Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Angler's Guide to Trailer-Boating Baja…the right stuff

The Angler's Guide to Trailer-Boating Baja is a book full of valuable information that will soon be worn and dog-eared from use.

This past year and half as I have wandered up and down Baja, I constantly ran into Zack Thomas. Wherever I went, there Zack would be, boat in tow and camera in hand. Zack’s explanation was that he was gathering material for a new book.

Last week he stopped by my house to show me his finished product and to deliver my copy of his new 320 page book The Angler's Guide to Trailer-Boating Baja.

Over the past few years, some of the Baja books that have been produced are more fluff than stuff - designed to occupy a corner of your coffee table to impress your friends. Few are serious how to books that requires a place on the seat next to you on your Baja trips. The Angler's Guide to Trailer-Boating Baja is a book full of valuable information that will soon be worn and dog-eared from use.

Dispelling common Baja myths and covering all the "brass tacks" a first-timer (or veteran) Baja boater needs to know, Zack’s new book covers it all — not just paperwork, but also preparing your boat, trailer and tow vehicle for your trip, what parts and supplies are [and aren't] available below the border, driving conditions, drive times, and much more.

The book details more than 30 launch spots, ranging from full-service marinas to remote beach launches. In addition to descriptions and photos of the launches themselves, each chapter includes complete, up-to-date logistical information — where to buy ice, food, and drinks; where to stay and how much it's going to cost; where to wash down your boat; which Pemex stations are most convenient for truck-trailer rigs; navigational hazards to be aware of; where to catch/buy bait, etc.

Towing your own boat into Baja California and exploring and fishing its wild, rich, mysterious waters on your own is an adventure in the truest sense — it never goes quite according to plan. It's a bit risky, and it requires considerable planning and preparation, but you can pretty much count on seeing and experiencing things you'll remember the rest of your life.

However, that first trip below the border can be intimidating. Unfounded horror stories abound about corrupt cops, terrible roads, rampant theft, and "Montezuma's revenge." And getting straight, definitive answers about things like insurance, licenses, visas and regulations can be nearly impossible.

Everything in The Angler's Guide to Trailer-Boating Baja is the result of firsthand research. "The thing that sets this book apart," Thomas says, "is that between November 2006 and November 2007, I towed my own boat to every corner of Baja and scrounged up every scrap of information you'd need to plan a trip to any launch spot on the peninsula. I was always thinking, 'What would I want to know if I'd never been here before?'

If you are still not sure about plunking down your $30 for another Baja book, there is a sample launch-spot chapter, the preface and the table of contents online that you can review at www.bajatrailerboating.com.

If you decide that this is a book for you it can be purchased online or at many SoCal tackle shops.