Monday, December 08, 2014

Nothing, but Ocean

John Karpenko, John Sutherland, and I met our taxi at 6:30 am in front of Reforma Numero Uno. Our drive was cool and quiet, the taxi driver knew exactly where to go to meet our captain, Captain Romeulo Oregon. Captain Romeulo arrived about fifteen minutes ahead of schedule and we loaded and launched.

Our first stop was for gas at the Grand Bay hotel. Captain Romeulo did everything he could do to get someone to help him but no one showed up.  Gas must not be available on Sunday mornings. We motored back to a place overlooking the lagoon and after whistling and a lot of shouting a small guy appeared with a big container of gas. Captain Romeulo scratched a mark on the jug and then the two of them filled the four tanks with the gas that was in the container.

We launched back out into the channel and motored out of the lagoon into Bahia de Navidad. Captain Romeulo handed John K the boat controls and started rigging lures.  It was quite the performance. Captain Romeulo, with flourish, would grab jigs and plugs, hold them up and shake them, trim the ends and then tie leader on to his choice for the day. He did this for the five rods that we fished that day and set them in the water in a specific pattern that was probably handed down from generation to generation in the Oregon family.

Motoring northwest we watched the bait and hoped for the hookup that all fishermen desire. Nothing came.  The captain followed the current lines and chased the birds but found nothing. Every few minutes he got on his radio and chattered with his fleet trying to see where there might be fish.

Looking ahead we spotted birds and then we noticed a change in the patterns of the surface water. A huge pod school of spinner dolphins surrounded us, jumping and playing at our bow.  In amongst the pod, a whale rested on the water surface.  We watched this action for a while and then veered off in search of dorado.

Captain Romeulo worked the back deck. He would occasionally dip his hand in the water and pull up a cupped palm of the ocean and then look at us and say "No krill, no plankton!"  We couldn't tell if he was smelling the water or tasting it, but he was never satisfied with the results.

During this time we caught two bonito, which are a member of the tuna family. We don't keep this fish because the meat is very dark and they don't have the good flavor of the dorado. Captain Romeulo put on a show and made us some ceviche using soy sauce, hot sauce, fresh lime and other spices.  We ate it and enjoyed the flavors, but all agreed that this fish would be one that we would use only in emergency situations.

After another few tastes of the ocean, the captain decided that there were no dorado in the area and that we should go out into the blue water and fish for marlin. For the rest of the day we motored out of sight of land following the currents and birds. We had three instances where our reels would chatter but there were no hookups. The captain tried but today we came up empty.

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