Twoshoes, Dan and I doing the walk...
"Adam, it's Dan, I've got no kids this weekend, you want to go to Mexico?"
My friend twoshoes and I have gone to Mexico the last two weekends in a row with a small stream fly fishing trip thrown in for good measure. I knew it would be a bit of a stretch for the girls but G~d damn, you gotta know what it is to fish there and you know. "Adam, you are a
" and with that I smilled, I liked that, I hope it sticks...
I called Dan back, "It's on, see you tomorrow"
Dan knows me, knows fly fishing like the back of his hand. He's caught corvina on a 10-weight, sierra macrel on a 12-weight from a panga, has walked the beat while Chef and I fished one-weights at Brookville, been to Kino Bay fishing inshore for jack crevalle, offshore on Kona where he caught mahi mahi, in short, Dan is the best no fish-fisher there is. Usually he carries his guitar on our stints and this one would be know exception.
Mikeytwoshoes I've come to know pretty well in the last couple of weeks. He and I have locked horns many times on various topic online, but the feel always came through. Over the years, our chueco is less, now we are hermano's de pesca, yeah mofongo, that's what I said.
Putting those two together in the front seat, Dan pushes in a CD of his band, "Such Sweet Thunder" and they chit chat about music while I wonder forward to the night and day before us, it's going to be a site indeed, all the ingreediants are there.
Stops at Gila Bend, Ajo and the Border Station and on to the Mar.
Now our Friday Night destination will be omited for the protection of soft eared souls, it was a noche' del boracho indeed, vampiritas, swill and whirl. At Al Copone's spot we stayed, the "Posada la Roca" a little rock hostel near the malecon, just accross the street from the marina and Flavio's. The time is 1:30p and twoshoes starts on a tear, "Yeah, we are going fishin, right feckin now" so I string up HIS rod and my own to make things faster, "Dan, grab your guitar..." and we are off to find a hole in the fence to crawl to the edge.
The lights had gone out just as we left so candles were in order. The electricity is not a guarentee in Mexico and often this is a little more spice than one wants but it's a flavoring and the candle made a little place, an alter on the sea wall that we could reference. Funny, there was a keyboard and a fetish clown to make the shrine complete.
G~d only knows how we made it back but it was late, only a couple of horas till low tide. Twoshoes wanted more of the unmentionable, I had to finally call him back, he was halfway down the street, "Hey Twoshoes, come back to bed, let's not f with what's coming tomorrow, the low tide is in a couple of horas.
In the short time we were asleep, I got up to take a piss, somebody already had, all over the floor and I was standing right in it. Ahhh, sh!t, what an ass. I wiped my feet off on the towel and crawled back in the sandy bed and woke up in five minutes to Mikey going, "It's time mother-fecker"
Thick, heavy limbs, grumbling stomach, still drunk, no, I want to sleep in but I know this is the time for fly rods. Twoshoes and I walk to the panadaria for pastries, to break bread from the one armed baker but even he too is sleeping, it is early...
The one armed baker
On the way to Las Conchas, we stop for burritos and swill. Stuffing my sling bag with one for later and a couple of bottles of green gatoraid, soon we are walking the beach.
Today is fly water. Yes, we have our spinning gear but the water is thin, clear and calm. The tide is way out and we are walking underwater at it's edge. I can see places where a little clouser shot out would have netted many yellowfin croaker, perhaps even a bone. Our spinning rods are too heavy, "PLUNK!" and rip in the lead over and over. The subtle flyline delivered clouser would have been the ticket.
Mark one for the fly.
But we are on a mission and the channels are full of other fish. Already there is wave action and there is only a little wind. This means that there has been wind out to sea during the night and has been mas viento for many days. Man-of-War jellyfish are every ten feet in the scum edge. I see one in the water, hundreds of them on the edge, damn, it's always something when the air is clean and the fishing is pleanty. So I back up in my bare feet. My cast can afford the penalty and this is no problem.
I can walk for miles barefoot and I do, trip after trip. I keep an eye out for what is there, sting ray, jellyfish and the odd bit of coral and rocks but haven't yet been cut or injured on the sand. My flip flops are tucked in my bag next to the sting ray kit and that is all the ointment that I have for that.
We are hiked out far to the edge of the rocks at the guantlet, one of my favorite fishing areas. The tide is starting to move and we have about three quarters of a mile of dry sand to get accross to prevent from being pinched off by the rising tide. "Dan, let's go!" and he knows when I say that, I mean it. So I move to the back of the estuary towards our spot. On the way, I see my shadow and it reminds me of who I am, a fisherman, not a spin fisherman, just a fisherman. I can't feel the difference, it matters not and I've fished so much more with fly rods here, hundreds upon hundreds of fish on flys and now I carry a thin long spin rod and it actually makes no difference to me.
There are some idiots who think that it is sacreligios and I say, "phoey" It is what is in your heart that identifies you. As I've said before, there are young boys who fish with coke cans as a reel, slinging, hand lining and
they are fishers much more than the magazine anglers that I've read from stupid online forums.
Who cares how I fish, it's none of their G~damn business! They don't define me, I can do that myself quite easily. Fools who think they are in high church are the first devils that you will meet at fly fishing's door. Promptly give them the bird you seek near the bait ball. Fly it proudly in their face I say.
When you walk the beach, there is much time for introspection...
Now I am near the place of my dreams. A point where the incoming tide moves past a point creating a back eddy, a scum line eddy fence and we cast on both sides of it.
It's too early, Twoshoes says it's all about patience, I say we are just too early. Dan walks with us playing songs on his guitar, I can hear the acoustic Yamaha drifting in on the wind, born of the wind his songs carry sometimes more than a mile, it's so quiet here, I can hear myself thinking.
...and then they are here, the flocks of corvina surrounded by leatherjack pompano chaising bait and we fling our lures to greet them.
Fish on twoshoes hoots, and them me.
Whoa, it's a corvina, and then another and a pompano.
"Dan, do you want to try?"
...and Dan gets to fish again, except this time I don't have to cast for him. He casts baseball style letting go of the rod with his casting hand finishing swinging with the reel hand. His casts are nearly as far as mine. The equipment promotes this and I teach him to point the rod at the water and reel.
"I got a hit" and the rod bends but he has lost the fish fumbling for the hook set.
Reluctantly, we know the adventure is nearly over, we still have two miles to hike back to the car but when you are at your far point and on your way back, it's all home at that point and the fun is truly slipping away...
All of this has happened less than a twenty four hours ago and I already miss it. I long to return, it's in my blood, in my veins and it courses throughout my life.
Dan once wrote a story for www.smallstreams.com which I am going to include here for posterity...
Dan Ostdiek schreef:
The Best No-Fish Mexico Fishing Trip Ever
(I Just Wanted to Let You)
By Dan Ostdiek
My name is Dan Ostdiek, and this is the first fishing story I have ever written. I have been a fan of smallstreams.com for almost two years since I have known Adam personally when we met on vacation in Cancun, Mexico. In the past two years, his family, my family, and Adam and many of our friends have shared travels and adventures. I was on a mission to write my own story for this trip because in all of my thousands of miles of traveling and fishing with Adam, this weekend was the best.
Another reason I think I should write a great story is that I wanted to give a non-fisherman flavor to the story and I am the only non-fisherman on this trip. I don't own a fly rod, but I enjoy being with my friends, the adventure, and the culture and pace of life of a 36-hour trip to Mexico.
JOURNAL ENTRY NUMBER ONE:
Saturday, January 20, 2001. 2:01 a.m.
Yesterday, January 19 was my 32nd birthday. I have decided to spend this special weekend to me with a great friend and some soon to be friends accompanying them on a fishing trip to Rocky Point, Mexico. I am standing outside my gated community with just a duffle bag with enough clothes for the weekend and a guitar. Even though this is Phoenix Arizona, this night is breezy and cold even in my fleece jacket! I've been waiting for over 10 minutes for Adam to pick me up. Its now 2:10 a.m. and Adam told me to be out front at 2 a.m. sharp!
Finally! Adam is here and we quickly drive to Tilly's house (I call him T for short!) to meet up with our five-man crew and to load the Suburban. I've been on a camping trip with my daughter and T's kids before and shake his hand. I also get to meet Chef, someone who I feel like I know from reading his awesome stories on this website. Chef is a passionate and enthusiastic person in his writing style and stories, and what I perceived about what he would be like in real life was accurate.
We shake each other's hands and load our gear excitedly talking of the adventure. I also got to shake hands with Stuart, who works with T and Adam. This is Stuart's first trip to Mexico, let alone Rocky Point. Even at 2:30 a.m., he has excitement about experiencing Mexico for the first time. This fuels my psyche even more. I love Mexico when I go with an experienced fishing crew on a trip. However, I think its even better to introduce a new friend to it!
JOURNAL ENTRY NUMBER TWO:
Saturday January 20, 2001. 5:40 a.m.
We are buzzing past Why, AZ and have just entered the Organ Pipe National Monument as I write this. My energy is heightened because Chef has made his famous "cowboy coffee" to drink in the Suburban and I know that we are only 20 or so miles from the Mexican border. The four Rocky Point veterans speak of previous border crossings, which have been fine. We speak of the previous crossings in which a border guard might flag our vehicle to the side and inspect Adam's myriad of fishing gear. This one was uneventful and we drive on in the darkness towards Rocky Point, now only 50 miles away. I love the beauty of this drive and I mention to Stuart that it's a shame it is pitch dark still and that he cannot see it.
JOURNAL ENTRY NUMBER THREE:
Saturday January 20, 2001. Late in the Day
The sun is up and we are in Rocky Point Mexico, and T wants breakfast! We point the Suburban towards the Vina Del Mar Hotel, which has an ocean view restaurant!
We all order a traditional American breakfast, and many of us have Pancakes! The service was great, and the view was better. Now that the sun is up, Stuart realizes that he is where the desert meets the sea. He and I go out to the ocean front window and I point out Sandy Beach and Competition hill to them in the distance across from the bay. Stuart is amazed at seeing the ocean meet a place that has half the rainfall of Phoenix. The Altair desert of this part of Sonora is so scrub that even cactus will not grow in the sandy terrain surrounding Rocky Point. Later on Saturday, Stuart made a comment to me about the vegetation. "It looks barely alive." That's a fair statement as far as appearance! However, I love the beauty of this place because I have a view of my three favorites things in the world. These three things are the salt water of Mar De Cortez, Mountains in the distance (We could even see large mountains 50-60 miles away on the Baja California Peninsula!), and the sparse acquired taste beauty of the desert.
Now it's almost 9a and we are driving to Old Port where they launch the fishing pangas. We are accosted by several outfitters who would like to take us fishing, but we already have a pre-arranged to charter the Panga Alexis. On this breezy morning, the skipper of the Alexis was Tito. Tito is a skilled panga driver who cut his teeth in helping motor fly fisherman in the Baja area. He hails from Loreto, Baja California Mexico and speaks little English. However, he has a sixth sense for fish, and a great respect for fly fisherman and understands their craft and how the need to have the boat at a certain angle with the wind to cast efficiently. Our group decided to charter a second boat, as there were four fishermen and I, so a second untested fly-fishing Panga was hired. I loaded myself with guitar case and a Yamaha acoustic guitar onto this second boat, and Adam, T, and I are were soon speeding over rough waters towards Cholla Bay.
Our boat was going fast and I enjoyed watching Adam standing in the boat hanging on to the shade cover for dear life as he "surfed" the waves and bent his knees with the boat's nosedive on a few big waves. Thank god Adam didn't lose his balance and crush my guitar! T and I let out primal screams of "YEAH, YEAH" as the large waves of this uncharacteristically windy morning beats up our boat.
Finally we are close to Cholla Point and Adam makes the first cast from our boat. Adam casts more casts more gracefully than any fly fisherman I've ever seen. In addition, balancing himself on the bow of small panga on a windy day does not bother him. Our boat driver does a poor job of getting us to close to shore consistently where the fish are. I am now wishing Tito could skipper both boats simultaneously, but I know it's not possible! However, I refuse to blame the lack of Adam's fishing success on our freshly hired skipper. I look 100 yards towards the other boat and Chef, who is in my opinion a passionate fly fisherman as skilled as Adam. Chef is not having any luck either. Chef has the privilege of casting from the bow of the Panga Alexis and the benefit of the always attentive and skilled Tito. I watch Tito at the helm steering the Alexis in the waves and wind, constantly angling the boat with the wind yet keeping a casting distance by some choice rocks in the water where we hope to catch fish.
Not to make excuses, but today is a windy day, the water is cold, and to me seeing Adam and Chef cast hundreds of times this Saturday morning was just the wrong day for catching fish. The lack of good circumstances on this trip will help us appreciate the great ones on others when we weigh in poundage of fish on other trips! This morning, Adam and Chef's casting seems more grace and fly-fishing skill challenge in the wind. I am so used to a reel 'em in fishing style I usually observe on my many trips to Mexico.
The last time I was on a Panga in Rocky Point, I grabbed the rod for 30 minutes and got lucky and reeled in a Sierra! Today is just as good for me though because I am "in the moment". The weather is great, and I've met two new friends today and am spending some time with acquainted ones also. I need these weekend trips once every few months to recharge my batteries.
I live by an old saying and it represents my work hard/play harder attitude. "I can get 12 months worth of work done in 11 months, but I cannot get 12 months of work done in 12 months". I have had situations in my life where I've been in college or financially struggled and worked two jobs and tried to balance time with family and friends, but I find that if I can get out and play hard, I can be more professional and energetic at work! I think since I work hard, I should also play hard and I love having trips just like this one to look forward to!
After 20 minutes of watching Adam cast from the Panga, I decided to break my acoustic guitar from the case and I strummed for over an hour chatting with T and Adam and playing a mix of my guitar originals, and some of the hundreds of songs I have stored in my head. We have no fish on hook to show for our Panga part of the adventure, and the best part is that everyone is still in high spirits!
We check into the Motel and barely have time to stash our bags in our rooms when Chef, Adam and I decide to go on a Playa Las Conchas afternoon> surfcasting session. I grab the guitar and ask Stuart if he wants to go with us or relax in the motel Jacuzzi with T. Stuart decides at the last minute to go and I am glad he did. Las Conchas is my favorite part of the Rocky Point landscape and it is not because of the beautiful beach homes. It is because it has an awesome Estuary where Adam and Chef always have good luck and because its beach is pure sand with very few rocks. I am thrilled to be able to show Stuart a place that I love so much that I visit it several times a year. We drop off Adam and Chef at our usual parking spot when Stuart and I realize we have no more cerveza. The consummate fishermen of our group, Adam and Chef, are jointing their rods and planning to attack a half mile stretch of beach between the last few houses on the east end of Las Conchas and the estuary that is punctuated by a huge beautiful sand dune.
Stuart and I head back to the Pemex station to get Dos Equis and Stuart even picks up a Cuban cigar, which would be contraband to smoke in the U.S. Stuart is loving Mexico so much already that as we drive back to Las Conchas, he asks me if they still might have beach front lots available and how much it might cost to build a house there. It's his first day in Mexico, and we're well on our way to making Stuart a salt-water fishing convert! We chat about our lives, families and work as Stuart and I wade through the sand and meet up with Chef and Adam down on the beach. I have carried my guitar also and break it out and strum as the four of us make quick work of a six-pack of beer.
I keep playing my music watching the rhythm of Adam and Chef cast their fly rods and think that there is no where else I would rather be today. I have it all in this moment, great friends, and gorgeous Mexican beach! Chef had the luck to land a small flounder and another fish, of which species I cannot remember. Chef caught the only two fish this trip, and neither was a keeper! Nonetheless, spirits are high as we return to the hotel for free Cerveza and Margaritas in the Motel Lounge 5-6 p.m.
Stuart and I have showered up first and are in the lounge watching a local guitar player with lots of energy play American classic rock songs with lyrics changed to Spanish! The atmosphere in that lounge is great, and the free Tecate and awesome chips and fresh-diced salsa are even better!
Adam, Chef and T finally show up after Stuart and I have primed talking of his first day in Mexico, and how it truly is a Third World country, but that has an energy, enthusiasm and how much he likes it so far. Adam, Chef and I are convincing Stuart over beers to take his wife to Mexico, but that maybe he should take her to a resort haven like Cancun before shocking her in a sparse fishing village like Rocky Point.
Our conversation soon turns to dinner and Adam has decided that we should go to Lily's in Old Port. The entrees are consistent, and more importantly, the Flan for dessert is fantastic! We have a great dinner, and conversation. I am so glad that Chef, T, Stuart and Adam are here, and we all agree that even though we have effectively been skunked, this is one of the most enjoyable fishing trips ever!
JOURNAL ENTRY NUMBER FOUR:
Saturday January 21, 2001 Late night
[omitted to protect...]
JOURNAL ENTRY NUMBER FOUR:
Sunday January 21, 2001 Late Afternoon
Early this morning, T was knocking on our door letting us know that it was time for Breakfast. This morning, we decided to drive several miles to a new beach at La Pinta. We drive 20.4 miles past the Las Conchas turnoff on the paved road that runs along the Sea of Cortez towards the Mexican city of Caborca. We find the turnoff to La Pinta Marked by two 1950's vintage overturned campers. We then took a hard right over a road consisting of loose sand and drive approximately 2 miles to the biggest estuary I've ever seen. La Pinta has 4 or so fishing pangas sitting there and there is not a soul in sight except for our Fly fishing crew of five. I guess even the pro fisherman know its not a good day for catching fish and their boats are idle on the beach. Undaunted, Adam and Chef quickly jointed their rods as I unpacked my guitar.
The water was so calm in this estuary, and because it is so flat, it appears like a lake. However, this estuary is so huge, I cannot even see the beginning or end. I estimate it to be 1 mile wide and 4-5 miles long at high tide. Because of the calm water and lack of civilization, I can hear Chef's and Adam's voices carry to me from hundreds of yards down the beach. I strum my guitar and walk up and down the beach enjoying the moment as I play some of my favorite songs in the sun and silence. I'm enjoying watching Adam and Chef being in the moment with their fly-casting. Their casts were in vain, and no fish were seen nor caught.
After a couple of hours of that great beach, we mentally and physically marked it on our Rocky Point itinerary for next trip. We head to town for T's last minute jewelry shopping and lunch. As we are eating at an open-air restaurant in Old Port overlooking the Pelicans and the bay, our quintet discusses attitude, people, and life. Adam Trahan is one of the best fly fishermen I've ever met. I feel he is so successful on most trips (not this one LOL!) because he casts and casts hundreds of times an hour and never gets tired of improving his technique. He is vigilant in his casting even if the fish are not biting. From what I observed of Chef on this same trip, I would say that he casts in a similar style to Adam, and never gives up either. They say "You can't make hay if the sun doesn't shine" and "You can't win if you don't play". These two guys make a wholehearted attempt to make hay on every cast. This reminds me of successful people that I know, who embrace every situation with learning, and always have a great attitude.
As we head toward the USA border in the Suburban, I have a huge grin on my face making this journal entry thinking about what a great trip this was. The mood is upbeat, and I think about my 4 compatriots and the inevitable next trip that will hopefully be one half as much fun as this one. In the next adventure, I hope old friends and new will be included to mix up the personalities and to keep the dynamics of the group fresh! To my friends Adam, Chef, Stuart, and T, all I have to say is keep fishing, and I'll keep bringing the guitar!
[I just wanted to let you know!]
What ended today was my best Rocky Point fishing trip ever. What is more important than that, I spent quality time and adventure with friends old and new, and that is what LIFE is all about.
I just wanted to let you know.
More information on fishing the beaches and estuaries of Puerto Penasco can be found
Mon Jun 20, 2005 7:09 pm