Baja 2004

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This year our trip to Baja was back to our old haunt, Palmas De Cortez.  It is about 60 miles north of Cabo and located on the Sea of Cortez.  We left the United States on July 20 and returned on July 24.  We fished for three days, July 21, 22 and 23.

This year the fishing was much different from years past.  In the past, we fished either to the East or to the North.  This trip the fish seemed to be mostly South.  

The first day, we decided to go for Tuna and were told they were definitely East about 40 miles.  We started out for our two hour trip to the fishing grounds and about half way there, the boat slowed, the deck hand baited one rod and casted out.  The Captain circled and we could see a fish working just beyond our bait.  Very quickly, the fish spotted the bait, it charged the bait missing it once and then he got it.   Andy ( my older Brother) was first up.  The fish started to run and it really didn't want to stop.  As you can see by the first picture to the right, he took a lot of line.  The fish came out of the water a number of times and was just beautiful.  Finally Andy got the fish to the boat and the deck hand grabbed his bill.  He tried to remove the hook so we could release him but in the process, he got a hand full of gills.  The fish would have died anyway, so we put it in the boat.   About a 140 pound Sail Fish.  A nice way to start the trip.


After landing the fish and taking a few pictures we started out to the area where the Tuna were suppose to be.  It didn't take long before the Captain spotted another fish.  

Again the deck hand goat a bait ready and when we got close enough, he put it right in front of the fish.  This fish also took the bait and the rod was handed to me.  You really can't believe the power of these fish.  It takes all you've got to muscle them in.   They take a number of runs and they really love to come out of the water.  Just when you think you hve them under control, they take another run.  After about 15 minutes, I got the fish up to the boat.  He circled left, then right, he jumped out of the water, as yo can see in the picture to the right.  All the while the deck hand was trying  to grab his bill so he could remove the hook and release him.  Finally  he threw the hook, which was what we wanted anyway.  It really is a shame to kill them.  They have to be one of the most beautiful fish in the sea and frankly are not very good to eat.

We got under way again and this time made it to the area where the Tuna were suppose to be.  We trolled for about three hours with no action at all.  Finally we asked the Captain to move to an area where we could get some Dorado, since the Tuna were not cooperating.  We traveled well over an hour before we got to an area where there were a number of other boats.  As we approached, we could see that some of the boats had fish on, a good sign.  We no sooner got our lines in the water and we had a Dorado on the hook.  The Dorado were much smaller than they have been in the past.  It seems the fish get smaller and smaller every year.  Five years ago, we got Dorado up to about 40 pounds.  This year we were lucky if the largest was 20 pounds.  Dave (my nephew) got the first Dorado and it was one of the nicest fish we got on the whole trip.

Now, it was my brother Ron's turn.  It didn't take long before he was setting the hook.   He got the fish up to the boat and the deck hand tried to gaff it.  Missed the first time, and second time and third time and finally the fish was GONE!!  Fishing was slow and it was terrible to loose one of the few fish we had on but I guess you can't land every one.  The first two fish hit fast but after that the bite slowed to a crawl.  We must have waited an hour before we got another another hit.  Finally Ron got another one.  This time, the gaff got into the fish and it was his.  

We got one other fish the first day and Andy landed a nice Dorado.  First day total was two Sail Fish and three Dorado.

I won't bore you with pictures of every fish we caught but on the second day we got a nice surprise when Andy landed a nice Wahoo.  They seem to be few and far between but Dave had brought a lure that had the coloration of a Dorado and the Wahoo seemed to really like it.  We had three Whaoo hit it and only one stuck.  The second day we went south about 40 miles and we landed a total of six Dorado, one Yellow Fin Tuna and the Wahoo to the right.  The one nice thing on the second day was the weather.  There were a few clouds in the sky and there was a nice breeze.  I would guess it was only about 90 degrees, instead of the 110 or better we had on the first day.

On our last day of fishing we went to the same spot as the second day.  I have to say it was a long ride.  We traveled about two hours each day to get to the fishing grounds and the bad part was we had to travel back.  Our final day was slow to say the least.  We just could not find the fish.  Finally we started to fish our way back North.  As we made the turn to go North, the Captain and the Deck Hand started to tape the hatches and close everything up.  Looking North the sky was BLACK.  Yes, BLACK.  They said we were heading into a storm and would have rain and heavy winds.  When I  asked how much wind?  The reply was may be 40 to 50 mph.  Needless to say we were concerned.  35 to 40 miles to go and we were approaching a major storm.  Thank God, we were about 10 miles from the storm and as we approached, the storm moved off to the West.  We hit winds of about 15 mph and got a bit wet but it was not at all what they expected.  Anyway, we moved into an area that we had got fish the first day and finally started to get a little action.  We finished the day with 5 Dorado and 2 small Yellow Fin Tuna.

I don't know how many of you have ever stayed at a resort in Mexico but here are some pictures of the Hotel Plamas De Cortez, taken from the front door of our room.  As you can see, just outside of our room is an open bar that extends into a beautiful swimming pool.  One end of the bar is on dry land and the other end in about 3 feet of water.  You can sit in the pool and order a drink from your bar stool in the water.  In addition to the bar, there is a snack bar, just in case you want a hamburger or need to prepare some raw fish from your catch of the day.  It is really in a beautiful setting.  As you look to the left, from our room, down the walkway you can see the building used as the restaurant, it is about 3 years old.  There is a lot of new construction to make the Hotel more attractive to families, so I guess this will be one of the last trips for us to Palmas De Cortez.  It was much better when it was an old fishing Hotel without any convieniences.

Anyway, had a great time and will start planning for a July trip next year.