Back to the Tidepools
by Alan Luecke
(Kansas City, MO)
Fixed Line Barracuda
I just returned from my third year of fishing the tide pools and rocks of Isla Mujeres, Mexico. The basics of the business is covered in my post Fishing Tide Pools and Reef Rock. This time I tried to expand my species list and find some new places to fish.
I started in my sweet spot tide pool from last year and then worked down the coast looking for more spots that might hold fish. I also spent some time in the surf working the edge where the waves churn up the sand. Finally I found a large empty dock on the harbor side of the island and was able to fish around the pilings.
I caught fish in several new places but nothing was as good as my original tidal plunge pool. If you can't be smart be lucky. The surf fishing did not pan out this time but I'll be back. The dock did not produce many fish, but oh what potential (more later).
Species wise, I added three new ones and almost more. My first new species was also revenge for last years many disappointments. Needlefish look just like you would expect, long and slender with a long bony snout full of little needle teeth. They're like little saltwater gar and behave the same way, hanging on the surface waiting to ambush whatever shows up. They are very aggressive and will hit anything that comes close but getting a hook set in that bony mouth is very hard. Last year failing to land a needlefish was a daily occurrence. This time I got two in a row the first day with a size 12 White Killer Bugger. I don't know if I got lucky or finally got the fly size right.
The most common fish around the rocks are the Grunt family, think of saltwater sunfish. Last year the French Grunts were in charge and I caught quite a few. This year they had been replaced by Tomtates (also in the Grunt family). I have no idea what happened but I've got a new species.
The fish of the trip was also the last fish of the trip. Jigging a Clouser with some Gulp Sandworm over the side of the dock I caught an 18-20 inch Barracuda. The Kiyose 43MF brought it right up with no problem and the size 2 hook was long enough to keep the tippet away from the teeth.
A Few minutes before the barracuda I hooked up with a Red Snapper in the upper teen range.
The Kiyose 33SF did a great job of bringing it off the bottom and out from under the dock, but the dock was too far off the water for me to get to the fish and when it's head came out it threw the hook. No fish but a good story and the high point of the trip.
The species list for this trip: Tomtate, Sand Goby, White Grunt, Slippery Dick, Needlefish, Silver Jenny Morjara, Barracuda and almost a Snapper.
Next year I'm starting everyday on that dock.
Walk softly and carry a long stick. - Teddy Roosevelt (almost)
Tenkara has no strict rules. Enjoy tenkara in your own way.
- Eiji Yamakawa
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin
The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.