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Early shore-fishing yields comet's tail. In the Baja, finding a vacant campsite with a shade gree is as rare as a BWCA island campsite loaded with stacked firewood.
Peter Kohlsaat
Wednesday, March 5, 1997
In the northeastern sky comet Hale-Bopp is blasting towards the sun, its air-brushed
"Half way through my second cup of coffee, I peer into the telescope to see my pole bent over double. The line is blowing in the wind by the time I get to it. I guess there is no substitute for being there.."
tail spectacularly obvious as it rises above Cabo Los Frailes in the early morning hours. A thin red line denotes the horizon of the Sea of Cortez. It is cool, dry, and very still. It is not, however, quiet.

A cacophony of snores emanates from deep within the large domed tent containing a mass of sofa cushions, pillows, blankets, plus four of my Mexican camping mates. Jimi told me to wake him to see the comet, but that was early in the evening, and by the look of the spent Modelo cans littering the campsite, his body is now talking him out of it. "Jimi. Jimi. You can see the comet." "Si, Peter, maybe later."

Enrique, instead emerges. Groggy, grizzled, wearing a blanket. Enrique, the CPA, El Patron, den-mother to a pack of good-natured, hard-working compadres. He will check out Hale-Bopp. The 700mm Meade telescope sits on its tripod pointed at the comet. He takes a peek, sees not much more than he can with his naked eye, says politely, "Si, Peter, very nice," starts a fire, shakes out a black cloud of Mexican charcoal, and climbs back into the tent.

In the Baja, finding a vacant campsite with a shade tree is as rare a BWCA island campsite loaded with stacked firewood. But
we found one. A giant majestic old tree, its trunk blackened by campfires past, its branches forming a low, wide canopy, providing an abundance of shade. In fact, its branches are so low that I am frequently bumping into them - hitting my head on things - it is a problem I am confronted with daily in Mexico, being just a bit taller than the average Mexican.

As the sky begins to turn blue, I walk the 100 meters to the beach, with my shore-casting pole, tackle box, and little cooler of squid. The beach is littered with pieces of skeletons of very big fish. Parts of backbones two feet long. Heads. Jaws. I construct my shore-fishing rig: two three-way swivels a foot apart, each to a one foot length of line and a hook with a squid, and a two ounce lead weight. I run to the water and fling it out, accuracy not counting for much. I trek back to camp, fix myself a cup of coffee, and with the telescope, zero in on the pole which is stuck in the sand. I commence to fish.

Half way through my second cup of coffee, I peer into the telescope to see my pole bent over double. The line is blowing in the wind by the time I get to it. I guess there is no substitute for being there. The set-up is re-rigged, this time opting to fish telescope-less. The sun is now pouring forth prime early morning tanning rays, so with a beach chair and beach reading material, "Ettu, Babe," I resume my angling. Of course, that strike I had within the first couple minutes was the only strike I had all day. But you don’t need to catch fish to revel in the act of fishing.

Along came a couple beach-rat gringos. Carl and Evan. Been camping just over the dune since November. Kinda stuck now that the Baja’s washboard dirt roads have destroyed their Buick’s suspension system. They are waiting for some guy from some rancho to come and weld it back together. As it is, we begin to talk fish. I tell them my marlin story. They tell me about fishing the bahia.

"Remember that French guy caught the marlin? Stubborn sucker. Had a 12-foot aluminum boat and a five horse. Fish towed him out to sea. Twenty-five miles out he runs into a yacht. Gets in the yacht, straps himself in the fighting chair and lands the fish."

"And on light line, you’ll never beat Ramona, from down the beach. Pulled in a 26 pound pargo on eight pound test. Sitting right about where you are now."

"And you missed all the action last week. Noticed this panga flying across the water. First one direction, around point, and then back again. Panga just like the local fishermen use, but this one had duel 150 Yamahas on the back. The federales were all over the place in their brand new green Broncos. They found the boat 30 miles out in the ocean scuttled, but not sunk. Had the local fishermen tow it in."

They ambled off down the beach to wait for their welder. I adjusted my chair for more efficient ray utilization, pondered the notion of a rum and grapefruit, returned to "Ette, Babe" and thought about the possibility of becoming one of Carl’s and Evan’s tales.

Part two: next issue

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Kent is about fame, one of the most obvious goals society celebrates. Kent has achieved this benchmark by being the lead character in a marginally successful cartoon strip. This has allowed him an amount of marginal fame, just enough to be silly, like so many others.
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Early shore-fishing yields comet's tail
Sign of the Zodiac
The big haul
Green-eyed devil gets away
Casting for the big ones