Santa Rosalia, Mexico:
The Isla San Marcos Cabrilla Fishing Tournament

March 26, 2005, Mike Kanzler, Isla San Marcos, Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur, Mexico:

Happy Easter! I'm back at Isla San Marcos, and the fishing went from slow to red-hot, literally on the day I got back.

Santa Rosalia fishing weather has been overall pretty good, although some westerly winds made for tough fishing on a few days. Air temperatures are still on the winter side, cool mornings of mid 50s to 60, and mid 70s for the afternoons. Santa Rosalia water temperatures are a few degrees higher than when I was in the states, hovering around 66 degrees, with about 15-20 feet of visibility.

I got into the San Lucas Cove trailer park on Monday night around 10 p.m. and not to wake anyone up slept in the back seat of my SUV. Woke the next morning and heard people already up, guys going fishing most likely. It was my buddy Alan Lewis who I saw first, and I asked if he'd give me a ride to San Bruno so that I could catch a panga taxi to the island and my home. His reply was I'm going fishing. I then asked how it was, and it turned out that fishing was pretty good the day before. Alan asked, hey, why don't you go with us and when we get back I'll give you that ride. I jumped in the boat!

On the Santa Rosalia bait fishing grounds, we saw some boats coming from the direction of the island, and the shape of the boat looked all to familiar. It was mine! My deckhand Danny was running it, with some visiting clients from COMSA. I had given them permission to do this, but the surprised look on their faces when they saw me was "priceless."

Once at the bajos of San Marcos Island, it didn't take but a few seconds and we were tied into nice yellowtail! We managed 11 fish by 10 a.m. Man, it was good to be back!

Next, I had the COMSA general manager's son Gabriel Iturriaga, and with him two coworkers, Bruce Tuck and Aubrey Palmeter, all of Halifax, Nova Scotia. We had a short time to fish as they needed to return early for the ride back to Loreto's airport, but we still managed to still catch 10 yellowtail before 10 a.m. Most of the fish where caught by using the 2 ounce sliding sinker rig with live bigeyes or mackerel. The yellowtail were of a 20-24 pound average. Nice spring run fish heading north.

On Saturday, we had the 16th annual before-Easter cabrilla tournament. This year's event had less than half of the normal number of participants, somewhere around 120.

I fished this event for the first time, and I took my son Michael as he's just old enough to fish the tournament. He and the rest of my immediate family where camped out on the backside of the isla, and I told them to have my son ready to go at 0500 sharp. When I pulled up to the beach he was there and wide eyed. I opted to make the run to Tortuga island, my son's first trip out there.

A little over an hour later, we were at the island and I started off by fishing plastic. I caught a few nice fish and lost some big ones, but my son is still learning to cast and couldn't really fish plastic too well, so I rigged up two trolling rods with big Yo-Zuri Hydro Mags and started dragging.

It took a while to get any action at all, but when the rod dipped and the clicker screamed, my son grabbed the rod. He couldn't get the rod out of the holder, so punched the two-speed reel into low gear and started grinding it while it was still in the holder. Pretty smart kid, huh?

When I saw what it was, my eyes and his lit up, a big golden cabrilla! In this tournament there's a special prize for this species, and due to its size, it also won its division! Now with the wind really whipping we headed back, buzzing with happiness the whole way.

I won second place in my division too. It's good to be back.

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