Saturday 6/12/04 - Wednesday 6/16/04
A long needed break from work began by departing
Seattle Saturday morning on Alaska Airlines with a scheduled stop in
Los Angeles. The flight out of Los Angeles was delayed an hour and over
booked. They offered a paid hotel room for the night and a round trip
ticket anywhere Alaska flies to any one that would give up their seat
and take the same flight the next morning. I should have taken them
up on that, as I was traveling alone and didn't have any plans for several
The cost to take a taxi from San Jose to Cabo
has gone up to $75. This saves about 90-minutes of vacation time because
the cattle bus ($13/persons) stops all along the way dropping passengers
off at the various hotels. My hotel is always the last stop. This same
ride, but from the hotel in Cabo to the airport only costs $12/person.
With the Latitude 22 now relocated out of town
and called The Roadside Latitude 22, I had to find a new place for beer,
tequila, and dinner - otherwise I would have had to tack on $20 to my
tab for cab fare. It was only a short 3 block walk to RIPs each night
for happy hour and dinner. It didn't take long for Felipe and Debbi
(the bar manager) to remember my name and drink preferences. Cold Coronas
were 2 for $4; the same Coronas upstairs at Cabo Wabo were $8 and they
were rude the two times I came in. After the NBA was over, they let
me bring in my video camera and play my past movies on the TV. That
really drew a crowd too.
The first morning, I greeted the sunrise with
coffee from Spencer's on my deck, as I did every morning. After breakfast
I headed to the marina to see if Chacho was working on the Eagle
1 and for a stroll around the docks. Chacho wasn't around so I headed
down the Malceon. In one short hour of being outside, I burned the tops
of my feet and the tops of my ears - the places the sun beds don't cover.
It took a couple of days to get acclimated to the dry heat and this
I caught up with Chacho's son, Pancho, on Tuesday
morning at the Marina. The last time I saw Pancho was during the Los
Cabos Gold Cup Marlin Tournament in October 1998. He was only 13 years old at the time. I told Pancho
that I was looking for his father and that I wanted to go fishing if
there were any openings. I asked him if he would come along and run
my video camera since I would be fishing alone. He agreed and said Chacho
would be back in an hour or so. I told him what room I was in and asked
him to drop by later to look over the video camera and take my rods
and reels to the boat.
Later, back at my hotel, Pancho showed up with
Chacho. My brother and I have been fishing with Chacho (Jose) and his
brother Mammo, since May of 1998. During those 6 years of fishing we
have come to know a great fisherman and a good friend. It didn't take
long to move from saying hello to talking about fishing. Chacho asked
if I wanted to go tomorrow morning. I told him this "Gringo"
was a bit sunburned and needed a few more days. I showed Pancho how
to use the video but he seemed uninterested. I didn't know it at the
time, but he is now the first mate and not a cameraman!
Chacho took my rods and reels with him. He said
he would set the drags and put on wind-on leaders for me. With the fishing
plans now firm, I headed to the pool to get some late afternoon sun.
I met a fellow fisherman, Ron, also on solo,
from Palm Desert, California. We exchanged a few fishing stories and
discussed which was the best eating fish. That was a tough call but
we agreed that Wahoo was on top followed by Dorado, yellowfin tuna,
and snapper. He told me he was only going fishing one day and that was
going to be on a Panga tomorrow morning. I wished him good luck and
headed for RIPs.
The next day I spent gathering things needed
for the upcoming 2 days of fishing with Chacho. Water, lunches, etc.
I bought sliced smoked turkey and honey baked ham, Claussen pickles,
Mayonnaise, Coleman's mustard, pre-cleaned and sterilized leaves of
romaine lettuce, a couple of sweet white onions, an avocado, a couple
of yogurt cups, 2 apples and 2 bananas. The bananas were meant to be
a joke on Chacho - he hates bananas and thinks they are bad luck to
have on the boat. A final stop at the bakery to pick up freshly baked
bread and Danish rolls finished up my shopping list that I put together
Proud of my shopping results, I headed for the
pool where I ran into Ron who was already back from his day of fishing
on the Panga. I asked him how he did, and he said he got a small Dorado
and was back before noon. The Panga's don't have the range to fish and
the trip is usually less than 4 hours such as his. When the fish are
close in, Panga fishing can be quite fun, but add to that a little wind,
and it's a wet trip. Ron said he had some fillets and a reservation
at Spencer's for 7:00 dinner, and would I care to join him since there
was plenty for two to eat. Sure, I said, I love Dorado and Spencer's
does a great job of preparing them.
While eating dinner, I thought, what the heck,
I'm fishing alone tomorrow, why not reciprocate and invite Ron out to
see what the deep water fishing is like. I just asked him to chip in
on a good tip for the captain. The plan was to be at the Eagle 1
at 6:00 AM I told him.
I arrived on time and Pancho greeted us at the gate to let us in. When
we got to the slip, the Eagle 1 was warming up and Chacho was
busy getting the final equipment set out with the help of his other
mate, Obeth Garcia. It was then that I found out that Pancho had taken
over the first mate position and Obeth was along to help out and to
run my video camera. Both Obeth and Pancho speak fluent English, although
Chacho does also, but with my poor hearing and Chacho's heavy accent,
it is sometimes difficult to understand him.
at 6:00 AM, stopped by the bait vendor, checked in with the Port Captain,
and then headed for the Gorda's Banks to make bait before heading further
up the Cortez to La Fortuna. Chacho explained "there has been a
large concentration of bait in the area for the past week now, and there
have been many stripers along with them, so put on your fishing face!".
I went to
my cooler and got the bananas out while motioning to Obeth and Pancho.
"Chacho! I brought you some bananas" I said while holding
them up. Chacho went nuts and said something in Spanish which I didn't
understand. Everyone laughed as I tossed them over the side, followed
by a few coins for luck.
strike came at 7:15 with a small yellowfin. I won the coin toss so I
was up. The tuna was quickly dispatched to the tuna tubes. Chacho announced
the water temperature at the banks to be 82 degrees. With no visible
bait, Chacho headed further towards La Fortuna, and about 8 miles off
to right: boats, Ron & John with double, Ron's marlin, and John's
we arrived, there were about 20 boats in a tight area so this place
was certainly no secret. There were striped marlin jumping in every
direction you looked with bait on the surface as far as you could see.
Pancho and Obeth put out two lines with cabilitos on and we had an instant
double hookup with two stripers. Ron took the chair and I fought my
marlin standing up. I was able to release my fish quickly because it
was caught on a 50SW which gave me the ability to pour on the power.
Ron's fish was caught on a Penn Senator using 30-lb test. While Ron
was still battling his marlin, I took a rod and went to the bow and
subdued a 15-lb Jack Crevalle. Mean while, Ron finally got his fish
to the leader but we all feared it had drown. It was tail wrapped from
the last jump it made. Pancho, leadered the fish, then dragged it alongside
to get the fish oxygenated. After about 10 minutes, the fish was completely
revived and swam off unharmed.
only were there many marlin, but also a huge school of Jack Crevelle
were also feeding on the abundant bait. Unfortunately, although Toro
are a prized light tackle game fish, they were eating all of our bait.
We started out with 10 baits, and after the last stop, were we picked
up 2 more Toro's, we were down to just 2 baits, one of which was half
AM we were down to one dead bait, and the marlin were not interested
in the dead bait or the trolled lures. We probably threw that dead bait
at 8-10 more tailing marlin before 11:30 AM. If we had more bait, we
could have easily put on 5-6 more stripers.
headed back to the Gorda Banks in the hopes of making bait, but there
was nothing but a lone striper jumping as we had seen all morning long.
Not interested in the trolled lures, we headed back in, only close to
shore in the hopes of catching a few Dorado for dinner. We had 3 or
4 knock downs, most likely very small Dorado. As we passed San Jose,
I got lucky with a 40-lb Dorado, but it broke off just as it was being
we neared the marina entrance, Obeth, traditionally ran up the flags
showing our results for the day. My contribution was up the port outrigger
and Ron's tally was run up on the starboard outrigger. Two tag and released
striped marlin, three Jack Crevalle, and one yellowfin tuna.
sure got his dimes worth on this trip. He was able to witness fishing
at its finest, with an outstanding crew and under ideal conditions.
June 18, 2004
alone today, we left 30 minutes earlier to get a head start on the other
boats after buying 20 baits instead of the normal 10. The Eagle 1
is a darn fast boat so the 35 mile trip took less than 90 minutes on
flat seas. It was another cloudless day, no wind, and warm, deep blue
colored water. Perfect for feeding stripers, I thought.
were enroute, we stopped 7different times on tailing stripers. Always
a group of them 3 to 5 in count. We tossed pitch baits each time but
these marlin were simply not hungry. It was so depressing to see so
many stripers and not get any action on live bait or even a look at
We were the first boat to arrive at the same area we fished yesterday
and were greeted by huge balls of bait and stripers cruising on the
surface everywhere. Again, we found the marlin would not cooperate -
bait tossed right in front of their bill was ignored each time. We tried
everything, including stunning the bait first, but to no avail. By 10:00
AM about 30-40 boats had arrived from San Jose and Cabo. All of these
boats were concentrated in about 1/2 square mile. There were groups
of 10-15 boats all racing to a frigate bird, a tailing marlin or other
sign of a marlin. It was something rarely seen. It's more normal to
only see a few boats on the horizon. Everyone was trying to jockey their
position to toss a pitch bait. You would see huge puffs of diesel smoke
as captains gunned their engines to race to a spotted fish. Kind of
like the starting gun at the Bisbee Black and Blue tournament. The boats
were so close to each other you had to be careful that your toss of
the pitch bait didn't land on a boat next to you!
AM we finally got bit on a pitch bait that Pancho launched from the
bow. Because we were trolling 6 rods, it was easier to toss a pitch
bait from the bow without the lines and outriggers in the way. TheEagle
1 is equipped with a bait tank on the bow which greatly helps this
method of fishing. As we were hooked up, you could see just about every
boat within 200 yards were also backing down on a hooked marlin. Because
we were running a video camera of all the action, Chacho doesn't back
down on a fish at 8-10 knots as the other captains do because of the
waves splashing over the transom. For this reason, the fight is more
tied to the anglers strength and endurance. The fish was released at
9:52, a mere 12 minute fight, but it still wears out a strong arm and
back on this old fart.
Marlin # 2
noon, I made one of my famous sandwiches. Too bad I didn't have time
to eat it. I set it down on the cushion and reached in the cooler for
a bottle of water and at that instant, Obeth had hooked marlin #2 on
a pitch bait tossed from the transom. I decided to fight this fish from
the chair because it was on a 50SW and, well, I'm getting too old to
face these pesky fighters standing up. The fish took a wild initial
run of nearly 100 yards. Luckily the boats had dispersed somewhat so
there was no danger of getting the line cut. It took about 15 minutes
to get this fish to the rail when Pancho leadered the striper for a
nice release. I got up and went back to my cooler and took a few sips
off of water, when Pancho gets another bite for marlin #3. Back to the
chair I go, leaving my water and sandwich behind. Fifteen minutes later,
the striper is again leadered and released unharmed, and again, I return
to my sandwich. I notice that 2 of the 3 pickles are gone and there
is a rigged bait in their place - must be the fish gods!
Marlin # 3
Marlin # 4
finally get to eat my lunch, Obeth and Pancho were busy each time we'd
stop on another tailer, but the fish weren't eating. Around 2:00 PM
we decide to head in, again hugging the coast line while trolling for
a few Dorado. It wasn't long before we got a knock down on the starboard
long outrigger. It was a nice bull Dorado, but the gaff missed the first
attempt and the fish jumped off. Not a big deal, happens all the time,
but Pancho was really let down over the event. Oh well.
3 stripers, all on pitch bait, all released, one early released Dorado.
Not bad, a great crew.
June 19, 2004
5:45 AM departure after a brief stop with the Port Captain and the bait
vendors. We had a small bit of clouds this morning but their was no
wind until we got past San Jose when the wind picked up generating some
moderate white caps.
As in the previous 2 days, we stopped enroute on many tailing stripers
but they again, wouldn't even look at our tossed baits. The marlin would
sound as we got near them, possibly they have been spooked over the
past several days by all the boats.
was the same as before, trolling, then stopping on a tailer and pitching
a bait. As we reached the area, there were no real concentrations of
boats as in the past several days, and only about half the number of
boats, 25-30, where fishing today. Chacho remarked that "the bait
was gone, eaten maybe by the school of pilot whales". The fathometer
was blank and silent unlike the previous days when it was constantly
beeping and echoes showing solid from the surface down to 100 meters.
We were able to get 3 bites on the trolled lures, and all from the starboard
long outrigger. We got one release in the morning and the other two
knock downs after lunch. The last knock down was so brief that it jumped
off before Pancho could hand off the rod to John. A catch and EARLY
release I told Pancho! We all laughed.
Marlin #5 with lure hanging from
real action occurred on the way back, again trolling within a 1/2 mile
from shore. The water was especially clear and deep blue in color. We
switched to bright colored small lures and within no time had a small
female Dorado in the cooler. There was a frigate bird circling a huge
ball of bait, but we didn't get anything after two passes over it. Then
we must have hit a school of Dorado because we got 3 fish in less than
30 minutes with one estimated at 40 lbs.
Chacho has a really funny sense of humor. He
could see me struggling with that last big bull, and when I finally
landed it and while catching by breath, he yelled down to me something
that I didn't understand, but Obeth and Pancho burst out into laughter.
I asked Pancho what Chacho had said, and he said "No Senoritas
for you tonigh!t" and we all broke out into another round of laughter,
this time, accompanied by me!
Large bull Dorado with John laughing when told
by Chacho "No Senoritas tonight!"
He's 'da Man! Thanks, Chacho.