Friday, January 15, 2010

Baja's Endless Season

Some of the extraordinary catches of 2009.

Back in the 1960s, Bruce Brown produced a movie called the Endless Summer, a world-wide surfing safari in search of THE perfect wave. My Baja travels began because of the fishing…pure and simple. Earl Stanley Gardener, John Steinbeck and Ray Cannon were among the first to acknowledge that Baja offered an opportunity to shake off seasonal was a year-round fishery. After making my first trip to Baja, I decided that fishermen could indeed find their own endless season…much closer to home.

In my search to extend the somewhat seasonally-limited offshore fishery in southern California, I have seldom been disappointed in the Baja fishery. Regardless of the time of year, there are always fishing prospects for what I have come to think of as Baja's endless-season somewhere along the 800+ mile peninsula.
My many Baja friends are always generous with their information on what’s happening in their areas.

In mid-January of 2009, Theresa Comber from Los Barriles, reported that she and her Captain (on non-windy days) on her boat Awesome were seeing tailing marlin, and had an occasional bite. They also were getting dorado from 5 to 35 pounds.
Lance Peterson, our East Cape Guide, reported last February, “Just returned from some kayak fishing out front this morning. I could see 20-pound dorado almost on the beach itself chasing a ballyhoo with another dorado swimming on the surface. I also spotted a school of roosters from 10 to 15 pounds.”

In March, the exciting news was that snook had mysteriously reappeared in the Santa Rosalia River which runs through the middle of Mulegé. “The snook show has been great here for the past couple of weeks although I have yet to be able to put a big one on the bank...we have broken off numerous giants! My wife, Roz, has been spooled twice, and I was spooled with my 8wt. There ARE some grande’s here!” This information came from a local resident, Mike Reichner, whose home is on the bank of the Santa Rosalia River.

In April, Jonathan Roldan, of Tailhunter International in La Paz, shared, "We nailed so many fish this week…15 different species! The yellowtail, dorado, marlin and sails (all released) bit like mad dogs!”

Mark Rayor, owner and operator of Vista Sea Sport in Los Barriles, landed his birthday swordfish in May.

The summer season continued in a normal fashion with plenty of fish in all the areas. Fall arrived, producing one of the longest sustained run of cow-sized tuna in recent memory according to Mike Packard, Co-tournament Director of the Yamaha/Western Outdoor News Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot. A 383-pound monster was brought in on the first day of the tournament in early November! Team Captain Oscar Daccarett, boat Captain Perico Sanchoz, and teammates Hugo Piño, Daniel Fisher (owner of the 35 Cabo Fisher Man) and Augustin Piño, landed this largest tuna ever in the event’s eleven-year history!

Meanwhile Shari Bondy of Bahía Asunción, stated that the action for wahoo, dorado, yellowfin tuna as well as inshore remained great into early December.
Eric Brictson, Gordo Bank Pangas out of San Jose, reported that approximately 15 yellowfin weighing over 200 pounds and three yellowfin of more than 300 pounds, were weighed in by the La Playita Panga Fleet in early December, more than in the past five years combined.

Also in December, Tracy Ehrenberg, Pisces Sportfishing in Cabo, announced that one of the fleets’ boats had landed a huge blue marlin estimated to be 865 pounds...the largest in years caught in that area.

As if to have the last word and to put an exclamation point on 2009, Mike and Roz Reichner caught several big roosters during the first week of December near Mulegé.
In spite of serious setbacks, i.e. weak economy, swine flu and alarming crime reports, Baja once again lived up to its reputation of meeting the test of an endless season by providing world-class fishing.

As the new year unfolds, I am eager to see how and where Baja will live up to its well-earned, endless-season reputation in 2010.

Gary Graham