At the time I knew nothing about roosterfishing, so I asked him what a trip like that would entail.
He said our days would consist of fishing turquoise waters from warm sandy beaches while drinking lots of ice cold beer, along with some other stuff I mostly ignored. It sounded pleasant enough, so I said, "Sure. I'm in." Ephemeral agreed to go as well.
Hogleg gave us a gear list of things we'd need: heavy saltwater rods, saltwater reels, saltwater fly lines, saltwater leaders, saltwater tippet, saltwater flies, and some other stuff - none of which I had - so I went to the google and started looking for deals. That's when I happened across this article.
http://www.minturnanglers.com/shop-talk ... ja-mexico/
I mostly skimmed it until I came to the following paragraph:
"The next morning, I woke up feeling like I just went ten rounds with Mike Tyson. every inch of my body hurt. If you’re going to try this at some point, I’d strongly recommend getting a gym membership before you go and get in shape! The heat, wind, sand, and the burley nature beach fishing for Roosterfish is no joke."
It was at this point that I can remember thinking, "Hmm..."
A few paragraphs later I came across this:
"Put simply, I wasn’t prepared for such grueling elements, casting, and style of fishing. Having now had some time to reflect on this trip, here is what I will do next time.
1. Get in shape! I thought rowing a boat in WY wind for 3 months prior had me in shape, but an arm and leg workout are two different things. I’ll be at the track on the hottest days running sprints barefoot for a month next year!
Practice casting on the run: Casting on the run is not easy but an essential part of beach fishing. If you want a realistic chance at catching one of these things, I’d make sure you can stand and throw at least 90′ of line and at least 60′ on the run. When your heart is pounding and there is a big rooster swimming at you, your 90′ cast becomes a 45′ cast and your 60′ cast on the run becomes a 30′ cast more often than not!"
It became clear to me that "Running Down the Man" was in no way conducive to the foldy-chair lifestyle to which I'd become accustomed.
I reflected upon this and then contacted Hogleg and said, "I appreciate the invite, but you should seriously consider asking someone else to join you on this trip."
His response was, "Fuck you. You're going."
"But I can't run."
"I'm putting you in charge of the teaser rod, so it doesn't matter."
"What's a teaser rod?"
"It's a surf rod with big lure. Your job will be to toss that lure out as far as you can and reel it in fast. If there are any roosters in the area they'll follow it in, and when they're within casting distance Ephemeral and I will take a shot at them."
"What if they take the lure?"
"We cut the hooks off, so there's no possibility of that happening."
"I suppose I can handle that."
During the weeks and months that followed, an innumerable number of emails were exchanged between Hogleg and Ephemeral regarding gear, flies, maps, water temperature, things to expect, and God knows what else. I was copied on all of them but rarely paid them much attention. About all I did catch was that Hogleg's brother-in-law was going to join us as well.
Dates were confirmed and flights were booked, and then less than two weeks before the trip, Hogleg sent an email that read, "I'm thinking about inviting BM. Do either of you have a problem with that?"
I was the first to reply.
"That's fine if you want to invite him, but promise me you'll keep him out of the fucking kitchen."
"Because he's going to want to cook up iguanas and donkey meat and anything else he might find lying dead along the side of the road, and I don't eat any of that coon-ass shit."
It turned out BM had another commitment, so my worries were unfounded.
The day before we were scheduled to depart, I sent Hogleg and Ephemeral an email that read, "It looks like we're all taking different flights. Where are we going to meet?"
Hogleg responded with, "Just text us once you get through customs."
"You know I don't text."
"You should really get a smartphone."
"That's not going to happen between now and tomorrow."
"How can you travel without a smartphone?"
"You make it sound as though before the invention of the smartphone no one ever ventured outside their home."
"You're the only person I know under the age of 85 who doesn't have one."
"Then I'm in good company."
"By not having one you're really inconveniencing the rest of us."
"Like I give a shit."
"No, fuck you. Now where are we going to meet?"
"Once you get through customs you'll emerge with your baggage into a relatively serene area and think, 'This isn't so bad.' That's the moment when you can expect the hustler gauntlet just outside the next set of doors. Just walk briskly and confidently like you've been there many times and have a ride waiting (you do) and ignore the hustlers. Don't make eye contact or look around (I recommend wearing sunglasses) and if you get physically stopped or have to engage someone just say "No gracias, my ride is waiting for me outside." You can also pretend like your talking to someone on your cell phone. That works good. Provided you have one."
"Sounds like the walk I take every morning from the train station to my office," I replied.
"Once through the second set of doors which take you outdoors the gauntlet thickens and gets more intense. Just head toward the curb/street in front of you and slightly to your left toward that bar. The bar will be crowded but just get there and find a spot on the perimeter to collect yourself. Once there they don't really fuck with you too much. If you can get to the bar order a drink and then look for my brother-in-law. If not just hang on the perimeter and search for him. He's early 50's, bald, probably has a shaggy 5 day beard growing, 5'10", 200lbs, wide shoulders, a bit of a gut, looks like a guy who belongs there, not especially friendly looking, kinda like someone you wouldn't want to fuck with or ask for help or directions. Approach him though, don't be afraid. Questions?"
"No. Sounds pretty straightforward."
"Text me if you get delayed or run into any problems."
"No, fuck you. And I'll see you tomorrow."
(To be continued...)