Sunday, February 27, 2011
We all have this idea in our head that once we get there (wherever "there" may be) that there would be fish cast after cast, drop after drop...that was no different with my recent trip to PV. The tickets have been booked months ahead of time, gears laid out and check list gone over more times than I can remember. The only difference with this trip are the reports that came in from a few buddies that had been there, even up to the day I arrived. "Green water, water temp colder than the norm, and oh yeah...no tuna in sight!!!"
Since I was going with my wife and kids and my long time friend Franklin and his family who were flying out from Cali to meet us I didn't really mind. Sitting by the pool hammering Coronas and Pacificos talking about the old times didn't sound all that bad. My expectation was more realistic now and I think that was the key to my trip. My dad is also coming along. This is the man who taught me how to fish, the man who built me my first fishing rod (granted it was only a bamboo stick with fishing line attached. None the less he carved the rod out by hand LOL), the man who etched the love of this sport into my soul. Dad is a freshwater guy and up to this point he's only been offshore once before. It was a Father's day trip I took him on down in the Keys, back in 2001. I outscore him on the Mahi count but he outdid me on the biggest fish, weighing in at 42lbs. It was a blast. We had other trips planned after that but with that nasty cancer eating away at his liver, fishing was the last thing we were all thinking about. Few years past and after 4 major surgeries later he finally beat the disease and feeling healthier with every passing day. And so our first trip would be to Mexico. Prior to leaving he tells me that the only fish he cares to catch is a nice Rooster fish. In his mind he thinks they are one of the prettiest fish to swim the ocean. While I think they are super cool looking, as one of my close buddy had put it "If Disney were too draw a Rooster fish, this is exactly how I'd envisioned it".
And so we met Lora of Fortuna Sportfishing, one of the best captains in Punta Mita and PV. Well known for his uncanny skills of inshore and offshore popping and jigging. As we exchanged pleasantries he confirmed that it would not be worth the 60 miles ride just to try and find yellow fins. So we agreed to concentrate on the inshore stuff. All the heavy gear were stored on top of the t-top while the KGS 70MH paired with a Stella 5000 along with a few Travela medium casting rods that had Stella 4000's strapped to them stayed near our sides.
We worked every rock formation that Lora knew of, saw tons of fish in the water but they just wouldn't touch anything we threw at them.
I switched out just about every lure I had in the bag, big and small. Retrieving them fast and slow and every speed in between and yet nothing. I'm convinced now that Lora can see right past the water and knows exactly where the fish were and what kind of fish they are. "11 o'clock, 50 yards out, 2 schools of Jacks in the 10-20lb range will come up in a few second"...huh??? What the hell is he talking about, I don't see anythi...and there they were 2 schools of Jacks exactly as he had said, circling around, now on the surface. Made my cast and with a few sweeping strokes of the Brabus in the Mahi color I finally come tight on our first fish of the day. A fun fish to break the ice. Caught another one on the following cast but that was it. We made countless more casts but they just did not seem interested, so we moved on. Switching between the lighter KGS set up to the heavier PE8 GT Game TR-S whenever Lora tells me "big Cubera", I think I made about 250-300 casts that day, my arms felt a little sore back at the hotel. Anyway back to fishing.
As I was making all these casts from the bow, I hear a familiar laugh coming from the back of the boat along with the beautiful sound of the Stella song. I looked back and dad was hooked up. He was on that fish for about 15minutes with the fish coming boat side 4-5 times and every time he sees us the Stella 4000FD starts to sings and the fish sounds. At one point I told him to bump the drag and his reply was "you guys are too impatient, enjoy the fight, it's fun". Finally Lora grabs the tail and bring the 30lbs rooster on board, puts it on dad's lap for a few pics and back it went into the depths. Mission accomplished. Dad had his rooster and is now grinning from ear to ear. I leaned over to give him a hug and he gave me a few healthy slap on the back:)
Lora then said "ok, lets get another". He tied a Brit on and sent it away, a split second later he said "Fish on"...huh??? He handed the rod of to Franklin who fought it for about 10 minutes, same size fish as before.As it came boat side he about to be grabbed, the leader just parted ways with the mainline! Oh well, at least we had a chance to see it. So now it was my turn. I tied on a Burn's dead bait in bright pink and made a cast. Upon retrieval I saw 2 Roosters breaking water behind the lure, following it. They looked like Aliens with their long fins breaking the surface. "Faster faster faster!!!" Lora says(if there were a 9.1:1 gear ratio, it would be the perfect reel) and as one is racing the other for the lure I see a HUGE Cubera cutting them off from my right to left lunging at the lure. It missed by an itch and the roosters were scared off. It pretty much died down after that. We headed to other spots only to catch horse eye jacks and smaller groupers. By this time dad looked tired so we called it a day.
For a day that 10 other boats caught nothing, Lora made it happen for us and for that I am grateful. He is truly a master when it comes to the inshore scene and will work extra hard for you as long as he sees that you want it bad enough, that you have put in the work and not just there for a boat ride. Seeing the potential for what could have been I will definitely be back out there with Lora soon. If the stars align, the word epic will be an understatement.
As for dad, I am happy for you. You are a good man... a great man. You deserved the fight with your rooster and you did a great job. You beat me again but I couldn't be any happier. Sometimes I forget that it's who I fish with that matters, not the amount of fish caught. Thank you for taking me fishing when I was young and teaching me all that you did. I have learned a lot from you especially to be patient and I will pass that on to your grand kids. There will be many other trips from now on and I plan on beating you on some of them but even if I don't I'll still be happy because I'll be fishing with you, dad.