Follow Christopher Collins as he chronicles his week-long trip to the breath-taking waters of Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Many Florida Sportsman members know Chris from his posts as NoSlack on the Florida Sportsman forums or may have seen his name pop up in the magazine. The journey starts on February 14 and lasts until February 20, when he flies home to Southeast Florida. During his trip to Mexico, he will experience its exceptional sailfishing. Chris hopes to highlight his trip by fishing the “baitballs,” a unique scenario when sailfish packs actively corral baitfish into a tight ball and take turns picking off the stragglers.
Day 2: February 15
Well, I wasn’t sure when I would be able to find the time to make these blog posts, but I think I found the best time: early in the morning before each day of fishing, recapping the day of fishing the day before.
I’ll start off by saying, I don’t know where to start! Well, I have not shared yet how well we are enjoying our accommodations. The Bahia Tortuga hotel is quite cozy and a completely laid back place. Danny and Rhonda, the owners and caretakers, are most gracious and so far have been making sure we are 100 percent happy with our stay here. The pictures just do not do the atmosphere justice.
Now, I have never been to Mexico, but I will tell you it is different than any place I have ever seen. All the locals seem very friendly and helpful. It truly is a beautiful place, but I don’t know how to explain its beauty. I’ll see if I can come up with a solid way to explain the nature of this amazing place before I leave.
So, the first night here we did venture out into town, and let’s just say, I can see how things can get a little crazy. Ever done a shot where you eat a scorpion first? Yes, a scorpion. Can’t say I have done it yet but I know I will be pressured into it before I leave (just a feeling!). Of course, before we got too crazy out on the town, we hit a little beachside (well on the beach, literally) restaurant called Picus. Hopefully we will be going there again, it was just delicious. We ordered a whole fried hog snapper for the table; they must have an industrial sized frier, because this snapper was huge! I forgot my camera but next time I will take a shot of it.
OK, OK, what we really came here for was the fishing. It did not disappoint. We woke up around 8 a.m. and were picked up by golf cart and taken down to the marina. It’s really no rush here, it’s just “tranquilo.” We got bagels from a fresh market down the road and didn’t end up leaving the marina until about 9:30 a.m.
The run out to the fishing was a good ways, but I was told that it could be anywhere from 3 to 45 miles–it just depends on where the bait is on that given day. Well, we found the birds and the bait balls right away. The concept is pretty simple: Once you find the birds and the big black objects underneath them (sailfish) make a pass on them. You can “sink” your bait to try and hook the fish deep, or “skip” your bait to catch the fish cutting the surface of the water. We fished a total of about four lines at any given time, all kept in an anglers hands. There was just no time to put a rod down.
For the first day my dad and I just took a step back and watched. Up in the tower, I could see everything, it was like something out of National Geographic. I must have seen over a thousand sailfish by the end of the day. We would fish one bait ball and merge off to the next. this happened for hours. Words cannot describe what I saw up in that tower. I’ll do my best with pictures, but I recommend anyone and everyone that likes sailfishing to visit this place once in their lifetime. I have five more days of fishing to go!
By the end of the first day of fishing, we had 51 releases. 51! A new record on the Outlaw for one day of fishing here in Isla. Total, we must have had at least 70 bites, well, we stopped counting at 70. We’ll be angling today…can’t wait!