October 17, 2017

2017 Mazatlan (Day 3)

George talked about a rare Threadfin Jack in Mazatlan that was caught recently. Captain C said he knew a couple of locations to find them so our morning started with a good run out to deeper water to find these Threadfin Jack.

We put on smaller live shrimp and dropped them down to the wrecks. It didn't take long before I got a bite and it felt like a decent fish. But what came up to the surface was not a Jack. It was a nice Spotted Rose Snapper (Lutjanus guttatus).

Fishing was quite slow when we kept our baits on the bottom, hoping for maybe an Orangemouth Weakfish or a White Snook. But once we raised the baits 10 feet over the bottom, the bites came fast and furious. Apparently, a school of Threadfin Jack was suspended over the wreck. Unless you get your bait to their level, they were not going to bite.

Species #761 - Threadfin Jack ((Carangoides otrynter)

These were juveniles with really nice long extensions to their dorsal and anal fins. We started to stop using live shrimp and substituted to chunks of shrimp instead. Fish were still biting very well. So I started to make it more of a challenge. Out came the vertical jig.

Apparently, they loved the vertical jig just as much. It was simply too much fun dropping this down 70 feet, reeled it up 10 feet and immediately hooked up to another Threadfin Jack.

After a while, Captain C suggested that we should check out another wreck to see if there were any White Snook. There was another boat already fishing the wreck, but the people on the boat were barely getting any fish. We saw one client catch a bigger Threadfin Jack while we were anchoring. Once we dropped down our baits, the same pandemonium repeated. It was Threadfin Jack one after the other as fast as we could land them.

But these were also bigger fish that pulled even harder!

At one point, one of the clients in the other boat landed a Black Skipjack...a fish that was high on my target list. So I switched to a heavier spinning combo with a 1.7g Gogame jig and started to jig intensely. Unfortunately, it was Threadfin Jack intercepting the jig every drop.

While the fishing was fun, we were not catching any new species. After about an hour of jigging, we decided to head south to a galleon wreck.

Once our boat was properly positioned over the wreck, we dropped high-low rig with chunks of shrimp. While the bite was good with many species, many of them were recaptures such as Brassy Grunt, Cortez Grunt, Spotted Rose Snapper, Finescale Triggerfish, Rivulated Mutton Hamlet and Panama Graysby. Finally something different came up to the surface and it was a lifer Grey Grunt (Haemlon scudderii). The Grey Grunt can look similar to the Burrito Grunt with its black spots in the center of the scales. However, the Grey Grunt has a much more pointed head, dusky fins, and a white patch on the caudal peduncle.

Species #762 - Grey Grunt (Haemlon scudderii)

I sort through all the other species until something else felt different. It fought more like a small grouper but a bit more determined. I was surprised and completely excited to see a Mottled Soapfish on the end of the line! George has been trying for this species at this location for a while. They are rarely caught. I'm happy to have found one.

Species #763 - Mottled Soapfish (Rypticus bicolor)

Somewhere alone the way, George caught a Pacific Lookdown to equalize my Mottled Soapfish. But I fought back with a Gungo Highhat which was an even rarer catch!

Species #764 - Gungo Highhat (Pareques viola)

But Josh had to spoil my fun with a Jewel Moray on his line. That eel species simply doesn't like me! I kept catching some Silvergrey Grunt (Anisotremus caesius)...at least I could get better photos of this species...

Then George caught a really cool little croaker species. I tried and tried and finally toward the end of the morning I found one too. It was the Vacuocua Croaker. They may be small, but they are so visually appealing!

Species #765 - Vacuocua Croaker (Corvula macrops)

George caught a Pacific Moonfish to end the session. It was getting to 1pm and we ran out of time. Although we catch a lot of small fish to barely give Captain C a good catch for his boat, the species we caught today were really special.

We returned to the hotel for more pool time. Before jumping into the pool, I made ceviche based on Captain C's recipe. I cubed the Treadfin Jack fillet then sprinkle on salt and pepper. The cubes are returned to the fridge for 30min until the cubes are translucent. (While the fish are in the fridge, we went for a swim.) Then I add in lime juice to completely cover the cubes and some soya sauce to taste. It was "cured" in the fridge for a further 10min until the surfaces of the fish cubes start to turn opaque. And it's done.

After the little appetizer, we went to Mr. Lionso for tortilla soup, coconut shrimp and shrimp imperial. It was another amazing meal for a very reasonable price.

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