Not A Report...

Rodless_Jim

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 3, 2008
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Mexico, DF, Mexico
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Jim
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...of the Ken Bush Custom Rods/Tuna Chasers 8-Day on the Intrepid. I am trying to put down my thoughts in some kind of coherent manner, but until I am a little closer to remembering how it went, I won't start that thread. I find that much of the trip was just a blur. And as someone in the military might say, I have no excuse, but I do have a reason.

There were a few people on board who knew this. Ken was one, my roommate JWFogg was another. The day before Intrepid pulled out of the harbor, one of my friends was abducted here in Mexico City. By that, I mean that he was kidnapped for ransom. As the kidnappers demanded, his family kept silent about it...until an unscrupulous newspaper went public with the story. That happened on Tuesday, day three of the trip, and the day after we hit the yellowtail hard inshore. I found out late at night, about 11:00 pm.

The newspaper reported the kidnapping, but also claimed that my friend had been released unharmed. That wasn't true. He was still being held, and no one had any idea at that time where he was. So why did the newspaper publish their story? They had a scoop that would sell many thousands of newspapers. They knew that if they went public, there was a very good chance that the kidnappers would just kill my friend and disappear into the sewers. But if they waited, they risked not getting the scoop. So they invented the part that my friend had been released. This way, they could claim that they intended no harm...that the victim was safe, so why not publish?

It was a lie, and a very cynical one. And the kidnappers came very damned close to cutting their losses and dumping my friend's body in some rural neighborhood. But they were greedy, which turned out to be their undoing.

Anyway, I only found out about the kidnapping many hours after the newspaper published its story, and the first thing I saw was another mutual friend saying (on WhatsApp) that the newspaper story wasn't true...he was still missing.

Let me backtrack a second. The man who was kidnapped is Julián de Nicolás. He is a friend, yes. More importantly, he is the brother of one of my closest Mexican friends, Eustaquio de Nicolás, whose friends call him Tato.

Anyway, it was Tato who told his circle of close friends that Julián was still missing. That was the situation when I found out. And I freaked out. I really needed to talk to someone, but there was no one around so I went up to the pilot house. Chad had the watch, and I told him. I also asked that he keep it quiet for the time being. The next day I told Ken and JW.

At that point I went into a kind of autopilot. I was on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I am not connected to any kind of law enforcement. At that time, I didn't even have any details about how the kidnapping took place...just that it had. And it happened pretty close to where I live.

I decided that what I should do was offer emotional support, which I did, and then act as if nothing was wrong. My friends were watching the Intrepid reports, they are FANATICAL anglers...maybe I could distract them with my fishing exploits.

I don't think it worked for them; I know it didn't work for me. Yes, I fished, and I did pretty well. For about 5 or 10 minutes at a time, I could forget about what was going on. But I was expecting terrible news pretty much for four days. It totally ruined a lot of the trip...even when things were going well, they weren't.

On the morning of the next to last day, I found out that Julián was safe. The kidnappers were planning to collect the ransom, and then kill him anyway. Instead, he escaped on his own and called the police. The entire gang was arrested over the next few days...the happiest ending I could have imagined. His whole family is traumatized, of course, but we are planning to have both Tato and Julián for dinner at our house next Friday, trying for some normalcy.

Anyway, in relation to the trip report I sincerely intended to write, I am going to give it a shot. I have already started, in fact. But the reality is that, while I remember certain hours and stops quite well...even specific baits or casts...the general sense of the trip is lost to me, from Day 3 to Day 6. I can write about what happened before I found out, and what happened after we got the good news, but I am really not sure I can write about those three awful days in the middle...even if that was when I caught the winning wahoo.

By the way, I think the smile was genuine. I only have a very vague recollection of Kevin even taking that photo...what I remember most was that I wasn't standing where he wanted me to be, and he had to tell me three times to move. Heck of a way to win a jackpot...
 

NaplesJohn

Never Forget 343
Jun 9, 2010
651
596
93
Port Aransas, TX, USA
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John
Boat
Wilderness Systems T-160...and just sold the boat!!!
Wow...I know of another family that went through a similar situation, in a bulk kidnapping scenario. Some got out....some did not. Stay safe amigo....
 

BirdnestBill

Farmer
Jan 7, 2010
331
167
43
61
La Guaira Bank, Los Roques, Eastern Pacific
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Bill
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Porque' No?
Jim, there have been threads discussing whether or not one would like to know if there's a tragedy at home while they're out on a trip. Some say yes. Others say no. It's an interesting topic.

In hindsight, are you glad you you knew about your friend or now would've preferred to be in the dark until you returned to the dock?

Whatever the case, glad to know it all ended well and you always have your next trip to look forward to!
 

Bill W

tunaholic
Jan 12, 2006
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Bill Walsh
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Wow Jim, that would scramble anyone's head. Sad and glad...
 
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Vibora

Member
Aug 18, 2011
436
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Adam
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Yes
I'm glad there was a positive outcome in this situation . Far too common to have these things go the other way.

News of that nature would ruin anyone's fishing trip.

Just curious, which organization are the heavy hitters controlling that area , BLO , CDG ?

Keep your head on a swivel and stay .
 

ZHALVAJE

Well-Known "Member"
Sep 2, 2007
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Which one is killing fish?
Wow what a story! Glad that things worked for your friend and his family.
 

feeder

I gaff sardines....
Jun 20, 2006
277
54
28
Too far inland
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Greg
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Intrepid
Glad to hear your friend is safe Jim. Must have been a nightmare to be that far away without any information. Hope you get to go see your friend and share a nice meal with him.

That entire gang needs to be snuffed out like the cockroaches they are. Complete wastes of human lives.
 

26grumpy

who hooked who
Sep 24, 2006
9,340
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Anaheim Hills
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Joe
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Freefrom Boats Club
Sorry in advance for what I'm about to write. I should just say nothing but something compels me to write this reply.

You may want to re-read what you wrote and do some editing because what you wrote sounds like uncontrolled whining about your experience. You go into great detail about how your knowledge of your friends traumatic event spoiled your fishing trip...yes...that's how it sounds although I know that was not your intention. I simply thought you would value a readers perspective and help avoid negative responses much like mine.

As an aside....

I can only imagine the grief our military members feel when they find out about a life-changing event back home and they're stuck in the middle of Hell's fury for months on end. They suck it up and deal with it and don't let it affect their job I imagine.

I hope you're living there by yourself and you don't have a wife you're putting in harms way. Your friends nightmare should be a big red flag for you to reassess the value of your own life and the trauma your close family and friends would suffer if the same thing needlessly happened to you.

Gangs? Killings? Kidnapping? Escape? Sewers? Time to reassess Jim, Hemmingway would have.

Again, sorry for my words because I know my words could easily be construed as heartless and un-caring to your grief of which I truly feel are genuine.

In closing, what happened to your friend is epic Hollywood movie material with a happy ending. What happened to you....not so much.
 

beavisjohn

Newbie
May 20, 2009
15
6
3
north hollywood ca usa
Name
john prendergast
Boat
royal polaris
Sorry in advance for what I'm about to write. I should just say nothing but something compels me to write this reply.

You may want to re-read what you wrote and do some editing because what you wrote sounds like uncontrolled whining about your experience. You go into great detail about how your knowledge of your friends traumatic event spoiled your fishing trip...yes...that's how it sounds although I know that was not your intention. I simply thought you would value a readers perspective and help avoid negative responses much like mine.

As an aside....

I can only imagine the grief our military members feel when they find out about a life-changing event back home and they're stuck in the middle of Hell's fury for months on end. They suck it up and deal with it and don't let it affect their job I imagine.

I hope you're living there by yourself and you don't have a wife you're putting in harms way. Your friends nightmare should be a big red flag for you to reassess the value of your own life and the trauma your close family and friends would suffer if the same thing needlessly happened to you.

Gangs? Killings? Kidnapping? Escape? Sewers? Time to reassess Jim, Hemmingway would have.

Again, sorry for my words because I know my words could easily be construed as heartless and un-caring to your grief of which I truly feel are genuine.

In closing, what happened to your friend is epic Hollywood movie material with a happy ending. What happened to you....not so much.
 

Rodless_Jim

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 3, 2008
2,783
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Jim
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Jim, there have been threads discussing whether or not one would like to know if there's a tragedy at home while they're out on a trip. Some say yes. Others say no. It's an interesting topic.

In hindsight, are you glad you you knew about your friend or now would've preferred to be in the dark until you returned to the dock?
I've seen those discussions. This has actually happened to me twice, and in a bizarre coincidence, not only were both Intrepid trips, but both times it happened on the very same charter. Two years ago, while we were still three days out of port, I got a call that my father was dying. I flew to Tampa as soon as we got back, and was able to be with him before he passed.

To answer the question as best I can, I suppose I could say that I would prefer not to know. On both occasions I felt totally helpless, and knowing the bad news certainly put a damper on the fishing experience. Even so, I am not that kind of guy. I don't think I let my situation affect my behavior, though it obviously affected my own mindset.

In any case it's a moot point for me. I will always be in contact while I am out on trips. Most of the time, that's a good thing. Bad news comes when it comes, and it hurts you no matter what you are doing or where. In this case, my circle of Mexican angling friends were all very interested in my trip. They wanted to share the experience vicariously, see photos, etc. We have a group on WhatsApp over which we communicate pretty much every day. That news was all over the group when it came out, and there was no way I could have avoided hearing about it.
 

Rodless_Jim

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 3, 2008
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Wow...I know of another family that went through a similar situation, in a bulk kidnapping scenario. Some got out....some did not. Stay safe amigo....
Whatever the case, glad to know it all ended well and you always have your next trip to look forward to!
THANK GOD
Wow Jim, that would scramble anyone's head. Sad and glad...
I'm glad there was a positive outcome in this situation . Far too common to have these things go the other way.

News of that nature would ruin anyone's fishing trip.
Wow what a story! Glad that things worked for your friend and his family.
Keeps life in perspective…….glad it had a good ending.
Glad to hear your friend is safe Jim. Must have been a nightmare to be that far away without any information. Hope you get to go see your friend and share a nice meal with him.
Thanks all for the words of...would you say "support?" Anyway, thanks.
 

Rodless_Jim

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 3, 2008
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Jim
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Just curious, which organization are the heavy hitters controlling that area , BLO , CDG ?

Keep your head on a swivel and stay .
There is no known group or cartel that is active in kidnapping for profit in Mexico City. In other parts of Mexico, yes, but not here. In any case, this wasn't orchestrated by any significant criminal organization as such...though I guess you could safely call them a gang of sorts.

The guy in charge of this is a career criminal who is actually already in prison. He planned and directed the kidnapping from his cell! He also happens to be the brother of a woman who worked for Julián in the Homex office in Polanco, a swanky upscale neighborhood close to where we live, and where we frequently go to eat. She was a trusted employee, and Julián had done a great deal to help her improve her life.

ASIDE: That is the one part of this that truly boggles my mind. This is a person who had been consigned to life's scrap heap, but through the kindness of a good man had found a new career and a new life. What does she do? She gives the highly detailed information necessary to her brother, so that they can kidnap...and in all likelihood, murder...the man who gave her the biggest break she ever had in her life. "Ungrateful" doesn't even begin to cover it. Though I hear now that her own brother had threatened her life and those of her children, so who the heck knows?

Anyway, this was certainly a collection of violent criminals who knew each other and had committed crimes together in the past. In that sense, they were a "gang." They were not, however, from (or connected to) any great criminal enterprise. They just saw an opportunity to collect a huge ransom from a man who comes from a wealthy family.

In the wider picture, the Mexican Government has done a pretty good job of cracking down on this kind of crap in and around the capital. The true criminal enterprise that engages in kidnapping in Mexico are the Zetas, who operate in the Eastern part of the country, as well as along the border with the US.

Ironically, my angling and hunting friends (including Julián and his family) are from Sinaloa, home of the Sinaloa Cartel (and the infamous Chapo Guzman). They live in Culiacan, the state capital. And Culiacan (along with Los Mochis and Mazatlan) are all actually very safe and wonderful places to visit. The cartel doesn't stand for open warfare on their home turf, and unless you really go looking for trouble, you won't find any there. I never have, and I have been there quite often!

Mexico City has plenty of street crime such as you'll find in most any large city. Given the population of more than 30,000,000 people and the rampant poverty, it's no surprise that in sheer numbers, there is quite a lot of crime. But in relative terms, it's little different from Chicago, and probably better than Detroit.

Over the course of 7+ years here, I have found that being a little mindful of what you do or where you go is more than enough to keep you safe. And I, of course, don't have the kind of money to tempt even the most desperate kidnappers.
 

Rodless_Jim

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 3, 2008
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I hope you're living there by yourself and you don't have a wife you're putting in harms way.
I came to Mexico City with my wife primarily to care for my octogenarian mother-in-law. My wife works for the Mexican Government. I am a consultant and a bit of a house husband. As I stated in my previous post, the perception of the grave danger in Mexico is vastly overstated. We are not targets for crime, though as a public persona, my wife has been the target of the occasional rumor in the press. Since she is a person of real integrity (I like to think we both are), that hasn't amounted to much. Even so, politics in this country are very dirty, and I need to stay out of the public eye just for caution's sake.

I take your meaning, Joe, but I don't think you have an accurate picture of our life here. One reason why this was such a blow was because where we live, it really is an anomaly.

If what I wrote came across as whining, I apologize sincerely. My actual purpose was to share with this community what happened and how it affected my fishing trip. Also to explain one reason why I am having trouble recalling this trip in the same detail as I have done for previous trips. I wanted to write a trip report, and I am actually trying to do so...but as I said in my first post, a lot of it is kind of a blur.

Of course, that just may be age catching up with me...or even early-onset Alzheimers...
 

Halfprice

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Aug 10, 2006
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Jerry
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Red Rooster 111
Wow Jim what a story. I'm really glad everything turned out good for your friend. I know this must have caused you a lot of stress on your trip. I think you need another trip to relax. Be safe my friend.

Jim I think those who know you would not think you were whining. No apology need from what I read.

Jerry
 
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Bill W

tunaholic
Jan 12, 2006
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Life changing events happen... No matter where you are or what you are doing. Finality of a relative or close friend happens and there is nothing you can do. Happened to me in Antartica with the death of my father back home on Christmas Day in 1978. In a way it is better to be away.

Certainly everyone handles these things in their own way and I appreciate Jim sharing this here... Also appreciate the follow up as my imagination of life in Mexico has been shaped by the media coverage of the cartel and corruption with your story would shape a misguided life view in Mexico City.
 
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otownjoe

rail hugger
Mar 6, 2012
261
83
28
Orlando
Name
Joe
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big one with a high rail
Jim, thanks for your post.i did not see it as whining.after reading all the buildup and your excitment prior to the trip i was looking foward to your report.now i know why we didnt get one.
 

Rodless_Jim

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 3, 2008
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Jim, thanks for your post.i did not see it as whining.after reading all the buildup and your excitment prior to the trip i was looking foward to your report.now i know why we didnt get one.
Ummmm Joe? What happened to you? We waited at the dock for quite a while before we left. Are you OK?
 

Vibora

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Aug 18, 2011
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Good info Jim. And you're correct on the street crime. I could roll through certain parts of San Diego or LA and find trouble if I were to look for it.

A little knowledge on the demographic in a given area and situational awareness can keep us safe for the most part.

Oh, and not walking around with all your bling and costly designer clothes that scream " yo , check me out, I have a wad of cash and hefty bank account, so feel free to roll me in back alley ".
 

26grumpy

who hooked who
Sep 24, 2006
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Even so, politics in this country are very dirty, and I need to stay out of the public eye just for caution's sake.
Wise.

I met up with some close American friends in a small town in Mexico. The Mayor of the town was my connection to the story. We had Dorado at the mouth of the harbor and 30-40# Yellowfin on the troll as many as you wanted for days on end, it was epic fishing and snorkeling and the locals were overly hospitable. We planned a little cook-out in our hotel room one night. The locals showed up with 4 or 5 camping stoves, pots and pans and everything you could need for a seafood feast, they insisted they do all the cooking and clean-up. I was taken back by their graciousness and tried many times to respond in kind.

So here I am in this totally cool scene surrounded by 5 buddies and 15 locals (they had to come they told their wives...the gringos are in town! More likely an excuse to get out of the house for night I suspect :)) laughing and drinking and chowing down on Tuna, Dorado 3 ways, lobster and scallops. Most of these guys we had just spent days with fishing our balls off, it's one of those moments you try to burn into your head.

So right in the middle of our soiree my bombastic buddy with a law degree blurts out to one of the coolest guys you'll ever meet, " So.....are ya' PRI or PAN?"

The room went so quiet all I could hear was the hiss of white gas camp stoves. After a few seconds the conversation picked back up. After a few minutes my drunken clueless buddy asked the same question. This time his comment was glossed over and the conversation continued. About 20 minutes later, Javier comes over to my foolish buddy and says, "See those two brothers over there? They just told me they want to stab you for starting shit intentionally or un-intentionally. You see, we don't talk politics because there is a bitter battle going on between the Mayor's Party (our connection in town) and the wealthy Rancher father of those two guys."

Nothing happened but a lesson was learned. I asked Javi a couple days later what that was all about. He said it's generational and highly impassioned. You can be best friends with each other if you never ever talk politics.

Thank you for your respectful reply Jim. It was duly noted.
 

Rodless_Jim

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 3, 2008
2,783
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Jim
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Thank you for your respectful reply Jim. It was duly noted.
My mother was a farm-raised girl from Hamilton, Ohio. She did her best to teach me to keep an open mind and be respectful. I don't think it stuck very well, but I try.
 

reellady

I'd rather be catching TUNA
Aug 26, 2011
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fresno, ca usa
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donna
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reel lady
Jim, respect to you for posting, never thought of it as 'whining". Sometimes a person shows their own true feelings and someone has to stomp on it. DISREGARD
 

26grumpy

who hooked who
Sep 24, 2006
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Joe
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Jim, respect to you for posting, never thought of it as 'whining". Sometimes a person shows their own true feelings and someone has to stomp on it. DISREGARD
Like fine wine Donna!! LOL

 

otownjoe

rail hugger
Mar 6, 2012
261
83
28
Orlando
Name
Joe
Boat
big one with a high rail
Jim , i stopped at my dads on he way to the airport. he had to be rushed to the hospital. i spent the next week with him in the hospital.he is doing fine now and a full recovery is expected.i was lucky it happened when it did. if i had been on the boat already the out come could have been much different.im sorry the boat was delayed because i didnt call.Joe