Back 2 Baja

Even with the short notice, my Dad and I were able to make another run down to Baja with some friends over the past few days. Part of the group left a day early and we caught up with them in Brawley before crossing the border and heading to San Felipe. My first kayak fishing experience in Baja taught me lots of lessons. I needed to tie stronger knots, use heavier mono leader or wire leader, and heavier rod/reel to name a few, if I wanted to catch the fish that cruise the Sea of Cortez. So prior to leaving, I loaded up on gear and taught myself how to tie some new knots, in hopes of giving myself some better odds. This time of year the fishing tends to be a bit tougher. I don’t think it’s ever really bad, but it definitely gets better in the spring and fall months.

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Day 1: We arrived to San Felipe without any major hiccups and proceeded to find some lunch. Pete’s Camp is pretty close to where we stay so we stopped in for an early lunch, I had the shrimp tacos and my Dad opted for some enchiladas. Our first day down there we basically just opened the house up and rested a bit from our long drive during the night.

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Day 2: After a little discussion we decided to stick close to San Felipe and launched just north of town in a small cove. The area looked really fishy, but no fish wanted my offerings. I stuck it out for a couple hours before I got tired of fighting the wind. My Dad and our friend Scott that came with us toured around a bit in the Coosa HD we borrowed. We called it quits early that afternoon as the wind picked up even more. So back to the house we went to relax and work on a few little projects here and there.

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Day3: Wind sucks! After a quick stop for breakfast, where I met Marty (VP of Jackson Kayak), we left San Felipe to light winds and made the drive down the coast to Puertocitos with some high hopes. But the closer we got to our fishing destination, the harder the wind blew. And upon arriving to our launch location, we didn’t even bother unloading. The wind was blowing so hard (and out to sea) that I was worried that we wouldn’t even be able to paddle back to shore. Heck, even just standing up straight was difficult with the wind gusts. I wasn’t going to be completely deterred however, so I grabbed one of my rods and a few lures to toss from shore. At least with the wind blowing out to sea I was able to bomb some long casts! Although, it didn’t really prove to be necessary… on one of my casts, as I was bringing in my surface iron I had a 10lb+ grouper try to grab my lure just as I lifted it out of the water. He missed my lure and I had a heart attack. Other than one hit that was the only action I had from shore.

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Day 4: Redemption! My Dad decided to sit this adventure out and give a hand around the house while Scott and I made another run south. We made a slight detour to talk to one of the local fisherman at a village close by. I asked him where the “Cabrilla” are and he pointed to where I had planned on fishing. So we made are way over to the launch and as we got unloaded, the wind showed up. This time it was coming from the sea and blowing inland. I decided to launch and made the short paddle to the island. I began working the rocky shores with a variety of offerings including surface irons, Branson’s paddle tails, and some large rapalas. Both the paddle tail and the irons (vertically jigged) got action, but I didn’t connect well enough. I made a couple laps moving from shallow water to deeper water and to my surprise the wind began to settle down. So Scott launched and began working the shores near the truck with cut pieces of sardine. He started seeing action immediately. About the time I was getting ready to head for a new location the tide switched and began heading back out. It was then that I picked up my first little grouper! I was happy for the action and hoped for a couple more of that size so I could provide some fish tacos for the group. Well two casts later it happened. I connected to something that absolutely crushed my rapala! I knew I had to keep whatever it was out of the rocks, so the tug of war began. He made a couple of hard dashes, but with my “buttoned down” drag he didn’t get far. It didn’t take me long to boat the 12lber and after a little celebration I made my way back towards the truck. I was stoked to complete one of my goals for fishing in baja. Grouper are such hard fighters that I was quite satisfied with everything holding up as it should. Especially being that my last go-around, I lost a couple battles. I got both fish filleted and we were on the road again, ready for cold drink and a good meal.

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Despite the weather not wanting to cooperate this trip and the timing not being the best, I sure enjoyed myself. I consider it a successful mission, even though I only boated two fish. I’m already planning the next trip down there!

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