Baja Papas East Cape Smokehouse

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Story Title :  Dumb fish or fisherman?
Story :  Ok, this is another \"True\" story, as best as I can remember it, with a flexible memory.

This story starts Sept 5, 2008, about 6:30 in the morning. Chuck Potter, my trusty fishing buddy, and I put my panga \"Soplado\" in the water off the beach at La Ribera. We ran south towards the tuna hole off Las Barracas and spent the morning alternating between drifting bait for tuna, or trolling bait for dorado.

We did connect with 2 football tuna, and 2 small dorado, but must have gotten 20 or more needlefish. Damn needlefish, but I guess I can\'t really blame them, we had great bait.

About 10am, we had enough of the needle guys, and started running for home. About 2 miles south east of the lighthouse on Punta Arena, I spied a white triangular shape poking up above the surface for a moment.

Both Chuck and I have fished the Cortez, for a combined 50 years or more, and neither of us had seen this shape just poking up and down before. Not a fin, not a tail, but what?

I angled the boat to get a closer look, and timed my approach to be in front of its path. We were now thinking, \"maybe a big turtle\"?..

To our utter amazement, it turned out to be a short fin Mako, swimming with his eyes closed, and head sticking up out of the water. He kept opening his mouth, and shaking his head as he swam towards us. When he was almost to my panga, something came over me, like a wave of stupid, and I grabbed my gaff. Without a thought to our safety, I free gaffed this completely green, 80lb. 5ft. muscle with a mouth full of snaggle teeth. In one foolish move, I jerked this fish into the back of my panga..

I\'m sure that for a moment the fish was as surprized as we were, and somewhere in the background, I heard Chuck saying, \"What the hell did you do that for\"?

As the fish began to register his dislike for my boat, the thought crossed my mind that to even the most casaual observer, \"That was a dumb move\", and I now began to feel like a candidate for the Darwin award...

The fish definitly had uncontested ownership of the rear of my panga for 20 minutes of violent thrashing, knashing, and bashing in every possible direction.

Chuck and I moved to the front, and eyes ascance, he gave me a head shake with the understood message \"Never do that again with me on the boat\".

I don\'t know what came over me, but I guess all\'s well that ends well... except for our buddy shark. Who...ended up being served as fish \'n chips at Mike Odell\'s Trinidad RV park that night. About 35 people from the town, including our new Mayor & family, came for a free fish fry. Over 180 \"daditos\" were served.

PS: When cutting the shark\'s head off, we discovered what we think was the reason for the strange behavior. This shark had eaten a puffer fish, which without being punctured, inflated in the shark\'s throat. He was gagging, and suffocating, with puffer fish spines stuck in his gills. Well no wonder he was swimming well out of the box for a Mako.



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