A Fishermans Trip Report


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Posted by Jim Crowley from 4.11.160.4 (wbar2.chi1-4-11-160-004.dsl-verizon.net) on lunes, enero 12, 2004 at 05:22:18 :

SAIL ON!


What an amazing feeling this was. Yesterday my adventure began in Bloomington, Illinois. This morning I am looking out over the Pacific Ocean. The Blue water, the waves rolling in, and the sweet salty air have all the elements of the perfect Jimmy Buffett song. My wife and I have come to Mexico for a little rest and relaxation. We have been to Mexico before, however not here. The beautiful view in front of me, comes courtesy of Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, which lies on the Pacific Ocean side, of Mexico. This place is beautiful. The scenery, the people, the food, and oh yes, the fishing! I must admit, I was thrilled when we decided to come here. My wife and I are both avid changers of latitude. Since I was a little kid, the ocean has always meant something different to me. A place to get away from, a place to go to. I want to go where its warm! This adventure came with another assignment. The waters around Ixtapa and Zihuat, (as called by the locals) are teaming with Big game fish. Depending on the time of year, Marlin, Dorado, Rooster fish and what I came for, the Pacific Blue Sail Fish!
I have fished in the Caribbean, the Pacific and down to the Dominican Republic always with the hope and sometimes the promise of catching Sail Fish. Since I live in the Midwest, I fish a lot of fresh water. However in recent years we have been fortunate enough to make at least one trip to fish in salt water. It has become a passion. My wife swears she sees my face light up with just the mention of salt water! I was put in contact with Mr. Luis (BIG TUNA) Maciel. Luis is the captain of The Gringo Loco. Luis has won several tournaments, caught HUGE Tuna and has a great reputation in the area. He is a great captain who speaks very good English and has a great sense of humor. All of these factors can lead to a great day on the water. We met at 6:30 at the municipal pier in Zihuat. This is a very easy place to get to from Ixtapa. Only ten minutes by cab from any resort and will cost you just four dollars. The pier is full of excitement in the morning with all the captains meeting their clients. You can purchase your food and drinks for the day from the market at the entrance to the pier. Two freshly made sandwiches, made while you wait, will cost you four pesos. That is about forty cents in American currency! Luis was very easy to find. Right where he said he would be with a big smile on his face, and just as ready as I was to get going.
There are mainly two types of boats to fish from. The Sport fishers are true fishing machines. They carry 4 to 8 anglers in comfort. They range in size from 28 to 38 feet and have flying bridges and lower enclosed cabins. I fished from a Panga. One of the most seaworthy 26 foot boats you will ever fish out of. The Pangas of Zihuatanejo are custom made, hand built boats. All feature at least one bench for the occasional nap. Each has a hard top providing ample shade from the sun. Many anglers prefer the pangas for the open air and lower to water setting. I loved the Gringo Loco! It is perfect for one or two people, and that way, you get more fish!! We set out from the Marina toward the openness of the Pacific Ocean. The sun coming up with a view from the ocean is a must in life. The pelicans flying, the black tuna schooling, and the sight of the porpoises swimming close to the boat was just the start to my day. The fun was about to begin. The baits were rigged and four rods were trolled behind the boat. In some cases, lures are used and also small bait fish are rigged with large hooks that are sewn into the fish. When the bait is trolled, the dead bait fish seems to come alive in the water. We were trolling by another boat when I saw my first Sail fish. The other boat had one on. I watched the rod bend as the angler did all he could to control the fish. Sail fish sky rocket from the water in an aerial display that would rival any circus act. Absolutely incredible! A couple of hours went by and Luis was making a turn to go back over an area we saw that had numerous jelly fish.(A sail fish food source) Than I saw it. Coming toward the bait to our left. It was BIG. A Huge sail showed out of the water speeding toward our lure. The fish hit the lure with such force, I thought the rod would snap or fly from the holder. The explosion of water look as if a school bus was dropped in the water. Luis grabbed the rod and managed to get it to me in the fighting chair. The chair has a holder between your legs to slide the butt of the rod into. This little holder provides incredible leverage for the angler. The fight was on. The Sail fish decided to go away from us toward Baja!! The line was stripping from the reel faster than I have ever seen . My adrenalin was pumping so hard it stretched a smile from one ear to the other. This has been at the top of my adventure list for so long, and I am smack in the middle of it. Luis estimated the Sail fish to over 11 feet long! I reeled down toward the fish and pulled back. Just like I had seen on T.V. The power was incredible. I gained some line, and then, the fish took it back! This went on for a couple of minutes. This fish would not quit. The Sail fish did a series of leaps like I have never seen. Then, it leaped toward the boat, threw slack in the line, and it was gone. My line lay slack on the water. Was it a dream, what just happened? I looked with a blank stare at Luis. “What happened, I asked. What did I do wrong?” Luis replied, “nothing, you did nothing wrong. When they jump toward the boat, sometimes they come off.”
I had not even caught a fish to this point, and already I was hooked. Even if you have never fished before, you need to do this at least once in your life. It is that amazing.
The rods were set out again and trolling speed resumed. About an hour went by and we saw some small black tuna schooling. I heard one of the reels click off a couple times and Luis picked up the rod and just held it. Then he let some line out. Picked up the rod again, lowered it, and let some more line out. He raised the rod slowly, and I saw the rod load up. He slammed the hook set one, two, and then 3 times. The water erupted and he smiled as he handed me the rod. I set the rod in the holder and the fight was on. This sail fish went nuts. Like it knew it had just been fooled by one of the best. I never knew what happened. But my experienced captain knew all along. The fish bit lightly, and he knew how to feed the small bait fish to the big Sail fish. A half hour later, I had caught a Sail fish that was almost 10 feet long and close to 100 pounds!! It was my biggest fish to date!
The feeling and the sight of a big Sail fish, or Marlin coming out of the water and that eye, that big eye looking at you, is the most incredible thing I have experienced in fishing, to this point in my life. I will do it again. Big fish like Sail fish, Marlin, and Tuna just to name a few are the fish Hemingway experienced, pursued, and wrote about. Now I know why. They are not just fish, they are adventures and experiences that add to ones life. I was very fortunate to hook up with Captain Luis Maciel. He is a great person, and even a better fisherman.
Here is some contact information you should know. Captain Luis Maciel can be reached via e-mail at luisrmaciel@yahoo.com.mx
You are going to need a place to stay while in Paradise. I highly reccomend that you check out www.abriendopuertas.com
They are the Specialists in locating the perfect rental for you and your family. Mary Rushing handles all your needs. Whether your budget is restricted, or ample, she can find you a safe and comfortable place to stay. Mary has an awesome reputation when it comes to client satisfaction. She will insure you have a fantastic time in Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo. You just leave the booking, the deposit, and the confirmation details in her hands and your hotel will be fully prepared for your arrival. Nothing like being in Paradise and being spoiled! This wonderful place needs to be seen and experienced, to be believed. If you like to Fish, golf, snorkel, or just relax, I highly reccomend Abriendo Puertas en Zihuatanejo.
This was an adventure to remember. It added to my memories as well as my life experience. I look forward to the next time, and the next Big Sail Fish. It will not be to long till I again change latitudes, and Sail On!

Jim Crowley
www.jimmyfish.net
Midwest Outdoors Magazine
Fishing Facts Magazine





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