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The day I will not forget  -  HPD

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 11 months ago

The Day I Will Not Forget

 

 

 

This fish was kicking my butt. For the last 40 minutes, it had been kicking my butt. Twenty minutes before hooking this unrelenting force, I had hooked another horse. It had tail wrapped my line and I had felt every broad sweep of its tail as it had its way with me. When it finally got the proper tail angle, it had pulled the hook free of its own mouth and this behemoth immediately snatched the fleeing lure up. My arms were noodles. An hour of sweat without a break in the Mexican beach heat had sucked me dry. We had drained our water bottles an hour previous. I wished for this fish to go away. I’d had enough. No mas. Mercy.

  

I had traveled once again to the lonely vast beaches of the middle Mexican Pacific. It was a spring break fling for my college son and myself. No worries. No cares. Just surf fishing, brilliant sun, luscious seafood, and my small Mexican village friends. I will keep most of my trip private. Suffice it to say we did all the things a son and his father could wish for. Adventure, excitement, fishing, and the rest of the world was in fact a world away. But I cannot help myself from telling you of the most incredible day of fishing in my over one-half century of fishing. The day the ocean became a whirling blender of bait, birds, and fish.

  

My son and I arose before light. We had planned to quickly choke down some Gatorade, inhale an energy bar, and point our car to where we thought there might be giant jack crevelle and cubera snappers. We drove through a couple of very sleepy small villages that were just beginning to yawn awake. The lazy generic dogs were still too sleepy to chase our car. I was peering ahead for a dirty, cobbled together outhouse. Its torn canvas walls contained a stark, grimy, clay toilet. An abandoned cerveza stand stood nearby in the middle of nowhere. We had come to call this spot el bano malo (the bad bathroom). It sentineled a near shore patch of underwater rocks. A hot spot. There was barely light enough to string our surf rods and scramble downs the prickly pear slope to the wide sand beach. The tide was out and the shallow underwater shelf formed by the rocks was perfect to pick up the one and one-half meter swells and turn them into eight-foot breakers. My hopes drooped. The breakers formed about 200 yard off shore and they turned the water into a giant washing machine. No fish would choose to be there. A few half-hearted casts and my mind turned to other places. I thought of a place where deep water comes very near shore. The waves would not have a long shallow low tide shelf to rise up upon.

  

Twenty minutes later we were plodding down a dry sandy riverbed to the sea. The sun was finally peaking over the blue Mexican mountains and there was something. Something indefinable. A sense that something was about to happen. The force?? We made a few casts and looked to the left. About a kilometer down the beach we could see a swirling mass of birds. We took off at a trot but before we could cover the distance more birds began gathering in front of us. Then we saw it. The water was being ripped. As the waves rose near shore we could see huge schools of fish riding within them. Hundreds of giant jack crevelles, needlefish, African pompanos, and cubera snappers were forcing sardine minnows to the shore and the hapless bait was flinging itself onto the bare sand in panic.

  

It’s hard to keep your composure in such situations. All fingers become thumbs. I finally found enough coordination to make a cast. My F-14 metal was untouched until it reached about 20 yards from shore. Without warning, my drag was singing and the line was peeling directly to deep water. I knew this signaled cubera but I dared not hope for the risk of jinxing myself. The fish was tough and stubborn. It stopped after one long run and then slugged it out. The eventual reward was a fine red cubera snapper in the wash. He cut my hand as I fumbled to grab his gill. I didn’t mind. Not one bit.

 

There were scads of giant 20-40 pound jack crevelle roving in wolf packs. They were right at our feet and my son was discovering the F-14 lure had to be skipped at high speed over the surface to induce a strike. He was fast onto a nice 25 pounder. The Mexicans call crevelle “toros” because they fight like bulls. They call the big ones “quamos”. Say it loud. QUAMOS!! They never give up. They are masters of using the forces within the wave. Their broad bodies and forked tails signal power. He eventually landed it and I was soon onto yet another cubera. And then another. And another. And finally a cubera that I could not handle. He went directly off shore and became virtually immovable. I have caught 40-pound cuberas. This was bigger and I felt a stab in my heart as the hook eventually straightened (7/0 single). I became aware that my son had been battling toros like a matador. All of a sudden an undeniable QUAMOS hit. Oh my goodness! At 20 minutes he was sweating. At thirty minutes he was complaining. At forty-five minutes he was numb but he eventually reached down and tailed a crevelle of at least forty pounds. He could not lift it much above waist level. An incredible broad gleaming mass of muscle.

  

This went on until about noon. I can’t begin to describe numbers of fish, birds, and bait. In four hours the melee had broadened to cover roughly two kilometers of beach. My son gave up to fatigue and thirst. As we walked back down the beach we promised each other we would not cast again. I could not help it. I was sorry. Mercy. – HPD

  

Post script – This was also one of the saddest episodes of my life. I had dozens of pictures and many videos of this day. They were irreplaceable trophies. I left my camera in the rental car when I returned it. When I rushed back to the rental agency an hour later it was gone. A dishonest rental car employee now owns my camera. Perhaps a day like this is meant to reside only within the memories of a father and son.

 

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