Finally back home after whirlwind back-to-back Marlin University sessions at Tropic Star Lodge in Panama and in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – and they just about wore me out. I had a bit of a cold when I left Orlando, and after all the stress of traveling and then standing in the chilly rain one day in Panama, by the time I got to Cabo, I was bone-tired and pretty sick. I felt pretty good the first day of fishing, but by about noon on the second day, I went down hard. I got pretty weak while rigging up some circle-hook ballyhoo for the students and had to excuse myself and go lie down on the salon floor for few minutes – something I never do. Those few minutes turned into a few hours. Every time I tried to get up, I’d last about five minutes before having to lie back down. And no, it wasn’t a hangover or seasickness. One of the fellas on the trip offered up a Z pack of antibiotics, so I swallowed the first two that night, hoping they would kick in by the next day.
On the third day, I woke up not feeling any better and decided that I should stay back and not risk making things worse. The guys understood, so I got to take the day off and I slept until noon. I woke up with a ravenous hunger (I hadn’t eaten much over the previous three days) and still felt crappy, so I called my buddy Tony Berkowitz and asked him to take me to the best carnitas (pork) tacos in town. He said that he knew just the place, and we were off.
I’d never been too far up into town, so the trip up the hill was a bit of an eye-opener. Cabo turns into a nice little city once you get off the tourist strip, with all the usual mom-and-pop businesses you’d expect to see stateside.
I was still in a bit of a haze when we pulled up to the taco place, but I was ready to eat some pork. Tony ordered up a bunch of stuff, and in about four seconds, the food started coming. The first item, a small cup of the best pinto beans I’ve ever eaten – sorry, Mom – probably saved my life. The rich bean broth had chunks of pork rinds floating in it, the same kind we eat out of the bag. They get nice and soft floating in the bean juice. Next came a plate of fried pork cracklings and pile of soft, pulled pork for our tacos. I don’t know if it was because I was so weak and hungry after not eating for a couple of days or what, but I ate myself right back into a coma. By the time Berkowitz dropped me back off, I could barley keep my eyes open and went down again.
Luckily, the Z pack kicked in after 48 hours, and on the fourth day of fishing, I felt about 80 percent better – a vast improvement – so I went fishing again. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring much luck to the fellas I was fishing with. We had at least four shots at marlin during the day and missed every one of them. We even goofed a couple of live-bait bites that I was certain were going to result in a hookup. But that’s why they call it fishing, I guess. All I know is I was sure glad that that Z pack had killed whatever crawled on me before I started all that traveling – and I was sure glad to finally get home and hug the kiddies.
Oh, and don’t buy a snow globe and try to travel with it. I bought one the size of a large marble for my little girl, and the TSA confiscated it in Dallas on my return trip. Seriously, a Texas peewee-size snow globe.