KAYAK FISHING AND DIVING TRIP TO CAMP GECKO
Aug. 4, 2005, Jason Jarrard, Bahia de los Angeles fishing trip report, Baja California, Mexico:
We left Costa Mesa at 1:30 A.M. Sunday July 21st, arriving at Camp Gecko by midday. Road conditions were excellent and gas was plentiful all the way into Bahia de los Angeles (L.A. Bay). I and my fishing partner John Tebault unloaded our gear and my Malibu kayak under 110 degree heat and 75 percent humidity. The humidity could have been higher but under these conditions you really can't tell. Cervezas, tortas and more cervezas, and camp was set, and Abraham Vasquez of Camp Gecko had us sitting 20 yards from the water in a beach front cabana, 10 P.M., easily 90-95 degrees.
The morning came to perfect glass and we loaded the kayak with all the water we could hold plus fishing and free diving gear lashed down to everything.
It took an hour crossing the bay to the outside but once there we hit reef after reef and cove after cove of ten pound grouper, fat cabrilla, toothy pargo and snapper. Not lying, a fish every cast to every three casts.
By 11 A.M., there was a bump on the water and we agreed that we better start the four or so miles back to camp. Full open water paddling on a sit-on-top tandem kayak, with a crosswind, and 50 pounds of grouper and cabrilla rubbing between your legs with every stroke ain't easy, but other than my partners sombrero flying away and having to chase it down, all went pretty well.
After high-fives and more cervezas, fresh grouper tacos were eaten and the next day's fishing and diving location was agreed upon.
Don Juan Cove is ten miles from camp across open water. After discussing the previous day's journey, we realized that Don Juan Cove just wasn't a safe destination without a mothership. Our Camp Gecko neighbors, Jim and his son Cory, from Roseville had witnessed our previous expedition and didn't want us to attempt the crossing in the kayak. Also noteworthy is that a young, fit kayaker had perished earlier this year of exposure outside the bay where we were heading. They offered to transport us and our kayak to the cove and pick us up at a predetermined time and place. Killer!
We set out at 6:30 a.m. and some time later we made the long sweeping turn into the inland lake. After passing a large beached fishing vessel, Jim turned the next corner and there was another wreck up on shore. You really are at the mercy of the sea in the Midriff. Jim dropped us off and we fished the area.
John dove from one spot to the next. More grouper and cabrilla, and by the way don't bring the soft swimbaits that work so well off So. Cal. The triggers will take off the tail twice, right up to the hook, and then for good measure just to make you laugh they take the head off so all you are left with is a weighted hook.
Water temps in Bahia de los Angeles were 75-85. Outer waters were 75-80, and Don Juan Cove had water that in some places was too hot to stand in. Many thanks to Abraham at Camp Gecko and Jim and Cory of Roseville.
John used a Shimano conventional spooled with 25-pound Trilene Big Game tied to a wire leader with snap. Yup, just like the The Baja Catch says, wire leaders snapped right onto the lures or jigs. I used a medium heavy Shimano rod and spinning real with 25-pound Trilene tied the same way. We didn't even try to make live bait.
Rapala Magnums in black and silver, Rapalas of all shapes and sizes worked, especially broken backs. All krocodiles worked but for some reason we lost more of them than anything else. One lure worked better than anything else, an orange bellied mackerel backed Rattletrap. About seven fish out of ten casts.
John kept five fish a day, enough for some to take home and eat and proof that we didn't get skunked. I release all fish I catch. Total for the trip 15 to 20 cabrilla's, same on leopard grouper, several snappers that I don't know the name of because they weren't in The Baja Catch. Sierra all over but they just kept stealing lures, one fat pargo.