GETTING A RARE PHOTO OF A JUVENILE OCEAN SUNFISH OR MOLA MOLA
Sept. 28, 2006, Steve Ross, Bad Dog, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico:
If you tell anyone you know to go get you a photo of an ocean sunfish or mola mola release, you are going to wait years.
It took me 4 months of failures on by Ensenada boat, Bad Dog, with problems including bending off a trim tab while backing down in heavy seas to get this photo. One mola mola pulled the gaff out of Juan Lu's very strong hands.
Not only is a photo of someone holding an ocean sunfish (mola mola) a rare shot, but this baby mola mola makes is more special. They grow to 5,000 pounds and many at 2,000 pounds have been photographed.
This sunfish was covered in black worm parasites and I pulled them all off of him and released him back to the paddy where I found him unharmed.
To Mexicans the meat is a delicacy and the panga shark fishermen kill them all the time when they swim up to their pangas while fishing for sharks.
Six of us ate another ocean sunfish that I killed on my boat Bad Dog about 6 months ago and it looks and tastes like lobster. Killing a mola mola is a difficult task in so many ways. They are covered in jellyfish slime and will sting you if not careful.
Simply pull out the gushy looking white jelly toward the head and boil for 20 minutes, no more, and then dip into butter and garlic, muy sabrosa.
If I served this to you without any story and then told you about it, you would become a died-in-the-wool mola mola killer.
It is only in America that you get the negatives about eating this fish.
Everywhere else in the world it is a true delicacy and is hunted. The commercial seiners kill many of them in their nets as incidental catches to offshore fishing for tuna and other species.
This ocean sunfish was captured by landing net and released outside of Todos Santos Island near the 238 spot 35 miles west of Ensenada, on Sept. 2, 2006.
Try and get a shot like this.
(See "Mexico Fishing News" online for current fishing reports, photos, weather, and water temperatures from Ensenada and other major Mexican sportfishing areas. Vacation travel articles, fishing maps and seasonal calendars, and fishing related information for Ensenada may be found at Mexfish.com's main Ensenada page.