We drove to Juncalito Village yesterday afternoon to meet Jose, the Mexican guy with the panga (Mexican fishing boat) who takes folks out for hire. Jose already had clients signed on for today, so we (Cathryn, Bob and Carl, our sailing buddy from the beach) arranged to go with his son Manuel instead.
Manuel said he’d meet us at the boat ramp at Puerto Escondido at 6:45 a.m. We actually had to set an alarm clock to make sure we’d be on time! The morning dawned calm and beautiful, perfect conditions for fishing. Manuel brought 30 live Spanish mackerel ranging in size from 6 – 10 inches and placed them in the bait tanks at the back of the boat. He had a rod for each of us fitted with 80-pound test line. We set off in his beautifully outfitted 26-foot panga equipped with a 150 hp motor at a good clip, and arrived at our first location, Six-Mile Reef, 20 minutes later. The sun came from behind the mountains, the air warmed, and the water was still and flat. We stayed at Six Mile Reef only briefly, and none of us hooked anything. Next Manuel took us 6-7 miles further south to a site called El Marcial, a bit north of Isla San Jose. (Check out our SPOT device, in the “Were We Are) section on the left hand side of the blog.)
That’s when the action started! Fairly quickly, Carl caught a gorgeous 26-pound Yellowtail, and Bob hooked a Hammerhead Shark which Manuel cut loose when he got it to the boat. That Hammerhead was a mean-looking guy about 4 feet long. We stayed at this location for a couple of hours, occasionally moving ¼ mile or so to re-position the boat after we’d drifted. By this time we’d stripped down to shorts and t-shirts and put away our jackets (not reminiscent of your January fishing expedition on the Bogachiel, Lynn and David). Bob and Carl each caught another Hammerhead, Bob landed a 25-pound Yellowtail, and Cathryn caught a 7-pound Cabrillo. The Yellowtail are pretty good fighters, and we were surprised by how much work it took for Carl and Bob to haul them in.
Shortly after noon we headed back to Six-Mile Reef for another try, which turned out to be a bust. All 3 of us repeatedly hooked a rock (a real rock, not a Rock Fish) and Manuel was very kind and patient in getting things untangled, twice having to cut a line and give up his hooks and weights. As we’d each caught a wonderful fish to take home for dinner and had a great deal of fun in the process, we called it a day at 1:00 and headed back to the Port.
We returned to Jose’s house in the village for fish-cleaning, expertly performed by Manuel. Several family members came out to watch and chat, and a couple dozen pelicans arrived hoping for handouts. Manuel was a super fishing guide – patient, helpful (he put all the bait on the hooks and sorted out any tangles we created) and happy to converse with Cathryn in Spanish and teach her some new words, though he spoke good English as well. We’d certainly highly recommend Jose and Manuel Torres in Juncalito Village to anyone looking for a good day on the water.
Given our limited refrigerator and freezer capacity, we kept enough fish for 4 nights worth of dinners, 3 of which went straight into the freezer, then passed out the rest to several of our beach neighbors, who were delighted to take them off of our hands. Bob cooked tonight’s Yellowtail in butter and garlic on the outside grill, and accompanied by a salad, it was delicious. What a fun day!