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With all the work that?s been done on the It?s 4 Reels! I was anxious to get out and try all the new toys that Reliable Marine installed. Since the local fishing has been inconsistent and the east end of San Clemente Island was supposed to be closed we decided to head south. Along for the ride were Frank ?Pancho? Ochoa and Ruben ?The Kid? Carmona. First choice was to go by sea but last minute decisions had us crossing the border by land at 12:30AM and arriving in Ensenada at 2AM. We had the ?Revicion? light and the Mexican Federale was as professional in checking my paper work as the U.S. Border Patrol. We also hit an inspection at the first toll. It was explained to me that they want to make sure that the rightful owner is driving the vehicle and owns the boat. They are trying to discourage people from taking stolen goods into Mexico. We launched the boat that Saturday morning at 8AM from the Hotel Coral Marina and headed to Ensenada Harbor looking to purchase some live bait. I had heard somewhere that Mike Richardson was no longer selling bait but I can tell you that he is alive and well in the same spot next to the semi-submerged Catalina Ferry. We picked up a generous scoop of mixed sardines and mini macks and taking Mike?s advice we headed north towards Punta San Miguel. Approximately 2-3 miles outside the harbor we ran into the thickest of fog and it was the death to our day of fishing. We didn?t have any GPS #?s from Mike and since we couldn?t see land we just metered around the general area and the shoreline at San Miguel for a slow pick of reds (2-3 lbs) and some nice sculpin. We ran inshore and fished the kelp beds for nada in cold 57 degree water. We had a little jackpot going ($25) and yours truly was fishing the big baits for nada all day. As we were heading into the Marina we made our customary stop to throw some plastics around the break wall and on my first cast I was bendo on a nice 3.5 lb sandy. Can you say cha-ching! That was the $50 fish of the day. After getting our El Trailero tacos we called it an early night and set our sights the next day for the San Jose area which is south of Santo Tomas.

The day started out beautifully no wind and no fog. We replenished our bait supply with Mike and headed towards Punta Banda and made the turn south towards Santo Tomas. As soon as we hit Punta Santo Tomas and were a couple from the San Jose kelp beds the fog came in thick. Pea soup thick. Water temp in the San Jose area ranged from as low as 55 degrees to a high of 58. It was horrible conditions and we drifted the kelp for a big fat zero. Nada. We said adios to this area and decided to move to a spot we had good luck on our previous trip which put us inside Punta China a stone?s throw from Santo Tomas. Again nada. Left the area and headed for the Soledad Rocks off of Santo Tomas Point and we ran over a huge pinnacle which came up from 240-260 feet to 72 feet. We made a couple of drifts as the fog was lifting and we pulled in some nice reds and chuckleheads. Pancho also caught one small ling cod. Here is Pancho with a couple of reds:

Tried to anchor on the high spot but the slightest swings put us in deep water and we didn?t want to fish deeper than 150 feet. We were close to the Rocas Soledad and as we headed there I saw some bonito jumping and a couple seals throwing some around. I called out to the crew that troll fish would count in the jack pot and after discussing the differences between fishing on boats in the U.S. and Mexico they begrudgingly let troll fish count. I tied on a Rapala X-Rap deep diver and they ?chose? not to troll. As we were nearing the rocks I got hit. Minutes later this nice 8 lb 14 oz bonito was mine:

This also turned out to be Mr. Jackpot which we doubled for this day ($100)! We circled back around and Pancho got hit on a chrome lure only to have the hook pull at the boat. Too bad and sooo sad. Maybe next time. Not! Conditions by this time turned summer like and we trolled towards shore from the Soledad Rocks for nothing. Here are a couple of pics of me sitting in my favorite seat while steering the boat with my new Raymarine SmartController remote:]


Santo Tomas coastline:

I also have an ICOM CommandMic III in the tower which has full VHF and Intercom capabilities. I was able to steer, scan VHF channels and communicate with the pilot house from up in the tower. Just an awesome set up that I am very happy with. Can?t wait to start the offshore hunt with this setup.

We headed back towards Punta Banda with a plan to fish the boiler rocks a shoreline for calicos. Here are a couple of pics of the Bufadora area (The Blowhole) as seen from the tower:

Thar she blows!:

Nothing on this side of the point so we rounded the corner and started fishing inside the point in some of the brownest water I had ever seen. I didn?t think we had a chance to get anything let alone calicos but I was dead wrong as we pulled close to 30 really nice calicos with Ruben also catching a couple of sand bass on the fresh dead squi I had bought. All the calico?s were caught on the straight plastic and I really can?t say any one color worked although I was using the light greens with silver and red bellies. Pancho and Ruben used more of the dark browns. We all caught fish in the 2-4lb range and Ruben caught a couple of 5lbers. And I was rocked on 10lb test by something with shoulders. Conditions improved throughout the day and the water cleared up and warmed up to 67 degrees. I really blew it by not taking pictures as soon as they were caught, and the following pictures really don?t do these fish justice as they were healthy and fat. Regardless, here is some of the catch of the day just before Pancho put the fillet knife to work:

We were going to do another half day on Monday but the trusty Yamaha developed some problems that I hope can be fixed before this weekend. Trip back was uneventful except for more fog which cleared up somewhere around the La Salina area. It took us only 1 hour and 20 minutes to get across and maybe 10 minutes in secondary inspection. All I can say is had a blast, caught lots of quality fish, listened to some great music to go along with the super cold cervezas:

Great times and can?t wait to do it again.

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Louie, Thanks for the report. Too bad the fishing wasn't a little better. With all of the news about problems in N. Baja, did you do anything special to minimize the potential for problems trailering down to Marina Coral?
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