What fishes did aboriginal residents of Puerto Penasco Sonora catch and consume??

Roberto

Well Known Member
Two ancient middens of fish remains have been identified and explored by Gifford in 1940's. Follett, in 1957 examined this collection of remains and reported on the probable species the remains came from. The assumption being fishes harvested by the aboriginal residents of Sonora. Now I am confident that at least Joe will be interested in this report and maybe can identify the more obscure names used to identify the fishes. Maybe Moore will come out of hiding. I for one, am going to try to find the middens. Maybe Kenny knows where the Cholla site is. There is more to do in Penasco than consume Tequila.

Based on the remains Follet reports the following among others:

Triakididae - Smoothhounds . Sicklefin Smoothhound, Vernacular name "tiberon Mamon" Sold in fish markets. Caught from shore off rocky points.

Carcharhinidae - Requiem Sharks. pacific sharpnose Shark, venacular "Puro" or cigar.

Serranidae - Basses. Gulf Grouper "baya". Reported to be found in bays and sheltered waters not about rocks.

Mulgilidae - Mullets. "Lisa" Usually taken with spear by native fishermen.

Sparidae - Porgies. "mojarron chino" or 'mojarra garabata" Important fish food.

Sciaenidae - Croakers. " Orange mouth corvina" Caught from the beach or close to shore.
Totuava , totoaba . Abundant along the eastern shore of the gulf. Up to at least 225 pounds. Not shy, goes into shallow waters and is easily speared. when one is speared or hooked others gather around in curiosity!

Girellidae - Nibbblers. "Gulf Opaleye" Found around rocky areas.Edible, not esteemed. .

Balistidae - Triggerfish. "Pez Puerco" Hook and line. Important Food fish in57.

The species reported is based on the presence of bones found in ancient fishing camps. The other information from visiting the sites in 1957. I did omit a report of a child in a scant fishin outfit spotted in Cholla. Now, if you desire, you can discuss or disagree with the names or where they are often caught. Or you can object to my writing style. This information taken from:
TRANSACTIONS OF the San Diego Society of Natural History, Vol. XII, No. 14,pp 279-286 July 12, 1957
Get your copy today !!
 

Stuart

Aye carumba!!!
Staff member
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Two ancient middens of fish remains have been identified and explored by Gifford in 1940's. Follett, in 1957 examined this collection of remains and reported on the probable species the remains came from. The assumption being fishes harvested by the aboriginal residents of Sonora. Now I am confident that at least Joe will be interested in this report and maybe can identify the more obscure names used to identify the fishes. Maybe Moore will come out of hiding. I for one, am going to try to find the middens. Maybe Kenny knows where the Cholla site is. There is more to do in Penasco than consume Tequila.

Based on the remains Follet reports the following among others:

Triakididae - Smoothhounds . Sicklefin Smoothhound, Vernacular name "tiberon Mamon" Sold in fish markets. Caught from shore off rocky points.

Carcharhinidae - Requiem Sharks. pacific sharpnose Shark, venacular "Puro" or cigar.

Serranidae - Basses. Gulf Grouper "baya". Reported to be found in bays and sheltered waters not about rocks.

Mulgilidae - Mullets. "Lisa" Usually taken with spear by native fishermen.

Sparidae - Porgies. "mojarron chino" or 'mojarra garabata" Important fish food.

Sciaenidae - Croakers. " Orange mouth corvina" Caught from the beach or close to shore.
Totuava , totoaba . Abundant along the eastern shore of the gulf. Up to at least 225 pounds. Not shy, goes into shallow waters and is easily speared. when one is speared or hooked others gather around in curiosity!

Girellidae - Nibbblers. "Gulf Opaleye" Found around rocky areas.Edible, not esteemed. .

Balistidae - Triggerfish. "Pez Puerco" Hook and line. Important Food fish in57.

The species reported is based on the presence of bones found in ancient fishing camps. The other information from visiting the sites in 1957. I did omit a report of a child in a scant fishin outfit spotted in Cholla. Now, if you desire, you can discuss or disagree with the names or where they are often caught. Or you can object to my writing style. This information taken from:
TRANSACTIONS OF the San Diego Society of Natural History, Vol. XII, No. 14,pp 279-286 July 12, 1957
Get your copy today !!
Pics please?

Smoothhound (a common sand shark)


Pacific Sharpnose Shark (haven't really caught one of these, but black-tip reef sharks are a very common catch)


Gulf Grouper (large family of fish fit this category Serranidae) Ric Felder's (grouper slayer deluxe!) pic.



Mullet - (bony bastards, flesh like jello, better for bait than eating, but hey, if it's all ya got...)


Croakers (a lot in this family, too)
Orange Mouth Corvina - Anybody know who this is? <smirk>


Totuava (the names have been changed to protect the innocent!)
Tbass.jpg

Porgies (few varieties here, too. This is most common)


Opaleye (meh, usually a catch and release.


Triggerfish (grey finescale triggers are the Mexican standard)



So kids, what have we learned by this photo montage? Basically, that the same fish ancient Sonorans caught and ate are the same ones we catch and eat today! Sharks not so much, but you haven't lived until you've had tiburon fish tacos! The only major difference being our tastes have become more refined and we now just throwback or don't pursue some of the trash fish the ancients probably needed to survive. Eating a mullet? No bueno, por favor.

I see no mention of shrimp OR octopus, which were probably caught and readily consumed, especially around the estuaries and bay. Same with snails, clams, etc., but those aren't really fin fish. But I've seen huge shell piles in many places. How ancient? I dunno.
 

Roberto

Well Known Member
Thanks for the photos. These guys were strictly fish guys making id from old fish bones. I have heard about middens of shells but don't know where. Maybe out near the big almejas bed. Prolly not much left of a 100 year old shrimp left on shore, or octopus but I'm sure they would eat them if they could get them.

Their statement that grouper are found in bays and calm waters does not seem to hold water ??
 

audsley

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Groupers found in bays and shelters not about rocks? Groupers love rocks and reefs, sheltered or otherwise. Also, I'm told, seaweed mats, but I try to stay out of those.
 

Kenny

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They would get octopus easily Robert, and very much like they still do it today in Puerto Lobos. I saw a guy in front of Leigh's place 1/2 fill a 50# onion bag with medium-sized ones on low tide. He just worked his way along the fairly short escarpment on the water's edge and fished them out of holes with a short pole. Don and I didn't know what he had been doing when he climbed up and started carrying the dripping sack towards us. When I asked, he apparently only gathers them every so often, I think, so the Octopi will replenish themselves. An old way of harvesting for sure, and an unheard-of way too often these days.
I still remember the native north Americans who still fished out of Cholla in the mid-'50s. I remember them in 57/8 puttering out with their eggbeater engines in their old wooden boats before the sun was up, and then in after dark with BIG Grouper piled in up to the rails. My dad and uncle Teddy became friends with them, and they arm-wrestled and stuff in what to me seemed like just good sport. Lots of laughing and poking fun. Good times.
 

tortuga

Well Known Member
Every so often we still see locals with curved sticks harvesting octopus in the tide pools in front of Playa de Oro.
 

Stuart

Aye carumba!!!
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Agree. Octopus are very naturally curious creatures. In Italy, they would walk around on the rocks using a mop or broomstick handle with a hook tied tightly to the end. They would put a piece of white plastic trash bag on the hook and just dip it down under the rocks and wiggle it every now and then. When they felt the octopus grab it, snag! Saw them catch quite a few that way.
 

DRDTbone

Active Member
The pic of Kenny holding the White Seabass is more of a White Seabass than an Orangemouth Corvina there Stuart ;) Good stuff!
 

Kenny

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The pic of Kenny holding the White Seabass is more of a White Seabass than an Orangemouth Corvina there Stuart ;) Good stuff!
I did a double-take on the Orangmouth Corvina over the picture and then realized he must have been illustrating that Orangmouth and the White Sea Bass are both in the Croaker family. What else could it be? In this picture is a straight-up Corvina, or is it?
big 1,288 ends labor day 133.jpg
 

DRDTbone

Active Member
I did a double-take on the Orangmouth Corvina over the picture and then realized he must have been illustrating that Orangmouth and the White Sea Bass are both in the Croaker family. What else could it be? In this picture is a straight-up Corvina, or is it?
View attachment 16886
Looks like good eating and a heck of a fight! If we were betting cervezas, my limes would be on a Shortfin Corvina (Cynoscion parvipinnis) for that one. Slightly concave caudal (tail) fin, pectoral fins shorter than pelvic fins, probably had some canines in it too, no?
 

Kenny

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Looks like good eating and a heck of a fight! If we were betting cervezas, my limes would be on a Shortfin Corvina (Cynoscion parvipinnis) for that one. Slightly concave caudal (tail) fin, pectoral fins shorter than pelvic fins, probably had some canines in it too, no?
Yes, and if you notice it's low tide. See the little figure to the left of my head? I was down there with a vintage med-light 7 1/2' throwing a big chunk of lead with the rig I'll show you behind it, all the way out to where and past the farthest strip of whitewater is. I've fished this rig in all the estuary's, and I've had double's on it with two different species at the same time. Good fun. I caught Corvina just like the one pictured with the same set up at Morua too. Tip it with what you like, or not, but shrimp is best with small squid a close second. Of course, when the tide comes in over the rock structure behind me, it's a whole nother ball game and set up. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Fishing-Piscatore-Sabiki-Rigs-Feather-Baits-6-Hooks-Size-2-4-6-8-10-12-14-lot/111355029227?hash=item19ed46e6eb:m:miw_QmG5y5--14wZkyo4ZQQ
 

Kenny

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I see the rocks, where were you?
If you're on a phone you might not be able to see it, but if you look close you can see a man down at the water's edge directly next to my head. It might just look like a speck if you're not on a monitor. There was a troth out there that I was throwing to. I was down Santo Tomas way fishing with Jerry and some of our friends.
 

Mexico Joe

Cholla Bay 4 Life
Groupers found in bays and shelters not about rocks? Groupers love rocks and reefs, sheltered or otherwise. Also, I'm told, seaweed mats, but I try to stay out of those.
Recently I came across a post on Instagram. I follow a couple of tags and other fishing pages. Sea of Cortez anglers is where I saw it but anyway, this guy and his kids did a marathon run from Gonzaga to El Golfo and while they were in El Golfo beach fishing they were catching Gulf Grouper. Tell me where there is any rocky coastline near El Golfo or Northern SOC in general. To my understanding the more north you go the water is shallow and sandy. Although Lucky Chucky's dad used to take them out on the 280 heading or maybe even more north, north west and triangulate the sand dunes to something else and put them on HUGE Gulf Grouper about 20 miles out from Cholla. Now that's a little different because obviously offshore pry means there's some kind of structure down there holding fish. You're not just catching grouper on a sandy bottom in the middle of nowhere. Unless the real pros can correct me if I'm wrong.
 

Kenny

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I've gone north on what was probably the same heading with Ric, but we were nowhere near the shore. We did catch a Gulf Grouper in open water in that area and it was memorable. We pulled anchor and were drifting away from the rock pile. Ric chooses to leave his line out while we were stowing gear and cleaning up before heading out to another spot. We were in open water and some distance from any structure when it hit like a freight train. It hit so hard that it shook and vibrated the boat hard from stem to stern and damaged the pole holder. We also found out later after it was landed that the snap had been pulled open too. That Grouper must have hit it while really hauling ass on his way to his next stop. Nice fish of about 50, but he hit like a 100 pounder.
 

Mexico Joe

Cholla Bay 4 Life
I've gone north on what was probably the same heading with Ric, but we were nowhere near the shore. We did catch a Gulf Grouper in open water in that area and it was memorable. We pulled anchor and were drifting away from the rock pile. Ric chooses to leave his line out while we were stowing gear and cleaning up before heading out to another spot. We were in open water and some distance from any structure when it hit like a freight train. It hit so hard that it shook and vibrated the boat hard from stem to stern and damaged the pole holder. We also found out later after it was landed that the snap had been pulled open too. That Grouper must have hit it while really hauling ass on his way to his next stop. Nice fish of about 50, but he hit like a 100 pounder.

Lucky Chucky claims to have to taught Ric everything he knows.
 

Kenny

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Lucky Chucky claims to have to taught Ric everything he knows.
No question that he was a big contributor to Ric's knowledge and Ric spoke of him often, but Ric had soaked up everything he could and from a young age with the motto, "I will kill fish until it kills me." from the best fisherman launching out of Cholla Bay. Besides Ric's tenacity and knowledge, in my opinion, Ric's ability to visualize the structure was paramount to his success on the reefs. Oh, after I caught that beautiful big WSB in the picture and then browbeat him into stop fishing long enough to take that picture while it was still fresh and glistening, he had me switch sides with him.
Ric and I had fished many of the same freshwaters, including the lower Verde and below Horshoe dam for Crappy. So one day I said, the water flow is perfect below the dam, what say we go catch some Bass in the lower Verde. Nope, he'd lost all interest in freshwater fishing at that time. It wasn't exciting enough for him anymore, though we both fished the shore at daybreak like maniacs when it was too rough to go out or even troll on the inside where it's calmer. I was shocked to see he had sold his boat and was pictured holding up a Walleye of all things, at Canyon reservoir on his FB page. Man, was I ever lucky to have had some wonderful experiences with Ric on the Sea of Cortez?
 
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Stuart

Aye carumba!!!
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Nope, he'd lost all interest in freshwater fishing at that time.
I know that feeling. I used to fish freshwater. Hell, I'd go up to the Salt River and run it in my Scout; knew exactly where all the deep holes were from running it in the winter when they'd cut the flow off. Those holes were loaded with fat rainbow trout. Could limit out in a matter of a half hour or so. Would fish each of the lakes regularly, too. But, I haven't dropped a line in fresh water in so many years now.

Salt water fishing is an addictive dopamine rush. Often hours of nothing suddenly punctuated with reels screaming and insanity. Huge, powerful fish. After a several day trip to San Carlos, my arms would be so sore from cranking on sailfish and marlin. Same after some days on grouper or a good day at the 51 out of Penasco. I don't get to do it as much as I used to and I've seriously thought about, like Ric, revisiting some of those old freshwater fishing holes and try to find the fun I used to enjoy so much doing it.
 

Kenny

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I know that feeling. I used to fish freshwater. Hell, I'd go up to the Salt River and run it in my Scout; knew exactly where all the deep holes were from running it in the winter when they'd cut the flow off. Those holes were loaded with fat rainbow trout. Could limit out in a matter of a half hour or so. Would fish each of the lakes regularly, too. But, I haven't dropped a line in fresh water in so many years now.

Salt water fishing is an addictive dopamine rush. Often hours of nothing suddenly punctuated with reels screaming and insanity. Huge, powerful fish. After a several day trip to San Carlos, my arms would be so sore from cranking on sailfish and marlin. Same after some days on grouper or a good day at the 51 out of Penasco. I don't get to do it as much as I used to and I've seriously thought about, like Ric, revisiting some of those old freshwater fishing holes and try to find the fun I used to enjoy so much doing it.
Oh, I get it, but I thought it might be fun in itself to make that drive up close to the top of the lower Verde where we both had fished in the past. I know that rush, it seems all my life, and certainly before my first trip down to Cholla at 10 in 58, but that sure as hell sealed the deal. Ha, they had given me a short stout wooden fishing pole and after trolling the bay for bait, they'd head for a place they hoped could be found again by triangulating from memory. They would then put me in the corner of the boat with the hope that I'd stay out of the way, and not take them in with me when I'm pulled overboard. Cut bait and a straight down drop in waters that were so much more fertile than today, had many possibilities. I heard a lot of, Your alright, just hang on. Or just, you'll be OK....Ric and I both fished hard, and I think he kept me around because I brought some food, Cotto Salami, and bread. Something you could eat with one hand, and clench with your teeth if needed. Oh yes, we've both seen the other fighting a fish with a Bolonau sandwich hanging out our mouths, while dropping on the 51 all day, and until the sun was down.
 
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