June 13 Sergio reports schools of scrappy cocinero just beyond the break in front of Playa Municipal and beneath the Municipal Pier.
In the picture above, he holds a typical Cocinero of about 12 inches.These scrappy fighters s are members of the lively Jack family of fishes, a lot of fun to catch on #4-6 Clousers and a #5 or #6 fly rod. A rapid retrieve a few feet below the surface does the trick.
Sergio caught 18 cocineros on this particular day, and while fishing from the pier in full dark that same evening, he hooked into a large fish (he thought it a Snook), and buried the hook, certain, but in true Snook fashion, the big fish lumbered off beneath the pier and snapped the 50-lb line.
While Sergio explained this to me, his face sagged as if the muscles detached from the facial bones all at once. "The biggest fish I have hooked this year," he lamented, "and I lose it!"
He is likely correct that the fish was a mighty Snook. Only yesterday, a fishing friend of Sergio's wading Playa Municipal while angling for the above mentioned Cocinero's, noticed a disturbance in the shallow surf. He advanced into the warm water and spotted a wallowing Snook in seeming distress, grabbed it by the tail, and dragged it onto the beach. Clutched in the sharp jaws of the Snook, was a puffer or porcupine fish of perhaps a pound. Porkys are a species of fish often seen in the vicinity of rocky prominences and are generally either tan, yellow, blue, or dark red, and covered in sharp spines resembling porcupine quills.
Sergio's friend tossed the Snook over his shoulder and walked to the nearby beach fish market and had it weighed. The fish tipped the scale at 37 pounds! The Snook had likely grabbed the porky without due consideration, and the smaller fish had wedged into the Snook's throat where the quills held it fast.