Home South General Fishing & The Outdoors


Hammer Gets Montezuma's Revenge

Well once again I set up a trip for my buddy Olson to finally catch a blue marlin, the one species of fish that has eluded him. I personally swore I would never go marlin fishing again as it's like watching grass grow during singles night at the Happy Days Retirement Home. I'm an adrenaline junkie; I just can't stand waiting for a fish to find my bait, I want to go to him and put it right in front of his face but that's just not the way it works with marlin fishing... you gotta troll and troll and then troll some more.

As luck would have it, Hurricane Matthew destroyed Jacksonville's coastline and 3 guesses where Olson lives? To make matters worse, he lives on an island in Jacksonville, so, like the previous trip he had to cancel at the last minute… Sucks to be him. Enter in his place a man that not only has he never caught a marlin, the only thing he's ever caught was a case of the crabs back in college…a green horn, a virgin to the blue water and what makes it even more special, he works for the Coast Guard. Andy was his name and if painted on smiles were patentable, he'd own it. Andy is a dead ringer for Gomer Pyle so at this point in the story I will only refer to him as Gomer.

Now a lot of you out there are too young to remember Gomer but he was a goofy serviceman that was always being bossed around by mean old sergeant Carter. Well, I was to be his superior officer. This poor soul had no idea what he was getting into but with Olson out of the picture, he was my go to victim of verbal terrorism. The other member of the cast was a regular that I've written about before, Luis. Knowing that I write about the stupidest things, he makes sure that he doesn't give me any ammo. Luis is the rep for Gil and Gamakatsu so we always get some good stuff. I've bloodied so many t-shirts over the years that I think I personally keep Fruit of the Loom in business.

Our target destination was Puerto Villarta Mexico. I haven't fished there in about 10 years but my last trip was epic with us catching 4 marlin and giant yellowfin tuna to over 300 lbs.

I'd called Capt Danny Osuna and arranged 3 days of back breaking fishing out on what they called "El Banco." The last time I fished with Danny his rate was right at $675, it was now $1350. I think he's taking after Donald Trump and making the foreigners pay.

Our trip was delayed by a day as the hurricane forced all planes to be grounded. When it was safe to fly, Gomer, Luis and myself all met at the airport to find some hot chicks at our terminal but there was no time for Luis or Gomer to hit on them, besides, these chicks were way out of their league.

We all jumped on an AeroMexico flight and away we went. Gomer had some frequent flyer miles so he upgraded to first class while leaving Luis and I to the cheap seats. It didn't take us long to start our festivities with an adult beverage. Come to find out, they don't charge for drinks on this airline. Our little beanerette stewardess was kept busy for the 2 1/2 hour flight to Mexico City. When we arrived, neither Luis or myself was feeling any pain. Gomer didn't speak any spanish so he didn't know how to order drinks so he rode in the front and we drank in the back.

After a brief layover we hopped on another flight to Puerto Villarta. It took about an hour to reach the smaller airport. We jumped in a cab and with 20 minutes we were at the resort. It was night time so we really couldn't get the lay of the land but you could see the landscaping was immaculate. Makes sense because all the best lawn guys are always Mexicans!

We got a 2 bedroom condo, complete with kitchen overlooking a small pool. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and hit the sack. It was at this time that Gomer broke out a face mask with a little machine that helped him breath. He said without it, he'd snore so loud the plaster would fall off the walls.

The next morning we got up to find parrots screaming at the early morning light. Our plan was to just be tourists for the day and see the sights of the town. Walking to the front of the hotel, there were two large cages that housed two tigers. You could get to within feet of them. They are BIG. One of them was grooming itself and Gomer said "Man, I wish I could do that." I said "You better be nice to it before you try."

We walked around the marina and the hotel. Tourists were laying under these little chickee huts trying to stay out of the direct sunlight. Sitting in the sun cooking was not my idea of fun.

After lunch we thought it would be smart to jump in a taxi and find the marina where the boat was kept. 11 miles later I found out why all the cars squeak, they have industrial strength speed bumps everywhere. They do this because nobody would pay attention to a speed limit sign over there so they just make it impossible to go fast without jarring the fillings out of your teeth.

We found the boat but there was no sign of life so we walked around the little fishing village/ fish market. They sold everything from fish to shrimp to orange juice. We could see one man filleting a blue marlin. In this part of the world, if it comes from the sea, it's eaten. After our little stroll we decided to go back to our hotel but not until Luis and Gomer asked our taxi driver to stop by a La Farmacia. Seems that Viagra is pretty cheap down there and each of them "wanted to pick some up for their friends", well, each of them picked up 100 pills! I was worried that Gomer was gonna pop one or two of them when we got back to the hotel just to see if they were authentic which is no big deal but he was sharing a room with ME.

Our captain said to be there the following morning at 5:30am and being a gringo, I wasn't about to be late. Pulling into the little fishing village, you could smell the familiar smell of dead fish. Cleanliness only extended to the hotels, the rest of the place was quite the opposite.

I walked up to find our captains butt high in the air, he was head down in the bilge fixing a pump. Why is it that every time I go on these trips, the captain doesn't do any maintenance on the boat until I arrive? He did what he had to do and was already dripping sweat… ah what a nice way to start of his day. Throughout the day he never did put his shirt back on. He was as dark brown as a Hersheys Milk Chocolate bar, only with a stronger aroma.

We stopped at a bait boat where for $25 or 425 Pesos, we got two dozen goggle eyes for bait. The fishermen just fill the bottom of their boat with a couple inches of water and let them swim around. It looks kind of silly but it worked. Jimmy Lewis had nothing to worry about that was for sure.

The "Banko" was actually a seamount that rose up to within 80' of the surface. The mates deployed two planers with small jigs attached to them. It didn't take long to get some skip jacks that they called "skippies". They were immediately placed head down in the tuna tubes.

We trolled the skippies around but didn't get a bight so the captain suggested we drop some baits to the bottom to see if we could catch a cubera snapper. Luis immediately hooked up and landed a small rainbow runner. Our little coast guard guy was beginning to turn green. Seas were about 1' to 2' at most so I of course made fun of him the whole time he was heaving his guts out. I then hooked up to a nice fish that ended up being a large mullet snapper that the captain called "PARGO".

After about an hour, we decided to catch some more bait and continue trolling for billfish. Some stroke of luck must have occurred because a marlin came up and grabbed one of the baits! The mate free spooled the reel and gave it to Luis who in turn gave it to Gomer. The blue marlin ran for its life and started putting on an aerial display that would make his momma proud. We cleared the other lines and Gomer did his best to gain line. You could see the sweat building up on his back as the fish refused to give up. After about a half an hour I said to him "Would you like the harness?" Gomer didn't know what a harness was; up until this point he'd been using only a fighting belt. The mate strapped on the harness and Gomer could actually rest his arms and take a breather. "Why didn't you give me this before?" I said "You never asked me for it." He was about to pass out from fatigue but as luck would have it, he actually landed the fish.

Now usually this is where this part of the story would normally end but no, Gomer wasn't done yet. After landing the marlin he quickly donated his stomach contents to the sea via his mouth and nose. The Coast Guardsman was sea sick and the seas were only 2'. Why I enjoy my friends tossing their cookies is a mystery to me but it does make for some good conversation.

We trolled around a little more with no hits so we decided to drop on the bottom to see if we could get a cubera snapper. Luis dropped a live goggle eye and immediately hooked up to another rainbow runner. He called it a pacific yellowtail but since he didn't graduate with an Ichthyologist degree, I'll let him off the hook. Either way, nothing that has any food value gets released in Mexico.

I decided to use a butterflied skip jack as bait as I didn't want to mess around with anything small. In short order something grabbed my bait and it realized I wasn't from Toledo Ohio. When I got near the boat I could see the bright orange color of what was a cubera snapper,

We made the long run back and jumped into a taxi. Now here's what I don't understand with these Mexicans. It's hot in Mexico, their cars are very basic, they don't even have power windows but they do have a/c. Why wouldn't they use it? These guys drive around with their windows down. Finally I asked Luis to tell the guy to turn the "el A/C."

That night we ate dinner at a steak place. You'd go up to a butcher and tell him what cut of meat you'd want and what size and he'd cut it for you right there. Then, he'd put it in a plastic tub and the waitress would ask how you wanted it cooked. Everything else was ala carte. The 3 of us ate giant steaks with mushrooms and soup for $60.

I'll save you the long drawn out story of day two because about 11 miles before we got to the spot, the boat broke down. We trolled around and basically wasted our day.

Ah but day three, our final day. Since Alonso's boat was broken, we would fish yet another Osuna brother named "Scott". His boat was a 36' Blackfin and it had AIR CONDITIONING. Since El Banco had not produced any tuna's, they told us that they were going to take us to the Santa Maria Islands. A place that they catch many giant tuna's. We once again arrived at 5am to make the long run. Oh, I forgot to add one thing. Scott asked if we wanted his cousin and her two friends to come along. I instantly said "Are they fat"? He said "No, these girls are skinny". Neither Luis nor Gomer had any objections so we gave the the go ahead.

Sure enough, when we got to the boat there they were, 3 women dressed in bikini tops and shorts. Now I've got to be honest, my thoughts of these three Mexican women were a bit dreamy. When reality set in, they were more like a night mare. What were we to say "Hey, you're cousin and her friends look like Dawn of the Dead cast members with tattoos?" Oh well, when given lemons, make margaritas right!

We caught our bait and proceeded to the islands. The sea was basically dead. No birds, no turtles, no dolphin, nothing. We fished till about noon and I asked Scott "Can you take us to some place that we can bottom fish." He said "We bottom fish back at "El Banco". "Yea" I thought. We're going back to the place that we'd done so poorly at the day before. By this time, the captain and mate had talked the girls out of their bikini's. I guess the mate offered to oily up one of the girls and she fell for his spanish pitch line.

Little did these girls know that their bikini's would end up on the outrigger the rest of the day. They didn't seem to mind at all.

When we arrived back at "El Banco" we once again caught some live bait. We all 3 proceeded to drop and once again Luis was the king of catching rainbow runners. He's good at catching junk fish; always has been. Gomer caught a little 2 pound grouper on a metal jig and the mates quickly stuck it in the fish box. How much meat can you get off a little thing like that? Somebody hooked a jack crevalle which they let one of the "ladies" reel in, surprisingly they released it. The girl immediately barfed over the side. The mate doused her with water.

I dropped a live skip jack and something grabbed it. I reeled down and missed the fish. When I got the bait to the surface, it was obviously mauled by a big cubera snapper.

We saw a couple of tuna's jump out of the water so we put out a couple of flat lines and the mate deployed a big red helium balloon which supported two goggle eyes. I asked the captain "If you have two baits on one line and two tuna's come up and eat the baits, aren't you going to break one of them off every time?" He said "Yea." Here in the US we would fly a kite with two baits but each bait would be attached to it's own rod. It's not polite to tell them how to fish so believe it or not I kept my mouth shut.

My flat line started to buzz off and Luis picked it up and in short order landed a small yellowfin tuna.

That fish hadn't even stopped kicking when the mate started carving it for sashimi.

While all this was occurring, we could see a blue marlin attacking something on the surface in the distance. My flat line went off again and Gomer grabbed it this time and reeled in a larger rainbow runner, this time without puking.

Now I'd love to tell you that the day ended with a giant tuna but that simply didn't happen. The fishing was slow and I don't need to "pad" the trip and say it wasn't. While we had a good time, it was time to set our sights on our next adventure. I don't blame the captain as I know that sometimes fishing is tougher than others. That's just the way it is.

Hasta La Vista Mexico,

I did meet a fine gentleman at the airport, he and I had a few laughs. He never seemed to tire of my stories but then again, who would?

Till Next Time,



  • Reef BanditReef Bandit Posts: 1,025 Officer
    Again, I "G" Rated this as this is a family website.
  • conquistadorconquistador Posts: 211 Deckhand
    Excellent post, very entertaining. Great Cubera!
    1996 24' CC w/300 Yamaha - Sold
  • dolfanjoeydolfanjoey Posts: 1,174 Officer
  • Flight RiskFlight Risk Posts: 2,488 Captain
    Great post Hammer (as usual)
    Nothing more awesome than a half-naked girl hanging over the side barfing her brains out.

    If you are inclined to divulge any details of the non-family version of the trip for those of us who live vicariously through your [mis]adventures, it would be appreciated. PM me please. As Paul Harvey said: "Now, the rest of the story." :grin

    Pura Vida!
  • Reef BanditReef Bandit Posts: 1,025 Officer
    Can't I be like Hillary and just smile at any accusations? This was Mexico, not Costa Rica.
  • stebfishstebfish Posts: 177 Deckhand
    Great post as usual Hammer!
  • Sails and TalesSails and Tales Posts: 152 Deckhand
    Great post Hammer (as usual)
    Nothing more awesome than a half-naked girl hanging over the side barfing her brains out.

    If you are inclined to divulge any details of the non-family version of the trip for those of us who live vicariously through your adventures, it would be appreciated. PM me please. As Paul Harvey said: "Now, the rest of the story." :grin

    Great story as usual Rob. I'll have what he's having....
  • OGFOGF Posts: 21 Deckhand
    When is your book coming out?
  • Reef BanditReef Bandit Posts: 1,025 Officer
    Well, funny you ask; I've written a book about all the stupid things I've done in life and lord knows it's got a lot of chapters. I've delayed its release until my father dies. I know if he reads about his sons stupidity that'll put him over the edge and I don't want to be the cause of that. There are MANY on this forum that will loathe it's content and I'm fine with that. I wasn't put on this earth to make bunny huggers like me. If you've ever read the book "Totch", it's a lot like that. It's not bragging, it's simply a compilation of the tales of my life growing up in S. Fla, fishing where I wasn't suppose to and doing things that I had no business doing. It comprises everything from my younger mischievous times to the whole lobster poaching thing. How we did things, why we did it the way we did and how we outsmarted the man and how the man outsmarted us.

    The 2nd book will be a compilation of my travels around the world fishing. Many of the stories (while edited) have been posted on FS. Some were immediately deleted by the magazine and maybe rightfully so. I know I push the limits with them but that's what makes them read my stories the moment I post them.:fishing I'm like a double edge sword to them, at least I think I am. They want people to be active on the forum but they don't want controversy that invokes violence. I'll post things that most people like but will drive some people crazy... like killing a sailfish to smoke or something like that. Some guys will say "Hey, give me the recipe and are there any tricks to cleaning a sailfish" while the next guy jumps up on his soap box and says "You shouldn't be killing a sailfish, you're a rotten no good SOB." If you look back at some of the threads I've been involved in, the ones that really get the high no's of hits are the ones where people try and gang up on me. Maybe I'm a bit of a sadist but I kind of like it. Guys will try to jab me with cheap shots and I jab them right back. Everybody's a tough guy on the internet aren't they? Now, for those of you that think I'm still a bad guy, that's OK, it's all good with me. All that crazy stuff is behind me... well, maybe not all of it, I'd still kill Flipper for a fish sandwich.

    BTW, my next foreign travel will be Brazil, I'm going to go to the Amazon to see what kind of weird creatures I can catch. When I write, I try to put you, the reader in my shoes. I try to write in an entertaining manner as just like you, I like reading about peoples crazy trips, good and bad. Some of my best adventures have not always been the greatest of fishing trips but luckily for me, I've got a group of guys that want to travel the world in search of fish that we've never caught before.

  • pjepje Orlando , FlPosts: 767 Officer
    Great post , you have the gift of being able to entertain with your writing . Seeing those speed bumps brings back lots of memories lol , I go fishing solo quite a few times a year chasing marlin . You're welcome to come along anytime , I know it's not really your thing , but it would definitely give you some interesting stories to write about ... More than likely not suitable for here haha

    Keep those stories coming ...
  • CoolisimoCoolisimo Posts: 190 Deckhand
    Great read Hammer!
    Carpe Diem!
  • Reef BanditReef Bandit Posts: 1,025 Officer
    Ha! My buddy said "Why are you taking a picture of the speed bumps, nobody cares about that." Obviously you know exactly what those things are. They're like the elephant turds people use to put on the edge of their grass so that nobody drives on it, only in steel. While I appreciate the invite on the marlin trip, I HATE TROLLING. I've fished Venezuela, British Virgin Islands, all the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Venice La. and I've caught a bunch of them but there's just something about it that doesn't do it for me. Now, if you invited the Hawaiin Tropic Girls on the boat, I'd be happy to apply the sunblock on those hard to reach spots for them. That's the kind of guy I am. A giver, someone that's always trying to help a young lady in distress or out of a dress. :)
  • pjepje Orlando , FlPosts: 767 Officer
    Yeah , those things really suck when you are crammed beyond capacity in a car or van , with two chicas on your lap ,and your head out the window so you can breathe .And they are everywhere ... No HT girls , but there always are lots of local girls that could be .
  • OGFOGF Posts: 21 Deckhand
    Good information.

    I will wait for the book, enjoy your time with your father.

    I do not get to fish as much as I used to due to work. I love coming home and reading your stories about fishing wishing I was out on the water. I have been a member of this forum since 2002 when there was a lot of stories and information to share. I do not frequent the forum as much as I used to, but stories like your's keep me coming back.

    Looking forward to the stories of Brazil!
  • conchydongconchydong Pompano BeachPosts: 6,164 Admiral
    Another good story Hammer. Your alright in my line of thinking.

    “Everyone behaves badly--given the chance.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • Reef BanditReef Bandit Posts: 1,025 Officer
    pje wrote: »
    Yeah , those things really suck when you are crammed beyond capacity in a car or van , with two chicas on your lap ,and your head out the window so you can breathe .And they are everywhere ... No HT girls , but there always are lots of local girls that could be .

    I don't want to be in ANY car with a Chica on my lap that I have to hold my head out the window because of the smell. You can have that all to yourself. lol
  • pjepje Orlando , FlPosts: 767 Officer
    Haha , wasn't like that . 5 or 6 in the back of a Corolla type car , gets a little claustrophobic . But well worth the inconvenience lol
  • LMKLMK Posts: 588 Officer
    Now that is a great post. Great story
  • Flight RiskFlight Risk Posts: 2,488 Captain
    OGF wrote: »
    Looking forward to the stories of Brazil!

    X 2

    Pura Vida!
  • Reef BanditReef Bandit Posts: 1,025 Officer
    I know what you guys are expecting. You think I'm going down there to experience the beautiful Brazilian women. What makes any of you think that I'd even look at a scantily clad woman? I mean, women are not sex objects; they have brains, wits and lots of other assets.

    Me on the other hand, I'm going deep into the jungle to become one with nature (on an air conditioned mother ship). I'm sure I'll meet some natives and teach them the Hammer ways but it's the famed PEACOCK Bass that I'm interested in. Secluded so far in the Amazon that the word WIFI has no meaning.

    You might be asking yourself, "Why would he want to go fresh water fishing?" Simply put, I like catching different species. I've caught peacocks here in Miami but they're little runts compared to the Amazon's variety. Catching 50 to 100 fish a day to 20 lbs might get boring but that's a chance I'll have to take. Either way, the trip will be well documented by yours truly.
Sign In or Register to comment.