Monday, 1 June 2015

El Pez Vela, Mexico

Booking anything on the internet is risky but booking a fishing trip over five thousand miles away and paying $800 is a massive blind leap of faith, mixed metaphors I know. However a family holiday to Mexico was a fishing opportunity not to be missed. So with a large slice of intrepidation I clicked the mouse and entered my bank details.
On the day of the trip I made my way to reception for a 5.50am meet with no idea if anyone would show. I twice checked the date and time on my emailed receipt and grabbed a coffee from the bar. Mexicans only have two types of coffee, strong or really strong but boy does it shake off jet lag! Right on time a minibus pulled up driven by a diminutive 'gringo' who introduced himself and asked if I was Yosef, close enough! Stage one complete.
As we drove through a rough looking area I quizzed him about what it was like. "I would be ok sir" he replied "but it not for you sir, not safe". I changed the subject to football, an easy common denominator. 
We arrived at the marina and I was ushered into a small office full of more dodgy looking gringos, I signed some forms in Spanish with no idea what was written on it and waited. Activity bustled on around me with ice, fishing line, food and beer going forwards and backwards. Lunch was thrust into my hand and I was ushered outside to the coffee pot. I helped myself, needless to say it was strong.
Finally I was introduced to my skipper, Pepe an American looking Mexican who spoke very little English. Thankfully his first mate Juan spoke excellent English inquiring about my previous boat fishing experience and once satisfied that I knew a bit we sped off out of the bay deep into the Gulf of Mexico. Our destination was a deep channel home to a multitude of baitfish which attract the ultimate predators, Blue and White Marlin and the stunning Sailfish. 

Five rods are deployed when trolling, teasers and muppets attached and a garfish-like bait is tied on with wire sewed through its eyeball, thankfully it is already dead! Two rods on down riggers, two on outriggers and one off the top deck.
We had only trolled the baits for about twenty minutes when we got the first hook up, I jumped in the chair and found myself attached to a powerful fish. The unseen adversary twisted and turned, made powerful runs but slowly and surely I kept pumping the rod and gaining the line back. We got a brief glimpse of a huge sail but the fish saw the boat and made one last dash for freedom. Thankfully the hook held firm, I ignored the pain from my aching muscles and brought the fish back up from the deep blue depths and Juan grabbed the stunning beast and hauled it on board. 

For the small price of $1400 the local taxidermists will stuff and mount the fish and ship it anywhere in the world and whilst I thought it would make a great centre piece for our kitchen wall I am not sure the wife would agree! Besides there is no way I could be responsible for killing such a stunning creature. 

The rods were quickly redeployed but I was in no hurry for further action and thankfully the next bite was not too quick in coming along. I was also grateful that when it did come it was a small bluefin tuna of about five pounds, unhooked and chucked in the box to be used later as bait.

By now my limbs had recovered and I was ready for more action. A screaming run followed but this fish did not stay attached for long, the frayed hook link indicated that the escapee was a wahoo. Its razor sharp teeth had made light work of the 80lb line. Wire trace is not used when billfishing the theory being that the fish feel the steel and let go whereas mono is less perceptible.
 More tuna followed all about the same size plus a bonus bonito of over ten pounds, more bait for later I was told. Couldn't wait to see how those were going to be deployed!
Two species ticked off the bucket list and I felt confident that more would follow but the next few hours were very quiet. We trolled and trolled further out towards the Atlantic but nothing happened. "The fish are sleeping" Juan informed me. By now it was 34 degrees so I joined the skipper on the top deck where it was a bit more comfortable in the breeze. A chilled beer or three helped too.
There was to be one more final flurry of activity though. The skipper cut the engine on an obviously known hotspot and three slices of Tuna were despatched to the ocean floor.Within minutes I had a clonking bite and thoroughly enjoyed a stand up battle with a large Grouper.

 Another species ticked off the list and a proper bonus that I did not expect. Several Red Snapper followed to put the finishing touches on a cracking day. 
What did we do before the Internet?!


  1. Very jealous Joe, it looked like a fantastic trip and would love a crack at that, but firstly a bit of sun will do.

    1. 34 degrees every single day for the whole ten days, it is a stunning place James, the jetlag I am feeling now was worth the effort!

  2. God bless the Internet. Looked a cracking trip Joe, nice one, bet you're itching to go back.

    Over 30 years ago now we emigrated to South Africa as a family for a few years as my Dad (toolmaker) couldn't get work in the UK, I'm still amazed how he did it considering most of communication was done by letter and the odd phone call.

    1. You're right Mick, would love to go back. My parents emigrated to Oz before I was born, just got on a plane and went! Less of a risk now I suppose.