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Author Topic:   Baja fishing trip for June
RabAye posted 03-04-2011 01:15 PM ET (US)   Profile for RabAye   Send Email to RabAye  
Have you thought about venturing down Baja for a Sea of Cortez fishing trip, but been afraid to do so or waiting to be invited by someone with local knowledge? Here is the opportunity. I trailer my Montauk to San Lucas Cove, just south of Santa Rosalia and 600 miles south of the border on the east coast of Baja, each June, for approximately two weeks of camping out and fishing. The target catch is yellowtail and dorado (dolphin fish, mahi mahi), but there are also abundant sailfish and if you like to eat other varieties as well, lots of shallow water trolling for smaller species such as triggers, snapper, hogfish, etc is available. Live mackerel are easily obtained at sunrise just outside the bay mouth. There are dolphin and jumping ray sightings on a daily basis, along with occasional encounters with sea lions, humpback, sei and pilot whales, and whale sharks.

The campground is inexpensive and right on the water, with easy beach launching and the ability to anchor out as this is a shallow protected bay. Camping is primitive, no hookups, but with hot showers and flush toilets, and there is an interesting collection of characters in the campground who are social and helpful (most of whom lease their spots on a yearly basis and have installed semi-permanent trailer). I personally use my pop-up camper. Santa Rosalia is nearby, so there is easy access to supplies, gas, ice, and restaurants (where I usually watch the NBA finals which are finishing up at the time).

As I indicated, I am a knowledgeable guide, in all aspects of Mexico and Baja travel. I am not offering a service, there is no charge, just the offer of company for serious fishermen. My wife usually does not come, but you can bring yours (or kids, dog, etc.) Please post any questions you might have, and for great reading, I recommend "The Baja Catch," by Neil Kelly and Gene Kira, which describes the area. I can send you photos if you are interested.

Bob Bulwa
(formerly posting as rbulwa)
'85 Montauk
'09 Suzuki DF80

lizard posted 03-04-2011 07:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for lizard  Send Email to lizard     

Tomol, out of So. Cal., goes down with a bunch of guys diving in the Sea of Cortez yearly and posts some really nice photos.

I will tell you this, many of my friends who used to cross the border for fishing, sailing and diving in Baja have backed off. The violence is daily and there have been increasing hits on tourists.

It is a different world down there now.

RabAye posted 03-05-2011 02:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for RabAye  Send Email to RabAye     
"Increasing hits on tourists?" This is a myth, in my humble opinion. Isn't it dangerous to travel in Mexico? Yes, I hear this question a lot, and I always respond with by asking the questioner whether he has been reading the local news lately, plenty of drug and other criminal related violence here, as well as drunk drivers out on the road (I am a retired probation officer). Personally, I have never had a problem in Mexico, other than one roll-over wreck on Baja Hwy. 1 with my pop driving, twenty-two years ago. Actually, the Baja roads present by far the greatest challenge; fairly narrow with no shoulder, with buses and trucks to contend with. You travel by day, take your foot off the gas when large vehicles pass, but once your pass quickly through TJ and Ensenada (via toll road), the beautiful desert scenery and friendly people abound. And the calm seas and great fishing in the gulf make it worthwhile. But of course, I have always been the adventurous sort. That is why I am presenting this opportunity to others who might not consider such a trip without an experienced guide. Plus a caravan of two or more rigs certainly makes it more secure.


fluke posted 04-30-2011 06:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for fluke  Send Email to fluke     
Bob have you any experience with San Quintin? Seems alot closer and far enough south just don't know of any personal knowledge.
lizard posted 04-30-2011 10:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for lizard  Send Email to lizard     
RabAye- I have friends in San Diego, legal citizens with families still in MX, many of them will not cross the border any longer due to the violence there. My friend, Hudith, has a sister who is quite wealthy by MX standards and she calls Hudith routinely and thereis gunfire in the streets, beheaded bodies are left in front of schools to terrorize children,, etc. MX is a beautiful place and I have always longed to do the Sea of Cortez, but that is going to have to wait until the violence is controlled.

I know that the violence in MX is escalating and is no myth. Increasingly, American tourists are either by-products of the violence or targeted. Just read a local, border paper from San Diego or TX, you will see.

fluke posted 04-30-2011 10:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for fluke  Send Email to fluke     
I think a small caravan with compentent people and a experienced guide sounds very appealing, although the crime wave is a hugh concern, there are hot spots and night time travel is out, seems worth looking in to.
Bob where are you traveling from?
tomol posted 05-05-2011 10:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for tomol  Send Email to tomol     
Bob, that sounds like a great opportunity for someone who's interested in great fishing with someone who knows the area. Best of luck.
lizard posted 05-07-2011 10:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for lizard  Send Email to lizard cruises-mexican-riviera-likely-end-2012/

This is a later version of the newspaper version of this morning. As of 2012, NO cruise companies will be doing the Mexican Riviera cruises. The annual loss to San Diego tourism annually + $100 MILLION. The reason stated= increasing violence in Mexico. I would caution anyone planning a trip into Mexico to do more research. Coastal communities are increasingly impacted due to drug trade sorts using waterways in lieu of roadways.

I am not trying to be a buzz-kill to RabAye's post, but things are serious down there folks.

RabAye posted 05-16-2011 02:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for RabAye  Send Email to RabAye     
Sorry I haven't posted on this thread for awhile, but when there were no new posts for seven weeks I stopped checking. Mark (Fluke), I am glad we got a chance to meet at the rendezvous, I hope I answered some of your questions and I look forward to showing you Baja, if not this year, one of these days. As you said, we will talk more.

Hey Lizard, I think that if you care to check, you will find that more fishermen die doing what we did this past weekend at Bodega Bay, either diving for abs (at least two so far this season nearby) or in boating accidents while fishing for salmon, than die as tourists victimized by criminal drug gangs while visiting Mexico. The link you supplied only shows that many potential tourists are shying away from traveling to Mexico on cruises because of the negative reports, and that has caused the touring companies to change routes for economic reasons, not because of any actual violence against tourists. Most of the problems have been in the Northeastern border areas, notably around Ciudad Juarez, although admittedly there have also been some problems in Mazatlan and Acapulco, where the ships port. There has also been violence against immigrants from Central American passing though (presumably riding the rails) on their way to the U.S. border.

Where I go in the winter, just north of Puerto Vallarta, it is quiet and still full of life. Many Americans and Canadians spend the winters there. And as far as Baja is concerned, once you have passed through Tijuana, driving in the daytime of course, you are onto a toll road until Ensenada, then on to the beautiful roads and small towns of the real Baja. If you are a drug dealer, involved with the criminal gangs, you are certainly in danger of being killed and dismembered. Otherwise, you drive carefully and relish the chance to get away from your everyday life. But the main thing is, if you are worried about Baja, stay home. Leave the wonderful Mexican people, beautiful landscape, delicious food and excellent fishing to us dare devils.

fluke posted 05-17-2011 09:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for fluke  Send Email to fluke     
Bob it was nice to meet you and Terry too. Your trip this June is unlikely for me, though a shorter turn around in the future would be a better fit. I think a whaler caravan would be a blast, we'll keep working on it.
lizard posted 05-18-2011 07:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for lizard  Send Email to lizard     
RabAye- As I posted, I am not trying to be a buzz kill to your thread. It may be so that more people die each year diving for abalone. Frankly, it is far more appealing to me that being shot or beheaded. sheriff-body-of-american-shot-by-mexico-pirates-still-missing/ americas-war-americans-killed-mexico-border-crossing/

[url[url] americans-killed-mexico-past-week/ 28550568_1_northern-mexico-dealership-ciudad-juarez

From Wikipedia: 92 Americans were killed in Mexico between June 2009 and June 2010 (associated with the drug cartel war). During the same period, 448 Mexicans were killed in drug cartel associated killings in Baja alone.

So, yes, I could slip and fall in my tub (and have) and kill myself, but I choose not to disregard the risks associated with travel in MX and applaud those who are comfortable doing so.

lizard posted 05-18-2011 07:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for lizard  Send Email to lizard     

BTW, those links cover murders of Americans in the past 6 mos., approximately.

lizard posted 05-18-2011 07:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for lizard  Send Email to lizard     
Finally, the US State Dept. issued a travel warning to MX on 4/22/11. The specifics regarding Baja:

The statement includes a section on Baja California, recommending that travelers to the northern part of the state “exercise caution in this area particularly at night.” It mentions shooting incidents that have occurred during daylight hours throughout Tijuana, “in which innocent bystanders have been injured.”

tomol posted 05-19-2011 10:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for tomol  Send Email to tomol     
I'm continually puzzled by the entrenched fear Americans have about crime in Mexico. Certainly there is a serious violent crime problem there, and anyone visiting should plan accordingly. But, measured risks are part of life, no?

The figures in the April State Department Travel Advisory show the actual level of crime. 150,000 people cross the border daily. That's 54,750,000 per year with 111 deaths. I have to think the murder rate in the U.S. is close to that.

This is a letter reprinted from "Western Outdoor News". I'm unsure of the date. It provides a little perspective.

Finally, and just because I can't resist an opportunity to show off a fish, here's my biggest yellowtail to date. The picture was taken in San Lucas Cove. The fish came on the backside of nearby Isla San Marcos. The more observant may notice a wind whipped surface. That's common in winter when the picture was taken. June will be beautiful.

This year, my friends and I are forgoing our annual Whaler adventure, and instead flying to La Paz where I'll be diving out of (gasp?) a Parker center console. Please don't tell anybody. :)

lizard posted 05-19-2011 12:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for lizard  Send Email to lizard     
Tomol- My posts are not about "entrenched fear" they are about pragmatic planning. As I said, I have been professionally involved in repatriation of Americans, largely traveling in Baja, but occasionally Cabo San Lucas and other tourist destinations.

People go down there with no understanding or planning and find themselves in dicey situations. You are different in that you live locally and therefore get more news than folks in other parts. You are seasoned in travel to the same destination almost yearly. You've got it.

The purpose of my posts is to provide a head's up for those considering a trip, so that they can be informed, not scared, and plan for a successful and safe outing.

I have friends and colleagues, with family still in MX, who do not travel to their own family homes anymore. While the violence is largely random, there is gunfire in the streets, on an almost daily basis.

The latest "thing" is that people are being called in the U.S. and told that a family member is being held hostage. In this woman's case, her elementary school- aged son. He attends a private school in Chula Vista (north of the border for those unfamiliar with the territory). He is a legal U.S. citizen. She rec'd a call stating he had been taken hostage.

The callers hope that you will forward the money immediately, given the violence and the inability to obtain clear and immediate answers from MX authorities. Fortunately, he was in school and had never been approached. I know two people who have had this happen in the past year.

Taking a "measured" risk involves educating yourself and planning accordingly.

RabAye posted 05-19-2011 04:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for RabAye  Send Email to RabAye     

If your intention was to give a heads-up to folks potentially putting their lives in danger, you accomplished that with your first post. This is not your personal thread but my attempt to find travel and fishing companions, which you seem intent on interfering with. Your continued and incessant participation has now branded you as a troll. Please back off, and if you wish to spout off further about the dangers of Mexico (and Baja) travel, please start your own thread. Thank you, and your response to this request is neither required nor welcome.

RabAye posted 05-19-2011 04:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for RabAye  Send Email to RabAye     
Tomol, nice to hear from another intrepid Baja fisherman. I got five yellowtail (and lost a few others) at the north end of San Marcos last year, although for the first time since I have gone down in early June, there were no dorado. Sounds like I may run into you one of these days. Have a great time this year in and near La Paz, I haven't been there or back to the East Cape since I started going to Punta Chivato, which is now closed to camping. The campground at San Lucas Cove is very welcoming, I'm on my way down in two weeks. If you ever think about going down for a June trip, let me know and perhaps we can do a caravan. Regards.
lizard posted 05-19-2011 08:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for lizard  Send Email to lizard     

When you open a thread in an OPEN forum, you should expect responses, even if they are not the responses you might have wished for or offend your sensibilities.

Calling someone a troll is rude.

If you wish to start a Private Fishing in Mexico forum, please feel free.

fluke posted 05-20-2011 12:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for fluke  Send Email to fluke     
Lizard I think Rabye has a good point, this is a renezvous site, if you want to go good, if not then don't. Your concern has been stated, over stated and that is another topic for sure. Why don't you start your own thread if it is that important to you. I hope we can put together a whaler caravan to baja next year it would be so much fun!Lizard you missed a wonderful gathering at Bodega, we have an awsome group here to enjoy adventure.
fno posted 05-20-2011 07:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for fno  Send Email to fno     
After reading thru this a few times, I have to agree with Rabeye. Lizard, you should lay off or start your own thread. You have a good point about the dangers, but debating them with Bob to no apparent end is inappropriate. Eight posts goes a bit beyond stating your opinion. Enjoy Baja, Bob. And make sure we get a report afterwards, if you survive ;-)
tomol posted 05-20-2011 10:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for tomol  Send Email to tomol     
RabAye, your mention of Punta Chivato brings back fond memories. That was our destination of choice before we started going to San Francisquito.

Launching there was an adventure with any south swell, but it was usually doable. . That 9 mile dirt road from the highway made for an unbelievably dirty boat. .

That whole area is still very rich with sea life. From Isla Tortuga to the north to Conceptsion Penninsula to he south, there's a little something for everybody.

RabAye posted 05-21-2011 01:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for RabAye  Send Email to RabAye     

Back in the early '80s my brother-in-law introduced my to Cabo Pulmo on the East Cape, where he had a close friend. We went there in August, blazing hot of course. So, a few years later when I sold my little ski runabout (kids off to college) I bought a used 12' inflatable with a 25hp Tohatsu, and started going to Pulmo. This continued for a few years, often in winter, even flopped a few dorado into my dad's lap when I brought him down there with me. Got introduced to Chivato in the late 90s, visiting a friend there, and after I purchased my first Montauk and made one last trip to Pulmo, switched locations. Over the years I also had visited Papa Fernandez' in Gonzaga Bay several times, as well as L.A. Bay (Daggett's). I probably hit Chivato about five times, always in June when the dorado were making their way north, then stopped going during some years of RV travel, and by the time I was ready to go back the beach had been closed to camping. Loved that place, loved being able to launch at the ramp over by the hotel and airstrip (is that launching photo you posted really old, before all the houses were built?). Also loved being able to anchor the boat out behind the protective reefs.

I did my research, had heard about San Lucas Cove but never stopped there, and decided to check it out in '09. I had for the previous several years been trailering my second Montauk (got cancer, sold the '77, got well, bought my '85) all the way down to a Chacala, a small fishing village in Nayarit where we had been spending time in the winter). I found everything about the campground welcoming including the old timers, who immediately taught me the ropes, launching, tides, routes in and out of the bay, bait locations. Plus, this was a lot closer to the north end of San Marcos than Chivato, easier to get to the Yellowtail for the early bite. Of course, I don't miss that dirt road out to Chivato either, washboard unless scraped within the previous few days. Plus I enjoy being close to Santa Rosalia.

I have never gone all the way out to Isla Tortuga, should probably do it one of these days when the seas are glassy.

I have never been to San Francisquito, just took out the Baja Catch to read about it, sounds like November is the best time to get surface running yellows on lures, that would be a lot of fun since getting them off the bottom with live bait is just plain backbreaking work. I am not sure I would be up for the boat access though, I wasn't even too thrilled when I drove the first five miles south out of L.A. Bay as far as Dr. Abraham Vazquez' place at Campo Gecko. I have just about had my fill of Baja back roads after numerous trips to Gonzaga via Puertocitos, and one run up the coast from Mag Bay to Bahia San Ignacio, even more of a nightmare. I'm just getting too old for that.

Here are some Facebook links to my Baja photos from the past two years, hope they work for non-members:


contender posted 05-21-2011 04:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
I know two things about Mexico, It is corrupt (everyone the people, police and the government) and it is a 3rd world country. If you go down there and do something that they do not like, you better have the money to pay them off, or be willing to give up your possessions, or just go to jail. Once you are in jail you are at their mercy. And if you think our prison are bad wait until you go/get in a Mexican prison. Trust me no one will help you (only your family) and our government will not intercede to get you out. You will have no rights, no phone call to a lawyer. You will have to convince them that you can pay the fine that they come up with. You think you are safe just wait it only takes once until this happens to you and you will have a total different look about going to Mexico. I was contracted once to do some work in Mexico, once arriving all of our tools were lost along with our luggage at the airport. Two days later our stuff mysteriously reappeared. starting to work on the 3rd day we were arrested by the Federal Police and put in jail. The major crime working without papers (this was already set up before our arrival) Two days in jail (with no sleep) we were released on a fine of 105 pesos a person (about $20 American each for 4 of us) and the overall fine was $5000. (this was back in 1983-84) American to get out. No receipt, no phone calls, no lawyer, no judge. After a payment(wired cash)in their hands, We were then taken to the airport by the federal police and put on a airplane for home...So you want to go to Mexico go ahead, just have a real good backup plan for getting out...Have a nice day
tomol posted 05-22-2011 12:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for tomol  Send Email to tomol     

Great pictures. I particularly liked the ones of San Ignacio.

In answer to your questions, the launching picture was taken in '04 or '05.

If you want to go to San Francisquito, do it soon. An enormous copper and cobalt mine ($1.7 billion capital investment) is about to begin operations at El Arco. Plans call for them to haul the ore to San Francisquito and put it on barges. To do that they're going to build a pier and marina off the point, since it's the only deep water access around. All this means is that our bucolic little haven is probably going away.

Like you, I'm no longer a fan of long, bumpy roads, so the approach of choice is the road in from Mex 1 that goes through El Arco. It's much much better than the nightmare down from L.A. Bay.

RabAye posted 05-22-2011 02:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for RabAye  Send Email to RabAye     
Interesting, the rejuvenation of the mining industry. Last year they also announced the that the mining in Santa Rosalia, long dormant, was going to be reopened. Great for the local economy there, probably will mean an influx of workers (as many as 2000, they said) and the mining company will build worker housing in the area. Probably won't affect the scene in San Lucas Cove, except with more mouths to eat seafood, there may be more pressure on the fishing grounds. I haven't seen the illegal surface long lining in that area or the gill netting that I have seen in Nayarit, but who knows. Of course, the shrimpers are already raping the sea bottom in the Craig Channel, where it is supposedly illegal for them to work.


fluke posted 06-02-2011 06:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for fluke  Send Email to fluke     
Bob are you still going down this month? Didn't know if you got any takers on your offer.
RabAye posted 06-30-2011 01:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for RabAye  Send Email to RabAye     
Fluke and others,

I have posted the photos on my Facebook page, with access to all. The link is:

The trip down was uneventful except I didn't leave home here in Northern California until Sunday afternoon at 4 PM. I spent the night in an Anaheim Walmart lot, then headed for my daughter's place in Chula Vista. I finally crossed the border Monday (June 6) around 2:30, and drove until night was setting in, stopping at a back country restaurant because I didn't want to drive the last hour in the dark to Rancho Santa Inez in Catavina, and figuring I could have a meal and park for free. Unfortunately, I didn't account for the truckers who would park next to me with their engines and compressors running while I tried to sleep. Lesson learned. Lucky I wasn't asphyxiated.

I made it to San Lucas Cove after 4 PM Tuesday, still enough time to get semi-set up, and to launch the boat and get it prepared for fishing early Wednesday. There was a Montauk already there, and a family with a third Montauk (both are shown in my photos) arrived the next day. Of note, there are two or three others in storage at the nearby village, for folks who spend part of the year here. This (along with aluminum boats) is the most popular and most practical choice in this shallow bay.

The fishing was not as good this year as I had hoped, sort of in between the best yellowtail fishing and the start of the dorado run. Over the course of eleven fishing days, I got only two yellowtail, and had one take-up from a dorado, and one from a sailfish, without hooking either. Another nice yellowtail was caught on my boat by a friend. I was still able to eat yellowtail (hamachi) sashimi every day, I got plenty of bay bass, triggers and snappers to keep the frying pan active. We watched the NBA finals in a restaurant in Santa Rosalia, a town that is experiencing a rebirth since the copper mine has reopened in the last year. The seas were cooperative as usual, many glassy mornings, limited swells and plenty of sea life, including many whale sharks, two sperm whale encounters, pilot whales and dolphins. A negative was the illegal incursion of a large fleet of trawlers into the Craig Channel seeking the squid, and the local panga fishermen were not happy with this criminal act seemingly avoiding any government enforcement.

I headed home Sunday the 19th, made Santo Tomas, then L.A. for the afternoon and evening Monday and home on Tuesday. Again, uneventful driving, other than discovering (and changing) a trailer tire that was showing uneven wear.

If anyone is interested in talking about joining me next year, give a holler early. If you have thought about doing this, you now have the opportunity to go with an experienced guide.

fluke posted 07-04-2011 03:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for fluke  Send Email to fluke     
Bob glad you had a safe and successful trip. Sorry the fishing wasn't as good as desired, but I'm sure you had a relaxing time on and off the water.Thanks for the offer I'll let you know if I can join you later.
coolarrow posted 07-11-2011 01:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for coolarrow  Send Email to coolarrow     
Hey Rabaye, I go to mexico all the time, and I am fluent in spanish. I have always thought it would be fun to do a Kino to san fransisquito and back trip. Keep me posted and we'll get something going. I love the mexican people and the cortez. I live in az so I tend to launch on the mexico side, but I could zip over and meet you. Good idea for this trip.

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