"We the people..." It was last June, and I was flipping the pages of the weekly fish rag, when I spied an advertisement for the sportboat, Constitution. In the ad, they had posted their schedule for this Winter's season, when the boat would be running trips out of Puerto Vallarta again. Last year, around this same November time frame, I did a trip to Guadalupe Island. The 30 hour boat ride from San Diego, going & coming, was a bit of a turn-off. When I got back from that trip, I told myself we would have been better off taking a three hour plane ride, and chasing larger tuna in a warmer climate. Constitution is the only operation I know of who runs "open party" trips. You or me, as a lone angler, or part of a small group, can choose to jump aboard, selecting from a choice of trips, when the boat is not privately chartered. I chose the trip being sponsored by the Melton Tackle Shop. Melton's is a big time boat outfitter in Orange County, California. I contacted Nicole in the boat's office, and sent in a deposit. Tick-tock, tick-tock. Start the countdown clock. Fast forward to the week before the trip. It appeared that I would be leaving fish, to look for fish. Just sixty miles from San Diego, at San Clemente Island, the blue fin tuna had been putting on a show all summer, saving their best performances for the periods around the New and Full moons. Comparing the two trips is like comparing apples with oranges. but my buddies couldn't help but question my choice. Totally different experiences, I explained to them, even if the end result, a captured tuna, is the same. Friday night I arrived without a suitcase. Just a small backpack with some clothes, and a toothbrush. And a cooler. Constitution had everything else I needed, waiting for me on the boat. The airport was deserted, as were the streets around town. No lines at the half-filled restaurants. Looked like early November is a good time to enjoy the weather, and avoid the crowds. Taxi dropped me off at the Paradise Village Yacht Club. A young man came running from the boat to let me in thru the marina gate. I assumed he was part of the crew and handed him my cooler to carry. We got to the boat, and I asked him where to stow it. He said he didn't know, he didn't work here. I apologized and asked him his name. "Jason", he says. Turns out he's the Melton representative, and he wants to welcome me aboard. That's cool. Stashed my gear, and started introducing myself around. First gent I run into is a handsome devil. Tells me he is Marco, from Monterrey. Not the one near Pebble Beach. The one in Mexico. Marco introduces me to his cousin, Monica. Monica introduces me to her cousin, Gabriel. Gabriel introduces me to his cousin, Armando. Mi primos. The latter three flew in from Texas to be here. There is another gang of four in the stern. Mike is their leader. He bears a striking resemblance to the actor Patrick Stewart, who played Capt. Jean Luc Picard of the star ship, Enterprise. I kept waiting for Mike to utter the classic line, "Make it so Number One", but he never did. Mike introduces me his posse. He's got Jay, and Paul, joining him from his home state of Colorado. He's imported a buddy from Illinois. I called him Chicago Steve. All cool dudes. Last man left standing is Will. Somebody told me he was a dentist from Los Angeles. I just called him "Doc". The Captain is Keith Denette. He comes down from the wheelhouse to say hello and welcome me aboard. Asks me if I'm ready. "Vamanos!!", I reply. We got underway, and the second ticket came down to introduce himself, and give us a seminar covering the various safety and procedural systems that we'll be operating under the next three days. His name is Chase Pymm. He's a young man, but as I would observe, a young man wise beyond his years. I don't know where Keith dug him out of the ground, but Chase is a rock solid golden nugget. At the conclusion of the seminar, Chase introduces us to the rest of his crew. The head pirate, and jefe of the crew is Capt. Luis Lazo Cruz. He's a bit of a tough... nut to crack, but he's a gold mine in his own way, and at the end of the three days, I felt like I had made a new friend. Young Chef Pepe is in the galley. Always smiling, I enjoyed his enthusiasm, and his passion. He did a fine job for us. Crewmen Martin' and Temo' are rigging up rods & reels on the back deck, and put in long hours of strong, hard work on our behalf the entire journey, from start to finish. An aperitif. A dinner. A nightcap. Dreamland.