It was a great decision as there were plenty of life around Sealion Rock. On arrival we saw a school of Green Jack puddling on bait and that continued the entire time we were at the rock. I threw the Gomame jig into the school but none wanted to hit the large jig. Instead, a Snapper came up the the surface and hammered the lure. I had the fish to the boat, but in the process of grabbing the leader, the fish shook off. It was most likely a Pacific Dog Snapper.
We started dropping chunks of shrimp into the deep outer wall of the rock. A few drops later, something beautiful came up the line.
Species #772 - Mexican Hogfish (Bodianus diplotaenia)
Apparently, these were more common in Cabo area but rare in Mazatlan. Captain C had only seen a few caught in years of fishing the area.
We adjusted the boat position again and found something even more rare.
Species #773 - Spotted Head Sargo (Genyatremus dovii)
Rare as they may be, perhaps the current was just right or we were anchored directly over the right structure, I would catch 2 more that day, George would catch 2 and Josh would catch 1. We all caught our lifer Spotted Head Sargo that day. And it was a huge accomplishment. In the past, it would be spectacular to even catch one a trip.
We decided to move to the galleon after a while. The fishing was much slower at the galleon. George was once again trying hard to find a Mottled Soapfish, and Josh was just simply happy to find more lifers, but the Vacuocua Croaker or the Mexican Lookdown was what he'd like to catch. Finally, Josh caught his Vacuocua Croaker and we all celebrated. And I got lucky with two Mexican Lookdown that kept Josh yearning for more.
Species #774 - Mexican Lookdown (Selene brevoortii)
Our species party was promptly ruined by Finescale Triggerfish. Either a school moved in or they suddenly started to bite. While they are hard fighter and willing biters, we were being intercepted on our species effort. Being that it was almost 1pm and too late to move to another spot, we decided to call it a day.
After the panga fishing, George wanted to go back to the rocky point to catch a Bumphead Damselfish. He might have caught one yesterday but failed to take any photos. I decided to join him for a chance to find a Giant Hawkfish casting among the rocks, or maybe a Longfin Silverside that Josh caught yesterday. Josh decided that his 35 lifers on this trip were quite satisfying so he went to the aquarium and a walk around town instead.
When we arrived at the point, George had trouble catching the Bumphead Damselfish because he was using too small a splitshot and the bait simply wasn't getting deep enough to the right targets. If the bait was too high, it was just intercepted by juvenile Panamic Sergeant Major and Mexican Night Sergeant. When George finally put on a larger splitshot and plunk his bait deeper, he caught his Bumphead Damselfish.
George then tied on a tanago hook and poked around the tidepool for a Longfin Silverside. It took more time for him to tie on the hook, and put on bait, than to catch one. In fact, he needed my eyes to put on the tiniest bit of bait on the tanago hook. After he caught one, I borrowed his tanago rod to catch my own as well.
Species #775 - Longfin Silverside (Atherinella eriarcha)
With our targets met, we returned to the hotel. If there was a Giant Hawkfish in the area, I simply couldn't find it. It will remain as yet another new nemesis of mine.
It took more time to get to the rocky point and back than the time we spent at the tidepool. We arrived at the hotel just a minute after Josh stepped in. Instead of the pool, we spent some time to pack before dinner. It was another great dinner at Mr. Lionso Playa Bruja. I skipped the tortilla soup to save space for an entire order of coconut shrimp which I shared half with Josh in exchange for his tequila shrimp. I'm going to miss the food...probably more than the fishing!
And so our Mazatlan adventures came to an end. I had been quite nonchalant about species fishing since January. But this trip - with a knowledgeable and accommodating captain, great food, fantastic company and some really cool fish, my wanderlust and thirst for new species might just have been rekindled a bit.