By Gene Kira, August 18, 2003, as published in Western Outdoor News:
The last time I interviewed sportfishing guide Igor Galvan of Bahia de los Angeles, Baja California, Mexico, he was so covered with sweat and fiberglass dust, I couldn't help but think: "This has got to be the itchiest man in the whole world."
Igor had just taken delivery on the bare hull of his awesome new panga--now completed and fully operational--and he was in the middle of adding decks and hatches, seats, T-top, and a center console, in preparation to installing the pièce de résistance--a mind-boggling 225-horsepower Honda outboard.
Suffice it to say that, at 29 feet long and about 8 feet wide, the beautifully decked out Igor's II is still basically a panga, nice and light and easily launched, but it is one of the fastest pangas ever built that is used only for legitimate business, and not for you know what (rhymes with "rugs").
Recently, I was able to go out on this newly-commissioned dreadnought, which represents an emerging class of boat that will be good for the future of artisanal sport fishing, and therefore conservation, on the Sea of Cortez.
The central question in this business is: "How can a solo sportfishing panguero--no matter how good he is--make a decent living and support his family with only one boat?
As one of Baja's most respected and well-known guides, Galvan was already about as fully booked as his calendar and body would allow. The Igor's II represents an efficient way for him to increase his income while staying in touch with the sea as only a working panguero can.
Loaded with four (or even more) clients, plus a guide, the Igor's II has a lot of bottom that lets it get up on plane while that turbine-like Honda is barely ticking over. I don't want to reveal any trade secrets here, but Igor admits this boat can fish all day on so little fuel that gas isn't such an overriding concern any more. With increased capacity and lower operating cost, this boat is good for the bottom line.
The stability and sea keeping ability of this hull must be experienced to be appreciated. On the day I went out fishing at Bahia de los Angeles, we had five guys, each holding a good-sized yellowtail, posing for photographs, as they all stood along one gunnel. No problem.
We also came back to shore through a very mild version of Bahia de los Angeles' infamous westerlies, and the Igor's II hardly even felt it. Igor says he doesn't think of this extra capability as a way to take risks, but rather as extra insurance "just in case."
This is the most "super" of any super panga I've ever ridden in, and with its T-top, it was soooo nice to be able to walk around without fighting the six obstruction points of a Bimini.
The Igor's II joins a sister sportfishing boat at Bahia de los Angeles, the Guillermo's I, operating at Guillermo's Restaurant and RV Park.
The business sense of this class of panga is obvious; on the day we went out, the Guillermo's I was fishing with eight people on board, who had already caught 19 yellowtail by the time we took its photo. The formula is successful enough that Guillermo's already has a third hull on order.
The Igor's II super-duper-panga represents an ideal class of boat for Baja, not only for intimate-with-the-sea sportfishing, but also as a versatile, client-friendly platform for the integrated fishing-ecotourism market that is emerging on the Sea of Cortez.
With dorado now busting loose at Bahia de los Angeles, it's good to know, I'm sure, that Igor Galvan is out there getting his share on his beautiful new boat.
(Related Bahia de los Angeles (L.A. Bay) articles and reports may be found at Mexfish.com's main Bahia de los Angeles (L.A. Bay). See weekly fishing news, photos, and reports from the major sportfishing vacation areas of Mexico including the Bahia de los Angeles (L.A. Bay) area in "Mexico Fishing News.")