Like a cowboy throwing a lariat, Gregorio whirls his handline overhead, and at just the right moment he lets go the weighted homemade fly. He lands the lure far out, perhaps a hundred and fifty feet, at exactly the right spot. After years of fishing, he knows where the fish lie. He lets the lure settle to some mystical proper depth and then starts hauling in line, hand over hand, the fly approximating a swimming minnow. When the strike comes, he rears back with his arm to bury the hook. He encircles several fingers covered with rubber from an intertube to ride the line during battle, otherwise sizzling outgoing monofilament might cut his fingers to the bone. He stores his line on a carved wooden paddle not unlike that for playing Ping-Pong except for the squared off sides.
Robalo is a delicacy on anybody’s table. The mild, white flaky flesh has the texture of salmon. This highly desirable fish sells locally for about 100 pesos per kilo, about $4 US per pound, so Gregorio often eats like the king he is--the King of Zihuatanejo Bay Robalo Fishers.