East Cape, Mexico



Aug. 26, 2005, Russ Fritz, La Ribera, East Cape fishing, Baja Sur, Mexico:

This week at East Cape was full of fish, weather, and a near disaster.

Fishwise, the tuna and big red snappers continue to bite early just 3 miles in front of La Ribera.

Live mackeral are plentiful and easily jigged up before daylight in less than 200 feet of water, near the La Ribera tuna hole. If you arrive a little late, most of the East Cape commercial pangeros will part with a few macks for a hundred pesos or so.

By 8:30 to 9 a.m., the tuna bite is all but over, and the snappers quit a little while later.

Blue marlin continue to break tackle and strip reels, which has happened to us two times this week. Most strikes are "blind" this time of year, and we are sighting only a few tailers a day.

Plenty of stripers are still around, and most boats are getting 1 or 2 a day.

Weatherwise, this fishing week at East Cape started unmercifully hot, but Monday, a tropical storm arrived on the East Cape about 3 a.m. with a terrific display of lightning, loud thunder, and a short torrential down pour. Wind accompanied the downpour, but it didn't last long.

Tuesday was very fishable at East Cape, and we got 2 nice tuna, 2 big red snappers, and a 40 pound amberjack at the tuna hole.

Wednesday was a repeat of Tuesday, and a nice striper took a live mack, flylined on the surface while we drifted baits deep. On 25 pound line, he quickly showed us the error of fishing up and down at the same time. After a chase to gain back some line, we managed to release the fish unharmed.

Disaster struck Robert Wilhem's boat in the afternoon on Wednesday. The "Cortez Cat" was moored in front of La Ribera when Wednesday's storm blew in.

When I arrived at the beach with my old 4X4 tow truck, Robert's boat was down, with only part of one hull showing. With a bridle attached to the floating side, I was able to winch the boat upright, and then into shallow water. The wind and surf made the recovery extremely difficult, but the local gringos all pitched in, and after a 5 hour effort we managed to get the Cortez Cat back on a trailer. Amazingly, once above the surf line, both bilge pumps still worked.

The damage was extensive, both motors full of water and sand, the tower bent and broken, hatches, and loose gear missing, and sand in everything. The Cortez Cat was a beautiful, 25 foot Glacier Bay, with every feature and comfort any fisherman could wish for. It looks like a monumental, time consuming, and expensive chore to rebuild it to pre-sinking condition. Our sincere regrets and condolences go out to Robert, but true to his character, he remains cheerful and optimistic through it all. My son Dan is out fishing today.