Thursday, December 10, 2009

Three Weeks on the Road

John Yancey, San Clemente, CA landed this whopper while I was at Lopez Mateos.

My latest Baja adventure began when I crossed the Tijuana border at gray light on October 28th. Aside from stopping for fuel, I kept the ‘pedal to the metal’ and by late afternoon I crossed the bridge over the Santa Rosalia River (also known as the Mulege River). ..the same river where the snook mysteriously reappeared last March after many years of absence.

The effects of Hurricane Jimena that had slammed into the area in early September were still apparent. My usual stopping place, the Hotel Cuesta Real, was still full of mud and was being dug out. Since the hotel no longer had Wi-Fi I needed to find another place to stay.

Mike and Roz Reichner have a home on the river. When I had visited them on my last trip, they were in the middle of restoring their house after it had been six feet under water. They emailed me a few days earlier to report Roz’s early morning encounter with a small snook in her nightgown! I decided to stop and hear first-hand about her snook! During dinner they confirmed my often quoted line ‘by the time you hear about a Baja snook, it’s too late.’ And it’s true. Invariably by the time the news travels very far, the bite is over.

Midday the following day, I picked up a Tel Cel 3G USB card from my friend in Lopez Mateos that would allow me to connect to the Internet anywhere there was cellular service. Unbelievably, I only had to pay $30 pesos a day (less than $3.00 U.S.).

My second night, I stayed at Theresa Comber’s East Cape RV. Theresa also owns a two local charter boats. Over dinner that night, she entertained me with stories of her adventures as a female entrepreneur in Baja and she brought me up to date on the current East Cape fishing conditions.

The following day, I stopped by La Playita to visit Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas. As we talked there was a steady parade of pangas unloading both large tuna and wahoo. As Eric and several helpers hung a 180+ pound tuna on the certified scale he commented, “We have been seeing huge tuna every day for the past few weeks. Yesterday we had a 247 pounder.” Needless to say that was exciting news for WON’s Tuna Tournament.

I checked in at Tesoro Hotel, where the WON staff was based, and I picked Yvonne up from the airport that afternoon.

For the next two days, Pat McDonell led the WON team consisting of Mike Packard, Rich Holland, Judy Passerello, Carolynn Collett, Jonathan Roldan and wife Jill, Chuck and Rhonda Buhagiar, Mike and Andrea Bohn, Gary and Yvonne Graham and Kit McNear in preparing for the big event.

Seeing the 383 pound tuna that shook Cabo was an exciting event. Crowds suddenly appeared to watch the unloading of this huge fish. That was the biggest, fattest cow of a tuna that I had ever seen in my entire life…a definite WOW! Thanks to everyone’s help the 11th Yamaha/Western Outdoor News Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot lived up to its motto fish hard, party harder and the event was an over- the-top success!

During the tournament, Kit McNear whispered to me about the snook snap going on in La Paz Bay. We agreed to meet in La Paz after the tournament and catch a few ourselves. Every time we bumped into each other we smugly nodded, knowing that there was chance for a trophy snook in our future.

When I arrived in La Paz the night before, however, for the planned snook trip, there was a cryptic email from Kit. Trips off… the bite is over!

But I enjoyed a great dinner at Jonathan and Jill Roldan’s Fubar Cantina located right on the Malecon that evening. The meal was outstanding, and the Cantina was hopping with sports enthusiasts who had come for the good food and the Monday Night Football.

Since there are no RV parks in La Paz, I spent the night in my Roadtrek van parked right on the Malecon.

My final stop was Lopez Mateos. There had been no reports of snook so I arrived with no expectations. On the last two days of the trip, we landed SEVEN snook! Smugly, I remembered,“ by the time you hear about a Baja snook it’s too late!”

So if you hurry…


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