More Travel, More Travel!

Wow, I haven't blogged in almost a year- that's pretty silly! It's not like I haven't been writing though; in fact, I've been fortunate enough to do so much fishing related travel, writing, and photography since last June that I haven't had any time to contribute to this part of my website. After last year's great trip to Cabo with the military family, I went to the Kona coast off of the Big Island of Hawaii (my fourth year in a row). There I covered the HIBT ( Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament) and did a story for Traveling Sportsman Magazine on big game fishing called Kona By Kayak that can be viewed here http://www.bluewaterjon.com/articles.htm. This same page has the article I wrote about the trip to Cabo; it's called "Mission Accomplished" and it has proven to be one of my most popular articles.
That Kona trip- and the article assignment that followed-forever changed me. Up until that point, I'd been focused on big game kayak fishing exclusively. For the better part of 5 years, I was 100% focused on battling huge fish from kayaks; fighting them and documenting my angling adventures was my main goal. The assignment with Traveling Sportsman required me to perform a dual role-that of am angler and photographer, and over the course of my trip, I became more and more interested in photography. By the time we left the island after 17 glorious days, my obsession with big game kayak fishing had been replaced with a new passion: fishing related photojournalism. Instead of trying to catch the fish on hook and line, it was about trying to capture the fish- and wonderful scenic spots- on film (or compact flash cards, if you want to be precise).

After Kona, it was off to the Amazon, where I visited an incredible river and jungle lodge called Amazonat http://www.amazonat.org/home.php. The owner of this wonderful eco resort was a European fellow who found out about me through my website. He wanted me to help him set up a kayak fishing operation there to add to the exciting activities that his guests could enjoy. It was quite a thrill visiting this legendary region, and I will be writing all about it in my "Places" section of my website soon. One tidbit I will reveal: there was a guide there who took us into the primary rainforest. Within 5 minutes a huge Blue Morpho butterfly the size of a paperback fluttered by us, and then we came within inches of stepping on a viper!By the time we returned to the lodge we'd seen a frisbee sized banana spider get aggro, heard a herd of wild pics almost overtake us ( they're actually one of the the most dangerous animals there) and our guide- whose dad had, it turns out, been mauled by a jaguar- had caught two flies in midair by their wings without apparently harming them, showed them off to us, and sent them on their merry way. Wild stuff! Caiman, piranha, monkeys, capybara, tons of incredible birds, sloths, etc made for an incredibly diverse journey. Since I was being taking video, we brought down Canoe & Kayak's John Bolivar to do the still photography. It was great traveling with him and I learned a lot by watching him work; he came out of that jungle with some amazing shots! We're still looking for the right publication to run the travel piece on that journey. For now, I invite you to look at the promo video that I made for Amazonat. Here's the link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufZ3zgWEmCY&feature=channel_page

Following that action packed summer, it was back to school- you know I teach third grade in Oceanside, CA, right? Here's my web page for my class- you might get a kick out of it http://teacherweb.com/CA/SantaMargarita/Schwartz/. It wasn't long into the fall that I heard about an epic white seabass bite in San Quintin, Baja CA, which is only a 5 hour drive from my house. I was dying to get some cool seabass pics and write a story about it for Pacific Coast Sportfishing, one of the mags that I write a lot for, and so I hastily arranged a quick trip down there, which was well worth it. The fishing was phenomenal! The biggest difficulty I had wasn't catching the fish; in fact, I didn't do any angling- it was finding someone to come down on such short notice.

All the guys that I thought I could rely on were unable to make it, so the trip evolved into a "Please come down and catch fish and I'll pay for everything, all I want to do is take pictures!" type of thing, which was pretty funny. Even when it came to this, I had a hard time finding someone, until Mike from Pacific Coast Bait and Tackle took me up on my offer. We jetted down there and spent all of 4 hours fishing, and ended up with some big bad seabass and a whole slew of pictures and content for an article. You can view the article here- it's called "The Last Angler in The World" http://www.bluewaterjon.com/articles.htm
In addition, I brought the biggest white seabass Mike caught to school and my class and I spent a whole day performing hands-on science activities on it, doing online research, art, writing, dissection, and of course, filleting.

It was a blast, and you can see some pics of that on my second class website, which is really a class blog, here:http://mustanglearning.com/. You'll get a kick out of that too, but have some patience with the grammar on the kids' posts; they have a hard enough time finding the right keys to type with, and I don't give them a ton of time to edit their posts.