Pancho Barnes and George Hurrell were both eager for an adventure in the summer of 1928, and decided to embark on a three day fishing trip to Baja Mexico together. Pancho was an experienced fisherman, and loved nothing more than spending her days on the water, casting her line and reeling in the biggest catch.
As they set off on their trip, Pancho made a bet with George. “Whoever catches the biggest fish on this trip, the other person has to clean all the fish caught and cook them,” she said with a sly smile.
George, who had never fished before, was a little nervous but excited for the challenge. As they spent long days on the water, Pancho showed him the ropes, teaching him how to cast his line and reel in the perfect catch.
They worked hard, but as the days went by, George struggled to catch anything significant. Pancho, on the other hand, seemed to have a knack for it, and pulled in several big fish each day.
But George was not one to give up easily. He persisted, and with each passing day, he began to improve his technique. Finally, on the last day of their trip, he felt a tug on his line that he knew could only mean one thing – he had caught the biggest fish of the trip. But just as he was pulling the fish up, the line snapped, and it got away.
When they returned to her beach house in Laguna Beach with their respective catches, Pancho still held the record for the biggest fish caught during their trip. Pancho congratulated George on his newfound fishing skills, noting that he now had a story to tell others about “the one that got away.” George figured that he was going to have to gut and clean the entire catch from their trip since Pancho had won the bet with the biggest fish. However, she let George off the hook for cleaning and cooking all the fish. George, determined to learn all he could from Pancho, asked her to teach him how to prepare and cook the fish.
Together, they worked to clean and gut the fish, and then Pancho showed George how to season and grill it to perfection. As they sat down to enjoy their delicious meal, George realized that not only had he become a better fisherman, but he had also gained a new skill – cooking.
From that day on, George became an accomplished cook, impressing his friends and family with his culinary creations. And he always looked back on that summer in Mexico with fondness, remembering the lessons he had learned from the indomitable Pancho Barnes. Years later he completed a surrealistic painting he named “A Fish for Pancho” in memory of that first fishing expedition.