Gary Graham – ROAD TREKKER

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Rooster Fever

Fish Tales Validated at Inaugural Tournament
Loreto’s reputation as a dorado and yellowtail destination stretches back to fifties when Ed Tabor, a successful businessman, cashed out in the United States and purchased a property overlooking the Sea of Cortez. Complete with a bar and restaurant that served international cuisine, it was also equipped with air conditioning, heating, a well, and a swimming pool.

Tabor added a flotilla of sportfishing boats outfitted with fishing and diving gear, and over the years the summer dorado and winter yellowtail were the mainstay of a growing sportfishing community, consisting mostly of pangas.

Anglers in search of exciting fishing in exotic destinations flocked to Loreto. For many years the seasonal fishery continued to draw them to the area.

ENRIQUE SALCEDO, Marina Manager, Robert Ross with Tag Team, Owner John Sercu as he accepts his teams awards for highest release boat of the tournament.

Fathers, sons and in some cases, grandsons, enjoyed the fishing trips that became part of their family’s folklore.

As the dorado and yellowtail became scarcer and smaller, enterprising local pangueros filled the gaps with billfish, wahoo, roosterfish, sierra and the many others in the rocky reefs during the different seasons – all of which were within range of the fleet of pangas – the ubiquitous open boats powered by outboards.

Then the pangas and the motors grew larger, which allowed some adventurous captains and anglers to venture farther offshore. However, many were limited by the number of clients who visited the area as well as by the winter’s prevailing north winds. And most were not able to afford exploratory trips unless they had paying clients.

Over the past several decades, more and more visitors found the entire region appealing and settled in the area. Stories of huge marlin, swordfish and yellowfin tuna flowed.

In November of 2011, one of my “Road Trekker” columns “ Connecting the Dots,” filled in some of the blanks on a report that surfaced in 2010 from the Loreto area. In that column, I wrote about the 350-pound swordfish, four striped marlin, two sailfish, one Mako shark, and fifteen dorado – all caught by Robert Ross and his crew out in the middle of the Sea of Cortez in an area referred to as “The Canyon.”

In 2016, Ross and company caught a 430-pound yellowfin tuna, and then in 2018, Pat McDonell wrote in his Baja Fishing Report about additional huge tuna – some caught, and others lost in the Loreto area. And surprise, surprise! Once again, Robert Ross and his team were central to the story.

Ross, son of Doc Ross, the well-known boat mechanic from early Cabo San Lucas days long before the marina was built, first found San Cosme nearly two decades ago. He began construction of his home there several years later.

Today, the sprawling Mexican home spills down the side of the mountain to a small marina that he has built. From that location, he has spent the years fishing the surrounding area, all the while gaining a remarkable knowledge of the extraordinary fishery it contains.

Speaking with the voice of authority earned by his years exploring the prolific waters that are his front yard, it is no wonder that the owners of the Marina Puerto Escondido honored him by naming their new sportfishing event for him.

Leading up to “The Robert Ross Fishing Tournament ,” locals and observers alike seem to doubt its success – many suggesting that fishing was slow this year and that attendance would be low.

Twenty-five teams, locals as well as from mainland Mexico, Cabo San Lucas, and La Paz defied the rumors and participated in the inaugural event.

The first tournament day was no bonanza, but there were dorado and yellowtail. There were also a handful of striped and blue marlin and a few sailfish released as some of the fleet labored to find the packs of billfish seen on the previous pre-fish day.

The second day, they found the billfish – and they were hungry! According to Ross, the two-day total for the eight boats targeting billfish was 136 marlin and sailfish released!

The large number seemed to indicate that although no yellowfin showed up for the party, the billfish show underscored the remarkable challenges at the fishery that is awaiting anglers at the “Canyon.”

And the inaugural Robert Ross Fishing Tournament at the new Marina Puerto Escondido got off to a great start!

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