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Serving the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo community since 1999

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Meet The CaptAINs - Mecate

"...a good Captain is only as good as his deckhand because of the alertness and skills required."
Ed Kunze

Captain Angel (Mecate) Cortés is the owner of the sportfishing cruiser named the "Aqua Azul" (Blue water) which is moored and embarks from the Puerto Mio gas dock in Zihuatanejo Bay. The "Aqua Azul" is 36 feet long, powered by twin Perkin diesels and comfortably fishes 4 or 5 people at a very reasonable $300.00 for a 7 hour day.

Sailfish are Captain Mecate's specialty. He is definitely one of the better captains going for these exotic gamefish in an area renown for its year-round abundance of sailfish. People from all over the world make Ixtapa / Zihuatanejo their destination in pursuit of these spectacular aerobatic fish.

Mecate is 45 years old and has fished and lived in Zihuatanejo all his life. He knows these waters better than most people know their own neighborhoods. Generally, he fishes the areas from 6 to 15 miles straight out of Zihuatanejo Bay and even though he is not a perfect 100%, it is a rare occasion when his clients do not get an opportunity to witness firsthand the beauty and aerial display of a sailfish at the end of their line.

For locating his quarry, his method of choice is to simulate a school of fleeing bait fish. Sailfish are aggressive predators and even if not hungry, Mecate can trigger a "reaction" strike by properly presenting a bait that looks like it is being pursued yet, in the opinion of the sailfish, a tasty morsel is about to escape. He does this by trolling a spread of baits called "split tail". Trolling a "split tail" bait is the method that is the most commonly used by all the captains on this coast and consists of a 6 to 8 inch goggle eye (ojotone) or a 10 to 12 inch mullet (lisa) cut and sewn on the hook in such a manner that the back half of the bait is split right on through the tail. This creates two separate tail sections that simulate a very realistic live bait imitation when trolled at 5 to 7 mph.

Sometimes you can watch as the sailfish, with a burst of speed, will come up into the spread of trolled baits, choose one and slash at it with its beak. In his real hunting environment, this will stun the bait and then he can slow down and eat his meal. By simulating this real life environment and trolling an imitation bait, when the sailfish hits the down rigger or outrigger rod, an automatic "drop back" is created from the slack line as it is released from the clip. To the sailfish, everything is natural because the bait was stunned and stopped dead in the water. It is also fine if the bait takes off again once the slack line is used up due to the boat maintaining its forward progress because a stunned live bait can recover and take off as well. At this point, the sailfish really will take the bait because his reactive instincts will not allow it to escape.

On blind strikes or when a sailfish hits the flatline rod, a deckhand (marinero) must be sharp and paying attention. He will grab the rod and free spool it in order to simulate the drop back and then set the hook. When the fishing is slow and you have to make every opportunity count, a good Captain is only as good as his deckhand because of the alertness and skills required. Mecate has chosen and trained his deckhands with care, teaching them all the tricks he has accumulated over the years. The really good deck hands go on to be captains themselves and when they are trained by men like Mecate, it ensures that our area will have quality fishing in years to come.

Captain Mecate can be reached at 556-6772.

February 2001

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