La Paz, Mexico



Oct. 15, 2006, Jerry Davis, Isla Espiritu Santo, La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico:

Bob Sutke and I fished at La Paz last week with Baja Pirates Fleet, Oct. 9-13th.

The trip was very well organized and we were well pleased with the arrangements until we got to the airport for the return flight home. Avolar Airlines would only allow 25 kilos total, about 55 pounds, for both bags checked per person. That's not much when you are bringing back coolers with fish.

Leonard of Baja Pirates picked us up at Bob's house on Monday morning and drove us to the airport in Tijuana. The 1 hour 50 minute flight to La Paz was uneventful on a new 737. We were met at the airport and transported to the hotel for a relaxing afternoon.

We were picked up every morning at 6:30 a.m. and were bussed about 15 minutes from the Hotel Marina to Pichilingue where we boarded the Triumph 190 boat for a short ride to the fishing grounds which was mainly off of the southeast end of Isla Espiritu Santo.

We fished Tuesday through Thursday and the bite was all Dorado. The fishing ended everyday about 11 a.m. and the boat captain refused to take us to other areas to look for fish.

We were told the Roosterfish had moved out and there was little Marlin activity although one of the other boats did spot one. We only saw one school of porpoise in 3 days.

We brought about 8 Dorado on board every day including two 40 to 50 pound bulls a day. We were trolling live sardines nose-hooked on 40-pound monofilament top-shot over braided line. We elected not to bring our own fishing gear and used Baja Pirate's equipment, 3 rods and reels on board the boat, which saved us on baggage weight.

The key is to have fresh bait! One of the days the bait panguero had caught the bait the day before and a lot of them died. They had red noses.

We caught some triggerfish on the troll and the Needlefish were a real nuisance beating up your bait. The boat did not have any fish finder or water temperature meter.

The sea conditions at La Paz were very favorable, with clear water. There was little to no bird activity and no Sargasso on the water.

While the boat captain was filleting the fish at the end of the day, Bob loved to cut open the stomachs to see what they were feeding on and we were amazed to see the Dorado bellies full of pufferfish!

We did not bring our snorkeling gear and we will the next time as while the fish are being cleaned on one of the secluded beaches in gives you time to explore the clear blue-green waters of the cove.

At the end of the day, Baja Pirates vacuumed sealed our fish and stored them in a freezer at the hotel until we departed. Upon inspection of the fillets after returning home they could improve by trimming out the blood and some cartilage before vacuum packing the fillets.

For $10 the restaurant at the Marina Hotel will cook your fillet and serve it with yellow rice and steamed vegetables. It turned out excellent. The hotel accommodations and service rated a B-plus.

Baja Pirates transported us back to the airport and dropped us off. That is where our problems began with the amount of weight you can check in. The deal Baja Pirates had made was supposed to be 2 bags of a maximum of 25 kilos each. As there was no one from Baja Pirates with us we were at an extreme disadvantage. The Avolar Airlines counter agents refused to take credit cards and would only take cash. You know where that goes. They also refused to bring a manager to the counter to discuss the issue. Most of us were broke and had to rearrange our bags and hand-carry a lot of items on board in plastic bags. This was all discussed with Baja Pirates and they said they would address these issues.

Michael picked us up at the Tijuana airport Friday night and drove us back across the border and dropped us at home. We were tipped out by the end of the trip. We had never tipped so many people so much in our lives. Also, on this trip we elected to use only U.S. dollars and that cost us about 9 percent as everything is figured at 10 Pesos to the dollar. We should have brought Pesos.

We usually drive and pull our boats to either Santa Rosalia or Loreto and this was a new experience and very relaxing so overall I would rate the experience a "B". Next time at La Paz we want to fish the Las Arenas side and Isla Cerralvo.