Trip report Dec. 20 to Jan 4 - Day 4

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Posted by David (in Bellingham) from ( on jueves, enero 29, 2004 at 22:28:09 :

Tue. Dec. 23 Ė Up at 5:30 and head for the pier. I stop at the store to pick up drinks and tortas. Today for breakfast I settle on a torta with huevos con bistec, and I grab one with ham & cheese to take with for lunch. Breakfast and lunch for 20 pesos.

Today we pick up some live bait from the pangeros in the harbor and head out on a compass heading of 240 and we start trolling some small lures just outside the bay to try and pick up some barrilette or bonita to stick in the tuna tubes for bait. We troll out for 10 miles and donít see any barrilette or bonita or any kind of baitfish working. Since we havenít seen anything promising, we bring in the lines and run out to the 35 mile mark and start trolling both big and small lures further out. Weíre not seeing any birds heading out or any other signs of fish.

At about the 40 mile mark, we find a big school of porpoise. This school is made up of the two-tone black and white porpoises, and Amado says theyíre not friendly like the other types of porpoises. Sure enough, they immediately head away from the boat, and none are playing in the bow wake or doing flips or jumps next to the boat. Even though we donít see any birds with the school, we figure there may be some tuna with them, so we spend a couple of hours stalking the school, trying to get in the right position to get some live bait into the school. A couple of times we get set up perfectly, but we donít get any strikes, so we give up on this school and start trolling out further.

On the way out to the 50 mile mark trolling lures, we raise 3 sailfish, but I wasnít able to hook any of them on the lures (see my day 2 report for a descr1ption of hooking sailfish on lures). At this point, we can see out another 10-15 miles, and we donít see any signs of tuna. Itís time for plan B.

We rig up dead baits and start trolling them back to Zihua. After about 4 miles, we come across a big log. We pull in all of the trolling lines and rig up one of Amadoís lighter rods with a Shimano TLD 25 reel loaded with 30lb test for live bait fish. We figure the log should be good for at least a couple of dorado. After drifting with the log for a few minutes, I get a strike on the live bait, but itís not a dorado, itís a good size sailfish. On the lighter gear, it takes a while to land him (about 30-40 minutes). While Amado is releasing the fish, I see another sailfish break the surface chasing some of the bait hanging out under the log. Thatís the first time Iíve ever seen sailfish feeding on a bait fish that wasnít attached to a hook. Itís pretty cool to watch them chase the bait to the surface and stun them with its bill before scarfing them down.

As soon as Amado has the hook free, I put another live goggle-eye on it and toss it towards the sailfish feeding by the log. He takes it almost immediately, and the fight is on again before Amado has even released the last fish. Once the chaos factor on a boat gets that high, you kind of lose track of time. I know we stayed there for several hours fishing live bait on light gear. By about 4:00 I had boated (and released) 3 sailfish and 4 sharks. I also lost several small dorado and one small amberjack to the sharks. The variety of fish under and around the log was amazing. It was like the log had its own mini ecosystem.

At 4:00 we decided to head for Zihua. We had been drifting with the log for several hours and we figured we were probably over 50 miles from Zihua. We get to the harbor just as the sun is sinking into the ocean. Iíve watched rise out of the ocean and set into the ocean from Amadoís boat all in one day Ė a really long day, but another good day.

I head home to get cleaned up, then head out for dinner. Iíve always wanted to try the smoked tuna tacos at Sirena Gorda, so I walk down to the fishermanís walk. When I get to the Basketball courts, thereís I huge crowd gathered for Zihuatanejoís 50th celebration. I get there just in time to watch them light a huge tower made of fireworks. Itís quite a show, and there are a couple of guys with fire extinguishers running around putting out the smoldering embers as they land on plants, people, etc. After the tower come the artillery shell type fireworks, overall a pretty spectacular display. These go on off-and-on all night.

I lucked onto a great event on my way to dinner, but eventually I make it to Sirena Gorda, which is one my favorite restaurants along fishermanís walk. The smoked tuna tacoís are definitely worth the raves I read about them before. If you like things spicy, Sirena Gorda has a really good green habanero sauce that you can use on the tacos or the chips. Give it a try but be careful. The tacos are fairly small, and leave room for some flan for desert. If youíre a fan of custard, you definitely need to try the flan. Iíve ordered at several different restaurants in Zihua, and itís always good. Total for dinner (tacos, flan, and a soda) is 95 pesos.

After dinner I head to Florianís for some more backgammon. Tonight I win two and lose two. After 3 anejo & sodaís I decide to head for home at about 11:00 since Iíll be fishing in the morning. (The nightlife portion of my trip report so far is somewhat limited since Iím fishing almost every day, but stay tuned, and eventually Iíll get to some other nighttime hang-outs.)

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