Ensenada, Mexico



Sept. 27, 2005, Steve Ross, Bad Dog, Puerto la Salina, Baja California, Mexico:


On Saturday, September 24th the Port of La Salina once again hosted their annual sportfishing tournament for all anglers from their area and Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, the Puerto Salina Torneo de Pesca Deportiva at Puerto Salina, 18 miles north of Ensenada. The coordinator and port Captain Julio D'Acosta was the man in charge and organized the activities.

It began with a fabulous paella dinner served on Friday night. Several fishing boats had arrived from Ensenada and were provided with free slips for the evening. At 2:00 a.m. the boats departed for the fishing grounds of Ensenada.

The seas in the Ensenada fishing area were rough with six foot swells that day and the wind was blowing 10 knots.

At 5:00 p.m. Saturday, a horn was blown to announce the conclusion of the tournament and the results were tallied for the oncoming awards ceremony. Several hundred people attended a massive barbecue of fresh fish and music came from the stage.

The competition was stiff as many large fish were presented in 3 categories: surface fish, bottom fish and billfish.

The surface fish division was won by a 27 pound yellowtail.

The bottom fish division was won by a 13 pound lingcod.

The billfish division was won by Team Bad Dog with a 130 pound striped marlin.

The awards totaled $15,000 U.S. and were composed of cash dollars and prizes for the winners. Award plaques were given to all the winners and a large raffle distributed knives, fishing rods, gift certificates from SQC (a well known San Diego retail fishing tackle store.)


Last Friday, Sept. 23rd, Gail, Alex, Juan Lu and I took Bad Dog in the late afternoon up to Puerto la Salina, the little harbor 18 miles North of Marina Coral at Ensenada. It has a reputation of chewing up boats in their problematic entrance. It has been told of their sand build up tearing out the bottoms of boats and a cable that comes up and cuts boats in half.

With my meter on, we entered through the breakwater walls in a following sea of swells you could surf; at LOW TIDE. Nothing I could do about it as this was the time we had to do it. Our draft is just short of 4 feet and the meter read 6 feet as we negotiated our way into Puerta La Salina.

We were assigned a slip that contained a school of mackerel which we quickly boated to add to our collection that La Perla Mike had helped us with just hours before.

We then put our money down to enter their "Torneo de Pesca Deportiva" promoted by Club De Pesca Ensenada and Club Nautico Puerto Salina with $15,000 in cash an prizes.

We then waited around for the Paella dinner which happened at 9:00 p.m. minutes after I had given up and gone to bed.

At 0130 my alarm clock went off and we got the boat ready for the authorized 0200 departure. At 0200 there were people on the dock but no one could be raised on the VHF. I left at 0203.

Getting out of this Harbor in the dark of night will raise your blood pressure. Every bit of help...helped. We raised the eisenglass for clearer vision and we tried to figure out how to run dead center with a hard right turn into the channel.

We arrived on the numbers off Ensenada where we caught the marlin last week in the dark around 0530. The seas were 6 feet with some eight footers and the wind was up. I taught "The Boys" how to bridle mackerel and we began trolling 3 live ones behind the boat toward the 390. One of the mackerels was behind a lure because Juan Lu handed me a hook that had a jig on it...that was unusual.

As the light filled the sky giving way to daylight, we reeled in the bait and switched over to our morning dark sky jig selection and at 0800 the middle #2 rod went off with a vengeance. The fish ran straight from the stern never jumping simply screaming out line in the early morning light.

Alex became the angler and I turned the boat to pick up line and the chase began from our bow crashing through swells. That's when he came up jumping. He began gray hounding and shaking his head quartering the swells uphill as I kept Bad Dog on the move at a slow pace while Alex tried to recover some line in the chase.

In 10 minutes I had the fish next to the boat off the port bow where he came up to shake off the black and purple Collector, but he was to be denied as Juan Lu and Gail sunk two gaffs into it hot.

I ran into the cockpit and grabbed the tail rope as the fish was dragged down the port side of the boat...alive and kicking. Juan Lu said that Alex changed hands with Gail on the gaff and the marlin came off the gaff.

When they all arrived into the cockpit I couldn't reach the tail through the crowd and the fish wound up on the step thrashing. I passed the rope to Alex and he got it over the tale and cinched him down while his head was bouncing all over the place. Alex got another rope to tie down his head and when he put his hand in the marlin's mouth he bit Alex drawing blood.

We found a paddy holding yellowtail. This Ensenada fishing tournament had 3 categories to win cash and prizes...surface fish, bottom fish and billfish. So a big yellow would be great. We found swarming 10 pound yellowtail and boated one. With that we headed home to Ensenada for the 60 mile run to be sure not to miss a 5 p.m. deadline for the weigh-in.

They weighed the marlin on some type of old rusty platform scale and the fish pinned it at its maximum of 130 pounds. After 5:00 it was announced that we had won 1st place in the billfish category and dinner was served from a barbecue and we all sat in chairs under a tent with music and a fiesta. It was fun. We ate BBQ'd whole fresh fish, more paella and more.

In the fading daylight the awards were handed out. We won the $3,000 award which consisted of $1,500 U.S. cash and $1,500 worth of launch privileges, slips, hotel rooms in Acapulco, an awards plaque and more. We also won in the generous raffle. We won two rods, two big knives, and some rigged albacore lures.

As the marlin was lowered from their yard arms various people came up to me and asked if they could have some marlin meat. "Of course" I exclaimed. I then went to the boat. When the marlin arrived at the boat, Juan Lu had used the knives we won to cut up fillets and a half a marlin showed up. That was hysterical. Once again the bill and tail went to Botes Juanitos on the malecon for permanent display and stories to be told for years and the meat got divvied up amongst those at Marina Coral.

Now to get out of here. We left in the almost dark with a swell coming into the breakwater channel and again low tide and rode back to Marina Coral in the dark of night.

We met a lot of nice people and had a great time. The gang from Botes Juanitos drove up for the dinner and joined us. I really had fun. We all wore our red Bad Dog T-Shirts and looked like the team we are.