Tours and Activities:
Boat Fishing at Mar del PlataPablo EtcheversPablo Etchevers
I arrived in Mar del Plata on an exceptionally sunny day. The sea was blue and quiet. Very punctually, as we had agreed, Sergio Abdelcader -best known as Sandokan- picked me up in a white Jeep smelling of sea and sand. We were already warming up.
Before the weather conditions changed, a great deal of large salmon and yellowtail had been biting away from the shore. But the fuel expense was quite worthwhile.
After going around the center, the beaches and the beautiful Mar del Plata promenade, we got to the harbor area. We got into Mar del Plata Yacht Club, where all the sport boats that go fishing in the high seas are moored.
Sandokan's boat was ready to set sail. Its assistants had prepared all the equipment as well as the bait we would use. We left as dawn let us catch sight of a spectacular morning. After sailing for almost one hour, the boat stopped and, even though the echo sounding device did not record any fish, we were in the ideal spot to try fishing the yellowtail.
Two fishing lines were cast into the water at different depths and we slowly began to troll with natural bait. It was about 9 in the morning and, after this time, the yellowtail bite practicallly disappears, only to return at sunset.
Thus, after going round in circles on the Fortuna 2 for a while and becoming aware that the yellowtail would not attend their date, we resolved to pick up the equipments, replace them by the gear used to fish sea species in general and set the bow towards the area called Herradura (horseshoe), located about one hour away.
In Search for Sea Species
The change of location slowly began to bear fruit. As we sailed, Sandokan gave us a short but effective course on how to steer the boat in case he had an accident.
“If you want to go back and cannot make out Mar del Plata, you should know that the boat can always reach the starting point by inverting the compass. You cannot get lost that way. Oh, and just in case, the life jackets are right there” Sergio concluded.
Some jokes followed the lecture but the lesson had been learned.
The area chosen to cast had strong water currents. The soil was made of rocks mingled with small cracks and a hard tuff bottom where the large salmon and grouper take shelter and co-exist with the large variety of crustaceans of all the species that make up the diet of the great sea species.
The boat stopped in a spot marked by the echo sounding device as the beginning of a large rock. After a brief explanation about how all the lines should be released at the same time so as to avoid tangling, we were already fishing.
Immediately afterwards, one bite followed the other. First, it was the sea breams. One by one, various specimens would be raised onto the boat: flat-head fish, castañetas, small grouper and seatrout. Amazing. But this species that is usually found a few meters from the shore was now in unusual spots. The reason was quite simple: it was the result of the storm that hit Mar del Plata during almost the entire summer.
Some minutes later, we came across a shoal of large groupers and the party began. The echo sounding device now showed an interesting activity. At the count of three, six of us were letting our lines down at the same time and no sooner had they touched the botton than we felt the bite.
Fortunately, the struggle resulted in a large number of specimens getting onto the boat and thus calming down our eagerness.
A Bluefish's Fan
It was almost 3 in the afternoon when one of the rods indicated that everything was about to change completely.
One of the lines returned to the boat carrying only the head of a small sea bream. This indicated a strange presence in the water.
Some of us thought it could be dogfish. However, as soon as Sandokan watched the bite, he sentenced: Bluefish. No sooner had he pronounced the magical word than one of the rods began to move in a totally different way from which we were used to so far.
This fish was putting up an incredible fight. After a few minutes of hard struggle, it came up to the surface and released one last run, throwing itself like a torpedo against the boat and showing off its beautiful silver, blue and green shades.
All the rods were bent. The anglers in desperation. Sometimes they would barely have enough strength in their hands after accompanying the attack of these beautiful fish. The climax came when we began to see that, as soon as the lines touched the water surface, one bite would follow the other. Iit was then that the skipper told us to replace the bait with red and yellow lures.
The speed reached by these fish once hooked is really amazing. Should the boat have been less crowded, we would have prepared a fly-fishing rod. That would have been unforgettable.
In almost two hours, the usual boxes were packed with large bluefish, grouper and sea bream. It was almost 5 in the afternoon when Sergio told us that we would be starting our way back in half an hour.
The writer of these lines had never come across this kind of fish. Since that day, I have turned into a real fan of the species. It was love at first sight, we might say. An unforgettable experience which deserves a whole chapter.
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