Ron’s Fishing Tips and Stories: Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory
Last week’s story ended with all of our group leaving the jungle for San Pedro Sula. Upon arrival we checked into an old but elegant looking hotel. I kept thinking I had seen this hotel before somewhere in my past. We all got to our rooms, showered and went straight to bed. Everyone was too tired to eat and just wanted to get some rest.
I laid down in my bed exhausted but for some reason I couldn’t go to sleep. I tossed and turned for about 30 minutes and finally got up, dressed and went downstairs to the lobby. I walked outside for fresh air and one of the bellboys came up to me and asked if I wanted some female company. I thanked him and said no thanks. He then asked if I wanted to try my luck at gambling as he said they had a casino in the basement. I was so young and had not ever seen a casino before so I went down to the basement to the casino. I walked in the door and there were about 20 workers all dressed in white shirts, and black jackets. The ladies wore very nice uniforms. The room was very bright, unlike the dimly lit hotel above but I was astonished that there was not one client in the room; just casino employees. I then remembered where I had seen the old hotel before; It was Rick’s place in the old movie Casa Blanca. I looked at my watch and it was 9 PM and I thought “something just isn’t right.”
The greeter asked me if I wanted to come in and I nervously said “Okay.” He then asked me for my passport and I said “no way.” He explained that it was hotel policy and I couldn’t enter without giving him my passport. I finally agreed and proceeded to walk around looking at all the games. I finally stopped at the roulette wheel as that was all I knew how to play. I figured any dummy could place a bet on red or black or odd and even. I put down a $10 chip on red and won right off the bat. I continued to win until I got up to about $100 ahead. I should have walked out right then but of course I didn’t. I think I had about $350 total dollars with me and before I knew it I had lost it all but maybe $150. They had suckered me big time and it made me mad as h— but I left and went upstairs to my room and went to bed.
I was so mad at myself and the crooks downstairs that I couldn’t sleep once again. I just laid there getting more and more angry until I decided to go back and get my money back. I had figured that they could control where the ball was going to stop so I decided I would place several bets all at the last second, not even knowing what I was picking. I would place down 4 chips not knowing if I was betting odd and even at the same time. In other words I had no plan and didn’t know what I was betting on so I knew they sure as hell didn’t know. As crazy as it may sound I won all my money back that I lost and I quit and went to bed satisfied that the crooks didn’t get my money then slept good all night.
The next morning we all met for breakfast except for Ed Weaver. Ed had left the night before and didn’t say good-bye as I guess he was so sorry about the bad trip he had talked us into taking. The captain invited us to fly over to his place on Roatin Island and stay a few days as his guest. Since we had a couple days to kill, we took him up on his offer.
We bought airline tickets at the airport and waited for our plane to start boarding. When we walked outside on to the tarmac to board our plane there sat an old DC3. Yep, there it was as big as I left it in the mountains of Mexico. I hollered “No way, Jose! I am not going. Period!” Joe, Chuck, and the Captain all begged and pleaded with me, telling me it was just a very short flight and perfectly safe. I still said no and hell no I wasn’t getting on that plane. I fought a good fight but finally I went with them but prayed all the way to the island.
We arrived safe and sound at the Captain’s Reef House hotel. He had about 10 guests who were all divers. The water was crystal clear and we chose to go swimming right away. Chuck didn’t go but Joe and I went in the water after the captain assured us there were no sharks in these waters. We were beginning to have some fun for the first time since we had left Dallas. Joe and I were both raised in the country and had never spent any time around the ocean or for that matter anywhere else except Kerens, Texas and Round Prairie, Texas.
We finally had enough swimming and started wading out of the water when Joe let out a big howl and grabbed his foot. He had stepped on a sea urchin and was in some kind of pain. It had stuck him in his big toe and he was rolling around on the ground asking everyone around what had bit him and what to do about the pain. Some guy about 20 years old told Joe to pee on it and that made Joe very angry and he told the guy to go to hell and if he cracked another smart ass joke he would deck him. Then the fellow told him he worked for the Captain as a dive instructor and that the urine would stop the pain. Joe then went into the bath and sure enough the urine stopped 90% of the pain.
The next day was our last, so the captain arranged for a boat to come take us out for some saltwater fishing. We first went into the mangroves and chummed with some fiddler crab and began to catch a variety of fish which included small snook, and I think a bone fish or two. I had taught Chuck how to fish a Garcia reel some 10 years before but he developed a very bad habit of letting the mono line run on his left index finger right in the bend. He of course turned the reel handle with his right hand. Even though I had told him 100s of times not to do that he said he had a better feel using his finger. Well, you guessed it…. A big barracuda grabbed his bait and in less than a second had run off 10 feet of line before Chuck even knew he had a fish. The only problem was the fish had smoked Chuck’s left index finger, cutting it all the way down to the bone. Oh my did the blood flow and Chuck’s clothes had turned a bright red in only a few seconds.
Chuck never said a word as he sat holding pressure on his finger. I wanted so bad to tell him “I told you this would happen” but I didn’t. We returned to the Reef House for some first aid and to get the blood stopped. We went ahead and had lunch and then the captain said we would try something else in the afternoon. I know that he was thinking these country bumpkins are just plain stupid and I will be glad to get rid of them before they kill themselves.
That afternoon we went out on a bigger boat and started trolling. I don’t know what kind of fish we were after but I didn’t care as long as they would bite and I could have something pull on my line and bend my rod. I got my wish just 5 minutes after we started fishing. Something smacked my lure hard and I set the hook and the battle was on! At least it was on for a good maybe 10 seconds. Then I couldn’t feel anything pulling, just some kind of heavy feeling with no rod bend. I kept reeling until I pulled into the boat a head of a fish with my lure in his mouth. Something bit that fish half in two and we all just stood there silently looking at this fish head. Joe said it must have been a shark that bit the fish in two and I said “No, the Captain said there are no sharks in these waters.” Chuck then told us he had seen about 15 sets of shark teeth and jaws on a fence at the reef house. Joe and I just looked at one another thinking we had been swimming in the water with those toothy creatures all around.
We started trolling again but with less enthusiasm than before as we were getting the feeling it might be time to go home. We trolled for about another hour when Joe came up to me with a big smile on his face and asked me how I felt. I said just fine; how about you? Then Joe turned around and started upchucking over the side of the boat. He just kept on heaving and heaving over and over and I thought here is this tough rowdy ranch foreman, who breaks horses for a living and bulldogs cows, pale as a sheet and down on his knees. At that very moment I knew it was time to put this bad adventure to an end as soon as possible
The next morning we caught a flight back to San Pedro Sula where we departed for Dallas about noon. We all were completely worn out, disappointed, and glad to be heading back to the good OLE USA.
I hope you enjoyed this Ron Speed Misadventure. It goes to show that not all fishing trips are successful. But do you think I’d trade this experience for the comfort, safety, and boredom of a week back home? Forget it!
Good luck with your fishing and wear that lifejacket.