So I sez, as we departed the runway at
Camarillo early last Friday morning. " What have you seen in Baja, Bob
(Kieling)?" "Never been there," his reply.
So diverting from our planned non stop flight to La Paz, where we
were to meet up with Gary Bulla and other CVFF members, Jane and Bill
Becher, for the camping version of flyfishing on Espirutu Santos
Island, we headed toward Ensenada, to clear customs.
That done, some more fuel, just to make sure, and off to
Mulege and Hotel Serinidad. As the name implies, landing on this beach
strip midway Baja, is a peaceful , bucolic village of tranquility. A few
cervasas and one or two Margaritas, and we were soon into the manana
Panga (open outboard boat) fishing the next day, we caught a
verity of bottom fish and in general enjoyed the beauty of Baja. After
lunch it was off to La Paz and our main objective, the dominant island
of the bay of La Paz, Isla Espiritu Santos. Landing and the obligatory
customs transition done, we made our way to El Moro Hotel.
A delightful, old (some movie star slept there once) residence, with
huge pastoral rooms, all facing a pool courtyard with barside service ,
we commenced to find Margaritaville once again. The group was mostly
there, having flown in commercially direct from LAX to La Paz. Nice
service they said, and around $300 bucks for the roundtrip. Sunday, we
awoke to Mr. Montezuma and winds we thought cooling, until we saw the
whitecaps on the bay.
Being naive and foolhardy and having "get there
itis", off we ventured in another panga. Our fearless cook and
captain, Alvaro, threaded his way, with great dexterity, to the island.
A trip that should have taken 1 1/2 hours became three.
Our group of nine was wet and somewhat worn-out by the
crossing. However, more cervesas and margaritas soon calmed the storm.
(I did say this was a fishing trip, didn't I).
For the next three to seven days, depending on the
package, we learned to fly fish from a kayak, camp and eat cerviche.
Chasing all kinds of fish like cabrilla, skipjack, yellowtail,
triggerfish, coronet fish, spotted bass, sierra, etc., we had a ball. A
few dunkings for the neophytes like myself, learning to balance and cast
from a bobbing platform, it turned into a unique experience for all.
The beauty of Baja goes without saying. It is a subtle land, at first
appearing only as an arid desert land. But, stare at the stars at night
with your buddies, see that clear blue water and touch the fine white
sand, it is a lovely place that grows on you with each trip. It is
California’s backyard and what a big one. I believe "Gear
Guy" Bob would agree. Even "Worm Man " Millis would nod
in assent, ( if he had gone!)
For those of you interested in this adventure, contact
Gary Bulla . He does a masterful job of organizing a no-brainer fly
fishing odyssey. You can contact Gary at 805 933 1366 7 AM to 4 PM or
visit his website at www.garybulla.com
Jane and I also went early and panga fly fished at Las
Arenas Resort, about an hour’s drive south of La Paz. Food was great,
and the gear guys were into a lot of tuna, but we struggled a bit. This
was my first time panaga fishing, and I will try it again. Interesting,
blue water fly fishing requires a lot of bait to bring fish to the
surface where you can cast a fly for them. –Bill Becher