May 18, 2009.
I admit that I am addicted. Back in Arizona, when the crazy grin, cold sweats, and a curious tic in my right hand set in, I would climb into the old Dodge pickup and rush to my favorite fly-fishing stream in the White Mountains. The symptoms, except for the grin, disappeared as soon as I caught and released the first trout.
Six years ago, my wife Denise and I moved to Zihuatanejo, and I recall convincing myself that a few treks each year back to the mountains would gratify my lifelong obsession with catch and release fly-fishing. A few weeks after moving to Zihuatanejo though, I found myself sitting on Play la Ropa wondering what sort of fish I might catch out there in the bay.
The fly-fishing transition from cool streams, conifers, and snowy mountains, to tropical waters, coconut palms, and sandy beaches did not come easy. Sneaker waves knocked me off rocks, coral scarred my knees, and surf often slapped me to the sandy bottom.
During my passage from fresh to saltwater fly-fishing, gracious local shore fishers wielding nets and hand-lines, held back smiles at my flinging of rooster feathers, deer hair, sewing thread, and a barbless hook into crashing surf. Some chuckled at my stubborn refusal to attach a chunk of raw fish or shrimp to my homemade fly and get on with the serious business of catching and keeping as many fish as possible.
One morning I appeared on the beach with a small pink plastic basket strapped to my waist. My Mexican fishing friends thought I had at last come to my senses and would use the basket to contain my catch, but that was not my intention. Fly-fishing in saltwater involves casting the fly sixty or seventy feet, and then stripping in the line in such a manner that the fly imitates a small swimming fish. Use of a stripping basket, a technique of some fly anglers in the states, allows for storage of the hand-retrieved line and instant availability of the line for the next cast. Fishing is nothing, if not a dogged pursuit, so I soldiered on despite the good-natured scoffing.