I was standing in a foot of water, nearly a hundred meters from the beach; casting to a blue channel knowing there were fish meandering in on the tide. Watching the porpoise come in fifty meters away on the edge of the flat, rising and diving, their movement was seemingly playful until I saw corvina breaking the surface and one in the mouth of my companions. The porpoise were fishing to live and I, living while fishing.
Rhythm was with me, cast | strip x 35 | pick-up | cast | strip x 35. Just as I was getting ready to "pick-up", I saw the barracuda. It was about four feet long homing in on my fly. As soon as it saw my chicken legs, it stopped, looked, slowly turned around and with a couple of tail wags, was gone. Fly fishing the Mexican flats with porpoise, corvina, barracuda, no one on the beach? Was I dreaming?
No, it was real.
Half an hour before, I fell asleep face first on the sand beside S.Brooks and Dan. Earlier in the day we had fished Playa Las Conchas (Beach of the Shells) and then went to town for lunch. The wind was picking up and I wanted to go to the area on the other side of the estuary.
At Playa Encanto (Enchanted Beach), the wind was blowing hard making any sort of cast difficult. Just off the beach, the current was ripping and the combination of wind and water would only let me get ten meters of line out compared to the twenty five earlier in the day. We beach combed a little and visited the Pope. (The Pope is what we have along to open our cerveza, a church key, a bottle opener from the Vatican City.) The Pope put a nice touch on our afternoon.
Half drunk, a siesta was upon us and right there on the sand, I fell asleep with my two fellow adventurist. That's such a good feeling to have, no worries, lay down and go to sleep in the warm sun and cool wind. Much like I do at my favorite streams in the mountains, find a shady spot and re-charge. Sleep came quickly, taking me back to the reality of earlier in the day.
I was dreaming of fishing just a few hours before, dreaming of real events, dreaming of what I had already done and what I wanted to do.
My dream was real.
Now I think it was the absence of wind that woke me up. Was it only a half an hour or was it two? Didn't matter, the tide was on the way out and S.Brooks was up pointing to a spit of sand going way out into the Sea of Cortez. I eased up, felt the sand on my cheek and just left it there, one of the beauties of being in Mexico. The scene reminded me of those perfect flats in the Seychelles or other places I could only dream about. Deep blue turquoise channels slicing up great flats. It was a quick walk to the waters edge and across the first hundred meters of ankle deep water. Pulling the little clouser and stripping out a pile of line I began the rhythm.
Searching methodically, searching self taught, I had no lessons to go from. All my information was from reading books and listening to Dylan at 4J's go on about fishing the salt. Using my experience that had been working for the last year, I began my search for bonefish. Yes they were here or so I have heard. A couple of people in the valley fly shops had talked about catching them in the area. I had done my homework, had ALL the perfect equipment, technique and my spirits were high. There was nothing preventing me from catching my bonefish except perhaps if the area was devoid of them. I had caught one earlier (...or so I thought, releasing it before my imaging could imprint the proper ID.) So my search continued with casting, stalking, and adventure...
Across another channel, then two. It seemed like I was so far out in the ocean, loosing track of everything except my sole purpose, a bonefish in Mexico. Crossing another channel expanse, this was getting a little scary to me. Was the tide really going out? Was I pushing my luck? Would I remember my way back or would it even matter when I lost my footing in the strong current getting deeper with each step further out to sea. This far out would take me down the beach and perhaps into a outgoing flats draining current. Pushing my luck, my cast, my enjoyment of living, I watched the edge of the next channel for any signs of movement. There was a glint, yes, there it is, about seventy feet away.
Vision is nearly half imagination when you are stretching it's limits. As a pilot in my flex wing, we would look for bugs and dust in the air to mark rising columns of air thousands of feet above the desert. I'm fortunate to have excellent vision and it helps with my fishing. Gauging the distance to the fish "rooting" in the sand, I gave it a couple of false cast and shoot line past my target leading it. Settle, strip pause | strip pause | strip take SET! Yes! The fish makes a fast run, d-d-d-d-d-d-d there goes the backing knot and slowly the Zzzzzz of my Tibor is silent. Wind wind wind-in as fast as I can then slowing, fighting, shaking, another shorter run, then winding and soon I have him. Same as before, my false bonefish is a croaker.I wanted that fish to be a bone, I have to learn patience.
I was a very long way out, lots of ocean behind me and no more sand spit in front of me. I was at the end of my spring tide and the wind had vanished. The sun had started to get a little lazy with a low angle. Playa Encanto (Enchanted Beach) was living up to its name. Looking down at my knees there were thousands of bait fish swarming. Every single one of them looking like the clouser that I was using. Same olive color and size and that croaker settled on mine while rooting for little crabs.
More casting, but now without fishing. I love to cast my Horizon 8-weight fly rod and at this moment the rhythm was casting without fishing.
Then I heard it. A song in my head or in my ears? A song played on guitar.
Looking for my truck was futile. It was too far away. I was so far out in the ocean, walking out with the outgoing tide that was more than twenty vertical feet on this swing. The houses were even small. It was time to go back.
It took me easily twenty minutes (Dan and S.Brooks both confirmed) to hoof it back to the high tide line as the seagull flies. If you walk at three miles per hour and divide twenty minutes into an hour, you can do the math. Playa Encanto is a shallow beach. Anyway on the way back, the song is getting softer then louder. I am soulfully introspective on my enchanted beach surfari. I hit the slope of the berm and realize it was Dan playing his guitar with S.Brooks singing. The shifting wind had allowed Dan's rhythms to meet me in the sea.
His song drifted on the wind...
All of this together made me think of my religion. Each aspect was describable and not out of the ordinary, but all together now??? C'mon, I would rather be outdoors, fishing, thinking of G~d, than in church thinking of fishing...
The next morning we went on to fish inshore from the panga alexis, perhaps a first in Puerto Penasco, sierra mackerel and bonito from a panga with feathers.
But that's another thread from a Mexican blanket...