Bonefish in Paradise

Baja has bonefish?  You better believe it.  From San Fransisco to Panama they swim our bays, estuaries, mangroves and sandy beaches too.  Great fighting light tackle fish.

San Diego in the back bay has a population.  Bahia San Quintin has a very healthy population.  They are found in most of the lagoons and mangroves on the pacific side of Baja.  The sea of Cortez also has its fair share of these fun fighting fish.

Personally I have fished them from Carlsbad Lagoon all the way down to the Panama Canal.  Light spinning tackle or fly rods are best enjoy their power.  A 6-7 foot spinning rod, reel loaded with 4-6 pound line works for bait fishing.  Their first run can be sizzling on light tackle.

Your bait can consist of many baits, ghost shrimp, blood worms, clams, crab pieces.  Inn keeper worm strips, mussel all work as does market shrimp if you have nothing else.  Cast your bait into the channels along the eel grass beds.  I find that a slowly moving bait catches better and bigger fish.  A subiki rig also works to catch them.

My favorite way to catch these speedy silver bullets is on a fly rod.  Any fly that mimics a shrimp or small crab pattern will catch them.  Smaller clousers and decievers in a tan to pink color work well.  I like a 5-7 weight rod for these speedsters.

Bonefish like the back bay in Gonzaga Bay.  While not abundant they can range to 12-14 inches.  In this same area you will also find corvina, spotted bay bass, and small roosterfish too.  We have caught them at the beach at mako-ville.  And I understand they can be found in the San Felipe area.

And their range goes down the main land side of mexico all the way to the Yucatan and further south past Panama.  So when the winds of Baja pick up, try the bonefish.  Find a protected bay or lagoon and have a lot of fun.  Tight Lines amigos.

 

 

 

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Beep, beep, Roadrunner the Cuckoo bird of Baja,

A road runner will  mate for LIFE.  They reach lengths of about 2 feet, beak to tail.  A member of the cuckoo family.  They have a top speed of over 15 mph.

Food consists of lizards, insects, scorpions, mice, small birds and snakes.  They also eat fruits and seeds.  They can fly short distances but spend most of their day on the ground.  Lizards are a favorite food.

Lizards seem to almost fly over the hot desert sands.  Our favorite bird can outpace them.  The diet of the road runner contains enough moisture that he does not need to drink water his whole life.  Excess salt is ejected through glands near his eyes.

The nest is a raised platform made from sticks.  Usually built by the female a few feet off the ground in a cactus or desert shrub.  The male supplies the sticks, and the female does the actual construction.  The nest is lined with everything from feathers to snake-skin to cow manure.

Between 2-6 white to pale yellow eggs are laid in the nest.  They hatch out in less than three weeks.  Chicks are fledged in another three weeks.  Mom and dad will feed them for about another month.  Then they are able to forage for themselves.

The myth of road runner outrunning Mr Coyote is just that, a myth.  To escape he needs to get off the ground and into a tall shrub or cactus.  The coyote is twice as fast and has moore endurance.  Last year was wet for our area of Baja.

That meant moore food was available.  There were two road runner family’s running around in our part of paradise.  It is nice to sea them in the area.  However they are tough on the local quail populations.

For them catching a baby quail is just a walk in the park.  After the quail can fly it is a different story.  Up, up and away.  Then our road runner once again has to run for his food.  Lizards, lizards and moore lizards.  I cannot seem to catch them but he sure can.  Tight Lines and thank you for following us at mako-ville.

 

 

 

Pargo Heaven 1992

25 Years ago while on a Baja exploratory trip to La Paz. A friend and I took a panga to Espritu Santo.  Looking for pargo rojo.  Rumors said they could be found there.

We asked around and found a local La Paz fisherman willing to take us fishing.  Early the next morning we headed out.  There was no wind so the crossing was easy.  We rounded up the right side of the island a couple of miles.

Our panguero named Juan pulled us up to a rocky/sandy shore line.  He took a wooden plug from the floor in front of the bow seats.  Instantly water flooded the front compartment.

With us behind him he jumped onto the front seat area.  Juan grabbed a castnet from the seat compartment.  Standing tall he stomped his feet on the seat deck.  Then cast the net to the sandy area near the rocks.  He quickly jumped down and backed the boat out about 10 feet.

Back to the bow he went, the cast net was retrieved.  must have been 60+ small bait fish in the net.  He shook them out of the net into the front compartment which held about 10 inches of salt water.  He did this 3 times, each time stomping before each throw of the net.

Asking why he stomped he told us that the bait hides under the panga. Stomping sends them away from the panga in fright.  Making them easier to catch.  We would need them for pargo he promised.

He told us his fishing reef was 30 minutes away.  Pete and I settled into a stand up position and brought out our breakfast, made the night before at a street taco stand.  We had 8 so offered a couple to Juan.

You buy a burritos today and it weighs 1-2 POUNDS and is full of……….     These were Baja burritos.  Spiced meat with a little onion, wrapped around a homemade flour tortilla.  These were flat each wrapped in paper and only a few ounces each.  Old school Baja burritos.  I can still taste them.

Arriving at Juan’s secret spot we saw two other pangas.  Both were just the panguero fishing, no help, no gringos.  We saw one pull a nice pargo and knew we had hit the jackpot.  We pulled out our tackle and got rigged as we drifted.

Juan said we were not going to catch them on the gear we had set up.  He cut off our tackle, pulled out a large hook for both of us to tie on.  Just the hook, nothing else.  Juan showed us how to hook the baits.  He then squeezed a half-dozen minnows and threw then in.

Up they came, brown red streaks flashing through the water.   Juan told us not to put our baits in the water yet.  He tells  Pete to pull 20 feet or so of line from his reel and please do not stand on it.  He picks up the scoop gets some bait, grabs Petes hook and bait and throws the whole mess in the water.

Again the snapper flash towards the surface grabbing the minnows.  Including Petes.  Fish on, straight to the bottom and almost instant rock.  Same thing happened to me, four turns in a row.  Pete got the first one, about 20 pounds.

A Penn 4/0 with a very tight drag and 50 pound braided dacron could only stop the smaller ones.  The bigger models were unstoppable.  We got 7 that day all between 15 to almost 30 pounds.  One we kept, the others went to Juan’s family.  It was a day to remember, pargo were all over.

I believe these were dog-tooth snapper.  But they might have been cubera snapper.  They were pargo rojo, and fantastic eating.  A little cafe/kitchen cooked them up and we feasted on pargo grilled with garlic.  memories make in paradise.  They forever live in my aging mind.

 

 

Kayak camping BAJA

Kayak camping in Baja is ALL logistics.   Weights must be kept down.  How do you shuttle to your destination?  Where to camp and how to set your camp up all need to be planed out ahead of time.

As you plan there is a lot to think about.  Is this a nature paddle or a fish trip?  Is it a solo trip or are you going with a small group of friends.  What will you take for food and camp gear?  How will you cook?  What about a hot shower?

To start, pick a safe place to end your kayak camping trip.  A place with an easy beach landing and parking for your vehicles.  This will be both your starting and finishing location.  I use mako-ville for it is a safe and secure area.  Friends to watch your truck and gear are important.

kayak camping anyone?
kayak camping a safe place to park

Pack your gear, camp stuff will be distributed among these going.  Community gear you will need should include the items below as a minimum.

A sturdy grill to use over an open fire.  Small stove to heat water.  Tongs, meat fork, cooking spoon, and a spatula.  The skillet needs to be big enough to cook a meal for the whole crowd.  A pan or two to boil water or to cook a one pot meal.  Lighting for use at night.  A coffee pot?

Oil, aluminium foil, spices, and food for the trip.  Corn on the cob, cabbage, onions, carrots and potatoes and packaged tortillas all keep well, without refrigeration.  Pastas and rice take up little space and can be prepared with SEA water.  Powdered eggs, make breakfast burritos quick and easy.  One Hobie PA needs to carry an ice chest.  Bring pasta sauce or makings for an easy meal with or without protein.

The ice chest will carry frozen gallons of drinking water.  It will also carry along the frozen vacuumed bagged meats for one or two meals.  If room allows bring a couple of pounds of frozen bacon, it can be used many ways. You will catch fish, gather clams or find a shrimp boat to cover your other protein needs or go meat less.

The above items will be shared so keep everyone’s weight down.  Personal items need to be kept lite.  Layered clothing and outer jacket or rain jacket.  Your sleeping bag, ground cloth and pad will come in handy.   Sun protection, hat, long sleeve shirts, and tarp.  Leave room for your tackle.  A sun shower can be filled with salt water and you can have a hot shower in the middle of no where.

I can pack 3 kayaks, 2  people, and myself with gear and supplies into my truck.  PLUS a driver to bring my truck back to camp.  We drive to a beach 1/2 to our halfway point and stash a couple of gallons of emergency water.  Then head to our launch point.  Unload and yaks in the water, the ADVENTURE begins.

If things were planed properly it is 4 days in paradise.  Kayak camping the Sea of Cortez.  We leave the world and its pressures behind.  Stand on a beach few others have ever seen.  Live your life to its fullest.  THRIVE.

 

 

 

Campo Turistico, Punta Bufeo, Gonzaga, Baja

Looking for a place to getaway from the masses, where life is lived at a slower pace?  Campo Turistico might just fit your style.  It is owned by Luis Fernandez, GRANDSON of Papa Fernandez.  Another grandson resides at Punta Bufeo a mile to the south, Luis’s brother Miguel.

Turistico, you have arrived
Campo Turistico turn off to PARADISE

In the picture is a piece of local color, SDROB full time Baja lover.  The turn off is Km 134 going towards Gonzaga.  They are located 8 miles NORTH of the Gonzaga checkpoint.  Right smack in the middle of some GREAT Baja fishing.  Pet and family friendly.

On the beach just feet from the water you will find palapas are available.  Sun shade, water and trash containers are furnished.  The LA POMA restaurant is only yards away.  With toilets and HOT showers available to all.  And mako-ville is just around the corner.

La Poma restaurant
Restaurant La Poma

Luis’s wife Clementina runs a tight ship at the restaurant.  A family friendly menu is available from 8am to 9pm.  Or you could ask her to prepare a meal with your meat of fresh fish.  Gourmet cooking at its finest, all old family recepies.  Can’t get better then that.

La Poma restaurant view
View from La Poma Restaurant facing Punta Bufeo
Restaurant at Campo Turistico
View from the restaurant

From the sand looking out over the Sea of Cortez from camp sometimes you get a surprise.  The islands out front are called Las Encantadas, meaning the Enchanted Isles.  On wind calm days the sometimes appear to FLOAT on the surface of the Sea.

Floating islands
Las Encantadas, the Enchanted Isles in mako-ville
Islands FLOATING
The Enchanted Islands of mako-ville

Luis can usually get one of his brothers to take you fishing from a panga.  Or just go for a boat ride with the wife and kids.  You might sea whales, a whale shark, sea turtles, porpoise, sea lions and many different species of birds.  Bring your camera and capture Baja at its finest.

Campo Turistico is open year round, join us when you can.  Building lots on the beach are available.  So come on down and say hello to Luis and Clementina.  They will make feel like family.

 

 

Working yourself to DEATH

Most of us are working ourselves to death.  So easy to do in our day and age.  Seems bosses everywhere want moore productivity for less money.  Getting time off is difficult even for family emergencies.  A vacation, maybe if not cancelled at the last-minute.

Because we are close to the border a long weekend getaway is possible.  Baja calls.  Your wife and kids played on the beach, chased sea gulls and collected sea shells.  They enjoyed the panga ride, caught a few fish and had a campfire under the stars at night.  You all returned from paradise refreshed with fully charged batteries.

Even your boss could sea the difference in you attitude.  You were cheerful and moore productive.  Back at work you had to catch up.  No sweat.  Can do easy.  Off to the races you go, getting task after task accomplished.  The week goes by fast.  On Friday the bass calls you in for a one on one.

You cringe inside, there have been a number of layoffs as the company down sizes.  You ask yourself if it is your turn because if your Baja trip.  Worry not your friend and supervisor Paul got cut.  After a pregnant pause he pops the question?  Will you fill his shoes while the company looks for a replacement?

It moves you from hourly to salaried,  Moore money but moore hours too.  You would go from 40 hours a week to 50+ hours.  Maybe with a bonus if you reach their goals each week. You could make an extra $200 a month.  If no bonus than your hourly wage brought home more money.

So you ask what about time off?  One extra week a year and it must be schedules 3 months in advance.  AND the company could cancel it at any time if something came up.  They just want moore labor for less.

To recap, maybe less take home pay, moore hours worked, less time off, on call all the time.  No moore trips to Baja?  decision made easy.  So you tell him you will keep the job you have, and help him handle Paul’s work.  While the company looks for a replacement.

Two weeks later the boss asks you back into his office.  Have you reconsidered our offer he asks?  Yes sir I have.  Working for this company has allowed me to put $100,000 in the bank in 6 years.  However it has taken ten years off your lifespan.   Looking at you eye to eye the says this is a two-week notice.

Ok you say, I am out of here.  Baja here I come for a few weeks.  Then I will look for a job.  Hopefully with a company that treats its assets well.  Not  just working their employees to death.  But treating them well knowing they ARE the company.

When he returned from his two-week VACATION in Baja.  He had four company’s asking if he was in the market for a better job.  At the old company his old boss  had put his key in the door one morning and was found there DEAD.  The company replaced him the following week.

DO NOT let them work YOU to death.  Use your time off to recharge your batteries.  Go to where the pace of life is moore relaxed.  Go to Baja.  That’s where I go.  Tight Lines amigos.