National Geographic : 1945 Feb
214 Beginner's Luck: His First Catch with a Rod Photographer Stewart caught this two-foot robalo, or snook, with the author's tackle in the Playas River. A fighter, the robalo pounced on the lure, though the line was tangled by a backlash. Mr. Stewart found his catch quite palatable. The tropic robalo occurs in salt and fresh water on both sides of the Equator. One species lives in Texas and Florida. The blue stripe is its trademark. Playing Hide-and-Seek with "el Tigre" After breakfast the next morning, Dr. Stir ling, Stewart, and I, accompanied by two brothers as guides, started out to search for Pueblo Viejo. Climbing the almost perpen dicular bank directly opposite our camp, we struck out at right angles to the river bed. Walking was relatively easy because the canopy of foliage of this virgin forest was so dense that undergrowth was practically un able to exist. We held a more or less direct course for about one hour, during which time it devel oped that our supposed guides knew no more about the location of the site than we did. Here and there we found machete marks on trees and branches and tried to follow them, but they were evidently made by some wan dering hunter, for they held to no definite course. After another hour we came out on what we supposed at the time to be the river. It did not seem likely that we could have come more than two miles from camp. Since bird life was more abundant along the river than in the deep forest, I decided to leave the party and follow the river back to camp. Just after saying goodbye to my friends, the coughing roar of a jaguar broke the stillness of the jungle, and the jesting admonition from Dr. Stirling was, "Don't let the tigre get you!" As a matter of fact, I hoped to get the tigre myself and add his beautiful spotted coat to my collection of specimens. So, although I had only two buckloads for the 16-gauge double-barreled shotgun, I waded across the river and soon found jaguar tracks in the soft mud of a tapir trail. For about three-quar ters of a mile the trail followed the river and the going was rather easy. I was moving slowly and warily, for I knew I was quite close to the big cat, when the trail led from the forest into a dense, almost The National Geographic Magazine spot from which we were to start our search in the jungle for the ruins of Pueblo Viejo. That night in camp on a broad gravel bar, the subject of conversation among our Mexi can friends seemed to center around el tigre, the jaguar. On practically every spot in the Game trails or on the river's edge where a track would register, the round pads of the big cat had left their marks (Plate XIII). After several stories of the "man-eating" activities of the jaguar were exchanged, the natives rolled up in their blankets, but not until they had gathered a good supply of wood to keep their fire going all night. They also insisted that we keep the gasoline lantern burning to guard against any feline attack.