the bike and drop it off else where, They are really functional and such a step forward in rentals that it's amazing. The lock system works by demand of the phone....really cool. So we got a couple of Bikes and put our miles in, just a perfect morning. As you can see my bike seemed to perform best in the draft,
Downtown Mazatlan is light years away in many ways from where we live on Condo Alley that is Cerritos Beach. It's just so pretty historic and gets better every year. We got toured at the Natural History Museum but  bright student who helped us get to know the past some. We walked our 10.000 steps everyday in such a gorgeous place, this pic is an iconic wall in Centro Historica.
As much as I like downtown I couldn't stay there like I do here on the beach. In a couple hours I'm going to fish the sun away and then tomorrow watch it return while I walk the beach alone and look for fish. And ya know the dynamic of this building as weird as it is ain't the final word on nothing in ol guide # 003's life... So it was a great vacation from the vacation and I highly recommend it to any of you that sometimes get a little ground down, go have fun, ain't no biggy....

Monday, February 11, 2019

On the road

Mile 14 southern bureau is on the road so I hope you can wait a couple days for an update from my keyboard at home. We had a trip planned to San Blas that fell through so the management team here at Mile 14 thought the staff still deserved a vacation from the vacation so we've exited stage left. Tell ya aaaaalllll about in a couple days , hope all you northerners are staying warm.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

waxing Poetic

My friend Willy helped me this week. He said something that all fish bums like us know but seldom say and when we do it's never in such a soulful way. After fishing all morning with nothing to show for it and being alone with the sunrise and the gentle slap of the waves he told me " today it was not for the stomach but for the heart " And Willy should know, he recently had a heart condition where they had to do the ablation deal where they restart your heart to correct the rhythm.  So, he has perspective , he has experience, he has a joy for life, a joy for fishing.

Now me on the other hand was thinking about the promise I made to take my name and logo off all my fishing shirts if I didn't catch a fish soon. You know me , I do what I say I'm gonna do so it was with great relief that the rod went off just that very next morning and I landed this gorgeous Robalo. Finally I've learned to let these fish ingest your bait and not to get hinky and set to soon. They are right at your feet in the foamy white water onshore and they just swim onto it and you don't feel the bite as much as you sense something different and the line changes direction. This the second of the year I've landed after hooking 5....I'm learning.
What I'd been doing just wasn't working so well so I remembered a trick I saw on a guys rod in Puerto Vallarta . What I did was tie a 3 or 4 inch loup knot about 3 feet above my swivel right where the mono meets the braid. Then I take a plane old Kenai river Coho fly and loup it on so that it looks like a real small sardine being chased by whatever my throwing lure is, a castmaster works great. The fly catches really no air so it casts just as far and this week I caught 75 % of my fish on it. Brilliant is all I can's proof, a Rooster  and a Toro with it in their mouths.

I had one day where I had two juvenile Roosters, 3 Toro's and a couple of lady fish which are kind of a Mackeral looking fishing that some people call Loco Fish. They jump and flip around and are almost impossible to land with such a soft mouth. On the sunset session that day I had a nice little Monda that I was fixing to release when these kids wanted to handle it....of course I'm all about that but the Monda has a spiney fin system that can make you bleed so I didn't let the kids do it in deference to international relations. But the next fish was a harmless Loco Fish and I got a wonderful pic...that kid ain't afraid of anything, he's going far on this ol trip around the sun.
Even Team X Assistant General Manger to the third Vice President in charge of  morale caught one.
So obviously I have some momentum going. I'm feeling good, my malaise is thing of the past and I'm feeling like I can create magic on demand,,,and another 10,000 casts of course. A beautiful sunset is going on and I gotta throw to make the math work out and walla....a heavy fish hits hard, and I mean hard  right on the beach like a Robalo. But he didn't bite like a Snook or jump like one so I was thinking a nice Pargo. When he finally revealed it wasn't just a nice Snapper but a fairly rare one for us surf guys, a red one....just gorgeous. If you've never caught these fish you have to give it a try, they pull like nothing I'd ever caught before.
I even lent it to a pretty girl for a pic. It's pretty obvious she never attended the Kenai River Guide Academy and learned how to properly pose a good fish.
This is one cool sunset photo and I ain't gonna tell you what it is. You just look at it and give me guess. This scene jumped out at me and I kinda thought about a Kevin Costner movie with one of my all time favorite lines it " Dry land is Not a myth "
And Hey Everybody....Good luck with your boards and bets on Today's Super Bowl. Let's have fun.