By Gene Kira, February 24, 2003, as published in Western Outdoor News:
I like to think of Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico, as the most "typical" and traditional small town in Baja.
Not only is Loreto the site of the first Spanish mission of the three Californias (1697), but it was also the location of one of Baja's first sportfishing operations, Ed Tabor's Flying Sportsmen Lodge, which got started around 1952.
In fact, the little concrete fishing boat pier in front of the old Flying Sportmen Lodge was used for the cover shot in Ray Cannon's masterwork book, The Sea of Cortez, and you can still see the remnants of that Baja landmark in front of the manicured courtyard of today's charming modern resort hotel, Villas de Loreto.
The town of Loreto has lived gracefully through all the ages of Baja, and even today, you can walk down its wonderful waterfront malecon and truly appreciate the history and mystique of the Sea of Cortez in a way that's impossible anywhere else.
A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to do just that, after spending a very restful night at the Flying Sportsmen, oops...Villas de Loreto, and walking down the malecon to the downtown marina and launch ramp. It was a gorgeous morning, and I was delayed about an hour by the comical sight of thousands of pelicans stitching the water like darts, all the way from Villas to the marina.
I walked past the beach where the Italian padre, Juan Maria Salvatierra, first waded ashore, over 300 years ago, and I headed toward my destination: the newly-revamped office of the Loreto pangueros cooperativa, located right next to the marina ramp.
This new office service, to me, is a symbol of Loreto's sportfishing traditions, its history, and its leadership role in developing the integrated type of tourism that will be the future of Baja.
The reorganized office is now open daily from 9 a.m. to 12 noon in the mornings, and again from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the afternoons, and it has both telephone service and email.
And yes, there is even a full-time, English-speaking office manager, Rommel Lubiate Gonzales, who is paid by the cooperativa and the municipality. Pam Bolles of the well-known local fishing guide service, Baja Big Fish Company, has set up the new website, and is working as a consultant to help organize reservations procedures and computer stuff.
In all, 36 licensed pangueros with radios and life jackets and at least 10 years' experience each are represented by the new office, for sport fishing, island tours, snorkel trips, whale watching, or any other water-related activity. Now, you can call right to the ramp for real time condition reports and reservations, and when you arrive in town, you go to the office the day before your trip to make your deposit, buy a Mexican fishing license, order a box lunch, or whatever. Walk-ins are also welcome.
The pangueros of the Loreto fishing vacation area here have tried to organize no less than three times before, but without success. But now they have a new cooperativa established in 2001, this office first opened in September of last year, and their new phone and internet service. They've always had the tradition, the pangas, and pangueros, and now they have the organization. Loreto is looking good.
If you've fished Loreto pangas before, you already know some of the following names, but here they are for the record, the 36 charter fishing pangueros, and their boat names, of the Asociacion de Prestadores de Servicios Turisticos y Pesca Deportiva del Municipio de Loreto, A.C.
Saludos y buena suerte, amigos:
Juvencio Aleaide Garcia, Siria; Adan Murillo Romero, Mary I; Amancio Davis Romero, Aracely; Cresencio Aguilar Murillo, Mukira; Gregorio Murillo Ramirez, 4 Hermanos; Ismael Murillo Ramirez, Frinee; Jose Idlefonso Amador Murillo, Colonia; Gabriel Sanchez Banuelos, Ana Leana; Jose Lino Murillo Murillo, Egriselda I; Antonio Monzon Avitia, Pescador; Jose Maria Murillo Navarro, Lidia; Juan Bautista Murillo Ramirez, Teresa; Bernabe Davis Romero, Yolita; Loreto Velis Murillo, Heldens; Pedro Mayoral Davis, Pedro I; Ernesto Fuentes Carmona, Guten Morgen; Francisco Javier Murillo Davis, Erica; Pablo Davis Davis, Crusita; Manuel Davis Meza, Olga Elena; Sergio Pena, Chamela; Paulino Martinez Castro, Paulina; Ignacio Puente Espiritu, Tortuga; Jose Luis Davis Romero; Juan Pablo Davis Sanchez, Loretana; Abel Davis Davis, Mark y Mar; Jorge Valente Murillo Davis, Katy; Dagoberto Murillo Davis; Franciso Davis Sanchez, Teresita I; Ramon Gregorio Murillo Romero, Xeomara; Abel Davis Manriquez, Dorado; Alejo Davis Romero, Galeota; Jose Luis Mayoral Bareno, Lorena; Alejo Murillo Romero, Eriselda II; Rigoberto Davis Romero, Aranza; Andres Davis Manriquez, Graciela; Francisco Munoz Tenorio, Enzl Damiana.
(Related Loreto articles and reports may be found at Mexfish.com's main Loreto information page. See weekly fishing news, photos, and reports from the major sportfishing vacation areas of Mexico including the Loreto area in "Mexico Fishing News.")