This week on one of my early morning walks down the beach I stopped by Banyan Bay beach area to chat with an old friend, Mr. Pablo “don Rancho” Kumul and a young security guard, Roberto.
“What a lovely day! Great to go out to sea.” I suggested.
“You don’t need to go far out to sea. There are some mullets right here on the beach” said Roberto.
“Then light up the barbecue pit and we can smoke few of them,’ I added.
“No Sir, I don’t let anyone catch them. Besides they don’t take the bait,” added Roberto very joyfully.
Now my friend don Rancho explained. “Angel can tell you about catching mullets 25 years ago. Back then it was customary for fishermen to walk down the beach hunting for fish for the midday meal. Mullets were plentiful right close to the beach and the only way to catch them is with a “tarralla” (cast net). You roll up your pants, walk slowly to the water and wait for the school of mullets to come near you. When you have them at casting distance, you cast your net just ahead of them. With your expertise and a bit of luck, you can catch a dozen mullets easily in one shot. You had to be good at it, because if you missed, they would fly away for good,” Mr. Kumul explained to Roberto who listened in admiration.
And then we both remembered those good old days of fishing right along the beach. You could easily catch shads, snappers, grunts and the prized catch was the snook. Don Rancho recalled that sometimes they went out looking for sardines for bait and you would catch several dozens of really large ones, about 8 inches long. Instead of using them as fishing bait, you cleaned and fried them. You fry them so crispy that you can eat them all including the bones as they were so crispy and delicious.
“And how do you know where the sardines are?” inquired Roberto.
“That’s easy” smiled don Rancho. “You will find the pelicans diving to catch their sardines, so that’s your clue.” Needless to say Roberto was impressed with what he learned about beach fishing twenty five years ago.
– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist