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ssnvet637
Jan 19, 2021
In Central America/Caribbean
Sportfishing Dreamcatcher Captain: Roberto Vargas Mate: Víctor And Rolos Boat: Comocean The message finally arrived confirming our arrangement to meet at Faro Inclinada in Puerto Morelos at 7am. We have been looking forward to this for a long time! Our fishing trip this year would be 5-hours. Hopeful the wind would favor us this year. Last year we departed under a yellow flag and returned under red. A disappointing trip after barely reaching the fishing grounds and catching three fish. The Windfinder App was being monitored regularly and the excitement was building. Our resort was pitch black at 6:10am as Tony and I walked towards the lobby. We navigated the twists and turns of various sidewalks and didn’t see anyone else until we got to the lobby. The desk clerk, surprised to see anyone walk in gave us a questioning look. After a short conversation he found us a bellhop who called for a taxi. A few minutes later a light appeared in the darkness then turned into two lights and event flooded our darkness with light as the cab pulled up. I showed him the photo on my phone and said “Puerto Morelos, Faro Inclinada, Pescadores”. He nodded in agreement and off we went. Twilight was just starting to appear and the twisted dock, a casualty of one or more of the many hurricanes and tropical storms that beat up this area started to come into sight. The lighthouse was twisted in a hurricane over 50 years ago and has never been repaired. I wonder if they will fix the dock. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are at, a city dock is always a busy place in the morning. Various fishermen were preparing for their day. A few boats were already moored to the pier. The rising sun generates activity in the woods, fields and sea alike. A short man was getting off his bicycle. I recognized him from last year and said, “Hola, Charlie Brown!” He grinned and gave me a fist bump simply asking “Dreamcatcher?” It was definitely a one word question. “Si” was my simple response. He took off his shirt, dug into a bag on his bicycle handles and pulled out a new shirt. When he put it on, he was wearing a Sportfishing Dreamcatcher shirt. I wondered how many times he changes in a day. Promptly at 7, Dany appeared just like she said she would. She was also wearing a Sportfishing Dreamcatcher shirt. She let us know the boat was on its way and took our payment. Dany had to make arrangements for us to cross another boat to board. We watched as their boat, the Comocean approached and tied up outboard the other boat. Crossing over into the boat, Víctor and Rolos cast off while Captain Varga backed us away from the pier. The sun was just starting to breach the horizon. The first task is to catch bait. “Big bait, big fish” Says Captain Varga with a grin. We slowly navigate on the shallows and around another small pier while Víctor peers into the water looking for schools of baitfish. He tosses out his net and pulls it back in. Sometimes it is full, sometimes empty. After a few minutes we have a pail full of baitfish which were transferred into a live well. Heading away from shore, the first lines to go out have a string of flies attached about 5’ apart. One line from the flying bridge and one from an outrigger. More fishing for bait! As soon as we are deeper they are setting a couple of lines with baitfish and letting them go on the second rigger and one straight out the back. The next sets are more baitfish on downriggers. It doesn’t take long for one of the baitfish to hit with a nice king mackerel. Shortly afterwards a fly line goes off with a couple of bonitos, big bait! Next up is one of what will become many Barracuda encounters. When the Barracuda comes onboard, everyone is careful to stay out of its reach. The toothed predator is quickly pushed into the locker with the hook and rigging still in its jaw. The leader is detached from the main line and rigged for another catch. All the hooks can be retrieved later after the fish has settled down. It is too dangerous right away. It doesn’t take us long to hit the prime fishing grounds and to start seeing a variety of species come aboard. The rigging is heavy tackle with a variety of live or thawed baitfish. Víctor and Rolos spent much of the transit out rigging the bonitos and thawed fish with large hooks and weights. The live baitfish are rigged as needed and jigged while we slowly trolled around. We ended up making small circles in one spot and then figure eights as we fished a particular area. Another fishing boat was in the same spot as well and we oftentimes got much closer than would be acceptable in many areas I have fished. Both boats were catching fish so I guess it was all ok. We were losing many fish to Barracuda who would chase them down while we were reeling them in. Numbers of times the line would go slack and all we would get was a fish head. Some of the Barracuda were following our lines all the way to the boat. There was always much excitement at that time to see if we could get our fish in before the Barracuda took it from us. The winds were in our favor with an average of 3’ waves. A few times when we were going slowly we started to rock a bit but nothing too bad. The crew had a cooler full of water, soft drinks and beer for us. We packed sandwiches from the resort and ate them between the fishing. After we got close to shore all the fish were brought out and washed down. Hooks were removed from Barracudas and they were laid out for pictures. Captain Varga suggested we fillet the King Mackerel and a Blue Bonito for ceviche and tacos and then clean the Yellow Snapper to grill whole. Víctor didn’t take long to accomplish the task and Rolos bagged them up for us. Arriving back at Puerto Morelos, Charlie Brown grabbed our bag of fish and lead us to La Pepita Restaurante where the fish was prepared and downed with a couple of Cerveza. It was a great fishing trip and we were well taken care of. Our catch consisted of many Barracuda, a couple of Blue Bonitos, a Big Eyed Jack, and king mackerel. Thank you to Sportfishing Dreamcatcher for taking us out again this year and putting us on fish. We look forward to fishing with you again next year! To book a trip, contact Dany on their Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/sportfishingdreamcatcher/
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ssnvet637
May 21, 2019
In Wisconsin
Hi folks, I just want to give a shout out to Matt Clemons at Quality Land Works LLC. If you are looking for someone to clear land for trails or a good plot, Matt is a good choice. I had Matt come in last summer where he cleaned up a few years after some logging. He did a great job and covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time. I was so impressed I had him back later in the year to do some more work. Here he is heading in. And this is what it looked like when he was done. The deer didn’t take much time to investigate their new surroundings Not sure why that picture keeps flipping sideways but it seemakes to have a mind of its own. We broadcast spread a few hundred pounds of winter rye right on top the mulch and it came up right through the mulch. It seems to be coming back nicely again this year. Again, the image keeps trying to flip At any rate, Matt is out of Baldwin WI but he said he travels to do how land work. I think he was heading to Duluth after he was done with my project last year. If you give him a shout, don’t work him too hard because I still have a project for him on my property this summer. https://quality-landworks.com
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ssnvet637
Feb 18, 2019
In Central America/Caribbean
It was early morning in Playa Del Carmen Mexico. The cab driver pointed his finger towards a dark alley flanked with old beat up pick-up trucks, small cars and scooters. There were a couple of vehicles plugging the middle of the alley facing out, engines running. Some dim lights peeking out from the end of the alley with the darkness of the sky silhouetting the scene. I knew this was where I asked him to drop us off. I tracked our progress during the 40 minute cab ride from the resort. I just wasn’t really comfortable with where we were. Our driver asks in broken English, “What time do you want me to pick you up?” I had no idea how this was going to work out. I thought about saying we would stay in the cab right now. I just replied, “I don’t know when we will be back.” He gave me a card and said I could call him. Tony and I looked at each other in the back of the cab. I saw a look of confused inquisition on his face. I have no idea what he saw in my face. I took out $30 USD and gave it to the driver as we stepped out into the darkness. Tony and I watched him take off, grabbed our backpack, and headed down the alley. We squeezed past two delivery trucks in the alley with their cargo doors wide open blocking the narrow path between vehicles. We had to swing the doors to get past. Finally, we were able to make out a gang of short stocky figures under a solid wooden archway. Light was spilling out open doorways and windows on either side of the alley. The sounds of laughter and conversations in Spanish all stopped as we emerged from the darkness into the dim light under to archway. One of the guys is facing away from us with both hands stuffed full of fishing poles. The tips of the poles vibrated in the air as he turned towards us. “Who are you looking for?” he asks. His English was better than the drivers. “Captain Salas” was my reply. “I will tell him you are here” and he disappeared into the darkness, walking down the sandy beach and carefully stepping over mooring lines coming out of the water and stretching up towards the beach. Tony and I looked at each other again and moved off to the side. The men started working and talking again. After a few minutes our friend came back. “He will come and get you in a few minutes”. Twilight was breaking across the water as a new figure appeared walking along the beach. As he came closer he angled up towards us. All he said was “Jon” in a way that wasn’t really a question, nor was it a statement. I held out my hand, “Yes, nice to meet you.” I stuck my thumb out towards Tony, “This is Tony.” He shook our hands and asked us to follow him down to the boat. The boat was bobbing in the surf about 10 feet off shore. A stern line attached to a concrete block on the beach. The bow line dipping into the water and attached to a buoy about 75 feet off shore. Captain Salas stood in the surf and pulled the boat towards shore as his First Mate played out slack on the bow line. As the boat was nearly grounded in the sand, the mate scampers to the stern and holds out a hand as Captain Salas hands up our bag and then holds onto the motor to fight against the surf and helps us climb aboard. We move forward past the console and take a seat on the side bench near the bow. Captain and his Mate quickly pull us out, fire up the 60hp outboard and soon we are threading our way out past boats and buoys, heading onto the Caribbean Sea. It doesn’t take us long and they put the motor into idle and start grabbing jig poles. Heavy rods with large open face reels wound with thick line. The First Mate shows us the colors on the line and explain that we will drop the jig about 300’ then jig up to 200’ and repeat. He plays out the line and demonstrates then hands the rod to Tony and grabs another one for me. Before we can get all the lines in the water Captain Salas yells out, “Fish on!” I grab the rod from Tony and send him back to reel in the fish. Deep sea fishing is a lot of work. To reel in the fish, you lift the tip of the rod up about as high as you can then reel in line as you drop the tip towards the water. Then you do it again, and again, and again. Slowly you reel in the line, foot by foot. It doesn’t take long and the fish goes on a run, the drag squealing and line furiously peeling off the reel. If we made any progress reeling in the fish, we just lost it, and then some! It probably takes 10-15 minutes to land one of these large fish. You don’t know what is on the end of the line until most of the line is in. As the fish approaches the boat you can typically see the white belly showing up like a cloud deep beneath the surface. After about 90 minutes of fishing we have five fish in the boat. They are a mixture of Grouper and Amber Jack. Tony and I are tired and sore. The crew is still jigging with a rhythmic pace that seems amazing to us. We book a 6-hour trip and realize there is no way we can keep jigging for that amount of time. I asked if we could troll for a while and they explained that the trolling isn’t that good at this time of year. I mentioned that Tony has never trolled before and we could use a break. The crew stowed the jig poles and set up for trolling with some large sardine looking chubs. We trolled for about an hour with no success then returned to jigging. When we returned to shore, Captain Salas had us haul the fish up to the wooden archway at the end of the alley. There are a number of hotels along the beach so tourists are checking out our catch. I am sure that it is great advertising to have the Gringo’s show off their catch! We snapped a few pictures while they cleaned the fish. The owner of a restaurant on the beach came out of the door with a platter and took a huge fillet into his kitchen where they prepared sashimi, ceviche, fish fingers, and grilled fish for us. It was delicious! A year later we repeated the trip, this time booking a 4-hour trip and adding Matt to the mix. It was a bit more comforting being dropped off at the dark alley the second time after having a successful trip the year before. We had another good haul with six fish, all Amber Jack. At one time we had three fish on at the same time and the crew did a great job unbraiding the lines and landing all three. Tony and I recently fished with Captain Salas again for the third time in as many years. He moved his boat to a different location on the beach where you don’t have to find your way down a long dark alley. It is still a bit uneasy being dropped off at a nondescript location on a dark beach! When Captain Salas greeted me this time, he held out his hand and said, “Nice to see you again my friend!” We only caught two fish this year but one was a Barracuda, so that was a fun twist. There are many charter boats in the Riviera Maya that are larger and do mostly trolling. Some of them will hold up to a dozen guests. You can walk down a pier and board the boat without getting your feet wet. The seats are padded and you can stay in the cabin until a fish is on the line. They send a van out to your resort and provide the transportation as well as the fishing experience. If you prefer a bit more adventure and don’t mind some sand between your toes, try out Captain Salas. I think it is a great option and he will show you a good time with an authentic and more intimate fishing experience. He and his crew love to fish and enjoy sharing the experience with their guests.
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