Friday, April 20, 2007

Hunting hard

Punta Boca del Salado in Baja California, Mexico, has been visited for 27 years and in all those years never has a phenomenon been witnessed as this year.

The last couple of years fishing from the beach was not an interesting activity at Punta Boca del Salado.
There were no sardines feeding near the beach and consequently no larger fish coming after them.
And the fisherman is interested in these large preying animals.
Jack Crevalles, sierras, cabrillas, and roncadores.
Fishing was standing on the beach being an idiot.

This year though, already since the winter months, sardines are there in abundance.
Millions and millions of them and staying.

There are two theories to explain this exceptional situation.
First is that the temperature of the seawater is rising and this has a positive effect on the breeding of sardines in this part of the world.
Second theory is that last September, the biggest hurricane ever has hit Punta Boca del Salado.
Huge amounts of water have been falling from the sky and were dumped by the rivers into the sea.
This means that where a river exits into the sea, with the rainwater large amounts of sand was dumped into the sea.
In this sand are minerals and other particles sardines and other small sea creatures are feeding on.

Whatever the reason for the many sardines, they are there and this has also initiated an explosion in the amounts of pelicans.
Never before so many pelicans have been flocking the beach of Punta Boca del Salado.

For the fisherman this is not exactly a blessing.
Pelicans like to wait until large predator fish come after the sardines forcing them to go close to the beach and the surface.
This makes it easier for the pelicans to catch the sardines.
But the fisherman waits for the same thing.
He can catch a large predator fish when coming close to the beach but when there are so many pelicans easily his line or even is hook can catch unintentionally a pelican.
If this happens, fisherman has big trouble.

Some fishermen cut their line and the particular pelican lives with a fish-lure in his feathers that might not be very favourable for his health and well-being.
Other fishermen pull the pelican to the beach, throw a sweater on top of the by now aggressive animal having a mean sharp beak, and try to pull off the fish lure to return the pelican to freedom.

But best is to try to catch fish away from the pelicans, which is paradoxical.
Where the pelicans are, are the fish.
But even paradoxes can be stretched like fishing close to where the pelicans are hunting.
In the end, the pelicans have the most rights to have it their way because they depend completely on the sardines.

As usual, this morning at around six, before the sun rises above the horizon and the wind picks up, the fish could welcome the fisherman.

Fishing, in this case, is not performed as a form of entertainment.
That is considered unacceptable.
Any entertainment resulting in killing an animal is rejected.
Like bull fighting in Spain is barbaric and should be banned.
As well as rich Europeans and Americans who pay huge sums of money to go and kill an elephant in Africa.
Fishing at Punta Boca del Salado is performed for the Gonzales family.
To supply them with the necessary proteins.
Because normally they have a diet low on proteins as a consequence of their economical situation.

This morning a large Jack Crevalle was caught.
About 8 kilos (18 pounds).

A Jack Crevalle is not considered a premium fish for eating.
Its meat is red and not as soft as for example a tuna.
But the Gonzales will eat it anyway.
They make “machaca” of it.
Fish stew.
With onions, peppers and in a slightly hot sauce.

There are about 11 people now at the rancho and there is enough “machaca” for each of them.
Buen provecho! (Good appetite).


Anonymous said...

Michel..Wheres your fishing pole? I think now would be a good time to try fishing again, and this time be more patient. Can't wait to see the fish you catch. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Michel Your latest blogs have been some of the best ever. So interesting to read that I try to read too fast so I can see how each story turns out. Punta Boca has worked it's magic and reinspired you! T