October 18, 2017

2017 Mazatlan (Day 4)

We decided to take a break from panga fishing and spend the day to fish from some shore spots. It also gave us time to sleep in a little which was much needed.

We started the morning fishing a small beach area that has a rocky bottom about 30 yards outside. There were a lot of small bites, some of which were Largemouth Blenny.

Aside from the Largemouth Blenny, our group also caught Yellow Snapper, Pacific Spotfin Mojarra and a couple of new species for Josh - the Mexican Barred Snapper and a juvenile Jack, which at the time he did not ID as a Bigeye Trevally.

Finally, one of the small bites turned out to be a Banded Wrasse.

Species #766 - Banded Wrasse (Halichoeres notospilus)

It was high tide and our intended rocky point was still pounded by the heavy swells. We tried to fish the foamy white water but it was impossible to fish without our rigs being swept and snagged. We tried for a couple of times and decided to fish in a smaller, sheltered tidepool closer to the beach.

There were a number of species in the tidepool. Josh caught a lifer Pacific Frillfin Goby quickly.

I caught a couple of Bigeye Trevally back-to-back so I called Josh over to try catch his lifer. But they were simply not cooperating for him. I was hoping to find a Giant Damselfish by blindly drifting small bits of shrimp under a float. However, I was simply catching one Mexican Night Sergeant after another. Then the Burrito Grunt moved in and it was grunts after grunts. The tide was not dropping fast enough for us to fish the prime spots for the Giant Damselfish. We decided to move and fish at a marina dock instead.

An interesting taxi ride later (where we took a scenic detour due to road construction), we arrive at the marina dock. The dock is private, but George has connection with the owner of the charter and we had permission to fish it. George saw a Guineafowl Puffer a few days ago so I prepared a high-low rig hoping to find one by soaking chunks of shrimp. At the same time, I was fishing a lighter rod and smaller hooks trying for any smaller species that were around.

The fishing was much slower than expected. We caught the odd Beaubrummel and a few Chameleon Wrasse. I had a stronger fish bent out my #16 hook and I wondered if it was a Snapper, a Jack or perhaps it was the Guineafowl Puffer. A few more smaller fish later, something else appeared on my line. I was lucky that it was lipped hook just well enough, but not deeep enough, such that the fish did not bite through my light leader and I was able to lift it 10 feet up the pier.

Species #767 - Longnose Puffer (Sphoeroides lobatus)

I had constant bites on the larger high-low rig, but most of them were tiny nibbling bites likely from Wrasses or Damselfishes. Finally, I had a good hit that bent the rod solidly and the fish started to run off with the bait. It felt like a larger fish that gave a couple of decent run. I finally saw the disk shape and was hoping it would be a new Skate or Ray species. But upon further inspection, it turned out to be a Haller's Round Ray (Urobatis halleri).

It was getting too hot for George so he left early while Josh and I stayed to fish a little longer. Josh sent out baits to try for a Ray, but the Rays decided to take my baits again and I caught a second. After the tide has switched, the bites completely stopped. It was getting way too hot on the exposed pier at 2pm, so Josh and I called it a session.

It took a good hour of bus ride to return to the hotel. Luckily, we got on an air conditioned bus so there was plenty of time to cool off.

Before we left for a swim, I made some ceviche with the Threadfin Jack fillets. A little salt and pepper, some lime juice, a bit of soya sauce, a touch of mango puree, chopped hot green peppers and avocado. After our swim, the ceviche was ready. Delish!

After the appetizer, we took the remaining fish fillets to La Zarapes. We had Coconut Snook and grilled Pompano as usual, plus the addition of Colorado Snapper Veracruz style. Everything was fantastic as usual...and we have leftover Coconut Snook and grilled Pompano for next day's lunch.

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