2014 DEC – GONE FISHIN’

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Brian is an avid fisherman and has been driving down to LaPaz for the past 4 years to fish the shoreline. This year he has a boat here that he has been prepping for a sea voyage and he wanted to take it out to (a) check that the various modifications he had done, actually work and (b) go fishing.
He invited me along and since I have never been out fishing, I jumped at the opportunity.
Unfortunately I seem to have pulled a muscle on my left arm where it joins the shoulder. It is quite painful but I am not going to let a sore arm/shoulder stop me going.

We fished the sea mount about 15 miles to the right of Isla la Partida

We fished the sea mount about 15 miles to the right of Isla la Partida

Thurs 12/11 – day 1
Brian was knocking on my boat at 7:30am to get an early start. I tossed my clothes and food into his dinghy, and we returned to his boat, and up-anchored. It is a magical morning; no wind, dead calm, and the water like glass. I watched the Dolphins hunting around his boat as we motored out.
He was moving busily back and forth in the cockpit focussed on prepping the trolling lines and fishing reels until the boat bristled with fishing rods from every available rod holder. Meanwhile I made myself “useful” from the bow.
“Brian, the boat is pointing at the shore”, I chirped.
“Brian the boat is drifting towards those rocks”.
“Brian shall I steer?”
Eventually Brian said, “JULIA, stop Project Managing, I got this! Just relax and enjoy yourself.”
I can do that! So I retired to his super-comfy, padded reclining deck chair on the foredeck, and relaxed.

Pink plane shaped thingy with attached lure

Pink plane shaped thingy with attached lure

The trolling lines are interesting. Each one consists of a large pink plane-shaped object to which is attached a long line with the bait. The pink plane thingy floats and wobbles along behind the boat and creates great interest by birds, and supposedly sea life, with all its splashing. Brian has 6 lines trolling behind the boat and he attaches the actual hook to a pink colored line because apparently the color pink loses its color in the sea and the fish can’t see the line. All they can see is a tasty bait fish swimming along.

Pink thingys splashing away for attention in the rear

Pink thingys splashing away for attention in the rear

Next minute…. ZING went the line!   Great, we have a catch.   Oops, not so great, it’s a bird

Seems birds can’t see the line either! A huge frigate (heron-like) bird dive bombed our line and got hooked. Brian reeled it in and it looked thoroughly drowned but he placed it on the deck and it lay there in a limp heap for about 30 minutes before sitting up suddenly. It looked pretty groggy after its near drowning so it sat for about another 2 hours drying out. Then it flew off but it wasn’t properly dry yet so it landed on the sea and sat there flapping its wings. I’m guessing that bird won’t dive bomb a fake fish again.

Frigate bird in recovery

Frigate bird in recovery

Taking flight

Taking flight

Brian was positive that the fishing bounty of this trip would be such that we would be eating fish for breakfast, lunch, and supper as well as fish snacks. He was sure we would have vast quantities of large fish gulping down our bait, just as they had done in years past. So like an idiot I brought just the minimum of provisions – which was not smart! Word to the (un)wise… Never believe a fisherman!
We had ham & cheese sandwiches for breakfast, then I jazzed it up with cheese & ham sandwiches for lunch. Supper looks like it’s going to be soup because we haven’t caught any fish yet, besides little bait fish.

I caught a fish that is yummy bait for marlin, and Brian put it in the freezer for use later. Well technically, the fish caught itself on the hook and I just reeled it in. I probably shouldn’t have done that because my left arm is even more sore now. Dumb!
In the evening we were anchored in Ensenada Grande bay on the farthest side of Isla La Partida and Brian went for a snorkel around the cliffs. He says there are a lot of fish around the rocks but they are too small to eat. Back on board he caught about a dozen Triggerfish as we sat at anchor, but he says they are not pleasant to eat, so he throws them all back.
It’s soup for supper for sure.
My left arm is really painful. I can’t sleep on my left side, or even lie on my back. I can barely touch the shoulder area. I am restricted to sleeping on my right side, lying with my back to the salon. When I roll over in my sleep, one would think the brain would say… “Uh-oh, No, don’t do that!” and roll me back on my right side. But No! Clearly my brain lacks the Stop command because I wake up every time, lying on my left side and in considerable pain.

Trigger fish

Trigger fish

Friday 12/12 – day 2
Brian was up as early as the sun this morning and I was still fast asleep when I heard the engine cough to life. I sleepily went on deck to offer help and once the anchor was up I happily retired to bed again and slept till 9:00am. It is heavenly lying curled in bed while someone else makes all the decisions!
We went around the top of Isla Partida and headed out to sea. We aimed for the MARISALA sea mound, per the charts, and of course it wasn’t where the chart said it was. Cognizant of the fact that Mexican charts can be out by as much as 2 miles, we trolled the area for an hour or more, watching our depth gauge for shallowing. Where the chart said it was 2,000 feet deep, our depth gauge quite suddenly popped up to only 105ft. We had found the mound!
Brian fished for 3 hours and all we caught were Trigger fish again. Maybe because of El Niño the Yellowtails didn’t turn up in large numbers this year to eat the Trigger Fish, so the Triggers are flourishing. Then we drifted off the mound, fishing as we went, and dropped a line to 900ft, but still no bites.
Mark and Angelique of EPIC SHIP invited us to meet them in Ballendra Bay for a BBQ on the beach, so we headed that way….with appetites! Angelique provided a delicious dinner and when we left Mark said – “I’m placing my order for a nice big fish about 2ft long. Not too big, not too small. And good eating”.

'nuff said...

’nuff said…

Sat 12/13 – day 3
Brian left a light shining above the water last night which attracted hordes of little brown wormy things. By later in the evening the worms had all been eaten by bigger critters and they were replaced by hundreds of 6-inch fish swimming around and around the light in a tight swarming circle. Around 2:00am the small fish had attracted Mackeral and when my sore arm woke me up, I heard Brian gleefully fishing. Sleep is intermittent with this arm and I can’t put even the slightest pressure on it.
At sunup he started the engines and we motored off, using the Mackeral as bait. Within 20 minutes he caught a HUGE Yellowtail. It was beautiful. We made our way back to EPIC SHIP in Ballendra Bay and Brian gave the fish to Mark and said “We filled your order!”
Mark launched their dinghy and they motored over to collect the fish. Mark was gung-ho and full of questions on how to fillet the fish, while Angelique looked somewhat less thrilled. Her expression mirrored mine – where the hell do you store all that meat? And how long does it take to eat that much fish?
After delivering the fish to Mark we set off for home, fishing as we went. But even though we were dragging delicious (to a Yellowtail) Mackeral, we didn’t get another bite. Afterwards Brian found that I had put on a turn of speed which drowned all the bait fish we were trolling. Who knew the little things were supposed to be alive and kicking to attract predators?!
We spotted a small whale on the way back, maybe just 25ft. It was all by itself, no support team around it, no family pod.
When we came up to Brian’s mooring, I used the hook to grab the buoy using just my right hand, but that’s all I could do. I have no strength in my left arm at all so I wasn’t able to haul in the mooring line. I just held it with my right hand until Brian could come forward and pull it up.
Then Brian dropped his dinghy in the water and took me to shore, and walked with me to a pharmacy to get a sling for my arm. I have been swallowing Ibuprofen the last few days but it has had little effect. Hopefully the sling will help by taking the weight of the arm and relieving the pressure on the shoulder.

The fishing trip was a great adventure, and other than my sore arm/shoulder, I had a fabulous time! I just love being on the water. There is something so primal about the sea that sings to my soul.

Brian had a chance to test and run his various boat mods and they performed well, per Brian. We weren’t able to sail because there was ZERO wind; just none, and the sea was glassy calm all 3 days, so Brian wasn’t able to test his sail modifications this trip.

We caught lots of Triggers that we tossed back, one beautiful Yellowtail, and a bucketful of Mackeral to tempt big fish on future trips.

 

Red rocks above, white layer below - look at that geologic incline!

Red rocks above, white layer below – look at that geologic incline!

Seal rock nature preserve

Seal rock nature preserve

 

 

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