Friday, March 6, 2009


We got an early start this morning, trying to beat the sunrise down to the northwest end of Playa La Ropa, where a cab driver had suggested fishing for jureles might be good at this time. Navigating the wet rocks was tricky, but I managed to find solid enough footing to cast my pencil popper out a good ways into some likely spots. After a few tries, I finally saw what I’d been visualizing ever since I decided to try surf fishing this year: a couple of fish lunged at my lure, nearly jumping out of the water in their aggression. I felt a tap as one of them struck, but never the good solid weight you feel with a good hook set.
A dozen more casts drew a couple more cautious strikes, but then nothing. Maybe, I thought, something a little more life-like. I changed to my battle-scarred, six-inch, shallow-diving, silver-and-blue minnow with a rattle inside. Beautiful cast… nice… oh-h-h a bit too far right… into… oh no! …a rock. My lure had come down on a one-square- foot rock, the only obstacle within ten feet of where it landed. And it didn’t bounce. It landed and lodged, seemingly with all six of the hook points having grabbed and penetrated solid rock. I hoped the surging tide would work it loose, but it might as well have been welded in place. This didn’t have to be the end of my fishing day, but losing that trusty old lure really discouraged me and I called it quits, vowing to get a fresh start —with a new strategy—tomorrow morning.
We walked the length of La Ropa, looking for a new place to have breakfast, but the place I’d had in mind looked pretty deserted, so we settled for our old standby, Paty’s.
Our afternoon was pretty much the same as the past few days: walked downtown, did a little exploring (found a couple of nice shops and galleries we’d never seen before), and claimed a spot at one of the beachfront restaurants to read, sunbathe a little and have lunch. We were just in time for the morning fish market right next door (amounting to little more than a few plastic sheets spread on the sand with coolers full of fresh huachinango (red snapper) spread out on them). These fish come from the fleet of row-boat-sized pangas that go out every evening and fish, with nets, all night.
Again, the sportfishing fleet seemed to have had a pretty disappointing day. We saw very few catch or catch & release flags on the few returning boats, though there were two idiots who had their two tiny marlin (too small not to have been landed quickly and releasably) strung up on the “gallows” where they postured for pictures as if they’d just landed world records. But the worst part was the fact that many, many of the sportfishing pangas (including our Huntress) had just sat idle in port all day for lack of charters.

We returned to the artisans’ market to pick up the set of lacquered ceramic bowls we’d ordered on Monday. Sr. Garcia seemed very glad to see us and to present the results of his creativity and skill. The bowls were stunning, each signed by the artist.

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