What do bananas have to do with deep sea fishing? Apparently, a lot. “Do you have any bananas?” Our fishing guide Eduardo asked as we boarded our Vikingo charter fishing boat at the Pier at Los Muertos Beach in Puerto Vallarta. “Because bananas are very bad luck for fishing! If you have any, we’ll have to throw them overboard!” We already knew about the banana superstition when booking our charter, so no worries, no bananas. However, without thinking, I had thrown into our snack pack a bag of Chips de Plátano (which are delicious by the way, especially with the hot sauce).
Off we went into the deep blue sea on our adventure, in perfect weather and full of anticipation. With Eduardo at the helm, we watched as Enrique expertly knotted the lines with lures and live bait and sent 8 lines out.
Now we waited as we trolled slowly through the waters. Eduardo was excellent at explaining everything to do with deep sea fishing as we all called out here fishy fishy!! At one point, Enrique raced to grab a rod and threw it out when he spotted a fish jumping. No luck there though.
About two hours into our adventure, we started saying things like, “well, it’s just fun being out in the ocean on a boat” to justify that we may not/probably wouldn’t come home with anything but a boost to our tans. Then it happened and our guides sprung into action. A bite on one of the lines. Enrique expertly “tested” whether it was just a bite or if something was actually on the line. Something was definitely on the line and they asked who would be the first in the fisherman’s seat. I took up the challenge and grabbed the big pole. It was sooo heavy and I couldn’t even reel it in. Not wanting to be responsible for losing our fish, Fisherman #2 took the seat. Rob was a natural and we still didn’t know what we had until the fish jumped out of the water and we saw the giant nose leap out of the water. It was something very big that was for sure! Tiring, Fisherman #3 took the seat and when he couldn’t reel it in anymore, it went back to Fisherman #2. Twenty minutes later, Rob brought it all the way in, with Enrique bringing it out of the water.
Voila, our approximately 20 kg sail fish that we caught not far from land!
(Note to self): Never stand behind the biggest part of the fish when you’re the shortest person in the group 🙂
We trolled some more to see if we could snag a marlin, but decided to head back home with our fish and get it into the fridge and freezer. Had we brought the makings, Eduardo would have made ceviche right there on the boat. We asked him for his recipe and made it when we got back to our flat (see the recipe below). Hint: it was delicious! Sailfish tastes very similar to tuna, but a bit lighter in colour and flavour, like a cross between tuna and a white fish.
As Enrique began expertly filleting our prize, we were a bit sad for the fish. But from the beginning of mankind, people were largely sustained by eating fish, right? And as Eduardo explained, it is a natural circle of life. The big fish eat the little fish. When he dropped the remains of our fish into the ocean, this feeds the crabs and small fish etc. And the circle of life continues.
As we neared the Pier and not to be left out, the pelicans started landing as they hoped for some scraps.
Eduardo’s Fisherman’s Ceviche
(We didn’t follow exactly what Eduardo told us to do, yet still had absolutely delicious results!)
- a big chunk of fresh out of the water sailfish (or other fish), chopped
- salsa tip inglesa (this is similar to worchestershire)
- jugo (this is soya sauce)
- lots and lots of fresh lime
- red onion
- tomatoes (seeded)
- serrano pepper (not jalapeno)
The longer it marinates, the deeper the flavours.
And circling back to bananas. As we later celebrated by sipping margaritas while watching the gorgeous sunset, the group admitted that they had seen the banana chips in our snack bag that I had thrown in at the last minute. They were thinking that we were jinxed because we didn’t catch a marlin. Au contraire! I believe we were able to catch a fish because of the chips! How about that for a new way to attract a catch (wink). And it turns out, sailfish is absolutely delicious and we liked it better than marlin. Thanks to everyone at Vikingo for a perfect day!