My name is John
Schachtner. I own the Billfighter, a 31š
Bertram that is chartered out of Hotel Palmas de Cortez in
Baja. Hotel Palmas de Cortez is a fantastic place to
go for fishing trips. The Van Wormers who own the
hotel are very friendly and go out of their way to make sure
you enjoy your stay.
I set off from
the hotel on Thursday, 7/27 with my father, Hannes, and my
good friend Dan Hernandez of Sportfishing with Dan
Hernandez. This trip was coordinated by Dan who also
brought along his sponsors, Tilia Food Saver who make vacuum
packing equipment for home use. I had hoped (as we all
do) to catch the big one. I never imagined that I
would come back with a fish like this!
We left at 7 in
the morning on Billfighter to fish the Tuna bite a
mile off shore of La Ribera with our skipper, Carlos Araujo
(Paco), and the deckhand, Jose. We quickly caught two
Bonita which we rigged on a 2 speed Penn International 50
wide mounted on a Saber Penn 40-100 factory rod. We
used a 13/0 Mustad stainless steel hook with a 400 lb Momoi
Hi-Catch leader and 80 lb. Ande line.
At 9:40 am, we
hooked the fish and spent the rest of the day fighting it,
all the time in view of the coast. I spent 4-1/2 hours
on it during which it never took more than about 100 yards
of line. I wanted this fish for the boat and the
captain just as much as I wanted it for myself. I
decided to keep the pressure on the fish by keeping a fresh
man on the reel, rotating between Paco, Jose & myself
for the next 5 hours until we got the fish to the gaff.
little after 7 pm, we were able to get the fish to the swim
step and headed for the beach. There was a huge crowd
waiting on the beach for us when we returned. It
seemed like they all wanted a picture next to the fish.
A hole had to be dug so that the front loader
could hold the fish clear of the ground. The Bowmans
(neighbors to the hotel) brought their IGFA 2000 lb. scale
and rigged it to the top of the loader. The fish
weighed in at 820 lbs.!
Danšs sponsors had brought along a few of their Food Saver
units and offered to vacuum pack all of the fish for the
group. You should have seen the look on their faces
when I told them to warm up the Food Savers! You could
tell what was going through their minds. "Wešll
be here for another 9-1/2 hours on this monster!"
When it was all
over, 1/4 of the fish went to Paco (the Captain), I took 1/4
and the rest went to the group & hotel. I canšt
explain the feeling that one experiences when one takes a
fish like this. It is a feeling of euphoria and
disbelief. All the things that have to come together
to land a fish like this - the place, the reel, line,
leader, hook, bait, etc. The pressure you put on the
fish (too much or too little). Not losing the fish at
the boat. That night I dreamed the line broke and I
woke up in a cold sweat asking myself again, "Did we
really land that fish, or was it a dream?" I know
this memory will last forever.