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March 12, 2010

Guatemala Fishing Report March 9th 2010

- Boom to Bust

These earthquakes are getting downright unnerving but don't seem to effect the Great Sailfishing in Guatemala; the recent massive quake in Chile caused some serious concern and scientific commotion here in Guatemala. The region is obviously very active volcanically, and minor earthquakes are quite common. The territory closest to the volcanoes in the highlands is some of the most closely monitored seismically anywhere - partly to try and ensure that changes in activity levels are flagged, but also because there is just so much of it that has become a scientific data-gatherer's dream.
There were cautionary alerts put out by the US Geological Team post the Chile event that said there was a possibility of a huge tsunami emanating from the centre and pushing out across the Pacific building up speed and energy all the while. You may have read how the Hawaiian coastline was largely evacuated lest the wave came ashore. Being roughly in the path between the epicenter and Hawaii, we thought it prudent to at least move the boats from their moorings and set to sea ?.. just in case. Of course the local captains had heard it all before and were slightly bemused by the whole thing, but better safe than sorry.
With some delight, minutes past the appointed hour for this huge wave to pass the latitude of the marina, the radios lit up with the chatter over channel 71 that the boats had been hit by a "massive wave" that was estimated at 1.5 feet. They were grinning when they came back to dock at the triumph of local knowledge over gringo science. Still better safe than sorry.
Since the last cold front pushed through and as reported last week, the fishing has been close to perfect up until a couple of days ago. We went through a period of a couple of weeks where the fish were easily found and consistently aggressive in the bite. It brought to mind the famous Cimino quote "This is the first fishing trip that I have been on that I caught more fish than drank beer"???..not one, but two of our groups came in early on consecutive days having "caught enough fish". Don't hear that very often, but it paints a picture of the fishing !
Over the past weekend,, and unfortunately coinciding with Karl Maple and group returning to Guatemala after experiencing those type of days last year - and with similar expectations for this trip - the weather changed and another cold front pushed through. Their first day out were some of the nastiest seas we have seen down here for quite a while. Solid 6 footers with blowing white tops and some rolling up to 10 feet with the current. The fish were holding at about 35 miles, but it was just too far in these kind of seas, and we put lines in at 19 from the dock. It was tough going, and in the end we had to agree that the effort was not worth the reward and we headed in for some inshore fishing instead. It wasn't much better inshore, and we called it a (weather) day by early afternoon. You have to admire the guys for sticking it out though.
That was the worst of it, and Kyle and team stayed with it for the next couple of days as the fishing improved. By their last day out we were raising fish consistently and they managed a decent report after a tough trip.