When You Catch a 844-Pound Shark, Size Clearly Does Matter

Talk about a big fish story. Six guys go fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, hoping to catch some grouper in the Destin Fishing Rodeo tournament, and catch a 844-pound, 11-foot mako shark instead.

They couldn’t even get the thing into the small fishing boat, so they had to tie it to the boat and bring it to shore. Of course, they “had to.” Nobody would ever believe that it was really as big as they said. And, honestly, who really cares?

I feel bad for the shark becoming a victim of a competitive spirit. What are they possibly going to do with it now? Shark meat in an old shark is not even good, yet they look so graceful underwater. What happened to catch and release?

Heaven is a Commuter Flight Away

Just when you were despairing that you had to live in Europe to take advantage of cool, even exotic, get-away flights for your weekend, there’s hope. In less than four short hours from Los Angeles or three hours from Phoenix, you can really get away from it all. Los Mochis, Mexico, (airport code LMM) has daily flights from LAX, Phoenix, Tuscon, and other US cities, serviced by Aeromexico (and it’s sister, AeroLitoral).

When we went, Aeromexico, Aero California, and Delta all had direct flights to LAX and Phoenix. The direct flights have been discontinued, but the additional flying time is small (and included in the estimates above).

Now, this place feels remote. The airport is between Topolobampo and Los Mochis, but closer to the former. Topolobampo is best known as the port town for the big ferry from La Paz (across the Gulf of California in Baha). Los Mochis is substantially larger, and is well known as the terminus of the Copper Canyon train (aka Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad, aka “Chepe”).

Traveling the exact opposite direction from the other tourists, we were whisked from the airport in a 76 Dodge that was, quite possibly, the most beat-up vehicle I’ve ever driven in (and that’s saying a lot). The driver had to take us immediately to the gas station, after shaking us down for a downpayment on the fare. A few minutes later, we were in Topolobampo. Lucky for us, it had a single (brand new) motel, that didn’t appear in our guidebooks. And we were the only ones there.

The town itself isn’t much to speak of, but the town sports a long, pretty, largely deserted beach, that’s a short bus ride from town. Families came out to play in the sand. A couple of small restaurants served good, cheap food. We stayed late to enjoy the full sunset, almost completely alone, and ended up hitch-hiking back to town.

If we hadn’t needed to get on the Chepe, we could have stayed for days. And to think we got there in about the same time as some people’s daily commute.