Umarex Gauntlet


Gary Graham – ROAD TREKKER

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Thursday, May 02, 2019
Don’t know Jack?

It’s all about the kids
Robert Burns in his poem To a Mouse said, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. No matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong …”

And no matter how hard we tried, our recent trip did just that!

Don Dingman, whose passion is fishing and the future of the kids, and I met at the Gray FishTag symposium in Ft. Lauderdale last December and realized we had a common goal — helping kids.

HIS SON ALAN loves to fish and to underscore that fact, Jansen sent me a photo of him holding a huge snook caught from the beach.

In mid-March, the following message popped up from Dingman: “I keep running past your card… ‘It’s all about the kids’ and since this is pretty much everything we do, is there any way I can help with Stars and Stripes Tournament?

“Unfortunately, I can’t make the dates this year. It falls after an event we do in Jacksonville, Florida where ‘It’s all about the kids’ as well. We could shoot a Hook the Future episode with you and a couple of kids to promote the tournament and the cause sometime in the future.

“If you can get a boat and a couple of English-speaking Mexican kids, we can get the crew to Cabo. The show currently airs on the Sportsman Channel, World Fishing Net­work and Fox Sports South, and is available to over 110 million households!”

The Stars and Stripes Tour­nament is scheduled for late June; Dingman only had a possible short window in mid-April. Disappointed, we agreed to try to do something in 2020.

After hanging up the telephone, I began making calls and texting folks who I thought might be able to help us put together a fishing trip for two Mexican junior anglers on such short notice.

My friend Jorge Tellez, owner of Gaviota Sportfishing Fleet with his brother and partner Sergio, responded; it was a resounding “Yesssss!” And we went to work. His employer, Solmar Properties, volunteered rooms for the film crew and staff, and he and Sergio donated Solmar 1, a 33-foot Crystaliner for two days.

Reservations were put in place for the flight, room, and boat on April 9-13 for Dingman and his crew.

Now for the stars, our local junior anglers.

I contacted my friend Stephen Jansen, owner of Jansen Inshore Tackle in Cabo San Lucas, who is involved with a local Rotary Club’s children’s beach tournament in Cabo. Jansen located Oswaldo Ortega, who worked on one of the larger sportfishers. His son Alan loved to fish and to underscore that fact, Jansen sent me a photo of him holding a huge snook caught from the beach.

BOTH BOYS CERTAINLY proved, that like their fathers, they were not strangers to fishing as they reeled in Lucky Joes, five mackerel at time and helped each other removing them into the live well.

I contacted Oswaldo (nicknamed Baleen), who worked with Captain Greg Distefano aboard El Suertudo. I had met Baleen at a party where Distefano was named International Captain of the Year by the publication In the Bite where Baleen was honored as well. He gave permission for Alan to be part of the trip.

Then, Captain Mark Rayor, Team Jen Wren out of East Cape, responded that one of his captain’s sons, Ervis Romero, could fish the two days. After receiving permission from his father Diego Romero, the boys Alan and Ervis were our stars.

Day One: The grumpy Pacific had been stirred up by three days of strong southwest wind and the uphill ride was not what we had hoped for, but our young stars were seasoned troopers and didn’t complain.

When we arrived at our destination, the word was out. “Golden Gate” was clearly the place to be. A large fleet of sportfishers milled about among the bait balls.

Frigate birds circled above the nearly football field-wide bait balls as they were chased to the surface by voracious predators. The boys proved they were not strangers to fishing, reeling in Lucky Joes — five mackerel at time — and helped each other dump them into the live well with some of the fattest mackerel we had seen in awhile.

The fleet slowly diminished, boats heading one-by-one in different directions. Soon, all that was left were a few smaller Cabo charters along with an 80-foot Weaver, the “El Suertudo,” the boat that Alan’s father worked on. Not far from us, they connected with a striped marlin and we watched as they quickly fought and released it.

FOR THE BOYS and for that matter the “Hooked for Life” crew that was the highlight of the trip providing the best “photo-ops” of the trip.

Although we saw a few stripers, we had only one bite on a tailer as we pointed the boat down-swell toward home. Laughingly, Dingman asked Captain Javier if there were any bananas on board?

But, tomorrow is another day and as they say; “It’s not over until the Fat Lady sings!” We did not hear her warming up in the background.

The final day brought a much calmer sea and promises of much closer yellowfin tuna and striped marlin greeted us. We doubled our order of mackerel and cabillito in anticipation of yellowfin and marlin charging the boat!

However, the sea temps had dropped several degrees and was off-color from currents sweeping down the Baja coast. As hard as Captain Javier and his mate Irving tried, all we could come up with was one quick marlin follow.

We had struck out for the second day in a row. We heard the Fat Lady!

As Dingman left the boat, he thanked the captain for all his efforts and asked, “Are you certain there are no bananas hidden below deck?”

Our “stars” were old hands at this, and if they were disappointed, they didn’t show it.

To liven things up, the real of the trip introduced himself. “Pancho” or a Pancho imposter, is a sea lion that has been a local legend in the IGY Marina for many years. It is the official greeter for sportfishers, meeting them at the Harbor Channel entrance as they dump unused bait while idling to their respective slips.

Pancho has become more aggressive and now climbs on the boats’ swim platforms and begs for the squirming discarded baitfish.

He or she has learned to sit up over the covering board — a crowd pleaser that quickly became a must-see photo-op for anglers and tourists alike.

For the boys, and for that matter the “Hooked for Life” crew, that was the highlight of the trip and best photo-ops of the two days… a reminder that even the best laid plans are not written in stone.

* * *

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