Few of us are addiction-free. Our vices run the gamut from sugary soft drinks, to crispy bacon, to those downright tasty adult beverages. For me, my kryptonite is fish. Not in the classic "addiction" sense, but in a "I've got a powerful craving to catch" sort of way.
For years now, the rooster fish has held a prominent place on my bucket list. Recently, I was blessed with an opportunity to pursue one of these wide-shouldered, freaky tugs of the aquatic world out of La Paz, Mexico.
While the Sea of Cortez is known for many things, the abundant resident roosterfish population remains a guarded secret as more popular game fish monopolize those tourists who wet their lines here.
While in La Paz I was the guest of Mike "The Griz" Ritz. Now Ritz is an enigma, a cross between Ditka, a raspy bull horn, a side grinder, broken glass and Mother Theresa (and built much like a sidewalk Salvation Army Santa Claus).
Prior to the trip, Griz filled my head, spinning tales of epic fish, ones capable of toting barges while leisurely backstroking and whistling Dixie. Needless to say, by the time our plane went wheels down south of the border, I was ready to wet myself.
As is typical with any type of fishing, you must master some of the basics that are unique to the fish you're chasing. The rooster fish is no different; it's what's known as "local knowledge." After three hook-ups I'd managed to lose each one due to equipment handling errors (i.e. user error).
Staring down the barrel of a shut-out, and down to the last day, the Griz pulled me aside, offering sage advice on mastering these magnificent fish. On the last morning, with his counsel still rattling around in my head, I managed to land two mammoth trophies and scratch one more line item off my bucket list. Cock-a-doodle-doo.