Trip Report Day 11 - Dec 21 - Jan 5

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Posted by David(in Bellingham) from ( on martes, febrero 11, 2003 at 12:11:48 :

Day 11 (December 31st)–

Amado picked me up at the pier at 6:30 to head out for another day of chasing tuna. We head out about 35 miles and then start trolling. Once we’re out about 40 miles, we found a school of tuna with birds and dolphins everywhere, so we pulled in the trolling gear and rigged up some live-baits.

Once we were set to cast live bait, we started try to get on top of the school. Some days this is easy to do, because the school will stay on the surface feeding for long periods of time. Today, though, the tuna are only staying up for short periods of time, then diving deep and moving pretty fast. When the tuna do this, you have to guess which way they’re going to go. Usually, you just try to stay with the dolphins, since they usually travel with the tuna. Today, however, it seems like the dolphins are purposely leading us away from the tuna.

As soon as we get close to the tuna, they’d dive deep and disappear. We keep going the same direction as the dolphins, and after a while we see that tuna are on the surface again a couple of miles in the opposite direction. We spent the next 2 hours chasing tuna all over the place, but we only managed to catch one small (20-25lb) tuna. At that point, the school had become very dispersed, and Amado said we’d be better off giving up on this school and trying to find some other action.

We put out the trolling gear again and started heading back towards land. We didn’t get any strikes while we were trolling, but once we were about back in to the 25-mile mark, we found a huge school of tuna. We trolled into the side of the school and immediately hooked two tuna on lures. Amado started clearing out the other trolling rods, and I hooked up some live bait and tossed them into the water. They were eaten almost immediately, so we had four fish hooked up with only two of us on the boat, my favorite kind of chaos.

For a couple of hours after that, we moved with the school catching one tuna after another. None were really big, but most were in the 15-40lb range, and all of them put of a good fight. Eventually we decided to call it a day and head for home. We had picked up another 18 tuna, for a total of 19 for the day. We weren’t sure exactly where we were at this point. While we had been following the school, we had mainly been heading north, but neither of us had a watch, so we didn’t know how much ground we had covered. The batteries in the GPS had crapped out that morning, so we were navigating w/ just a compass and the position of the sun to get back. Amado picked a direction and we headed out.

After about an hour & a half, we could see land again, and we realized we had gone a lot farther north than we thought. Even though we had been angling south as we headed back for land, we were still a ways north of Troncones. Once we could see the land, we just had to look for a particular mountain that’s shaped like a particular body part that I won’t mention on this family-oriented board. Once we saw that mountain, we were able to head straight back to Zihuat. We got back just as it was getting dark. I took three of the tuna with me, and left the rest for Amado. Before heading home, I swung by Florian’s restaurant and dropped-off two of the tuna for him and Michelle (the cook) and Olga (the bartender).

I took one of the tuna home, for me, Mark and Kait to have for dinner. After I got cleaned up, I went over to Mark and Kait’s apartment for pre-dinner tequila shots and to discuss where we were going to take the tuna for dinner. We finally decided on going to Chez Paul’s. Last year we took some fresh tuna to Paul’s, and we ended up with a really exceptional meal of tuna sashimi, tuna carpachio, and pepper crusted rare tuna steaks, but the service was pretty poor, and Paul was very rude to Kait. When we got to Paul’s, he was very rude to us again this year, and he also refused allow us to bring our own fish, so we left and went back to the Sirena Gorda.

Luis, the owner at the Sirena Gorda, said he’d be happy to have us, and that he’d surprise us with a couple different preparation styles. While we were waiting for the food, the waiter Tony took great care of us, the service was great there. When the food was served, we ended up with two large platters of tuna carpachio (a Cajun dish, thinly sliced raw tuna w/ olive oil, lemon juice, capers, and Cajun spices), and two large platters of seared pepper crusted tuna sliced into ¼ inch thick slices. It was wonderful, better than the meal we’d had the previous year at Chez Paul’s.

After dinner, Luis served us espresso and Sambuca, and joined us to chat for a while. I noticed that he was drinking scotch, so I ran up to my apartment (above the restaurant) and grabbed a bottle of really good single-malt scotch called Aberlour that I’d brought with me from the states. We hung out talking w/ Luis drinking scotch until he was ready to close up at about 11:00. He had decided to close up early enough so that all his employees could be with their families on for the New Year.

Since it was approaching midnight, we decided to head for the beach. If you’re ever in Zihuat for New Years Eve, be sure to be on the beach at midnight for the fireworks show. We went back to Casa de Arcadia on Playa Principal, ordered a bucket of beer, and settled in for the show. At midnight, we were treated to three major fireworks shows all at the same time. On show was being launched just up the beach from us, another was being launched from Las Gatas, and another was being launched from Puerto Mio. The sky over the bay was filled with explosions of colors for about 15-20 minutes. We stayed at Casa Arcadia until about 1:00 am, finished our beer, and shared some of my single-malt scotch w/ our waiter.

Next, we decided to stop off at Florian’s Kiosko on the way home. My friend Chay was there, he bought me a drink to thank me again for the tuna I’d given him. I gave him a glass of the single-malt scotch and hung out with him and his friends for a while. Mark and Kait decided to call it a night and headed home. Chay and his friends had to head home at about 2:30. That left about eight of us still standing. Just after Chay left, a couple of musicians who’d just finished a gig up in Ixtapa came in and offered to sing for some drinks. The two of them were both playing guitar and singing. They were really good. They played mostly ballads, and everyone else in the bar seemed to know the words to every song.

Finally, at about 5:00 the singers decided to go home, so we passed the hat for them (literally using one of the singer’s hat), and then everyone else took off. I helped Florian clean up (he’d sent his employee’s home at around 3:00) and then decided to call it a night rather than heading for the beach to wait for the sunrise.

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