By Gene Kira, Dec. 17, 2001, as published in Western Outdoor News:
Here's a different and interesting type of Baja "combo fishing trip" that you hardly ever see. Originally, this wasn't supposed to be announced until the Fred Hall Show, but I just got off the phone with Bob Castellon, and he's ready to make the commitment now, so here it is:
For this coming November, Bob has decided to take his 85-foot panga mothership, Celia Angelina, from her home port of San Felipe, all the way around Baja, to operate four, six-day fishing trips out of the town of San Carlos on Magdalena Bay. These combo trips will feature both mangrove channel action, and offshore fishing at the Thetis Bank.
Anyone who has ever fished with Bob Castellon knows that he's one of the most "creative" boat operators in Baja. For him, the Celia Angelina is sort of a giant toy that can go just about anywhere and check out what's happening "over there." Sometimes this drives Bob's clients crazy. I've seen him run the big boat for 4 hours in one direction, decide he likes another direction better, and go for it. There were howls and hoots in the galley, but that afternoon we absolutely loaded up on 25-35 pound yellowtail.
Another time, we were just off the north end of Isla Angel de la Guarda, and I stayed aboard the Celia while the pangas went fishing. Bob and I stood at the rail of the big boat with our casting rods, and we had a tournament to see who could catch the most Bigmouth Bastards (giant jawfish, Opisthognathus rhomalea, otherwise known as Cabbagehead or Mexican Lingcod). Bob won, and we caught some "huge" ones for lunch. Delicious. The crew thought we were totally loco. Fishing on the Celia is always fun and interesting, and you usually catch a lot of species.
For these six-day, Magdalena Bay trips, ol' Bobby has come up with a super-creative fishing plan that has something for everyone.
During some of the six days, the Celia Angelina's pangas will fish inside Magdalena Bay's incredible mangrove system. They will have their regular guides, plus Bob is bringing in some local San Carlos guides to act as "special consultants" for locating the all-important hot spots in the endless, winding mangrove channels.
The pangas will be kept well supplied with live bait by the Celia Angelina, practically assuring red-hot welterweight fishing action, on corvina, snook, grouper, pargo, palometa amarilla, bass, and Lord knows what else that might be lurking in the mangroves.
On the other days, the Celia will leave her pangas behind in San Carlos, and the big boat will head offshore to fish the famous Thetis Bank fall fish pile-up, San Diego long range boat style. For this action, you'll stand at the rail, and you'll need your tuna sticks, two-speed reels, harnesses, and butt plates for heavy fishing on marlin, tuna, wahoo, and dorado. Each evening, the boat will return to anchor at Bahia Santa Maria.
The four trips will originate at, and return to Puerto San Carlos, near Ciudad Constitucion. Trip dates for 2002 are November 2-7, 9-14, 16-21, and 23-28. Price is $1,025, plus whatever it costs you to get to San Carlos. For those who wish to fly, Bob is working on ground transfers from the airports at Loreto and La Paz. Or, you can drive down to meet the boat, and parking space will be provided in San Carlos while you're out on the water. Magdalena Bay mangrove fishing will be with the usual three anglers plus guide per panga, and meals, fillet service, etc., will be provided as on the regular Midriff Islands trips.
This type of combo trip can provide a special look at what the Magdalena Bay area has to offer, and that's a lot, in variety of fish, intensity of action, and beautiful natural surroundings. There is nothing quite like exploring the magnificent, silent mangrove channels in a panga, and combining that with a chance for stand-up action at the Thetis Bank fall fish pile-up is "hot stuff" indeed.
(Related Magdalena Bay (Bahia Magdalena) articles and reports may be found at Mexfish.com's main Magdalena Bay (Bahia Magdalena) information page. See weekly fishing news, photos, and reports from the major sportfishing vacation areas of Mexico including the Magdalena Bay (Bahia Magdalena) area in "Mexico Fishing News.")