To only refer to this past few days as interesting or enjoyable would be doing a great injustice to some downright hilarious high jinks by my fun loving guests, Jay Roff, Diego Roff, Tod Emerson, Jay Thompson, Don Nachels, and Jarrad Rebich. It is due to the actions of men like these that I can write some extremely interesting fishing reports, and I thank them for all the new stories I now have to tell my clients over cocktails.
Having travelled down from Houston on the overnight red-eye flight, they seemed to be in high spirits upon arrival at the HFC camp that afternoon. Perhaps they were just naturally happy people, or perhaps the eight hours they spent in various airport bars, vans, and boats during their journey brought on the very noticeable glow they projected. As the first night grew late, their glow increased, and someone came up with the absolutely astonishing idea of going gator grabbing. Even more astonishing is the fact I agreed to allow them to do it, and ordered HFC guide, Alejito, to bring his boat around.
Gathering up all the flashlights, spotlights, and cigarette lighters available in the camp, this band of very merry men began their adventure. There was an air of excitement as they slowly eased along the shoreline in search of their prey, which was a species of alligator called a "baba" by the locals. The fine, yet occasionally dangerous, art of gator grabbing started at HFC some fourteen years ago when three seemingly intelligent men got drunk and decided they just had to get themselves a gator, which amazingly they did without losing any body parts of their own. I was optimistic these new gator aficionados would be equally lucky, but I did order my staff to keep the first aid kit handy just in case.
Undoubtedly, one the finest feats of gator grabbing ever witnessed was performed by Don Nachels, who will forever be know to everyone as "Mataba", which loosely translates to mean gator killer. Well “Mataba” was perched on the bow of the boat anxiously awaiting his turn at grabbing a gator when suddenly a wide set of red eyes materialized fifteen feet in front of him. As the boat slipped quietly nearer the reptile, he slowly eased himself over the gunnels and into the dark waters. Actually, his boat mates say he basically leaned too far over and fell in, but for this story he eased into the water. It is about here that the stories begin to vary, because “Mataba” either used stealth honed over years while hunting deer, or he got his feet stuck in the mud. Whichever technique he used, he seemed to slowly begin to lean forward directly for the six foot gator, which thankfully was blinded by the five flashlights shining in his eyes. The absence of fear was astonishing as he extended his arms and opened his hands to grab the gator. "KA-SWOOSH" Water flew in all directions as he and the gator became one. Soon the air was filled with flying mud and water droplets as “Mataba” sought to get a firm hold on his prey, or at least that is what he says. Other witnesses say they distinctly heard him shout out, "What the hell am I doing in the water!" Followed shortly there after by, "Holy crap! What is this gator doing here?"
This story had a happy ending with “Mataba” returned safely to the interior of the boat, and the gator swimming off wondering what it was that had fallen on him.
When they weren't trying to become one with our local wildlife, they managed to do battle with some fine peacock bass. Tod Emerson's 14 lb specimen led all anglers, and he also had the big payara of the week with a 15 lb toothy fighter. Most of the local peacock bass had spawned this past full moon, and the males were viciously guarding the young fry from predators and artificial baits thrown there way. Having your Woodchopper tail smacked high in the air was normal. Along with Woodchoppers, 7" Pavon Prop, spinnerbaits, Super Spooks, and Chug Bugs also raised quality fish.
The water level continues to slowly fall, and it is going to continue doing so for the next six months at least. This means many of HFC's most famous fishing holes are going to become active in the coming days, and you won't want to miss the fantastic action for both peacock bass and payara. This extremely low water level is a phenomena that occurs here every 7-8 years, and it is what a fisherman's dreams are made of.
We still have open dates available, but they are filling faster than even I had hoped they would. Get together with your friends or family and set a date for you to come enjoy the finest peacock bass and payara fishing available on Lake Guri. Call Al Schaefer at South Fishing for a trip to remember.
Everyone have a GREAT week!!!
Steve Shoulders Headwaters Fishing Club,
Lake Guri, Venezuela
Until recently, I have never been one to envy or idolize anyone in this world, but over the past few years I have come to do both towards one man. He is a partner in the Maturin, Venezuela B & B Body Shop, and I can tell you that I would trade jobs with him tomorrow. Now that is saying a lot in itself, since I haven't had a real job in let's say, never. I just call him Pedro, but when he is performing his magic, his clients call him Dr. Figallo. Dr. F specializes in boobs and butts, hence my abbreviated name of B & B for his business.
Now I guess I should go ahead and admit to the fact I have many times gone out fishing a night in various drinking establishments throughout Latin America and the U.S., but on most of these occasions when I thought I had caught a real trophy, I was shocked to wake up the next morning to find I had taken home a frog. But if I had Pedro's ability to change that frog into a beautiful princess, I might have done far less throwing up during my younger. Many of my frogs seem to be considerate of my feelings in these situations, since on more than one occasion they would wake up, look at me, and then they would throw up along with me.
Pedro obviously doesn't like to give out trade secrets, because when I mention the subject to him while we were fishing together last weekend, he just shrugged and remained silent. Even when I began to tell Pedro the harrowing tale about how I went to sleep 10 years ago with a downright cute butt attached to my body, and then woke up the next morning only to find someone had stolen it, he continued to remain silent. Thinking he hadn't heard me correctly, I told him that if I was dipped naked in paint, and then stood with my back to a flat wall, the only paint marks on the wall would be my shoulder blades and heels, which is dang depressing. Although he laughed until tears rolled down his face, he just shook his head, wiped the tears from his eyes, and then went back to fishing.
All of this conversation took place last Friday, when for the first time in all his trips to Headwaters Fishing Club, I got a chance to fish with him. Figuring that if I could impress him with my ability to take folks out and assist them in catching big fish, while at the same time teaching him some new techniques for catching peacock bass, he might be willing to help me in my predicament. He might have done exactly that except for the fact all the fish that morning kept committing suicide on my baits, and treating his bait like he had soaked them in sewage. As the morning fishing session was drawing to an end, I had landed three fish over ten pounds plus a few smaller ones, and Pedro was still waiting to land his first of the day. Then low and behold he caught something really big. Unfortunately, it wasn't a peacock bass, but a golden fish eagle that had spied his bait flying through the air toward the shoreline, and then swooped down to grab it. I watched in shock as the eagle tried to take wing and fly away, only to have one hook embed itself in its leg. Soon we had a shrieking bird, a startled angler, and a mumbling guide, who just happened to be Angel. Easing over to the bird whose wingspan was at least 24 inches, Angel gently reached down and deftly removed the errant hook from the bird. Soon the bird was airborne, and flew away with its mate. As we watched the bird fly off, I could only ask my fishing partner, "Pedro, at what point in our morning session did I ever mention catching eagles?" Again, I got the silent treatment.
That afternoon after lunch and a siesta, I was preparing to go back out with Pedro when he and Angel came up to me and said, "We have discussed it, and we think your presence in no longer required, or for that matter wanted." Now this hurt me deeply, but I forged on with my life. I seem to be getting lots of practice at this, since many of my clients have kicked me out of the boat lately, even though I have changed deodorant several times recently.
Folks, Dr. Figallo is a well respected physician, and the only thing he can be faulted for is having me for a friend, because my friends regularly get mentioned in my reports, and not always in ways they might wish.
Pedro was joined this past weekend at HFC by Walter Vespa, Juan Carlos Ragardiz, and Ezequiel Tabares. With the water level continuing to gall steadily, the fishing continues to be spotty. Topwater action early and late using Super Spooks, Pavon Prop fire-tiger colored baits, Chug Bugs, spinnerbaits, and Rapala X-Raps or Yozuris worked out in the deeper water later in the morning were the main big fish producers. As has been the case the past few weeks, it was extremely frustrating to watch huge peacock bass cruising the shoreline in less than a foot of water feeding on baitfish, and then everytime a cast landed near them they spooked and ran for the deeper waters of the channel. Still this band of merry men caught their fair share of quality fish up to 15 lbs.
Pedro started using an inline Mepps type spinner bait with great success after having unceremoniously dumped me on the bank, and he landed twenty fish up to 10 lbs one afternoon. The same bait caught fish in both the shallow and the deeper water.
I can't say enough about what I believe will take place this coming January through early March, and that is the reopening of the most famous of all HFC fishing areas after a six year lapse, "The Glory Hole." An area only 50 yards wide by 200 yards long at best, you would not believe the quality of fishing this place offers when the conditions are right for both peacock bass and payara. Providing both numbers and size fish, even with all four of my boats packed into this seemingly tiny area, the Glory Hole will most assuredly raise the adrenaline on even the most jaded fisherperson. This fishing phenomena will happen again in July through September as the water rises again, but why not plan on fishing it both sessions. This is a place where everyone from amateur to professional catches fish. As an example, I have attached a fishing report from a few years ago when the Glory Hole was going strong, and this was a trip with kids.
There are prime dates available in the coming year, so just drop Al Schaefer <email@example.com> an email stating the dates you prefer coming along with the number of people in your group. He & I will do our very best to help you arrange the fishing trip of a lifetime.
Everyone have a GREAT week!!!
Headwaters Fishing Club,
Lake Guri, Venezuela