Leaping Sailfish and Smoking Volcanoes (Part 2)
露天餐厅旁的休息厅，从池畔眺望日出景色 / View at sunrise from the lagoon side of the lodge next to the open air dining room
After what seemed to be a fairly short sleep, my mobile phone told me it was time to get up. I began to get dressed for fishing in the tropics (hat, polarized sunglasses, long sleeve shirt for sun protection and strong waterproof sunscreen cream), organize the fishing gear I’d brought from Hong Kong, and — topmost in my mind at that moment — get a cup of good strong Guatemalan coffee to start the day.
After a hearty breakfast of huevos rancheros — a spicy omelette with chopped vegetables and ham — and several more cups of coffee, it was time to head for the marina. Minutes later, we cast off and headed offshore in a southerly direction. Seas were calm and within a short time turned azure blue in color.
When Skipper Rolando spotted a color line in the water, with deeper blue water on one side and greenish blue water on the other, he signaled to put lines into the water. By now it was about 7:30 am and the tropical heat was rising fast.
The fishing lines the crew put into the water contained a combination of fresh bait fish (mullet, tuna, and squid) and plastic fishing lures, but none of them had hooks. The purpose of these lines was to attract sailfish, marlin, or other big fish close enough to the boat so that I could cast a fly to the fish.
开始钓鱼时，火山浮现在海平面上 / Volcanoes on the horizon as we begin fishing
It occurred to me that this “no hooks” approach to fishing was probably first discovered by the Daoist Jiang Tai Gong many centuries ago. Little did he know that I would one day be following a modified version of his style. of fishing, in far-away Guatemala.
After 10 or 15 minutes, the silence at sea was broken as the skipper shouted excitedly “Vela! Vela!” which means “Sail! Sail!”, indicating a sailfish was following one of our lures. Quickly the crew sprung into action, pulling the hookless lures closer to the boat.
I jumped to attention, fly rod and fly in hand, ready to cast when the moment was right — when the sailfish came within about 10 meters of the stern of the boat. My fly was about the size of my breakfast omelette. Green and gold, I thought it looked appetizing, which was why I brought it with me from Hong Kong. I had a good feeling about this fly.
That first sailfish was just a window shopper. After nosing around the lures for a few seconds, the fish took off, and I relaxed again.
As if to test my reflexes, within minutes the skipper cried “Vela” again, and we all sprung into action. This time, my eyes attuned to the task, I spotted the fish clearly — impossible without good polarized sunglasses. In he swam, toward the stern of the boat, using his bill like a solo chopstick exploring some dainty morsels.
Soon he was within casting range. “Now!” shouted the skipper, signaling to me to cast the fly.
This is the moment where timing is critical. As the sailfish excitedly pursues one of the baits (in this case, a fresh mullet), the crew yanks that bait out of the water, and my task is to cast my fly as close as possible to the spot where the mullet just was, just as the sailfish is looking for the missing mullet.
In this case the timing worked like clockwork. The hungry sailfish turned to my fly, decided it was the next best thing to a fresh mullet, and inhaled it. As the 100-lb. fish swam away from the boat, I held tight onto the line and leaned in the opposite direction from the one he was swimming.
The sailfish took off like a rocket, leaping clear of the sea in a series of majestic jumps. Line tore off my fishing reel as the fish continued on his blistering initial run. Gradually, his pace slowed and I began to regain line.
Some 20 minutes later, the crew carefully brought the fish aboard for a brief photo opportunity, and then released him again, taking care to ensure he was swimming properly. Off he swam.
第一次用飞杆钓到旗鱼 / First sailfish on the fly
A fine start to the day, and my first sailfish on a fly.