Gary Graham – ROAD TREKKER

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Saturday, December 6, 2014
Stephen Jansen: Baja Beach Booster
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Photography with a flair

Stephen Jansen: Baja Beach Booster
Ray Cannon first exposed Baja and its phenomenal sportfishing decades ago. Although fishing from boats has drawn the most attention over the years, there are growing numbers of anglers who have discovered the remarkable sportfishing opportunities and challenges available while prowling miles and miles of beaches surrounding Baja's tip.

Technical advances in both tackle and techniques in all disciplines – conventional, spinning or flyrod – have allowed extraordinary catches that would have been unthinkable in the past. 

CONFIRMING HOW EFFECTIVE the Cabo Killer is, Jansen produced a photo of a huge dorado caught the week before my visit with a Cabo Killer hanging out of its mouth.

Jansen Inshore Tackle, located in a corner of the Mar de Cortez Hotel in downtown Cabo San Lucas, opened its doors 14 years ago, specifically focusing on the tackle required for Baja Beaches.

Jansen, a 6-foot, 3-inch tall lanky Hollander with an unbridled passion for fishing, first visited Cabo on a side trip in 1994, during a lengthy outing from Amsterdam to Los Angeles.

"My goal was to catch a marlin," he admitted recently. "The captain caught three and let me reel them in," he continued with a sheepish grin. "I fell in love with Baja … the ability to fish in shorts for giant fish."

Returning to the Netherlands where he worked in a tackle shop, he proposed to his boss that since the off-season was November through January, he would take those three months off to fish in Cabo.

For the next six years, Jansen saved his money for nine months each year, then spent Holland's frigid winter months in Cabo, blowing the money he had saved all year for the trip. He was loving it! Although he purchased a 16-foot outboard, he soon learned that he couldn't afford to go out every day. Fuel and boat maintenance costs were too expensive, so he began exploring the local beaches for fishing opportunities instead.

Then, in 1998, he met the love of his life. After a whirlwind courtship, he and Monica were married in Holland in 1999. When they returned to Cabo they opened Stephen Jansen Inshore Tackle. Their well-stocked shop tucked away in the corner of Mar de Cortez Hotel should be a must visit on your next trip south.

Fourteen years later, that excitement he felt when he first visited Cabo has matured into a passion that he can barely contain. And his one shop located in Cabo San Lucas has turned into two, the second located in San Jose del Cabo, BCS, México. (Addresses below.)

While I'm sure that there is some offshore stuff somewhere in the shops if you ask, his stores are primarily celebrations of Baja Beaches and the fishing adventures they offer.

The walls are covered with lures of every shape and description, mostly designed for flinging from the shore.

Easy to spot, Jansen’s height and blond hair are a dead giveaway. Chances are he will be in an animated conversation with someone about some aspect of fishing. Maybe he’ll be showing them one of his custom designed lures. His enthusiasm is contagious.

His Cabo Killer, in a variety of color combinations, is a local favorite. It is one of his early designs adapted primarily to fish the surf in different conditions. Similar to the popular Ranger born on the East Coast to target striped bass, Jansen's version sports a weighted keel so it doesn’t flip over and tangle; the arrow shape allows long casts and a rapid retrieve. Available in a variety of colors, the most popular are ballyhoo, blue mackerel, and red and white according to Jansen. Confirming how effective the Cabo Killer is, Jansen produced a photo of a huge dorado caught the week before my visit with a Cabo Killer hanging out of its mouth.

Another custom-designed lure nicknamed the Chingón is a popular choice. It’s distinctively long and slender and intentionally weighted in the back to accommodate the fast retrieve that has become so popular.

Rod choices range from 11-, 12- and 13-foot, depending on the height of the angler. As Jansen explains, “If an angler isn't very tall, the longer rods may be difficult to handle. In some cases they make custom rods with a shorter butt so length is not affected. It can be designed in a 7-piece configuration.”

Don't have a rod that long? The shop offers a collapsible rod with a high speed retrieve, spinning reel at a very reasonable price – $225. If you are looking for a surf rod that travels well, they also offer a custom 7-piece rod and case.

While Jansen does offer and recommend a list of several local guides who offer half day trips at reasonable rates, he and his staff are quite willing to share the latest fishing info and which areas are producing if an angler is interested in a DIY trip.

Shop locations:

L. Cárdenas E. V. Guerrero S/N, Interior Mar de Cortez, local 1 Col. Centro, 23410 Cabo San Lucas, BCS, México Telephone (+52) 624 143 58 04

Cabrilla S/N E/Coronado y Guerero Col. La Playita, 23450 San Jose del Cabo, BCS, México Telephone (+52) 624 105 66 88

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