Yes, we did leave the fishing lines out when we came in to anchor. Yes, they did wrap around the prop. We got off lightly. For instance, the water was 84 degrees. Who cares about diving the prop when the water is 84 degrees?
This is the epiglottis of Mexico. It’s in Los Gatos, BCS. Now you know.
At the end of time, the earth will be covered in blackberries and goat heads. My money is on the goat heads.
We are again sitting at Isla Coronados outside Loreto waiting for another bout of extremely serious NW wind. Again, we have 5,000,000 sardines hiding out under the boat.
But now, we have their number.
We put two large very sharp single hooks on the swivel of a wire leader. Then we drop the hooks through the sardine shoal to the bottom. When we pull it back up, a sardine gets caught on one of the hooks. Too bad for it.
We cast the hooked sardine twenty or thirty feet from the boat. Usually, it swims as fast as it can to get back under the boat.
Sometimes it doesn’t make it.
Sometimes a larger fish trades places with the sardine on the hook.
That’s a Pacific Jack Crevalle on the left and a Green Jack on the right.
The Pacific Jack Crevalle doesn’t have a dorsal fin, or, at least, this one didn’t. He was pretty hard to fillet.
He had a big bony thing where his dorsal fin goes. It didn’t look like a tumor. Weird.
Nancy caught a Cero and a Spanish mackerel.
The Spanish mackerel is the kindest of all food fishes. If you wave a properly sharpened knife at it the fillets jump into the soaking bowl. There is no easier fish to clean in the entire world, and the meat is wonderful and white and flakey.
We caught so many we stopped taking pictures. We even stopped fishing. We also stopped fishing because a great big bull Sea Lion showed up and swam around under the boat for a while. Do Sea Lions like sardines? It’s a mystery.
It’s going to get windy tonight. Tomorrow it’s going to stay windy. Gale warnings, stuff like that. Whoop te do. For a while.
So we moved into our favorite wacky weather anchorage south of Isla Coronados. We set the anchor, added scope, cleared the decks, blah blah blah.
Then the depth sounder stopped working. We use the depth sounder to tell us if the boat is moving into shallower or deeper water. If the boat is anchored and not supposed to be moving, this is a big deal.
But the depth sounder didn’t work. Huh. So we looked over the side.
Every sardine in Mexico was under our boat. In every direction. We could easily see Dorado and Mackerel circling the sardines.
They weren’t very afraid of me, either.
There was a cool stingray hanging out by the anchor chain.
It was great to see a Mexican family using their boat for recreation. Even though they were weaving through the anchorage at dusk. Maybe that part wasn’t great.
Nice little palm oasis. Note the Mexican Chest Freezer.
Lots of palm trees in unlikely positions. Either they are date palms, not coconut palms, or else there are some very tired sparrows around here.
After leaving Mag Bay at about noon we had a wonderful and calm overnight passage. St. Valentine’s eve was equally calm, with almost no breeze. As we neared Cabo San Lucas on the way to the Mexican Riveriera,
The next morning was encouraging. After a bumpy evening south of the Cape, the water and wind calmed down and the fishing lures went out.
First we hooked a big marlin. Big. He was nice enough to break the steel leader almost immediately. No sense fooling around.
Next was a double hookup of very small Little Tunny. Back to the ocean with them. We were fishing for meat.
The next fish was Nancy’s.
She hooked a nice sized marlin, maybe four or five feet long. We soon had to crank the reel drag all the way tight, because the metal parts of the reel were too hot to touch.
We were able to save the pink and white feather hootchie lure, which was great. We’ve caught a lot of fish on that lure.
I rigged the lure with a new base hook, then added a “trailer” hook, dangling off the base hook, pointing in the opposite direction. The trailer hook was a stunningly sharp 6/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Circle hook. It would hook anything that looked at the lure, and never let go.
My fish was a great dorado. Not this big: https://svbrightwater.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/fishy-fishy/, but bigger than this: https://svbrightwater.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/arrive-bahia-de-magdalena/. It was also crazy, crazy pretty, flashing blue and green and yellow as it neared the boat. Nancy gaffed it and got it on deck, but the fish was able to tangle itself, dislodge the hook, and leap overboard while disgorging itself of tiny red shrimp (krill, probably). It was a stunning display of acrobatics and agility.
It strikes me that I may not have done a good job explaining the whole “trailer hook” thing. Here is a picture:
Here is another picture that’s maybe easier to see:
Clearly the trailer hook has caught nicely and will be difficult to dislodge.
Why yes, that is my foot. Remember, also, that we are 250 miles from anywhere on a boat. But a little soapy water, some diagonal pliers, bactroban ointment applied topically, and a Band-Aid, and it all closed up in about ten hours, when it was time for Nancy to take the midnight to 4AM watch. No worries. Just so you know, if it did get infected we have amoxicillin, cephalexin, and Cyprosomething, in that order. But it’s all better. If you look at the pictures carefully, you can see that the hook appears to go through the big vein on top of my foot. It didn’t. It’s a magic trick.
Now that we’re at anchor I’m continuing to apply an ethanol lavage, gastrointestinally, as required. There’s a great two-hole scar developing, which will pass for a rattlesnake bite if needed.
Trailer Hooks are now permanently banned from Bright Water. Because we learn.
This is Nancy wearing her Valentine’s day jewelry. The cowrie shell necklace is from Mag Bay 2012 and the Murex earrings are from Mag Bay 2014. It’s what all the mermaids are wearing this season.
At home in Puget Sound we were fish killing machines – to the point where we stopped because it felt a little weird. There, the water is very cold, and we wore full-body hooded wetsuits and SCUBA gear to stay at 40-60 feet for up to 40-50 minutes at a time. We fished with pole spears, also called Hawaiian slings. They’re six-foot fiberglass poles with a three-point steel tip on one end and a rubber band at the other. You slip the rubber band over your right hand, stretch the rubber band four feet or so, grip the pole with the band stretched, then point the sharp end at a fish and slip your right hand slightly. Deadly to about three or four feet. It’s like hunting with a knife. You get very good at being smooth – sneaking up on the fish without looking at it or acting like a predator.
Here in the Sea of Cortez, we hunt fish with a standard spear gun using snorkel gear. It’s tough. The fish are down twenty-thirty feet and they’re free-swimming grouper and snapper and such. Very spooky fishies. Very hard to get close to.
I start the fishing trip by taking three Sudafed and blasting away with nasal spray, trying to get my sinuses to drain and my eustachian tubes to open up. We wear thin wetsuits made of polar fleece, not urethane foam, and I wear about four pounds of lead to help me stay down. A few deep breaths on the surface, and then I raise my fins high out of the water to push me down the first ten feet.
From the surface, everything looks pretty green/grey, including this bright yellow fishy.
Down below, the colors are more real and bright. The fish that aren’t prey are easy to get close to. As soon as a fish decides you’re a predator it’s gone. It’s all about being cool while you kill.
There are a stunning variety of fish here. In addition, we have standard reef fish like parrot fish, but since there’s no coral we can shoot and eat anything. There’s no deadly ciguatera, a paralytic poison that lives in coral and passes up the food chain.
So we’re having nice dives, and enjoying all the pretty fish, but not doing too well in the “bringing home the bacon-fish” department.
But we keep trying.
We drag a lure most of the time. Usually we catch Little Tunny, a small type of tuna. The meat is very red and very wet. We throw almost a third of each fillet away because they have a blood-rich section on their lateral lines, almost like a liver. A lot of people don’t like the meat, but we make sushi and ceviche and grill it like steak and it’s great. It’s also healthy and free.
The other day we caught this little guy.
Beside being just as cute as a button, he was a glutton. He had a belly full of half-processed fish paste from the day before, then eleven fresh sardines on top. Then he took our lure.
We un-hooked him and started dragging the lure again – Zing!
This slightly larger Little Tunny came right aboard. That’s the head of a six-inch diving lure sticking out of his mouth. There are three separate treble hooks buried all the way into his gullet. I had to dissect him to get the lure back. I still can’t figure out how he did it.
This morning Nancy hooked another nice Dorado (https://svbrightwater.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/fishy-fishy/). He proceeded to strip all the line off the reel while I got the sail down and the motor started and turned the boat to chase him. Suddenly the line went slack as he spit the lure, but by the time Nancy reeled in all the line she had a very nice tuna on the hook. There are no pictures. You’ll have to trust us. A Very Nice Tuna.
Old fisherman, especially old bass fisherman from the Midwest, assign nearly magical powers to this white-bodied, red-headed diving lure pattern. For instance, the previous owner of this lure we found on the beach didn’t even feel the need for hooks.
We’ve installed some very expensive Gamakatsu treble hooks and have great hopes for this lure. Probably the first thing that will happen is that it will break our 20# class salmon fishing gear.