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As I stood on the main beach of Sayulita Thursday at 8 a.m., I thought how wonderfully quiet and peaceful the early mornings are, watching as the sun began to emerge in the sky. I could see salt mist in the air and approximately a dozen surfers already waiting to catch a wave as my friend, Frankie, and I boarded the panga, "La Joya de Sayulita," of Solin Boat Tours for an exciting day of fishing.
Joshue, the owner and captain of Solin Boat Tours, greeted us warmly, a big, inviting smile on his face. A professional fisherman for 15 years, he has a wealth of experience and expertise, a passion for the sport that is clearly evident, and is fluent in both English and Spanish. Juan-Luis, who works with Joshue, also welcomed us aboard, making us immediately feel comfortable and welcome.
The 24’ panga easily accommodates 4-6 people for fishing. The boat is also equipped with a device that shows the depth and temperature of the water and how deep the fish are. It has an overhead canopy, bench seating, and two cushioned swivel seats, which are very comfortable, even for several hours. As we headed towards Punta Mita to catch bait, the cool breeze blew my hair, and the boat gently rocked from the ocean waves.
Luis threw a net into the water several times, catching small fish for bait, and then we found a spot a few miles off the shoreline and stopped to line fish. Weights were put on the fishing lines and Juan-Luis showed us how to release the lines two to three meters into the water. There wasn’t another boat in sight, and the only sounds that could be heard were the chirps of birds, the occasional squawk, and the ocean water lapping against the panga.
In just a short time, there was a tug on Frankie’s line, and she excitedly reeled in a fish (a Grouper) for the very first time, as this was her first experience fishing. I thought I caught a fish, but as it turned out, it was only a rock.
We also did some trolling, with two fishing lines baited with lures pulled behind the slow moving panga. This was my preferred method of fishing, as I could simply sit back and relax, and enjoy the warm sun on my skin, until a fish bit and it was time to get to work. As with line fishing, it didn’t take long for a fish to bite, and this was quite a fish, challenging to reel in. Juan-Luis taught us how to reel, bringing the fishing pole up and reeling, and repeating. A Jack Crevalle, approximately 8 kilos, gave us a run for our money, as both Frankie and I took turns reeling him in. Shortly after that, both lines got a bite at the same time and we reeled in two Pink Snappers. We also caught a Pampano, which was surprising, as these fish are usually found on the bottom of the ocean and we were fishing near the top.
When we returned to shore, Joshue asked us what we would like to take with us and filleted the fish for us. And let me just tell you, dinner tasted so much rewarding after catching it ourselves!