By Gene Kira, Sept. 10, 2001, as published in Western Outdoor News:
One of the more fascinating aspects of fishing with Mexicans is realizing how accurately they can determine their position on the water without resorting to fancy electronics, and last week, I had a good opportunity to test the uncanny precision of what I like to call "MPS" (Mexican Positioning System) against its modern, high-tech electronic cousin, GPS (Global Positioning System), during a day of fishing off Cabo San Lucas.
As an ideal test subject, I had Captain Javier Abaroa of the Solmar Suites fleet cruiser Solmar II, who's been fishing at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for about 200 days per year for the last 21 years. Javier has, therefore, roughly 30,000 hours of experience eyeballing the landmarks and mountain tops around the tip of Mexico's sportfishing-obsessed state of Baja California Sur, and I figured him as a prime example of cutting edge MPS technology.
It was also a perfect day for this sort of test. It was quite hazy off to the north, typical summer conditions, with warm, moisture-laden clouds hiding some of the mountaintops, and I figured most of Javier's best landmarks were probably hidden from him.
Additionally, the fishing pressure was off. We had enjoyed clear, blue, 84-degree water everywhere, and by 10 a.m., we'd landed all the tuna and dorado we wanted, and had also released a 300-pound blue marlin, so basically, we were just enjoying the beautiful day and driving around until it was time to return to the marina.
At about noon, we were trolling northeast, well off Punta Palmilla, and I casually went up to the flybridge and glanced at the GPS to make sure it was off.
"Hey, Javier, how far from Punta Palmilla are we?"
He gazed off into the haze for a second, then back toward Cabo San Lucas, then forward to where Punta Los Frailes would have been on a clear day, and he came back with, "Seventeen miles."
"Are you sure? Not eighteen miles?"
We turned on the GPS, dialed in a waypoint, and it settled on 17.1 miles from Punta Palmilla. Hmmm...pretty good.
Not satisfied, I asked Javier for a number of shots at Cabo San Lucas, Punta Gorda, and Punta Palmilla as we trolled around, and he hit every one with an average error of about three percent. Not bad for an "MPS unit" that works 24 hours a day, never needs batteries, and comes with a lifetime warranty!
But the most amazing example of the Mexican Positioning System I've ever seen was out of Hotel Playa Hermosa at East Cape about 12 years ago. The fishing in May had not yet turned on, and we lucked out one day by finding a big hunk of two-inch manila rope floating about 20 miles offshore that was loaded with dorado. Other than that, we had caught close to zilch in three days.
The next morning, our skipper, Memo, took a northeast heading right from the hotel, and we left the rest of the fleet behind as he firewalled the throttle and we bee-lined out for an hour and a half without wetting a line or turning two degrees to the left or right. Memo was obviously not paying much attention to fish signs, and frankly, I was starting to get a little ticked off.
Then, Memo suddenly shut down the engine and hollered at us to cast something, anything, right NOW! I looked off the bow, and son of a gun, there was our piece of rope, and it was totally surrounded with the blue and green flashes of dorado all around it!
Somehow, inside his MPS-calibrated head, Memo had calculated the exact overnight current drift and he had run straight to the rope, over 20 miles, with an error of no more than a few yards. We loaded up, as Memo radioed the fleet. Within an hour, there were more than 30 cruisers circling around that piece of rope, but we were already on the way home. Muchas gracias, Mexican Positioning System!
(Related Cabo San Lucas articles and reports may be found at Mexfish.com's main Cabo San Lucas information page. See weekly fishing news, photos, and reports from the major sportfishing vacation areas of Mexico including the Cabo San Lucas area in "Mexico Fishing News.")