Fishing and Trip Report for the Last Week In Jan.

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Escrito por Jonnygun desde ( el día martes, 30 de enero, 2007 a las 19:14:26 horas :

Trip Report:

The theme of the trip was to fish. And that’s what we did, so I will report on the fishing details first.

A small group of us took 4 panga charters and 7 cruiser charters during our stay. And they varied in value considerably, for one main reason.

Last week, the fishing success was very low. Most boats were flying no flags. Most were completely skunked for many days in a row. Should have been here last Yesterday kind of fishing. The good water was way out there. Success seemed to be low because most boats fished close in, and very few went beyond 15 miles. All the sailfish we caught and saw were beyond 20 miles. We never saw a tuna and neither did any of the commercial guys from what we gathered. El Nino had an effect on the Zihuatanejo area for sure. We saw mostly cloudy skies on the outside and it rained three times on us. Big waves way out and rough.

With that in mind, learning how the fuel situation exists with the PeMex fuel dock which has been shut down for the fleet. Apparently “poorly run”, is an understatement, so we were told, “many problems with that place”. So that meant a very early morning for the crews on the boats, to truck fuel in containers down the municipal pier and then into the boats. It was time consuming to transfer the fuel and it added much time to their jobs.

The cruisers don’t cruise there, but rather troll away from the dock never exceeding 8 knots. One of the boats made it obvious that they were not going out farther without major extra money. Major extortion rates. On one boat, the baits were lowered at the entrance of the harbor and never changed again. They just did loops around out in front and refused to speak to the guys that were on it. It turned out the captain was not really the captain we thought we getting, and we were not sure about the young mate with him. This was the boat and charter deal from below. Another cruiser had the best stereo around and the gear looked brand new, and I bet they will stay that way from the lack of use. Good thing they had good sleeping pads. We paid way too much for this boat ride. Bad homework for sure!

We did have a gem in the rough with captain “Pepino”, first mate “Carlos”, and third mate “Jose” on the Whiskey II. This hands down has been the funnest cruiser I have fished anywhere. These guys fish hard! They make it fun! They were just plain great! We caught good fish. The Whiskey II did not step up the throttle either, but changed the baits constantly as we went beyond 20 miles. First Dorado and blue, small black tuna for the tubes, and then change to predominantly sails. They sunk live tuna tube fish when we worked bait balls. Rechanged the baits all the way back in and let us work with them as much as wanted. We told the crew our pre-booked long-range tuna hunting panga trips (Whiskey III) were catching sails past 20 miles. They then went where we needed to go. Filled the tuna tubes on the way. The Mackerel (they called them) worked great when we got out there. Pepino came down and interacted with all of us for long periods of time. He made a huge vat of black tuna ceviche that was completely licked up by us all. Carlos has excellent English skills and was truly a wonderful fisherman. He spent time in the American school system, so he was very fluent. He was more than eager to teach us about their lives and the language. Jose was the young stud who had girls around him whenever you saw him. He flowed exuberance. He had that big smile that let you know he was really enjoying life. Thanks to this crew for wonderful fishing for all of us that got a chance to be on that particular boat. The boat itself is fairly old and could use some general repair. The tuna tubes worked though. They have good gear. And use a tagging stick. Pepino’s cell is 044 755 1049892. One of the crewmembers from this boat wants to come to our town and fish with us next summer, way up in the woods of Canada. We will help make it happen.

Both our pangas that we booked proved to be excellent for us. The “Osiris II” with captain Cheo was fruitful indeed. Those that fished with him spoke well of him. He did produce for sure, both fish and stories. I never rode that boat but sure did wish I had. It went 38 miles out. No other boats outside except ships close by.

The Panga “Whiskey III” with captain Arturo was liked very much. He is a very colorful, older, fisherman and I felt I was fishing with the fisherman in Hemingway’s Old Man And The Sea. We went about 40 miles out, but never found the tuna. We saw no other boats fishing out where this boat was. It was rough way out there. Arturo is a good fisherman with a somewhat dilapidated panga. Only one side boom was there and no tuna tubes. The captain’s chair broke when my buddy El Grande sat in it. He did have a live well and made sure to fill it up with cabalito’s and mullet. With better equipment this captain would be as good as it gets. He does not fly any flags and hates showmanship. He is as close to the real thing as one could hope for. He taught me many new things and let me into his world. It was fun. He made it fun! We had the unthinkable on this boat. I pulled in a pissed off sea snake on my petrolera. It’s a good thing the huge long nosed pliers we had brought to give away to the good crews were with us and we were able to dispatch the snake with no fatal injuries. It did sink its teeth in the mahogany a few times.
We also hooked a large porpoise on a live, small tuna. The captain wanted to get it close to cut the line. It was a battle not wanted, but done. It was hooked in the lower jaw and swam away with about a small chunk of line. I am glad I was not on board for that and also am glad this happens rarely.

We saw humpback, gray and orcas.

My defining fishing recommendation is this:

Go directly to “the source” of the boat to make your connection. Do your homework and figure out how to contact the captain or first mate of the boat. Work with them, to get the best deal and experience. Book a full day on a panga to go way out, it’s worth it. I would do a long- range trip down south to “Puerto Vicente” for four or five days for a possible trip next time. Hop on the boat in town, and fish down to the Puerto. Fish from there for three or four days, with little competition. Some crews from the boats can arrange it. The crews live on the boat overnight while they set-up your rooms for you. I would do this on the Whiskey II.

For our accommodations some used the lovely Hotel Irma. I never stayed there, but checked it out a few times as I went looking for the guys that stayed there. They all really liked it there. Talked with other guests who were happy. Large screen in the open pool bar for sports. The guys watched some football game while we were there. Good food and a nice pool overlooking the bay. Nice.

The rest of us stayed in Ed Garvis’s (Whiskey Water World) rental casa and pool apartment. They were nice and were only a small block away from the dock. The maid was wonderful as well as the neighbors. We really were amazed at how well everybody accepted us into their environment. The house had three beds, a king, and two queens in three bedrooms. Three bathrooms, with a great deck, just across the bridge, next to the pier. You could watch the boats come in it. We wore out a blender in a few days, just enjoying the view. At the pool apartment next to the Yamaha dealer. We entertained others like the good boat crews we used, people we knew who were also in town, the pool guy and his son, a few other gringo’s and the owner of Whiskey Water world. For $150 a night, it was a nice place with a view, onto the street, a block off the pier. Satellite TV in both places was also nice. There were four beds in two beds rooms in the pool apartment. Everything worked, including the air conditioning. The place had a pool that was fun, but needed new tiles. The building is the tallest near the pier and had a great sun deck on top. The same wonderful maid as the casa. I felt like my mother was there to care for us.

We checked the drop in rates at a few places and you can get a good deal if you just show up. Maybe book the first night. Almost half-price where we asked. And everybody seemed to have room from people that probably never made it.

We ate all over the place. For me: Any’s was great. We all loved this place and the Don Julio Blanco margaritas were the best margarita’s we had in town. The Pozole was awesome along with the Chile Relleno. We ate there three times.

La Sirena Gorda was liked. The bacon wrapped, curried, rare tuna steak was very good, and the guys went there twice.

The meal was good at Garrobos in the 3 Maria’s Hotel. The seafood soup had the guys walking next door to bring it back to the room frequently.

The one place I should have tried early on, was the “Los Braseros”. The cab driver recommended it as we flew by on the way in. It wasn’t until late in the trip, when I walked by it in the evening, on my way back to the El Sanka, by myself for tuna. The Los Braseros has the rotisserie in the front with that big chunk of meat being slice off. I walked by and it was full to the rafters, like the previous time, I had noticed it. I got to the El Sanka and saw nobody else in there. I spun around and went back to the full place. I got a table after a short wait. My food was cooked up and served in less than two minutes. This, while the place was standing room only. The traditional food I ate was wickedly good. The guacamole was great. You watched the cook grill right in front of the restaurant. The meal with two large water bottles came to just over 10 bucks. WOW! It was that good.

We enjoyed the nice quiet nightlife in town. Every place was just right and I even had an excellent time when a female waiter took ten minutes to teach me how to Salsa. We were talking and she said “I could teach me in a few minutes the basic moves to get you started”. She stepped back into a small clearing in the place and waited for me to join her. It was fun. I now know three basic moves of salsa.

We also tried the nightlife in Ixtapa, which wasn’t for us at all. For us Zhio and it’s downtown core was where it was at. The live music was fun and very entertaining for our group. We watched sports at the court.

The shopping was fun and we all had a good time doing it. I liked the farmers market where I bought tuna and shrimp to cook. I met the Owner of a place we tried to find on La Ropa beach. We had heard about “Elvira’s” from others, but never found it. We got dropped off by a taxi at the far end of the beach. We walked the beach towards town but never did stop, other than for a few pictures until we got to the close end of the beach. We just continued on towards town up path. We never saw a sign or could get anybody to tell us where Elvira’s was. Anyways, in the market I was looking over the quality the fish before I bought some to tuna to take home. An older gentleman notices me and starts up a conversation. I learn he is the owner of Elvira’s and he was with his wife buying the days fish. He took me to the guy he was using and helped me buy my tuna and shrimp. He liked the quality from the guy we bought from. He was very nice and spoke excellent English. I asked him where he learned his English so well and he said “ from the nice people from abroad like you”. I told him about us looking for their restaurant and told him a sign on the beach would have led us to it. He agreed and said he would get one soon. This was the last morning before we left so I never got to try the highly recommended food and mango margaritas at Elvira’s. I also ran into the maid, who spoke virtually no English, at the market. She was great and introduced me to her grandson. Her laughter was awesome. We had only sign language basically to communicate and my little Spanish repertoire. This would have been a great time to be fluent in Spanish, as she knew no English. Along with a generous tip we also left her our CD boom box. May they bless her sole.

Las Gatas was nice and we ate at Amado’s at the end of the beach. We had an excellent time there. The seafood platter was very tasty and more than four could eat. Sharp corral and if you walk and swim around barefoot prepare to get sliced or pierced somehow.

The guys that golfed said the course in Ixtapa they played was tough, but a great course. They golfed three days there.

Zihuatanejo have Hands Down the nicest people anywhere, I have ever experienced. Truly wonderful people. Great food too. I can understand why so many recommend Zihua to just meet the people.

Now the part I need to relay that was not so good. Like I said earlier the fuel, and boat ride problems that we had, was definitely an issue. It can be avoided by dealing directly to the source and doing your homework.

Next up was the pollution we saw. Not in trash laying around, but in sewage and waste management. The ocean in front of the town is very polluted. We saw plumes of what appeared to be sewage rise up from the vantage point high on the hill between La Ropa and Madera beach. We stopped for a cool down margarita on the walk at the El Mare’. Nice place with a great view of the harbor. We saw pillowing plumes of brown water rising up about a quarter mile out or less in front. It was sad! There were many dying fish along the beaches too and the thousands of fat pelicans pickoff most of them as they rose to the surface dying around the bay. The lagoon in front of our casa we rented was scary with pollution. The river where the crocks lived on la Ropa was too smelly to get near. The sewage problem is the worst I have seen anywhere hands down.

I got very sick for twelve hours and so did two others that I knew of. I was puking all night and could have used a pistol to finish me off. I could not be far from a toilet for the rest of the trip. It was awful. It weighed heavily on what I could do at times. It made me sit close to the toilet all day and miss my surf fishing day in Potosi. I am still sick right now as I write this. We all ran out of Imodium and even some went to the pharmacy for help. We ruled out most dairy products soon into the trip as we thought maybe that was the common factor. Another factor was all those that got sick were living and eating downtown. To make matters worse, on my night from hell the water was turned off. That meant no flushing toilets.

The Dutch guys staying at the hotel (3 Maria’s) next to us had their room ram sacked and they lost everything.

Lots of heavily armed, army, navy, and various factions of the police, were all over the place. Way too intimidating for a walk along the beach walk at night. Makes you wonder what was happening on the beach for that much firepower. We saw a few pick up truck loads of army guys with machine guys pointed at bad guys laying in the bottom of the truck bed. They brought them to a compound area somewhere near the pier. One night while I ate at the Los Braseros I watched a large shipment of banditos being transferred to the pen.

We did have one waiter get upset that 10 percent was the only amount that he was getting. The service there did not represent a better than ten percent factor and he was upset. That was it. Everybody else who waited on us were excellent.

Well that’s about it, It was an experience and we potentially have the info we need to pull off a better time, if we return someday. I hope this report may help someone else out in the future.

Adios, Zihuatanejo

It was fun!

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