Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Between Waters

I started writing a closing post for the MI trip. It's tasty, but not ready. I am going to Lee's Ferry... just like Michigan, but with 5X instead of 12lb floro. And 40 degrees warmer. And rainbows. And cactus. Whatever. Soft set soft set soft set.

-Alex who thinks Kirkland Signature spiced rum has a little more caramel flavor than most.



Friday, March 22, 2013

Z Fish Report (3/22/13)

Chris, with the smaller of the two roosters hooked
Sorry for the delay for this week’s fish report. I kind of held off writing it until I had a chance to talk to Santiago about the long line situation and the delegation’s meeting last week in Mexico City. I talked to him this morning on the municipal pier, and his report is below. I also kind of held off because I knew I was fishing with clients today down at Puerto Vicente Guerrero, and being we did well, those results are also below.

The offshore fishing is a bit on the tough side, but the captains and clients willing to put in the work, and the days on the water are doing just fine.
Terry Medland with Francisco on the super panga Huntress
Early in the week, Terry Medland of Grand Forks North Dakota, fished two days with Cheva on the panga Dos Hermanos II. In two days of fishing they got 3 sailfish for each of the two days. Both days they found the fish at 22 miles. This gave Terry, and his son Christen, 9 sailfish caught for a total of 4 days of fishing (two days were on the Huntress in the previous week).
John Torre with a nice wahoo on the super panga Gitana
Long time visitor John Torre fished with Santiago on the super panga Gitana for two days this week. They released 2 sailfish and landed a 35 pound wahoo. Also, Kurt Angell and friends, fishing a day with Santiago, released 1 sailfish and caught about 25 school sized dorado (from 4-15#), releasing most of the females.
John and his sailfish prior to release
One pleasant surprise, at the end of this last week, was we got over an inch of rain in the afternoon. I can’t ever remember us getting rain here in March. It was fantastic, clearing the skies, the dust off the trees, etc.

 What was not a pleasant surprise were the high waves which greeted us yesterday all up and down the coast. Combined with the green water, it basically shut down the inshore fishing for decent game fish (jack crevalle, sierras, chulas, etc. And, of course everybody knows there are no roosters here in March / April)
We saw some 12 to 14 foot waves
Dave Radosta called me and wanted to go to Puerto Vicente Guerrero. He has fished here for 16 years straight, but had yet to go there. I looked at the Terrafin Satellite photos, showing green inshore water all up and down the coast, with the exception of clean water south of the point at Puerto Vicente Guerrero. With Dave’s fishing partner Chris Selden, and Adolfo Jr we took the gamble and made the long run to my “sweet spot”. It is a rock sea mount which rises off the ocean floor to within 25 feet of the surface, and about a mile off the beach, so big waves were not a factor.
Lots of school sized dorado
It paid off. With porpoise and sea turtles all around us, there were schools of large (2 to 4 pound green jacks) and school sized dorado breaking the surface on small flying fish. The spot is a fish magnet, and the porpoise were feeding on the same flying fish, plus the sea turtles feed on the lush vegetation off the rocks. The larger jack crevalle were swimming under the boat, and not eating…But, the roosterfish were. We hooked a large rooster, who apparently did not realize it was hooked, and cut off the line under the panga. But, the rooster was following at least 12 others under the bow going after the green jacks. We all just stood there with our mouths open because we didn’t see a rooster of less than 40 pounds in the bunch. We ended up with two roosters released (who everybody knows are not here right now) 7 dorado, and a nice green jack. It was a lot of fun.
 Ed Kunze (IGFA Representative)

Long Line Update: Talking to Santiago (super panga Gitana) this morning, he felt the meeting in Mexico City was productive. The four captains from here, each representing a commercial or sport fishing co-op, met with a Senator from Guanajuato. This senator heads the committee for “fisheries”. He was aware of the situation here in Mexico and hopes to have an answer back to us by the end of April. The most obvious situation, according to the senator, is more observation and enforcement of the existing law. I will keep you posted.
For a better understanding of our seasons and species of fish here in Ixtapa /Zihuatanejo, please click on the link to my web site and scroll down on the left side bar for “Calendar”…  

I have also made two new informative web pages for people coming here for their first time. The first is for when you go to the municipal pier in Zihuatanejo in the morning to find the boat you will be fishing on:
The second is for people who are looking for a place to stay:

Monday, March 18, 2013

Gentility Begins


.. St. Pat's is over. Snowmobile Expo is done. The park is closed. The visitors are few. The streets are bare between dusting's. There are places to park. Grocery prices are down to just 2 x retail. The neighbors are taking the time to visit at the Post Office or anywhere else that they bump into each other.
.. Plutocrats and other wealthy residents are long gone to the less interesting and warmer parts of the globe. Transient workers are on the way out of town or busy seeking employment for yet another season of frenzied busyness.

re-frozen and re-cracked ice = catching
.. Children are loosed upon the village without fear and dogs and cats explore the deposits of foreign critters left behind by inconsiderate and unthinking visitors, (the snow hides it all - huh?)
.. Ice out is still some weeks away but there is some fishing and catching for the neighbors.
.. Leisure is the watchword. Opportunities last only a short time. Gentle meandering along the shores of Hebgen Reservoir allows us to fish the early holes.
.. Little bits of open water, (sometimes less than 50 square feet,) are beginning to appear along the shorelines. The fish find them as soon as they happen. Fishers become catchers as the shifting ice responds to the wind, sun, and currents from the in-flowing rivers.
.. Catching is nearly automatic in these little bits of open water. Any worm, spinner, lure, fly, or bare hook with a bit of flash will take a fish.
"HELLIFIKNOW" is on stage
.. It's a neighborhood pastime that attracts us all. It's not for the visitors from afar.
.. It's an ephemeral phenomenon. The holes open and close as the day progresses. The ice creaks and groans. The clear, thin, skim ice from last night twinkles as it is sundered into gleaming shards.
.. The fish appear and disappear. Scuttlebutt is passed from neighbor to neighbor in the grocery lines, at the hardware store, in the diner, and of course the Post Office. Scurrying is the name of the game. We do it on occasion. The cell phone has aided the endeavour greatly. Such fun.
Sledheads have run out of snow in town. Mud and slush are great fun - huh?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

MI Notes, P3

Felt soles are bad in snow. Nobody told me. It is good that I am graceful like a dancer.

It seems I have, for the most part, shuffled off my sickness-induced infirmity. I believe the continued frolicking in sub-freezing temperatures has caused some symptoms to linger longer than normal, however. My nose-blows are record breaking. A buff makes an excellent extended-use snot rag. My toes are often in a state of panic while outside.

Saw a living possum eating a dead possum on top of the trash can at the Wahalla take-out. Kevin said that possums live pretty hard lives and when they die they usually have broken bones and frost bite injuries. They move very slow. I have been a little empathetic lately, but am getting better and I think soon I will be able to get back to a standard level of sympathy for such critter.

Steelhead were caught yesterday.

-Alex bobber-ninja.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Low Pack

High Pack

Z Fish Report (3/14/13)

Photo by Jeff Burbank while inshore fishing last week.

The 82° blue water has pushed out to about 12 miles, and the offshore fishing is slowing down.
Most boats are only averaging about a sailfish a day, with the occasional dorado being taken. Terry Medland, from Grand Forks North Dakota, fished two days with Francisco on the super panga Huntress, and released 3 sailfish. Most of the sails came from about the 20 mile mark. One notable catch was yesterday (Wednesday) when Adolfo went out 30 miles on the panga Dos Hermanos with his clients from France. They got 5 sailfish and a nice dorado.

Another notable development is Santiago, of the super panga Gitana, is heading up a delegation of our captains and has gone to Mexico City this week. They are meeting with our State Senator as I type this. The delegation is there to stop the long line and illegal fishing, and asking for enforcement of the existing laws. We would not have sent them if we had not received encouragement from the political powers that be, so we are hopeful. The trip was paid for by donations from the captains, several North of the Border clients, and those of us who live and fish here. I’ll give the results of the meeting next week.
Mark uses this very effect Buzz Bomb for his beach fishing.
 The inshore fishing is really jerking our chain. Last week we raised over 20 roosterfish down at Vicente Guerrero, and several large jack crevalle. This week, cold dirty water moved in, and shut down the bite. Adolfo tells me the same thing happened to him up at the Ranch. The dirty water is clearing out, knowing it will soon turn around. But, we are still scratching our heads as the best locations.
Mark Denison at La Barrita

One person who had had some success is Mark Denison down at La Barrita, which is about 50 minutes south of the airport in Zihuatanejo. Mark is from Kamloops, Canada and just completed a bungalow on the beach to be turned into a bed and breakfast late this year. He has been shore fishing there most every day when the fish, birds, and bait make it all possible. He told me he has caught several different species, saw schools of huge pargo, and has done well with the jack crevalle.

Ed Kunze (IGFA Representative)

For a better understanding of our seasons and species of fish here in Ixtapa /Zihuatanejo, please click on the link to my web site and scroll down on the left side bar for “Calendar”…  

I have also made two new informative web pages for people coming here for their first time. The first is for when you go to the municipal pier in Zihuatanejo in the morning to find the boat you will be fishing on:
The second is for people who are looking for a place to stay:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

MI Notes, Pt2

I have a sore throat. My nose is blown out. Stained. Swung today and had no love. I think Kevin is disappointed by my performance.


I am worse. No fishing today.

Lure Sale

Paddy,s day marks the start of the season for a lot of anglers. So to get the ball rolling we have a 20% off all lures this Friday and Saturday in the shop.
Conditions look good from Thursday to Sunday so lets hope its a good start to the season.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lowly Scud

Whiskey Bay Open Too
fling hardware or scuds
.. For the dedicated fly fisher, (not the part time local guides - nor the experts currently in the far away warmer climes,) there is - RIGHT NOW - a rare opportunity to catch giant trout.
.. Bits of ice are leaving the shore around Whiskey Bay and Beer Bay on Hebgen Reservoir, (depending on wind and sun.) The gear guys have found it. A couple of the enthusiastic young neighborhood kids with long rods have also found it.
.. Gear guys use gold. Fly guys fling scuds. Pregnant scuds, (a hold over from fall catching,) are taking big fish right along side the Mepps spinners and Kastmasters. Practice your figure eight retrieve and cast to the ice. 'Nuff said.

Try this:


Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Bit Of Winter

Lots & Lots & Lots Of It
waters looking good for now
.. With the addition of another two feet of snow over the last few days we are beginning to feel reassured about our winter snow pack.
.. Snow depth measurements in the surrounding river basins are at, or slightly above, the seven year sliding-average. The early snows of winter were low in water content and our snow-water-content still leaves something to be desired. The mid elevation pack is below average while the very high snow fields are deep and wet. This bodes well for our summer stream flows.

.. We took a brief survey of the western waters in Yellowstone National Park that produced some nice pictures and views of the streams running high - cold - and - clear.
.. Some shaded parts of the Madison River still show a bit of shore ice. However, the last few warm days have started the gentle melt that feeds the early season runoff.
.. Midges are hatching in profusion and a few early mayflies have been seen. If we were to fish the Madison River in the park right now it would be with a Red Devil Nymph. It's just a simple brassie with peacock herl head - tied with red copper wire in size 16 - 18.
.. This is also the current neighborhood favorite Between The Lakes on the Hebgen Tailwater. It's tied as small as 22 by the folks who believe that size  matters - they catch more fish too.

.. We paused long enough at a couple of runs on the Madison River to ascertain that the fish indeed were rising. Neighbors with sharper eyes than ours verified that the midges were airborn and thick as midges.
.. A winter visit to Yellowstone National Park affords an interesting insight into the fishy waters and the hatches that are not written about in the books authored by experts.
.. Flow rates of the Madison River at West Yellowstone, Montana are at or, slightly above the 85 year average. The Gibbon River is at it's seasonal average flow. The Firehole River is running faster and deeper than usual for this time of year. What else would you expect?
.. This is the time of year that some of our neighbors abandon the neighborhood and head to balmy climes in search of a warmer experience.
.. Dissatifaction with the homeland reflects their year-round perspective. Strokes and folks!
.. For those of us fortunate enough to enjoy our surroundings through all seasons there is, right now, a magic time each evening.
.. At this time the wind settles to a gentle breeze. The sun dips behind looming prominences and casts rapidly moving shadows over the landscape.
.. Hides for the fish change, and it's possible to watch them flee from shadow to shadow through the bright spots on the rivers. This is an interesting bit of adaptive legerdemain that  serves the observant fisher well at any season.
.. Fishing has slowed in the lowlands due to regulations and the conscientiousness of anglers during the spawning season. The Hebgen Tailwater remains open and keen anglers fish from shore and avoid the redds. Double fly rigs are the current strategy in this section of the Madison River. A bright small nymph is the preferred dropper and a small mangled caddis is the forward fly. Works just fine.

MI Notes, Pt1

My phone alarm went off at 3:40am and that is strange because it was set for 4:40am, and the phone knew that. It even had a happy little message telling me that my 4:40am alarm was ringing, but the clock on the phone told me it was an hour early. So did the ancient black-plastic battleship of a lamp/clock from my middle school years that is still keeping the dust away from its rectangular footprint on my headboard. I am a little disturbed by this. Second guessing your technology's sanity leads to problems. (Open the pod bay doors, HAL)


I bought a travel pillow at the airport. It was $15. I wish I could eat it, because it is pretty much useless and I am super hungry.


If you get butthurt when people on planes sitting in front of you recline their seat, you can lick it till you get to the tootsie roll center. Your seat reclines, too. Airplane seats are uncomfortable pieces of shit, and if there is something I can do to make it even the tineyest bit better, you better believe that I am going to recline that shit so hard. Everybody is doing it. Get with the program, dude.


I think the woman sitting next to me is a hypochondriac. Since I have been next to her, I have totaled two sneezes and one super gurgly nose blow. I am suffering from a supreme lack of sleep and I am probably giving off a pretty heavy sick vibe. I want to blow my nose again, but I think the sound alone would be enough to send her over the edge. She was doing Sudoku  but now she has a laptop on her tray table and appears to be reading, but she has been on the same page for almost 20 minutes. I can feel her covert glances like pin pricks. All is not well.


Plane bathrooms are a pretty intimate setting. I think a crime was recently committed here which will go unsolved. I have more hair in my nose than previously suspected.


Cameron Mortensen is now moving with speed and efficiency; a bullet of hope cutting across the darkening Michigan landscape. GRR is ground zero and the ETA has the consistency of warm jello.

-Alex who prefers liquid gels to candy coated with his wheat beer.

Single File

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Z Fish Report (3/7/13)

The blue water came back to the 100 fathom line this week, and about 5 to 6 miles off the beach. Plus, things cleared up after the full moon down at Puerto Vicente Guerrero for the inshore fishing. 

I checked the Terrafin Satellite Imaging photos and saw the cold water has now pushed down from Puerto Vallarta to almost Manzanillio. This means we will probably get our cold annual April current within the historical time frame.
Photo by Mike Bulkley on the super panga Huntress
Mike Bulkley, of the super panga Huntress, sums up the blue water fishery about as well as anybody with his report: “The offshore fishing has not picked up since the full moon and boats have to look hard to find the bill fish. A few blue marlin are being hooked just outside the 100 fathom line.  The pretty blue water continues to be close but has cooled down a couple of degrees.  We are averaging only one or two strikes a day with a lot of lookers who don't come back on the bait.That’s bill fishing”.

There are still a few dorado being taken, and the yellowfin tuna are being caught by the commercial pangeros out around the 35 mile mark. There are a lot of small dorado being taken just a few hundred yards off the beach all up and down the coast.

Keith Paul of Minnesota fished a day with Francisco on the Huntressand released two large sailfish of about 85 and 100 pounds.
Bill Fillmore with a nice hard fighting jack crevalle
The inshore fishing is improving again, and we actually found roosterfish down at Puerto Vicente Guerrero again.
Sequence 1 - Jeff fighting an unknown fish
Jeff Burbank, and Kim, of Minnesota fished with Arturo on the panga Janeth early in the week, and scored well on jack crevalle and sierras down near Petatlan.
Sequence 2 - the mystery resolved

Then, today (Thursday), as Arturo had no clients for his panga, I took Jim, Arturo, Jeff and Kim down to Puerto Vicente Guerrero in my Suburban. The fishing was outstanding, but the actual catching part lacked a bit. We raised at least 20 roosters, and several jack crevalle. 

I was very impressed with Jeff, up on the bow of the panga and casting all day long. Most of the roosters were from 8 to 15 pounds, but a few large ones were there also. Jeff hooked one of the large roosters with a Mega Bait, but the brand new “out of the box” lure I had tied on that morning, had its hooks pulled straight. Within 5 minutes, all the new baits, had new and proven hooks on them.
A nice jack crevalle on a light line spin outfit
Plus, the roosters were mixed in with the jacks. You would fight a fish for several minutes, not really knowing what was on the end of the line, because you saw the big rooster going after the bait. And sure enough, the jack crevalle was faster and got hooked.
Ed Kunze (IGFA Representative)

FADs - I want to commend Gunner Erickson, who has a home at the Barra, for setting out a couple of Fish Attracting Devices (FADs) a couple of hundred yards off the shore at Barra Potosi. They were the floating cover type with palm fronds on top, and anchored to the bottom. After three days they had attracted bait, and shortly thereafter, the locals and sport fishing captains from Zihuatanejo were catching small dorado. He did this with out of pocket expenses, and is still in the experimenting stages. It is not for his benefit he is doing this, but the locals.
As I had researched FADs in the past, but only thinking deep water, this motivated me and reset my thinking. This week I also set three FADs down at Puerto Vicente Guerrero in front of river bars which have produced roosters, dorado, jack crevalle, and sierras year in and year out. The FADs I set are not the floating covered type, but have a surface float and streamers, tied to a dropper loop off the main line. I have several clients this next week. If the FADs produce, I will saturate many areas I know of at Vicente with a bunch of them. We will all benefit.

For a better understanding of our seasons and species of fish here in Ixtapa /Zihuatanejo, please click on the link to my web site and scroll down on the left side bar for “Calendar”…  

I have also made two new informative web pages for people coming here for their first time. The first is for when you go to the municipal pier in Zihuatanejo in the morning to find the boat you will be fishing on:

The second is for people who are looking for a place to stay:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

State of a Fat Guy

I sit at this computer like a loaded gun with no target. Emotion without thought.  I need an adventure, I think. I need fresh substance. Fiction for the sake of fiction is fine but I need a spark, something real, some little piece like the grain of sand at the end of the movie The Never Ending Story. With that one little grain Bastian was able to rebuild the entirety of Fantastica. Shit, I just want to write about fishing.

But before I can begin, there is something else that I need to get out of the way. Something many of you already know, but I will not feel right until officially brought to light here.  I am almost afraid to say it, and that's silly because I know it was never about being overweight. Not really, anyways. Was it?

It was about an attitude. An unconventional viewpoint about a sport that seemed somewhat participant-pigeonholed. It was not about ignoring the rules as much as denying their existence. Being silly. Spouting nonsense. Living and fishing and wrapping things in bacon and kicking ass all over the place. And it is still about that.

But over the last year and a half I have, on purpose, lost a little more than one hundred pounds and have been told I no longer have the required mass to be classified as a fat guy. (At least by standard American society standards, I suppose)

What does this mean?

This year I am going to turn 30, and I am happy to say that now more than ever I feel I have the capacity to kick record amounts of ass. Which is pretty cool.

People ask me what I am going to do in regards to this site, being that I apparently don't seem to fit the criteria any longer. I think this is simultaneously silly and a good question. It's not like I am some skinny fucker now, all bones and floppy skin. I still exist in the orange slice of fatness which falls above the recommended numbers on the doctor's height vs. weight chart, I still wrap things in bacon, drink beer, go outside with fly rods in search of stories-which I will be doing more than ever this coming year. Is that enough? Have I now somehow excluded myself and fall outside some imaginary guidelines apparently set by my former self? Like the height ruler at the end of the line for the roller coaster, but a horizontal version?-you must be this fat to post-and I step up to the ticket taker sticking out my gut as far as I can, hoping I will make the cut and be allowed on the ride while at the same time working to remove that same access-granting feature? That is some silly shit.

It's not like if April Vokey decided that she had had enough with being a woman and decided to have a sex change and become a dude... She probably couldn't keep writing at FlyGal, right? That would be weird. Probably drive the hits through the roof, though. Anyways I hope you can see my point through the mental image of Ms. Vokey with man-parts. Sorry for that. Yup, really sorry. You can stop thinking about it now. Seriously. Stop.

But really, what now? I don't know.

I think the real question is do I want to continue here? I know I don't want to stop writing and sharing photography. I do know that. Maybe it is time to step up both games. Maybe it is time to start pushing for some more published work. Quality not quantity. Maybe I should quit worrying about it and stop being such a pussy. I have never been good at change.

Matt Dunn Photo
I am going back to Michigan on Sunday. Getting picked up from Grand Rapids by Mr. Mortensen. Going to go think about things and wiggle my man-parts in the Pere Marquette with Kevin Morlock for a week, try not to be too cold, maybe catch a steelhead on the swing if I am lucky.

I have an excitement about this trip, an expectation of some good thing on the horizon that I am moving toward but can't quite see yet. Like holding a grain of sand that contains the potential of the world. I do wish that Matt Dunn was still in Michigan, though. Maybe we could have tracked down those dirty cake-fibbers and brought them to moist, chocolaty justice. Could have happened.

-Alex who will always be living large in some form.

Hoary Beasts

nps photo

Saturday, March 2, 2013

We Call It Spring

Close It Down
Open It Up
it's getting close

.. The calendar in a tourist town is skewed toward the arrival of hoards of visitors and significant activities pertaining thereunto. Conventional calendric milestones sometimes coincide with with local significance; often not.
An Idiocy Of Snowmobiles
.. Our neighbors can feel the upcoming improtant days and events in their bones. Right now their bones are tingling and they've become antsy. Two coincident events, (and yet a third,) are imminent.
.. The world snowmobile expo is just 10 days away. That chaos is a bit of calendric hoopla that we endure because of it's proximity to the official end of the winter season in Yellowstone National Park, which is on March 15, 2013.
.. Meanwhile, as the sleds zoom around town frightening the constabulary, residents, dogs, cats, children and wildlife; quiet preparations are being made inside Yellowstone National Park for the opening onslaught of early season visitors.
An Unkindness Of Ravens
.. Insulation, (placed there to keep snow on the grround for over-the-snow vehicles,) is being cleared from the warm sections of roads. Cavernous pot holes, (the result of numerous freeze-thaw cycles,) are filled.  Repairs of leaky roofs and frozen pipes are undertaken and, 'seasonal staff' are gearing-up for their stint in Wonderland.
.. And, of course, plowing of the lowland roads begins with a vengeance.
.. As soon as all the roads are clear enough for bicycle, (and administrative,) travel, the neighbors begin their pilgrimages into the accessable parts of the west side of the park. By foot, by ski, by skateboard, by roller blade, and by bicycle the neighbors and nearby residents enter the park. Right past the vehicle barriers, down the roads and into the park for free. It's a local thing and it brings out the best in folks.
.. They visit with each other about the soon-to-be summer chaos. There will be freezing rain, (going on right now,) there will be snow, there will be ice and mud and mating coyotes and flocking ravens and elk sunning themselves. There will soon be babies. Young of the year is an anticipated event in this part of the world. All these actualities and eventualities come to the fore about now.
.. Although the conventional calendar is mindless of our local happenings, we call it Spring. The specific definition of the exact timing of  "Spring" varies according to local climate, cultures and customs - certainly! Ours is an event based definition. It's a time of quietude. Rebirth and rejuvination are still far in the future. Up here it's when the hoards have thinned and we have the place to ourselves. It's a short respit from the chaos of destination travelers. There are no tulips: not a daisy will be found. The grass will be brown and matted, and frequently covered with fresh snow. But it is Spring and it is getting close.
.. Elk antler shedding, snow pack status, fishing prospects, picnic plans, day trips, camping, and other topics fly through the air. At the Post Office, in convinience stores, in the hardware store, in the aisles of the grocery stores it's Spring - despite the sleet and snow beating against the windows and doors. We now have time to cater to each other's concerns rather than strangers with urgent, (or - more often less than urgent,) needs.
.. Spring is when the neighbors gather and enjoy each other and the wonderful place in which we live. It has very little to do with the calendar or the weather. We call it Spring nevertheless.
.. AND THEN THE PARK OPENS - they call that Spring.