Merced County Times Newspaper
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Beer Can Opener Caught The Fish

John Derby Headshot
Times Publisher John Derby

I am not sure why I kept the beer can opener.

It was something the local Rotary handed out; however, I am not a beer drinker and had no reason to keep it.

Still it was bright and shiny, and it seemed a shame to throw away, even though today, most beers are flip top and don’t need an opener.

Somehow it ended up in my fishing gear box, the one which I take to Mexico where they still have Pacifico beer in bottles.
It was the third time I had been out fishing and had not even gotten a bite. My fishing box was low on gear because the local fishing store here in Mexico closed during the pandemic. I had a few sinkers but they were all the wrong weight, and as I rigged the hooks, I looked for something which might work as a replacement.

Then the can opener got shuffled to the top of the box. Could it possibly be used as a weight?

It was black and shiny, and it might look like a fish to a fish.

I hooked it on and dropped it to the bottom of the bay with a chunk of octopus as bait. No luck for the first 20 minutes so I attached another hook higher up the line and an even a larger chunk of the octopus.

I had been out about an hour, and I had to get home by noon. I made one more pass of a point on the bay that looked promising.

Bam! Something hit, and it hit hard.

“Was it stuck on the bottom?” I thought to myself. No it yanked back when I tightened the line. And it was a good yank, bending the rod back to the point that I had to let out more line or take the chance of losing the fish and the line.

I played it safe and worked the fish in slowly, not giving it too much line but also keeping the pressure up so it had to work.

The boat motor was in neutral and it almost seemed the fish was pulling the boat to a stand still even through there was a good wind blowing it along.

I worked the fish for 10 minutes and then more, easing it along side the boat. It broke and ran the open water several times, putting up a hell of a good fight.

Then the white of its belly shown up through the dark green water. 
What was it? A Barricuda?

One more flip and it was clear it was a Triggerfish — pound for pound one of the best fighting fish there is in Mexico. It also one of the best tasting fish when it comes to making tacos or Cheviche (fish pickled in lime juice).

I finally reeled it in and flopped it into the boat, not having a net handy.

It was not the largest Trigger I had ever caught, but one of the best fighters for its size.

I started the engine without the Trigger off the hook and headed home. When I got close to my house, there was an island which never seemed to have enough fish. I hung the fish overboard and clipped the hook loose telling it to stick around and fight another day.

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