Well, the time had come. The Texas Lady Anglers set off to experience offshore fishing, and we decided to do it BAJA STYLE! The Hotel Buena Vista (about an hour up the coast from Cabo San Lucas) welcomed us with typical East Cape hospitality. Many of the ladies that went on the trip had never been offshore fishing, so along with excitement and anticipation, there was a little anxiety regarding what we would encounter during our new experiences.
As we stepped foot on the expertly maintained grounds, we were taken aback by the foliage, hot spring pools, white sand, and beautiful water. It was a picture of paradise and we were to enjoy it for the next five days.
The first day of the trip was a "free" day. Some of the group decided to take an ATV trip and go snorkeling, some decided to just take in the scenery "beachside" and do nothing but get some sun and relax, while others (including me) booked a fly-fishing trip hoping to catch roosterfish in the surf. And, by the way, fly-fishing with "Baja on the Fly" was an experience I won't soon forget. Not only did we fish side-by-side with fly-fishing legend Gary Graham, but we were able to experience the power of roosterfish while they cruised the surf annihilating bait and watch spotted eagle rays glide right over our feet. While the roosterfish stayed just out of our casting range, we enjoyed the morning in the surf.
The group assembled in the evening for our official welcome party and dinner and received our boat assignments for the next two days of offshore fishing. As the sun rose over the East Cape on the next morning, we met at the beach to wait for our boats to pull up to the pier for us to board. My fishing buddies and I boarded the "Jen Wren" and met our captain, Chuy, and deckhand, Diego. I often looked over at Diego and thought; these guys don't know what they're in for. And boy was I right! We had five ladies on our boat that day. Each one had a passion for not only fishing, but learning and helping that I'm not sure they had seen very often.
We headed to the "tuna grounds" and immediately upon stopping Diego started chucking our just-purchased live sardines out into the water. I'm like "Hey, Diego, what's up?!" "That bait cost us $20!" He looks over and gave a sly smile and said, "Watch and be ready."
Equipped with Shimano Trinidad and Tiagra 30 lb. class reels and rods in hand, we waited, but didn't wait long. Suddenly, as if in fast forward, the fish rose to the surface and started thrashing around eating the bait that Diego had thrown in the water. My adrenaline shot up as Diego yelled "Hold on here they come!" Immediately, each rod had a fish on. Each angler fought their catches, and for the anglers that were experiencing tuna fishing for the first time, each were learning valuable lessons during the fight. The yellowfin tuna were brought into the boat, all ranging from 2530 lbs. And then the process began again. I now know why they call these fish the "powerhouses" of the sea. Their speed and strength left me with a feeling of awe and admiration.
As our first day of offshore came to a close, the ladies and crew headed back to the hotel with the feeling of accomplishment and joy that I hadn't felt since my first blowup on a topwater. The smiles on the ladies as we attached and raised the tuna flags brought our day on the boat to a triumphant end.
As each boat dropped off their anglers, all the ladies gathered at the swim-up bar to share stories. Our second day mirrored the first in routine, but each boat again experienced new things. The Jen Wren decided to go for the bigger tuna and not return to the "tuna grounds." We launched and headed to find the porpoises off of Punta Pescadores (Fisherman's Point), which we learned was how the captains find the big tuna find pods of porpoise, find big tuna. And find pods we did. I'm not exaggerating when I say we literally found acres of porpoise that were intent on giving us a morning long stunt show.
The captain radioed other boats over to join us and we all began to troll the area. With the downrigger and outriggers hooked up with teasers and cedar plugs, we trolled until we heard the first drag begin to whine. FISH ON!! Another yellowfin WOO HOO!
We watched another boat raise and hook a marlin. Although our boat didn't raise a marlin (that's offshore lingo), watching one launch out of the water was a sight to behold.
After a full second day, we headed back to see how the other boats did. I was thrilled to hear that two of our lady angler boats did raise blue marlin, one raised a striped marlin, and another boat went closer inshore and caught four roosterfish. All of the boats brought in an assortment of yellowfin tuna, dorado, and pargo (a type of snapper).
Our two days of offshore fishing came to a close with a dinner and ceremony on the beach, complete with tiki torches. We brought raffle items with us to Baja and sold raffle tickets on the trip. TLA ended up raising $2000 for the Buena Vista media center (computer equipment with Internet for the 47 children that live in the town). This would not have been possible without the help of:
- Islander's Custom Tackle (www.islanderscustomtackle.com)
- Tops-n-Towers (www.topsntowers.com)
- Fish Junkie (www.fishjunkie.net)
- Silverstar Jewelers (www.fish4fun.com)
- Temple Fork Fly Rods (www.templeforkflyrods.com)
- Capt. Mike Mosley (www.saltwateraddiction.com)
- Casa del Pescador Lodge (www.casadelpescadorlodge.com)
- Hotel Buena Vista (www.hotelbuenavista.com)
If you've been following TLA throughout the year, then you'll know that all of our activities include some type of learning about fishing. While personally I learned A LOT there was one thing that seemed to be a prominent theme no matter how different inshore and offshore may be, there's still nothing more exciting than having a fish on your line. Whether you're trolling, wading, or drifting, it's all about the fight.
Experiencing East Cape, Mexico, was a trip to remember, but experiencing it with my fellow lady anglers made it a trip of a lifetime. TLA is planning on another offshore trip for 2007 wanna come?! *Vamanos!
If you'd like more information about the Texas Lady Anglers, visit www.texasladyanglers.com.