COLORFUL SQUID ENCOUNTER WHILE FISHING AT THE 52-MILE REEF
May 20, 2005, Shawn Gustafson, Murphy Girl, Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco), Mexico Fishing Trip Report:
My wife Tina and I took our two the dogs down to Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco) this past weekend. We slept on the boat on Friday night and woke up early Saturday morning to near perfect conditions.
We left Safe Marina at 6 a.m. and headed out of Rocky Point on our 24-foot Wellcraft "Murphy Girl" to the 13 mile reef to catch bait. Once there, we easily filled the live well with 8 to 13 inch greenback mackerel, fishing with sabiki rigs at about 25 feet below the surface.
We then headed toward the 51 mile reef. From about 14 to 16 miles from Rocky Point we boated through a vast school of hundreds or possibly thousands of porpoises, spanning a mile or so in all directions. At about 50 miles from shore we saw several pods of finback whales.
We arrived at the fishing reef at about 9:30 a.m. and started drift fishing with a water temperature of 73 degrees. We caught lots of large goldspotted bass, an ocean whitefish, and one 10 pound red snapper. We watched another Rocky Point fishing boat that was anchored near us catch a bunch of them using live bait, along with a white sea bass, a large yellowtail, and a broomtail grouper.
Later, we tried fishing at the 52 mile reef and had a very strange encounter. Using a two hook rig with live mackerels, something kept grabbing our bait on the way down. The line would go slack and as I reeled up something would pull very hard and strip line like a large fish, but for some reason I could never seem to hook it. Every time I reeled in, both of my baits would be gone. I kept trying this over and over with the same results. Finally, it occurred to me that it might be a school of giant squid beneath the boat. I tied up an iron jig and dropped it down. As I reeled it in, two brown squid followed it to the surface. I hooked one of them and pulled it into the boat, as it squirted water and sprayed black ink for some time. It was quite amazing. The squid flashed different colors, from white to pink to bright red to brown, as it huffed, squirted and sprayed the whole time. I finally lifted it to take a photo and saw it was nearly 3 feet long from its head to the tips of its tentacles. I got black ink on my clothes and all over the boat. Then the dogs started tracking it all over the place. What a mess! We sprayed down the boat and tried to catch more squid, but they were nowhere to be found.
We tried some other waypoints and continued to catch goldspotted bass and one red scorpionfish.
At about 3 p.m. we headed back to the 51 mile reef and saw another Rocky Point sportfishing boat catching lots of 10 to 15 pound white sea bass, red snappers, and a yellowtail, one after another. We tried drift fishing near them with both cut bait and live bait for a long time and continued to catch nothing but goldspotted bass and one ocean whitefish. It was getting pretty damn frustrating. We finally asked them what we were doing wrong and they told us that we needed to anchor and use only live bait. They also said that they were getting their bites at about 10 to 15 feet up from the bottom. Although I was resistant to anchor, I finally gave in and by using their techniques, we caught three white sea bass from 10 to 15 pounds. What a relief! Soon afterwards, another school of giant squid showed up and robbed us of the rest of our live bait.
Oh well, it was time to go anyway, so we headed back to the Rocky Point marina with absolutely gorgeous weather, sunny skies with wispy white clouds and virtually flat seas. There was an unusual rainbow ring around the sun with all the colors of the spectrum, which may have been due to smoke from the Picacho wildfire. I found out later that this is called a corona, guess I'll drink to that.
At about 15 miles from Rocky Point, we saw a very large whale jump almost completely out of the water and then come crashing down to the water with a HUGE splash. It was truly an awesome sight! The whale was about a half mile from the boat and we watched him jump two more times before he disappeared. We think that it may have been a different type of whale than the finbacks that we usually see, but we weren't able to get close enough to identify him. Later, we were treated to a magnificent sunset. We watched as the brilliant orange sun slowly disappeared beneath the ocean meridian.
At the marina we saw several Rocky Point fishing boats with coolers full of fish. There were lots of goldspotted bass and yellowtail jacks and one huge pinto bass, probably about 40 pounds. For dinner we went to Gamma's restaurant and ran into the guys that were catching all the white sea bass. We talked to them for a long time and learned a lot about how they like to fish. It was very interesting. They also told us that they like to stop at the Ice House on Constitucion when they first get into town, and fill up their fish wells with 600 pounds of blown ice chips for only $15. Next time we go fishing, we plan to locate the Ice House and fill up our fish wells and ice chests with ice so we can keep our fish as fresh as possible.
We'll be out again for two days of fishing at Rocky Point over Memorial Day weekend, and I've ordered some squid jigs so we'll be ready to catch a bunch of those pesky giant squid next time out.
(See "Mexico Fishing News" online for current fishing reports, photos, weather, and water temperatures from Rocky Point and other major Mexican sportfishing areas. Vacation travel articles, fishing maps and seasonal calendars, and fishing related information for Rocky Point may be found at Mexfish.com's main Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco) page.