Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pig Roast Montana Style

My friend Ann just had a huge birthday bash and invited over 100 of her closest friends! It was an all weekend affair with people camping all over the place in tents, trailers etc. I live close enough so just stayed put in my Aristocrat with the kids (dog and cat).

Friday was full of games for all who were staying up there, kids and older folk alike had to participate in the games. Ann's version of Deal or No Deal with a $100 bill in one of the "suitcases" (really a lunch bag). Myles was the banker and tried to persuade people to trade their bag for a prize but most were a no go. Everyone picked a bag starting with the youngest to oldest then one by one in order from the lowest number we opened our bags. Wouldn't you know that the first to pick (also the youngest) got the $100 prize. Wow, what a cutie!

The next day, Saturday was the big river float. The pig roast guy was up there early to get the fire started and get the pig on the spit. Can you believe it took three cords of firewood to cook that thing? And to boot, it was the hottest day of the year thus far. But a good day to float the Jefferson River. I think we were about 20 in all floating the river in everything from drift boats to inflatable kayaks, canoes etc. I would have liked to do some fishing but this was not meant to be a serious float by any means. We floated, swam, picnicked and then headed back to get ready for the BIG party.

By the time I got back up the mountain, the pig was done and resting comfortably. Next onto the spit were some big beef roasts while we got all the rest of the food ready for the masses. Little by little everyone started showing up, young and old. Maggie the Wonder Dog had lots of doggie friends to play with and still has pig juice on the back of her neck from standing under the table while they were carving the pig. I guess I'm going to have to get the scissors out to cut the glued hair away!

There was a ton of good food, lots of interesting people to chat with and everyone had a great time. I can still taste that first bite of pork with the crackled skin still in was that good!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sailfish Anyone?

Today was a tough one. After a gangbuster day yesterday, today was quite slow. We drove around forever looking for sargasso (seaweed) and just couldn't seem to find much. The sargasso is where you will most likely find dorado if anywhere. It provides shelter on the hot summer days and today was HOT, believe me. So, after driving around in the panga for what seemed like forever, we decided to go in search of sailfish. We knew where the billfish had been hanging out so that's were we decided to concentrate our efforts.

Trolling is not something I like doing particularly but sometimes when you can’t find Sargasso or the fish, you don’t have much choice but to do some trolling. In the case of billfish, if you see one and can get the panga close and cut the motor, throw in a live sardine and if the fish is willing to eat the bait, then you have a chance at catching one casting to it. I caught a nice 130+ pound sailfish back in 2000 in Loreto casting flies but it is not often you get this opportunity as they often will just go down deep and disappear when they see the boat.

Today, we had some sailfish around so decided to try trolling through them. I secretly was hoping if we had a hookup, that it would be my boat partner Steve’s line that hooked up, not mine as I was still extremely sore from fighting my big dorado from yesterday and didn’t think I’d have the energy or strength to fight a billfish.

It was lucky for me, and Steve, that indeed it was his line that was getting some hits with a billfish following his fly. The pangero (guide) was very good at manipulating the boat slowing it down to let the sailfish bite the fly and then gunning the motor to try and set the hook. After a few tries, he was successful in hooking up the sailfish and then Steve was in for a fun ride. It was his first ever billfish on a fly rod so he was thrilled as was I that it was on his rod and not mine!
After about 10 minutes, Steve landed his first sailfish, a 60 pounder and I was very happy that I got to take lots and lots of photos! Well done, Steve

Friday, July 3, 2009


This morning my boat for the first time all week was the first one out and on the lookout for dorado. Just a short distance from shore we saw a sailfish so stopped to see if we could entice him to the fly rod but to no avail so on we went. We managed to find a nice big piece of floating sargasso (seaweed) and tons and I do mean lots and lots of dorado. They were all over the place and we had them all to ourselves! We had several hookups and landed several fish each before 7am even, I've never seen anything like it. You didn't even need to cast the fly, there were so many, they hit the fly just the second it hit the water. It wasn't too long before we were found out and all the other boats converged onto the spot we'd found first but before that happened, I'd hooked up with a monster bull dorado and was well into my backing before the hoards moved in. It took me a good 45 + minutes to land this fish which was so big it didn't even register on our Bogagrip scale. The guide figures it went well over 40 pounds! Just one day of fishing left.
(all the fish in today's post were caught by me) I seem to be the only person on the boat who knows how to take a decent photo so not many photos of me!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Beauty of Baja

Marine Wildlife Abounds

Finback Whales, porpoises, turtles, manta rays, sharks, sailfish, marlin, dorado, flying fish...