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Fishing for fun or for food?

February 6, 2011

Like all people that live in Mexico on the beach, I have my favorite playa (beach). I normally go to Playa Madera every day, either to swim or just for the fun of watching the fishermen. This year there are more fishermen than fish. They are lined shoulder to shoulder in the water and on the walkway along the beach. In the past there were always a few men with either their big nets or a little hand-held fishing line. Now due to the economy these men without jobs need to feed their families, so they fish.

I love to fish, not to eat them, but I love the fun of fishing. So I have made friends with some of the men who fish daily from sun-up to sun-down by Playa Madera. I asked one of the men, if I could buy one of the little wooden hand-held fishing rods from him.

He told me, he was sorry but you can’t buy them because we just make our own. The next day this sweet old man had one to give to me. He had spent the night carving the wood and sanding it until it was perfect for me. He refused any money and told me, “You can help me with my English while we fish together.” So now every morning at 6am I have a date with a fisherman and he has a date with his English teacher.

I have fished all my life, and think I can handle a rod as well as most, but my new little wooden rod is very different than a fly rod. It is more like a badminton paddle with a weight and hook attached. Last night I went to the pier to practice alone before I joined my line of Mexican fishermen. It’s a good thing I did, or I would have embarrassed myself or hooked someone with my wild swings.

First I hooked some bacon to my hook, because I didn’t have any shrimp, which is what all the fishermen here use, then I whirled it around my head 3 times, because that is the secret number (or at least this is what they all do) and then I let it rip. My line ended up at my feet in a huge mess. So I rewound my line, and gave it another try, same disaster. Then I pretended I was trying to lasso a cow, just like any Montana girl should know how to do. Once again I had a pile of line in the water. What was I doing wrong? A little boy took mercy on me, and tried to show me how it was done, his line went way out into the water just like it was supposed to. I guess I’m a slow learner as I still haven’t got it to go very far out, but I’m going back for more practice tonight. For me it isn’t about catching fish any longer, it’s about looking good, and not hooking another fisherman. Wish me luck.

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