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Nov. 11, 2006, David Burns, Tecolutla, Veracruz, Mexico:

Captain Ciro Guzman reports that fishing at Tecolutla was very good this week with many of the pangas returning with respectable catches of Huachinango, Besugo and Cojinuda. His highlight of the week was Thursday when he and his crew logged a catch of 75 kilos of Huachinango most of which were on the large side of the scale. He further reported that one panga gambled and made the trip to Abajo Negro on Thursday and returned with 15 kilos of the recently very elusive peto or King Mackerel. Normally this wouldn't be a noteworthy catch but because of the current scarcity peto is presently selling for slightly less than Huachinango. Meanwhile everybody is patiently yet anxiously awaiting the return of the hordes of peto that come inshore in December. Such is the juxtaposition of the fisherman.

This week my good friend Erik returned to Tecolutla and therefore the opportunity to head offshore for diving became a much desired reality.

On Thursday we made ready and hit the reef, Piedras Altos, only 20 minutes away, for a quick late afternoon dive at 66 feet. I struck out because I got stuck with only half an air tank, but between Erik and "Freddy" they managed to slay some Grouper, a Cabrilla, a few Pargo, a couple of Cojinuda, and a nice Barracuda.

Seas were nice. The water was not too clear but still warm.

On Friday, we were at it again, bright and early. We hit a few locations with handlines, hunting in between 70 and 125 feet of nice blue water. While Capt. Erik Geertz expertly maneuvered the boat. Freddy and I were very successful in pulling an assortment of fish from the deep blue, including Huachinango, Pargo, Pluma, Tigre, Cojinuda and Besugo.

I managed the big fish of the day while using a line, with a beautiful 1.7 kilo Huachinango. Yes, I realize that it wouldn't be legal in any of the Gulf States but when you consider the overfishing down here, a real red snapper that size is quite a catch, plus I wrangled a pargo a little bit bigger than that. We were using a simple rig with two shaunessy hooks, cut bait, and a 250 gram weight at the bottom.

We fished various locations around Tecolutla until we reached the prize spot which is Abajo Negro: a spectacular reef 30 kilometers out where within less than a kilometer the bottom goes from 125 feet to just 23 at the top of the reef. This is a favorite fishing spot for the fishermen throughout the Tecolutla area but, due to the distance and therefore the cost of gasoline to get there, one that is only traveled to when one is feeling lucky or there are reports of a lot of fish present. However this location is a diver's wet dream, pun intended, with brain coral the size of 18 wheeler tires and one of the broadest ranges of multicolored fish and sea life I have ever encountered; you can't help but become awestruck.

Despite the visual extravaganza we went to task and bagged three Bermuda Chum, and five very nice Grouper, the largest of which was around 2.7 kilos and was shot and then filleted by the boss Erik. Unfortunately a nice sized Barracuda, more beautiful Groupers, and a really big Jewfish were spotted but evaded the pursuit; that is how it goes when you spearfish. The water was warm and visibility was good. All the fish were taken with various models of Beauchat spear guns between 60 and 80 feet of water.

Trip to Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico:

Don't ask about the trip through civil strife torn Oaxaca City unless you're interested in a real scary story.

While in beautiful Puerto Escondido, my friend from Toronto, Mark Catania and I hooked up with Capt. Omar. He talked the talk and walked the walk so we agreed to charter his panga for October 24th.

He picked us up at our hotel on Playa Zicatela at 6:30 a.m. and took us to Puerto Angelito, at the other side of Puerto Escondido, Mexico, where we all pushed the boat into the still waters of this pretty little bay.

Our first foray was for Pez Vela or Sailfish. Three times, Omar using a teaser rig, lured a sailfish from the depths, but as we retrieved the teasers and substituted bait the fish refused to bite. In fact they defiantly swiped at it with their bills and returned to the depths of the Pacific Ocean. I credit Omar for taking responsibility and apologizing profusely but I can't hold a guy liable when obviously the fish were in a finicky mood.

Not to be defeated we headed off in search of the scum line and Dorado, or Mahi-Mahi or Dolphin fish. Capt. Omar expertly put us right on top of three beautiful specimens of the species and as soon as the bait hit the water the largest of the three struck like the proverbial freight train.

Mark was footing the bill so, as agreed, he grabbed the rod and began the fight. While Mark wrestled with the bull through many runs and spectacular jumps we tried in vain for some 40 minutes to entice the other two into chomping on some nice bait, and although twice they went for it they spit before I could set the hook; Asi es mi vida.

The two remaining Dorados grew more and more skittish and when it was obvious that no effort would yield the prize we boated the eight kilo, mas o menus, bull and made for shore.

Upon arrival Omar escorted us to his father's beach front restaurant where his father promptly put on a demonstration as to how to proficiently fillet a fish; it was like watching a surgeon at work. Then to top it off he prepared some of the fillet both in garlic and a la Diablo for our dining pleasure. Very tasty.

Fishing conditions on the Mexican Pacific coast were clear sky, blue and warm water, and calm skies. Our fish were landed on a Penn trolling reel with a tuna circle hook and cut bait.

(See "Mexico Fishing News" online for current fishing reports, photos, weather, and water temperatures from major Mexican sportfishing areas. Vacation travel articles, fishing maps and seasonal calendars, and fishing related information for Mexico coastal areas may be found at's main Mexico page.