FISHING AND DINING ABOARD THE PANGA MOTHERSHIP ANDREA LYNN
Nov. 25, 2006, and Dec. 2, 2006, Dana Kerby, panga mothership Andrea Lynn trips, Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur, Mexico:
This was another page in our Baja fishing and adventure book.
My husband Jim and I departed Punta Banda, below Ensenada, early November 21st on our way to Magdalena Bay. We arrived at Puerto San Carlos in Magdalena Bay early afternoon on November 22nd.
It was an easy Baja drive, very little traffic, except for the Baja 1000 racers on their way north. We couldn’t believe how green everything was, once we were past Santa Rosalia. Of course the hurricane in September was responsible for that. Wild flowers were everywhere. There was a lot of grass by the road, so you really have to watch out for the cattle, horses and donkeys grazing. As you get close to Puerto San Carlos you will see sea eagle nests built on the platforms on top of the electric poles.
We put our gear on board the panga mothership Andrea Lynn, which was anchored just off the main dock, on Wednesday afternoon when we got there, and that was our home for the next 17 days. We had a nice room with twin sized bunks, very comfortable.
The San Felipe-based panga mothership Andrea Lynn is a 125 foot steel-hulled boat with 10 main deck staterooms, and each room has its own air-conditioning and full bathroom. She will easily accommodate 30 passengers. There is a large walk-in freezer and separate refrigerator below the aft deck. She’s powered by twin diesel engines. There is a full dining salon on the second deck where everyone can eat at one sitting. There is also a full bar in the salon, and a covered upper sun deck where next year there will be a bar and areas for relaxing as you cruise or for kicking back after a day of fishing.
We took along a couple of turkeys to be cooked for Thanksgiving, our treat for the crew. The Andrea Lynn's chef Alfonso and his assistant Sergio prepared an excellent Thanksgiving feast for all of us.
We relaxed on board the Andrea Lynn on Thursday and Friday and played a few games of “Mexican Train” dominoes with Gustavo Velez, owner-operator of the boat, and we waited for the passengers to arrive for the Nov. 25th trip.
The 19 other passengers arrived late Saturday and we immediately departed for the Entrada, just at the entrance to Magdalena Bay, where the boat anchored for the first day’s fishing.
At sunup on Sunday and the wind was blowing pretty hard. Nevertheless, we trolled, mostly with MirrOlures, around the point of the entrada and further out to sea, and our panga brought in 3 nice yellowtail for that morning’s fishing session.
The wind continued on the second, third and fourth days of the fishing trip, but we fished anyhow and there were a lot more large yellowtail, dorado and cabrilla caught, both by trolling and using live bait.
On the second through fourth days of fishing we moved and were anchored in Bahia Santa Maria, just below Punta Hughes.
We trolled more along the shoreline outside Isla Magdalena, but a number of the anglers went further out to sea, in spite of the rough water. They were, for the most part, successful in taking some large yellowtail and large dorado, as well as hooking some marlin.
The last day of the trip dawned calm and clear off Magdalena Bay and everyone hurried out in the pangas as soon as it was light. I caught a 23 pound yellowtail that day, one of the largest I’ve ever caught, and then another angler brought in another yellowtail that weighed 33 pounds. What a beautiful fish it was.
The Andrea Lynn headed back in to Puerto San Carlos on Friday afternoon. Some of the passengers who had driven down Baja debarked and left as soon as we reached port. The rest were taken to the airport early Saturday morning.
Because we are retired, my husband Jim and I decided to stay for a second week of fishing aboard the Andrea Lynn.
We really enjoyed the meals being prepared for us by Chef Alfonso and his assistant Sergio. For the most part, it was like dining in a five-star restaurant. They prepared some appetizers of freshly made sashimi and sushi, (Jim smoked some yellowtail a couple of times for appetizers), grilled fresh dorado, marlin in a savory sauce, shrimp in a chipotle cream sauce, breaded fried shrimp, machaca, a dish of pork and nopales in green sauce, chicken, bistek ranchero, shrimp ranchero, tasty vegetables served just right, traditional rice and beans, salads, omelets, picante fresh salsas and lots of beautifully prepared fruit.
During the second week, one of the meals served aboard the Andrea Lynn was a seafood combo, with scallops, shrimp, lobster, and fish. The bar had a great variety of drinks available and Omar, the barman, was able to keep up with a lot of thirsty fishermen (and woman).
The new group of passengers arrived the evening of Saturday, Dec. 2nd, and we set sail again, a very congenial group.
Sunday morning dawned with excellent weather at Magdalena Bay, and we fished the entrada again, and this time a large amount of yellowtail and dorado were caught, as well as a large cabrilla that I caught.
Monday morning found us at the Thetis Bank, with smooth water, sunshine and no wind.
There were a number of marlin hooked and quite a few actually made it to the pangas, but all were released.
A few smaller tuna and a lot of quality dorado were taken; most in the 20 to 45 pound range. What a great day! We saw gray whales broaching, schools of dolphins, and I saw several marlin that just leapt out of the water 7 or 8 times, as if chasing something. The waters in the area of Thetis Bank were very rich with sea life.
The Andrea Lynn anchored in Bahia Santa Maria off Magdalena Bay on Monday night, with plans to return to the Thetis Bank for fishing on Tuesday, but it was too rough, so instead we fished the area around the outside of Isla Magdalena.
The divers on board, representing Sea of Cortez Diving, tried to find the wreck that is in Bahia Santa Maria. We went back to the Thetis Bank on Wednesday, but it was quite rough. Still, there were quite a lot of fish caught.
On Thursday we were back at the entrada, and fishing was a little slow. The divers were able to spot some yellow grouper and Mexican hogfish, as well as a huge variety of other exotic fish species.
On both of these Magdalena Bay fishing trips by the Andrea Lynn there were people on board from all walks of life, including a retired judge, doctors, real estate people, dive trip operators, and many more. People came from as far away as Florida, as well as residents of Mexico.
We ended the trip on a happy note and everyone departed early Saturday morning, some for the airport, and Jim and I and a couple of other guys drove back north through Baja.
All went fine with the Baja drive until around 11 a.m. just before we got to Mulege. A young man in an older pickup made a left turn right in front of us with no signal and we were unable to avoid hitting him.
It completely disabled the right front of our pickup and the right back of his. No one was hurt, thank goodness.
Fortunately, the other fishermen who had driven down Baja to go on the trip, Mike Brown of Ramona and Bob Snyder of Mission Viejo, came along just a half-hour after the accident and were kind enough to take our ice chests full of fish and our tackle and other gear home for us, since it was on their way. It was truly appreciated.
We immediately notified our insurance company and they arranged to have an adjuster come on Sunday to meet us at the police station. The police were kind enough to take us to a hotel for the night. At exactly 10 a.m. on Sunday both the insurance adjuster and the comandante of the police station arrived for the appointment. We finished up about 1 p.m. and the adjuster took us to the bus station. We caught an ABC bus at 6 p.m. and were in Ensenada at 6 a.m. Alas, our truck still remains in Mulege until after the holiday season, which began on Dec. 15th. We hope to have it back by the end of February, or soon thereafter.
It was a great trip that just ended badly. It won’t stop us from driving in Baja; it just has made us more cautious. And we want to remind everyone who drives in Baja, don’t even cross the border into Mexico without Mexican auto insurance, with legal attached. I don’t know what we would have done if the insurance representative hadn’t been there.
We're looking forward to great fishing in 2007! Good fishing and Happy Holidays!
(See "Mexico Fishing News" online for current fishing reports, photos, weather, and water temperatures from Magdalena Bay and other major Mexican sportfishing areas. Vacation travel articles, fishing maps and seasonal calendars, and fishing related information for Magdalena Bay may be found at Mexfish.com's main Magdalena Bay page.