I guarantee you have never heard a fishing tale like this:
There are many of you out there who do not believe in Bigfoot, aliens, werewolves, vampires, and such; but I am here to tell that they do exist. If you “do not believe,” then put the book down and give it up, because what you are about to hear is a virtual hair-raising experience that I was eye witness to while night fishing in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.
Tulum, Mexico, is an ancient Mayan city that thrived between the 13th and 15th century and is located on the Yucatan peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo. This location was one of the last of the Mayan cities to prevail during the Spanish occupation which had brought the country despair, disease and eventual extinction; and it is also one of the most well preserved ruins in the world. During a trip to Cancun, my wife and I decided to visit the historical excavation which is a just a short three hour drive from the touristy chain-food riddled resort. We would camp out, study, and of course, fish the beautiful turquoise waters of this mystical site.
We were not disappointed with what we found. This amazing archeological site, which has yet to be totally unearthed, put us into a trance. Our tour guide told us that Tulum was once occupied by about 1500 people who had built the enormous wall that protected the fortress on the steep hills facing the ocean (an enormous accomplishment for this amount of people). The town imported salt and textiles through its port, while exporting copper and feather artwork to its trading partners for subsistence. We could not believe that this once thriving, pyramid-occupied civilization had been built by a miniscule tribe in the middle of the jungle.
During the evening after we set up camp, an assorted group of tourist, 60’s-like hippies, locals, and myth finders, gathered around a campfire to indulge in the fine art of story telling, while consuming the mind bending spirits derived from the blue agave plant: a substance better know as tequila. We were told by our guide that Mexican law states that the word tequila, is an internationally protected exclusive namesake and that anyone, anywhere in the world, who uses the term, is liable to lawsuit. Furthermore, tequila can only be produced in the state of Jalisco and other limited regions of Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit, and Tamaulipus.
With this in mind, my wife and I sat back and took part in the consumption of a jug of the potent elixir, which was being passed around from person to person, and which also had been distilled by our camp guide. As I listened to the tales that my fellow explorers told, I realized that my senses had suddenly become very acute. I looked into the crackling fire and watched as the embers seemingly danced above it. The sounds of the jungle became music-like and I was falling into a trance. For a moment, I snapped out of it and became cognizant that I was beginning to hallucinate from the potent homebrew; and then just as quick, I was back into Fantasia. The jug was passed to a bearded, rather raggedy looking fellow sitting next to me that looked like Robinson Caruso. He lifted the jug above his head and took a stealthy swig. “I have a tale to tell you all, and I do not doubt that most of you will blow it off as ballyhoo from an old hippie,” he said. “But as God is my witness, I swear that this is the truth ─ and I would suggest that you all take caution tonight before you go to sleep.”
The man had gotten our attention and a moment of complete silence in the jungle was shattered by the shrill screech of a howler monkey which made all of us jump. “Let me begin,” he said. “I have been living in this jungle and amongst these mysterious pyramids since the end of the Vietnam War, and I will tell you this: I have seen things which cannot be explained. I have been eye witness to aliens, UFO’s, and the Sasquatch of the Yucatan, but they have never scared me like the creature which I about to describe. This monstrosity that I speak of is called the Chupacabra.” I peered into the man’s crystal blue-green eyes, saw his pupils go pin-point, and then wondered what he was on. “What is a Chupacbra?” I asked.
“Be patient young man for you shall know sooner than you think,” he said. “Chupar, is the Spanish verb meaning “to suck, and cabra, is the Spanish word for goat.”
“To suck a goat? What is that supposed to mean?” I asked.
“I shall tell you if you can keep quiet and let me finish, my friend,” he said. “The Chupacabra is the most grotesque creature which roams this earth: the animal is neither wolf, bear, nor dog, but rather a combination of the three. It is a mange looking disgusting life form that carries a row of blade-like spines from its neck to its tale, has the teeth of a jackal, and subsists on the blood of its prey ─ mainly livestock, but especially goats. The species has been seen in Puerto Rico, Chile, Russia, and the Philippines, but the largest ones are those that prowl the ruins of the Yucatan. I myself was attacked by one while night fishing in Tulum and I pray to God that none of you ever set your eyes upon one.”
“What do you mean you were attacked by one while fishing?” an old, grey-haired woman who sat directly opposite from the man asked the story teller.
“Just what I said young lady,” he told her. “It was about midnight and I had just heaved my bait into the ocean when I heard the most fiendish howl that ever penetrated my ear. The howl was that of a wolf being burning at the gates of Hades, and indeed, it got my attention. I took my spirits and indulged in a mighty heave to calm my nerves and then sat down in the sand, looked up at the full moon, and watched my line for a bite. It was shortly thereafter that the beast attacked. I was grabbed by the back of my neck by a force that does not exist on this earth. There was the repulsive sound of my bones crunching, blood gushed from my wound, and then I passed out; but not before seeing the eyes of the red-eyed beast from hell: a sight that I wish I could forget, but cannot ─ despite my affection for tequila. With this I bid you adieu,” my friends, “it is well past my time of sleep and the spirits have made me drowsy. Good night, sleep tight, and beware the Chupacabra doesn’t bite.” And with that he lifted his rickety body and walked off into the jungle.
We all sat in the circle around the blaze and nobody spoke for five minutes and then I finally broke the silence. “That guy is full of shit,” I told the group. “He has taken more drugs than Timothy Leary. And to prove to you that he is a fraud, I plan on fishing tonight: it is full moon and I will catch my limit, and tomorrow night we will have a fish fry.”
“Just be careful my avid angler,” the old woman said. “You never know about these things.”
“Nonsense,” I said. “Take an Ambien pill and go to sleep: I will protect you from this silly Chupacabra.”
I stormed off to my tent to get my gear with my wife in hot pursuit. “C’mon Gary,” she said, “we have had a lot to drink and I’m tired; let’s get some sleep.”
“Bullshit,” I said. “I came here to get some fishing in and I’m not going to let some long-haired reject from the Vietnam War scare me with some Grimm fairy tale that he has concocted while under the influence of tequila. You can go to sleep, but I am going to drown a few worms.”
“Good luck: knock yourself out,” she said.
I gathered my gear and headed to the beach under the shadows of the Pyramid El Castillo (the castle); the Temple of the Frescoes; and the Temple of the Descending Gods, all magnificent sites which under the circumstances gave me a good case of the willies. But I was not about to be frightened by the figment of someone’s imagination. I reached the beach, placed my lawn chair in the sand, and then in a mighty tequila-fueled burst of energy, heaved my surf caster with the fury of Zeus. I sat down in my chair and took it all in; the full moon, the jungle, the pyramids ─ the scene was surreal. Just as I was about to close my eyes for a moment of rest, I heard a blood curdling howl emanating from the jungle directly behind me. “What the f… was that?” I said out loud. And then, as if on clue, the tip of my surfcaster went down and the drag on my reel began to hum. “Fish on,” I shouted to the moon as I took the rod from the holder and set the hook. I tried to slow the fish down from making a run outward, but he would have none of it. Three separate 30-40 yards runs were ripped off the reel before he showed any signs of tiring. During this epic battle I had completely forgotten about the howling from the jungle because my adrenaline had trumped every fear. The fish was about 25 yards from the coast, when he penetrated the water with a massive leap in an unsuccessful attempt to shake the hook. I could tell by the rounded off snout and the top dorsal fins that it was a giant Dorado. Reaching into the reservoir of my remaining strength I worked the fish to the shoreline and pulled it up to the beach. Standing above it I marveled at the magnificent colors of the Dorado as they sparkled radiantly in the moonlight: never before had I seen such a sight. But my nirvana was short lived.
I heard a rustling from behind me, and then a growl. The black foul-breathed monster knocked me flat on my back into a supine position and had stunned my senses, but through my blurred vision I could see the red eyes of the devil and also the blade-like spine that the hippie had detailed in his story. The stench of the creature had me on the verge of vomit, but I held tight trying to not show fear as he eyeballed me. He leapt at me for a strike and I feared all was lost, but his leap carried over my body and he gripped the Dorado into his powerful jaws. With that, he turned, and vanished back into the jungle from whence he came.
I returned to camp pale-faced and in a state of shock. “Gary, where have you been? It’s nearly four in the morning,” my wife asked.
“I have seen the devil,” I said.
“Hand me the tequila, and I shall tell you a tale that I do not doubt you will blow of as ballyhoo fro...”
G.O. Fishin': Tall Tales from the Tackle box