GOOD CALICO BASS FISHING ON THE
NEAR SHORE KELP BEDS AT PUNTA SAN ROQUE
July 23, 2004, Igor Doncov, Bahia Asuncion, Baja fishing trip report, Mexico:
My son, Alex, and I fished the Bahia Asuncion, Baja California, area July 7 through July 11. The road from Vizcaino was quite good until the last 15 miles to town, which was heavily washboarded.
The townspeople were very friendly.
We proceeded to Punta San Roque, another 13 washboarded miles north of town. The large gamefish were not in at the time so we fished the kelp beds at the point from shore using plastics. We caught numerous calico bass in the 5lb-8lb range during low tide making long casts to the edges of the kelp beds. We also caught a 10lb sheephead. We made sushi from the calicos.
The friendly Baja pangueros offered to take us out with them while they worked. We hooked up with a panga that was collecting seaweed for export to Japan. We fished from one side of the boat while the diver worked from the other. They whooped and hollered every time my son hooked a fish.
We caught our fish by wading to rocky points of land during low tide with surf lapping just below us. We followed a dirt road that follows the headland north of the beach at San Roque that the pangeros launch. We looked for reefs that came closest to the kelp beds. We cast 1 oz leadhead jigs with plastic jigs that I normally use for largemouth bass that were motor oil in color. We used 12 lb Pline line that was very abrasion resistant. The larger fish were hard to keep out of the kelp and we had to frequently give them the limp line to encourage them to swim out of the foliage. Alex was too weak and too slow to pump the fish out of the kelp and lost all fish he hooked (not to mention the terminal rigs).
An examination of my old algae books shows that the pangeros were collecting algae of the genus 'Gelidium'. They were purple in color. They dried them on the beach overnight before packaging them for the trip. These algae grow on the bottom just beyond the surf and, indeed, the panga we fished from was kept in position just beyond the surf (which is greatly diminished by the huge kelp beds) by a rowing pangero. We caught calico bass and sheephead from the panga. The water was cold, in the 60s, I would guess.
We camped just yards from the surf in the settlement just south of the launching beach. There is a half built cement structure by the ocean side of the road and a couple of crosses next to an adjacent tree. We were invited by the head pangero to camp on the small flat area in this area.
The elephant trees are blooming in the Vizcaino desert and I took pictures of them. We hunted lizards throughout Baja during this trip and we decided that the Vizcaino desert has the greatest variety and abundance of lizards in the area we traveled. There are areas on the road to Asuncion where the sand has blown over the main highway. My son said, 'Dad, let's drive over the soft sand'. I, eventually, did drive the left wheels over the sand at about 25mph on the paved road. Well, it was like being in a serious accident. The wheels jumped to the top of the wheel wells giving a loud bang and sent half of the entire truck and camper into the air. I thought it would never run again. The battery had slipped off but there was no other visible damage. I think the suspension is damaged somewhat because there is a noise made during sharp right turns. An important Baja lesson was learned.