Friday, April 14, 2006

A Few More Tropical Pacific Ocean Game Fish You Should Know About

The warm, tropical waters off the Pacific coasts of Mexico to South America provide a treasure trove of opportunities for the “catch of a lifetime”. Even common food fish grow to tackle-busting size and ferocity in the teeming waters that beach Panama, Colombia and Ecuador. There’s truly something to keep every angler hookin’ and haulin’ denizens of the not-so-deep. Here are some sport favorites that’ll put a smirk on your face in no time. In the article, “Tropical Pacific Ocean Game Fish You Should Know” you met some tropical Pacific Ocean species you’re likely to encounter south of the border. These species are right there along with them south of the border too. Here are more of the “Pacific Coast Posse”. The common name is listed above the scientific name.

Jurel or Jurelillo
Caranx Caninus

Commonly sizing in at 25 to 40 cm in length and weighing in at 4 to 6 pounds, Jurel can get up to 12 or more line-busting pounds. They swim in fairly large schools near the surface over areas with sandy bottoms. They are most abundant during the months of December to March and are commonly fished for using live bait fish or lead head jigs. Crab and squid will also get you action from this dark-fleshed scrapper. In South America, the fish is often smoked or salted.

Burique or Cojinuda
Caranx Caballus

The pan-sized Burique is generally used as a bait fish. Ranging from 20 to 30 cm in length and weighing about a pound each. More abundant from May through the summer months, they can be jigged and are especially well caught at night from small boats and even canoes. They’ll hit squid, hermit crab and shrimp equally well and swim in large schools near the surface. The mouths of streams and estuaries that empty into the sea are good hot spots. Deep-fried they make a good meal on their own too. So be sure to save a couple or so to try out for yourself.

Seriola Dorsalis

This deep-water denizen ranges from 50 to 60 cm in length and can weigh from 15 to 25 pounds. They swim in groups of 8 to 20 fish in deep waters near shore, frequenting rocky areas adjacent to sandy bottoms. Many caught during the months of June to November using live bait of small fish or squid. An excellent eating fish, its size usually requires it to be filleted. It’s good in soups and stews and the thick fillets grill nicely as well. Sharks are a natural predator of Bravo, so where there’s Bravo, there are often Bull sharks. Be careful. You might want to read the blog post entitled, “A Shark Tale”. You’ll see what I mean.

Good luck on your next fishing trip.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Tropical Pacific Ocean Game Fish You Should Know

If you’re salt water fishing the Pacific Coast from Mexico, Central America to Ecuador, here are some species of game fish you’re likely to meet while trolling, long lining or jigging natural live baits in deep, warm waters near the coastline. The common names are listed above the scientific name.

Aguja (Needle fish or Dagger Fish)
Strongylura Scapularis

Aguja is a unique, green-boned predator that fights to the death. The long mouth is filled to the brim with rows of needle-sharp teeth and its slender, streamlined torso give it the name “Needles”. Seventy to one hundred cm in length and weighing up to 20 or more pounds, they can mate in as little as every 15 days. When they reach a meter or more in length, they can be quite dangerous to the inexperienced Aguja fisherman. I have the scars to prove it. They’ll go for a variety of live baits including flying fish or fresh cut bait on treble hooks and are abundant year-round. They’re best caught very early in the morning or at night near bait fish feeding grounds. Aguja is one of the most sought-after eating fish on the Pacific Coast. They’re absolutely delicious despite the strange-looking lime green bones.

Sierra, Common Sierra or Castilla
Scomberomorus Sierra

These fierce, voracious predators range from 20 to 40 cm in length and typically weigh from 6 to 8 pounds of lure-slamming, fighting fury. They’ll be more abundant during the months of June, July and August. Open waters near the coast or adjacent to coral formations are common hot spots these toothy targets that hit silver spoons with fish-catching regularity. Live bait of bait fish, squid or sardines work very well too. Their normal forage also includes shrimp and small crabs. Another of the most sought-after eating fish on the Pacific Coast.

Dorado (also known as Chimbila)
Coryphaena Hippurus

Most commonly caught in the length of 80 to 90 cm, weighing 12 to 15 pounds, they can measure one meter or more in length and weigh up to 30 pounds. They like tranquil waters near the surface and will hit top water plugs that imitate live bait fish. Extremely abundant during the months of December and January, they are often easily spotted feeding at or very near the surface. Watch for jumping, fleeing schools of panicked small fish. They’re normally loners, but can travel in small groups of up to eight fish. Their aerial acrobatics make them loads of fun to hook, but tricky to land.

Make a hookup with any of these denizens of the not-so-deep and I guarantee you won’t get bored. If you want to meet them all in a day or two, try some of their known “hangouts” near the Utria National Park waters at Ensenada off Colombia’s Pacific Coast. They’ll all be thereabouts from December through March. If you’d like to see some photos of members of this “Pacific Coast Posse”, e-mail the author at: .

Good luck on your next fishing trip.