Pesca La Baja, a tournament series of five events promoted by SEPESCABC in its third year, is a unique concept that has established itself among the vast array of Baja sportfishing events.
Those events include the Bisbee’s Black & Blue Tournaments that began over 30 years ago in the Los Cabos region of the Baja Peninsula, which holds the record for the largest payout in sportfishing history, $4,165,960 was awarded to the winners in 2006.
BE PREPARED TO see local politicians, judges, business owners, farmers, cowboys, families, children and fishermen all gathered together for a fiesta – all free-spirited, laid-back and unpretentious . . . all having a great time.
Another event is the Stars and Stripes Tournament — the largest sportfishing and golf charity event in the Western Hemisphere that according to Tournament Director Richard Gebhart has raised more than $20,000,000 in its 20-year history for children on both sides of the Border.
Although “Pesca la Baja” cannot match the dollars raised for charity or the cash handed out to winners by some of the other affairs, or for that matter, even the numbers of participants or spectators, yet in terms of enthusiasm, and the unification of the locals with visiting anglers into a unique celebration of sportfishing in towns and villages throughout Baja Norte, “Pesca la Baja” carves its own niche!
These five events, held in remote towns on both the Sea of Cortez and the West Coast of Baja Norte, are inexpensive, local affairs sponsored by Sepesca Baja California.
The format at each venue is identical, beginning with a Friday registration, fishing Saturday and awards Saturday night. Entry is $600 pesos for adults and $200 pesos for children 12 and under.
Awards and cash prizes are given for both surface and bottom fishing species: Surface: yellowfin tuna, big eye, albacore, marlin, dorado, yellowtail, sierra and seabass.
Bottom: All species except ray, shark and protected species.
For those competing in all four events there is a special fish-off at the fifth and final event to determine the overall champions.
The first event — (San Felipe) — was held earlier in May, shattering attendance records with 138 participants according to the staff. There were many qualifying fish in all categories brought to the scale and the largest was also a record for the event – a 147.6-pound black seabass brought to the scales by angler, Ricardo Elizondo.
San Felipe – May 13 and 14. The remaining events include:
San Luis Gonzaga, B.C. — June 10 and 11
Bahía de los Ángeles, B.C. — July 15 and 16
San Quintín, B.C. — Aug. 19 and 20
GRAND FINALE Ensenada, B.C. — Sept. 23 and 24
The San Luis Gonzaga event will be based at Hotel Alfonsina's with registration on Friday, June 10. Boat departure: Saturday, 6 a.m. (beach front Hotel Alfonsina's). The scales open at noon and close at 4 p.m. followed by an awards ceremony at Hotel Alfonsina's at 6 p.m.
THERE WERE MANY qualifying fish in all categories brought to the scale and the largest was also a record for the event – a 147.6-pound black seabass brought to the scales by angler, Ricardo Elizondo.
For the uninitiated, attending even one of these affairs is an opportunity to become immersed in Baja’s rich family and fishing culture for a brief moment in time. Each venue, on both the Sea of Cortez and the West Coast of Baja Norte, offers a glimpse of its unique personality where residents share a fierce pride in their hometowns and lifestyles.
Grass roots affairs, the tournaments mirror the proud heritage and unique lifestyles of the Baja people seldom seen by the casual visitor. Resonating with a growing number of travelers who venture across the border, the popularity of the events has nourished camaraderie among the participants, forging lasting friendships for many.
For you who complain about the crowded, noisy and unappealing (your words, not mine) popular destinations in Baja, this is your chance to rub shoulders with the locals. Be prepared to see local politicians, judges, business owners, farmers, cowboys, families, children and fishermen all gathered together for a fiesta – all free-spirited, laid-back and unpretentious . . . all having a great time.
It’s an inexpensive opportunity for you to enjoy a peek at distinctly different, easily accessible Baja communities just a few hours from the border and it’s a great way to spend the weekend while making some new friends…
See ya there!