Gary Graham – ROAD TREKKER

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018
In the Blink of an Eye
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Tools for Baja Travelers

Blowing in the Wind
Winter is slinking out the back door while April fades away on the Sea of Cortez – hopefully leaving only a few more days of North Winds to frustrate Baja anglers from San Felipe to Cabo.

At this point, predicting the upcoming season is mostly a “guesstimate.” Most of the reports are filled with grumpy observations filled with many four-letter words, most often “WIND” among others, but seldom do they include “BITE.”

Despite the North Wind grumbling, there have been some encouraging tidbits filtering through from both sides of the peninsula that should be noted.

BEFORE SCREAMING AT seagulls flying overhead, “I just caught the largest yellowtail of my life!”

Savvy locals and visitors to Bahia de Los Angeles and Gonzaga Bay have been scoring on some remarkable, early-season grouper and cabrilla action as well as a few yellowtail.

Captain Juan Cook spent the larger part of his winter at Gonzaga Bay since conditions inshore at San Quintin have been sketchy, to say the least. His results seem even better at BOLA, and as late as this week he reported that clients have landed trophy-sized grouper and cabrilla along with yellowtail and corvina.

More good noise out of Loreto as local Rick Hill reports that the Sargasso has started to move in and he is predicting dorado soon … maybe “hoping” is a better choice of words than “predicting.”

However, there is a nice grade of yellowtail in Loreto right now. There is a ton of bait in the area – sardina are everywhere – so the fish are fat, but a little finicky. Although it has been windy, according to Chris Wheaton, IGFA Representative and avid angler, it should be beautiful now.

Speaking of sardina, after several years of being among the missing, Loreto is one of the areas where they have suddenly reappeared. Jonathan Roldan’s fleets in both La Paz and Las Arenas have them, however, at Las Arenas they are at Isla Cerralvo and if the wind is up, the bait guys have difficulty getting to them.

John Ireland, Rancho Leonero, commented on Pete Gray’s “Let’s Talk Hookup” show last week that sardina were available at East Cape as they are farther down at Puerto Las Cabo and Cabo San Lucas.

On the Pacific side, the bluefin tuna are strung out from the border to Cedros according to the long-range sportfishers and yachts traveling up and down the coast with a few over 200 pounds landed. This answers the ongoing debate about a third back-to-back bluefin year. Guess that box is officially ticked.

Weather remains a factor a long the Pacific and prevents serious fishing from the Coronado Islands down to Todos Santos Bay and San Quintin.

And as to Ross Zoerof’s discovery of a Pacific Sunfish (Mola Mola) at Bahia Ascension last week while fishing close to shore in his skiff, “It was the first one I’ve ever seen here,” he mused.

Then, only a few days later, one of the local pangueros brought in a huge opah he found floating in the cold, green water.

At Magdalena Bay, the whales have split for points north, another sure sign that winter is behind us; by all accounts the spring season is underway.

Underscoring the 2018 Baja winter was the 50-pound yellowtail caught by Andrew Deems while fishing on his Malibu Ocean Kayak out of the El Pescador cove near Puerto Nuevo, brought to my attention by his girlfriend Megan, who said, “I am so proud of my man!”

Andy reported, “It was quite an amazing feat and feast! Her parents were visiting and I thought it would be nice to catch something for dinner. I headed out into a strong headwind to catch some yellowtail armed with nothing but a couple of jigs and my Sabiki rig to catch bait.

“There was plenty of bait in the water, but nothing seemed to bite, when all of a sudden, the bait disappeared; I had a hunch something was chasing them.

Grabbing my rod, I cast, and it was on. The first run of the yellowtail I realized my drag was too tight and if I hadn’t been on a kayak, it would have broken off; instead, I was towed out into deep water.

“The ensuing tug of war took at least half an hour before I muscled this giant creature to the boat and realized it was much larger than what I had gone after! I gaffed the huge fish and thanked it before screaming at seagulls flying overhead, ‘I just caught the largest yellowtail of my life!’

“With the wind at my back helping me paddle to shore, and the added adrenaline, the return ride seemed effortless.

“Hauling my kayak, fishing gear and a giant yellowtail up to El Pescador, a stone’s throw from Puerto Nuevo, our neighbor Lisa, running to help me screamed, ‘Holy Crap!’

“I was able to have not only Megan’s parents, but all the neighbors from the block over for a yellowtail feast. Plus, there’s still a freezer full of fish. It’s nice to be able to eat like that from fishing off my kayak in my front yard. The ocean will share its bounty when you respect it and work hard.”

Once again, the Baja winter has disappointed many, challenged others and rewarded a few. But there have been enough clues Blowin’ in the Wind to increase expectations for an awesome 2018 Baja Spring season … just around the corner.

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