Experiencing the Great Outdoors

Aaron Cisneros
Experiencing the Great Outdoors
Alaska 2006

Recently, I celebrated my fifteenth birthday, and I can say that I am really blessed to have such wonderful parents that have helped me become what I am today. I am grateful for the opportunities that they have set before me, and I appreciate their "don't give up" attitude towards me attaining a higher education. If it wasn't for my parents, I would not be able to experience the wonderful surprises that have come my way in the world of fishing.

Never in my wildest dreams would I ever think that I would be writing for a fishing magazine; much less travel to different parts of the world to experience the great outdoors. Because of my father's love for the deep blue sea, we usually plan our family vacations around a fishable body of water.

I can remember our fishing trip to Punta Allen like it was yesterday. I was eleven years old when we took a family vacation to Cancun. Part of the fun was to rent a jeep and head for the southern tip of a peninsula to a small fishing village called Punta Allen. My dad had booked a fishing expedition on this tiny village, and Punta Allen was the place where bone, snook, and tarpon fishing were understood to be great. The bones were not huge, but could be found in large numbers.

Little did we know the drive alone would be an adventure in itself. What was supposedly a thirty mile road trip took us over three hours to finally reach our destination. A big problem was when we got a late start, and it got dark on us. If you know your geography down there, you will find that before getting to Punta Allen you have to drive thru the Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve, and the road is none like I have ever seen. The road is very rutted, so driving slow is a must. Since we drove thru the jungle at night, we didn't get to see the beautiful scenery that took our breath away when we made our trek back to Cancun the very next day. The coconut filled uninhabited beaches and the turquoise colored water made the scenery look like a photo out of a travel magazine.

Our accommodations were not that great especially when we are use to sleeping in an air condition room and usually have some kind of bug spray handy to fight off mosquitoes, well not in this place. But, the fishing certainly made up for all of our other disappointments.

We awoke early, met our guide and jumped in a panga heading south for at least forty five minutes. When we arrived at our first fishing destination, an area with a series of tiny islands lined with mangroves, the view was not disappointing at all. The guide stayed with me, and my dad took off on his own. For a good three hours we were on schools of bone fish that cooperated on my spinning gear. I even managed to land a barracuda, a first for me. Our efforts then turned to chasing snook and tarpon, which were hard to locate but fun to explore.

As the day came to a close, it was hard to say good-bye. Just thinking about driving back down the bumpy road made me want to stay in paradise. On our way back, I just about passed out of heat exhaustion. Twice my dad had to assist and dip me in the ocean water to cool me off. By the time we got to the famous swaying Boca Paila Bridge, I started to feel better, especially after seeing all those tarpon swimming under the bridge. This was undoubtedly a trip to remember and make me want to come back again someday.

I also had the privilege of fishing the picturesque waters of Alaska which I wrote about in a previous article. Fishing has taken me to the remote shorelines and sharp rocks of world famous Baffin Bay. This is where my biggest trout came from. That trout got me on the cover of what was Gulf Coast Connections then, now Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine. I want to share something about that cover that I have not shared before. When my dad found out I had made the cover, he hid the magazine before I was able to see it. He went to a frame shop, and had it framed. It so happened that all of my family and close relatives got together for dinner one night, and my dad presented me with my cover shot on a good looking frame. Now that was a special moment for me. Having my uncles, aunts, cousins, and my grandparents present was an event to never forget. I was way too excited and could hardy wait to tell my friends. That cover shot was the beginning of something new and good to come into my life.

The love for the outdoors has taken me to the pristine shorelines of Port Mansfield all the way to down to the snook infested waters of South Bay. The sport has allowed me to meet new people and see things I wish most young people like myself could experience. The awesome sunrises and sunsets on the shallow flats, tailing reds in the backbays of our local waters, to the sharing of laughs on a long wade with friends makes it all worthwhile. If you have a dream, all you need is hope. I for one thank the Lord for opening the door to the great outdoors in my life. Think big, fish hard and good things will come your way.