kayak fishing Baja

Kayak Fishing Road trip in Baja Pt 2

On the Road again!

On the Road again!

After Leaving Mag Bay, we had a long drive to Punta Eugenia which was our pick up point to get to Cedros Island, our next fishing destination. This drive is over some long stretches of dirt road so we broke it up into a couple days spending the night at a very cool hotel overlooking the water at Bahia Asuncion. The next morning we had breakfast at the restaurant next to the hotel, which was basically inside a ladies house. The food was amazing and she was a sweetheart.

Our Hotel for the night

Our Hotel for the night

Not a bad view

Not a bad view

Breakfast is served

Breakfast is served

Her food was awesome and so was she

Her food was awesome and so was she

The last stretch of dirt road from Bahia Tortuga to Punta Eugenia was wash board and shook the fillings right out of your teeth. We were supposed to meet my friends Jarrod and Adrian at the pickup point but they were a no show. Turned out they had gotten a flat tire on the dirt road and were about three hours late. We couldn’t wait for them because the winds were picking up and if we didn’t leave we wouldn’t make it over to the island that day. The guys were able to meet up with us the next day out at the island.

Jose at Cedros Outdoor Adventures recently built his own little lodge on the cliff right above the water and this place is awesome. A great view from every room, wonderful employees and fantastic food.

The view from our balcony at Cedros Outdoor Adventures

The view from our balcony at Cedros Outdoor Adventures

Not a bad place to gear up

Not a bad place to gear up

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The rooms were spacious and comfortable

The rooms were spacious and comfortable

Our first day of fishing at the island was all about the Calico bass, we got so many our hand were hurting. Most of the fish were caught in deep structure. While fishing the Calicos with soft plastics Sean tossed out a lure that had landed so many bass it had no tail left on it and wouldn’t you know it a yellowtail jumped on it. It was a great fight on his bass rod.

One of many bass for Sean

One of many bass for Sean

and another

and another

A nice bass for me

A nice bass for me

Seans bass rod Yellowtail

Seans bass rod Yellowtail

Jarrod and Adrian arrived later this day and we all hit the fish hard for the next three days. It was pretty windy on the trip but we knew there were big fish around so we charged anyway.
Some great fish were caught and a good variety as well. Jarrod landed a monster halibut and Kirstin caught the biggest Yellowtail of the trip at forty one pounds. I got a thirty nine and a thirty seven pounder. Adrian caught a big one as well and we also added some smaller white Seabass to the mix.

Jarrod with his trophy Calico for the trip.

Jarrod with his trophy Calico for the trip.

Kirstin and I holding up her big fish for the trip. The biggest yellowtail we caught.

Kirstin and I holding up her big fish for the trip. The biggest yellowtail we caught.

I was so stoked for her

I was so stoked for her

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This fish is as big as Kirstin. Well almost.

This fish is as big as Kirstin. Well almost.

Charging it in the wind

Charging it in the wind

Fishing in the wind was tough, but so worth it.

Fishing in the wind was tough, but so worth it.

A good one landed

A good one landed

and another

and another

Adrians Big Yellowtail

Adrians Big Yellowtail

A beast of a Halibut for Jarrod

A beast of a Halibut for Jarrod

Landing  yellows can be a bloody business so had to do a bit of on the water laundry

Landing yellows can be a bloody business so had to do a bit of on the water laundry

Lots of bass meant chewed up hands so Sean and Kirstin and I all resorted to the Buff landing gloves

Lots of bass meant chewed up hands so Sean and Kirstin and I all resorted to the Buff landing gloves

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Sean with a fun White Seabass caught in the rocks

Sean with a fun White Seabass caught in the rocks

Our host Jose, sharing the spotlight with me and my two yellows.

Our host Jose, sharing the spotlight with me and my two yellows.

After fishing we were tired, hungry and thirsty and great food was always ready. Jose shared with us his recipe for huevos con huevos. Yellowtail eggs mixed with scrambled eggs and it was delicious.

Huevos con huevos

Huevos con huevos

No trip to Baja is complete without a traditional Baja margarita

No trip to Baja is complete without a traditional Baja margarita

Of course as our luck would have it the winds died on the day we had to head back to the main land. At least we had a smooth ride home. The same can not be said for the ride back down the wash board roads.
We got vibrated so bad the lumber rack on my truck broke and a leaf spring on my trailer broke when I hit a large hole that I had not seen.
Thankfully the trailer breaks down pretty easy so we were able to put it in the back of Sean truck and Jarrod had met someone that knew a guy with a welding shop in town. Within about an hour and a half the roof rack was welded up, kayaks were on the rack and we were on the road home.

Back on main land and ready to load up for the trip home.

Back on main land and ready to load up for the trip home.

Jury rig the trailer to limp to the welder.

Jury rig the trailer to limp to the welder.

You can see the broken upright for the rack

You can see the broken upright for the rack

beautiful weld job and ready to roll

beautiful weld job and ready to roll

trailer all loaded up in the back of Seans truck

trailer all loaded up in the back of Seans truck

I had some requests for whole fish so I got a big Engel Cooler for the trip. Everyone laughed when they saw how big is was. Turns out it was just big enough.

This is one big cooler

This is one big cooler

But these are some big fish

But these are some big fish

The rest of the drive home was beautiful and uneventful. We stopped for some of the best street tacos I have ever had just outside of Ensenada then made the final push home.

This was an absolutely awesome trip and I can’t thank my friends Sean, Jarrod and Adrian and my daughter Kirstin enough for joining me. Also huge thanks to Will Richardson and Mike McKay for documenting the entire trip.
Of course big thanks to Mag Bay outfitters and my good friend Jose at Cedros Outdoor adventures for hosting us.

Will getting it done as always

Will getting it done as always

Mike always ready to eat

Mike always ready to eat

The always lovely Kirstin Sammons

The always lovely Kirstin Sammons

The Always sarcastic Jose owner of Cedros Outdoor adventures

The Always sarcastic Jose owner of Cedros Outdoor adventures

My very good friend Sean White. Always up for an adventure

My very good friend Sean White. Always up for an adventure

Sean White and our Host Bob from Mag Bay Outfitters

Sean White and our Host Bob from Mag Bay Outfitters

Adrian  showing off the guns

Adrian showing off the guns

Jarrod always ready to help.

Jarrod always ready to help.

And good by to the rotten sealion who, though cute, likely stole more than one of our fish.

And good by to the rotten sealion who, though cute, likely stole more than one of our fish.

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Baja Road trip part one.

Kirstin and Jim Sammons enjoying their Baja adventure.

Kirstin and Jim Sammons enjoying their Baja adventure.

I am just back from a fifteen day road trip down Baja with my daughter Kirstin and my good friend Sean White along with my videographers Will Richardson and Mike McKay. Our destinations for the trip were Bahia Magdalena and Cedros Island, but the trip was as much about the journey as these destinations. Our two thousand mile round trip was filled with fun, fish and some obstacles that only made the trip that much more memorable.

As I really don’t feel like writing a novel about the trip I will just share a photo journal of our adventures. With part one being from San Diego to Mag Bay and part two Cedros Island.

First stop, Ballast Point Brewery loading up on supplies.

First stop, Ballast Point Brewery loading up on supplies.


Getting some advise

Getting some advise


Testing a few

Testing a few


Choices made and loading up

Choices made and loading up


Visit Ballast Point
Beers picked out it was time to load up the truck and trailer for the trip.
New Shell, well old shell, and rack for the trip. These both really came in handy on the trip

New Shell, well old shell, and rack for the trip. These both really came in handy on the trip


Getting the gear sorted and loaded in the truck

Getting the gear sorted and loaded in the truck


Loved the Malone trailer for the trip for hauling four kayaks

Loved the Malone trailer for the trip for hauling four kayaks

Once past the boarder the first stretch of road is toll road that runs along the Pacific down through Ensenada, it really is a lovely drive.

Of course you can't do a Baja roady without stopping for some street food.

Of course you can’t do a Baja roady without stopping for some street food.

There are some very cool stretches of road through the desert.

There are some very cool stretches of road through the desert.

Some very cool small towns

Some very cool small towns

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People to see

People to see

awesome scenery

awesome scenery

and the occasional oasis

and the occasional oasis

The roads are narrow and not always in great conditions so take your time and enjoy the journey.

A quick stop made to get some of our beers on ice. People would always stop to ask us about the kayaks.

A quick stop made to get some of our beers on ice.People would always stop to check out our kayaks


Not sure how we forgot to get the beer on ice before we left

Not sure how we forgot to get the beer on ice before we left

A full day of driving found us in Guerrero Negro, which in the right season is the hot spot for whale watching. The next day we continued the final push to Mag Bay.

Of course more food stops needed. This one for “The Best Burger In Baja”


And this impromptu stop on the Sea of Cortez for an amazing sea food cocktail.

And this impromptu stop on the Sea of Cortez for an amazing sea food cocktail.

Finally arriving in Mag Bay we met up with Mag Bay Outfitters and unloaded the gear.

Sean White and our Host Bob from Mag Bay Outfitters

Sean White and our Host Bob from Mag Bay Outfitters


Unloading and getting our gear ready to fish

Unloading and getting our gear ready to fish

Our camera and support boat for the trip

Our camera and support boat for the trip

The fishing inside of Mag bay was mostly smaller fish, Spotted bay bass, Corvina and Halibut, nothing big but good numbers and fun fishing.

Corvina

Corvina


Kirstin of course gets the biggest Corvina

Kirstin of course gets the biggest Corvina


Fishing the Mangroves

Fishing the Mangroves

We wanted to spend more days fishing outside the bay but the winds kept us inside for all but one morning. The day we did get out it was big rolling swells and plenty of wind. We hooked several big grouper but these fish knew how to find structure and shake a hook so we only landed one.

Ready to head off shore

Ready to head off shore


It was actually a bit chilly out there

It was actually a bit chilly out there


A nice Grouper caught and released

A nice Grouper caught and released

The town where we stayed is a fishing village with most of the people there involved in commercial fishing for both fin fish and lobster.

Of course a hard day of fishing deserved a great meal and good beer.

Of course a hard day of fishing deserved a great meal and good beer.

We had a blast in Mag bay but it was time to head north to Cedros Island. More about that part of the trip in the part two of our Baja Road trip.

Big Game in Baja

Terry Gowen with the First Marlin from a Jackson Kayak. With an assist from Sean White (on the right)

We have just returned from my home away from home Rancho Leonero on Baja’s East Cape. The first week of the trip was one the guided trips I run down here each year and the second part of the trip was to shoot an episode of my show.

On the guided trip we had a group of anglers that were dedicated to catching big game fish only, which, when you move up the food chain, means less action. Everyone on the trip understood this but stuck to their guns of only targeting big game and to leave the little fish alone. Targeting these big fish also means hours of paddling, trolling live baits in the hopes of a hookup. The goal was to catch Marlin with the possible by catch of tuna and dorado.

We had fairly rough seas and a real mix of weather, from rain and wind to blazing sun but everyone stayed on task. The results of their dedication paid out with six marlin hooked and three landed plus several dorado and skipjack.

Some of our crazy weather

Some of our crazy weather

Bad weather makes for great sunsets

Bad weather makes for great sunsets

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Sean practicing kiss and release on another nice billfish

Sean practicing kiss and release on another nice billfish

After the clients left it was my turn to fish and shoot some video for the show. My videographer Will Richardson, second camera Kelsey Thompson and Yakattacks Luther Cifers arrived to shoot with Sean and I.

The first afternoon was spent rigging up the new Jackson Cuda 14’s with Yakattack gear, and a couple cold Pacificos were consumed in the process.

Rigging Party

Luther rigging up my BlackPak

It was very hot out

Our plan on the trip was the same as my guided trip, Go Big or Go Home.
Though the fishing was not great we landed two Marlin and a bunch of dorado, which we had cooked up for us for dinner, and packed up some to bring home.

Putting in some miles off Punta Arena

Luther with his first Dorado from a kayak

Keeping my energy up

Look my fish matches my boat

My first Marlin from a Jackson Kayak, with an assist from Sean.

I got to return the favor helping Sean land his fish the next day.

Nothing better than helping a friend land their first Marlin from a kayak.

This never gets old

I never get tired of visiting and fishing at Rancho Leonero and fishing with my good friend and boat captain Alonso Castro Mackliz.

Rancho Leonero from the water

Jim and Alonso at the end of another great trip

If interested in joining me on one of my yearly trips to the East Cape please look me up at
JimSammons.com

Return to the Ranch

Rancho Leonero

I am just back from Rancho Leonero in Baja’s East Cape. I spent 5 days guiding clients and 5 days shooting the Kayak fishing show.
Rancho Leonero is the original kayak fishing destination resort in Baja, not only bringing kayaks to the resort but offering guided group trips through Coastal Kayak Fishing. In fact Rancho Leonero is the first place I had kayak fished in the East Cape about 15 years ago. After that first trip I knew I had to go back, and I have been going back at least once a year ever since. Though I have returned to the East Cape each year this was my first time back to the Ranch since that first trip and I was happy to see the Ranch is still the great, homey, awesome kayak fishing destination it ever was.

Dinner time at the ranch

a great place for a cold one or two…..

Not many other places you will see this

For the trip I brought along my good friend and guide Sean White to help me on the guided portion of the trip and to shoot with me once the clients had left. I was sick for much of the trip but Sean did an awesome job of picking up my slack and helping out whenever needed. Not fun being sick in extreme heat and humidity.

Unfortunately for the clients a large storm had rolled through just before our trip and the water had rolled over. The cold green water made for less than stellar fishing conditions and the big roosters we are accustomed to catching this time of year were just not around.
We spent time at Punta Arena and though we had a lot of bites we had few hookups.
Even with the slower fishing our clients still caught fish, small roosters, dorado and some nice Jacks and just to show us the potential that is always there the Sea of Cortez kicked out a new kayak fishing record Cubera, aka Dog tooth snapper, for one of our clients.

Jay’s Rooster

The fishing seemed to be getting a bit better each day we were there but never went off while the clients were there. Sean and I took a day off to organize our gear for the shoot and were joined for the rest of the trip by Brandon Cotton and Carmen MacDonald of Okuma fishing products. They brought along a lot of toys for us to play with so we were rigged and ready.

All geared up and ready

Our first day on the water for the shoot was not much different than the days with the clients, though Brandon got a couple real nice snapper while jigging off La Ribera. One of our biggest issues was that the live baits we were getting were very large and the fish that were around were not, so though we had plenty of hits we had a lot more misses.

Nice Snapper

Day two of the trip we made the run to Punta Arena and it seemed more of the same, lots of hits, lots of misses though we started to get a few of the small Dorado to stick and Carmen landed a real nice Jack.

Carmens Toro

Day three of the trip we once again hit Punta Arena, as it seemed to be the place with the most action. It is pretty cool to be at a place where you can hook Dorado less than a hundred feet from the sandy beach. This day we got a lot more of the fish but once again lost a lot, we started to call the bait thieves the Chupacabra. Loaded down with large baits we decided to troll the drop off just offshore and hope for the big fish to give us some love.

Jims Dorado Punta Arena

I don’t think we were trolling 10 minutes when we got our first hookup, this time it was Carmen and he had on a nice Marlin, unfortunately it tossed the hook after only a couple jumps. This hook up was followed quickly by two hits on Brandon’s bait that didn’t stick. Not long after this, as we were trolling I look over and a mere five feet to my right is a large Striper just cruising along. With my Maui Jim sunglasses on this was an amazing site as I could see the fish’s beautiful colors crystal clear through the water.
Our big game trolling continued and now it was my turn, my clicker starts screaming and line is peeling off. I just kept paddling and let the fish eat, not wanting to miss another fish. After a long count I slid my Okuma Makaira into gear, the rod loaded up, the fish gave a few jumps and I was quickly headed in the opposite direction, straight into the wind and swell. Yeeeha Sleigh ride!!

Now I have a lot of experience with these big fish from a kayak but that does not mean I don’t get just as excited as the first timer or just as nervous when they start jumping around. My experience also doesn’t mean I can’t make a mistake and this time my mistake cost me the fish. Because the wind had picked up and the fish was pulling me straight into the wind at a pretty good clip, my hat blew off my head, this never happens. Just out of pure instinct and reaction I reached back to grab my hat. This loss of concentration just at the second the fish jumped caused me to lose tension on the line and the fish was gone. I felt like an idiot, it is just a stinking hat!!! I was the brunt of quite a bit of hazing that night.

On the last day on the water, tired of losing so many fish on the big baits we decided to bridle all the baits. We didn’t have a rigging needle so we did some MacGyvering to make one. The bridled baits was the ticket and out catch rate went way up. We landed and released a bunch of Dorado, and kept a few to bring home. Once a bit of breeze came up we headed back out for one more shot at the Billfish. The adrenalin was pumping when withing a few minutes I was hooked up again, unfortunately it was just a small Dorado. All the bills we saw the day before seemed to have left. We trolled for several hours picking up a few more Dorado and the only Marlin I saw was one that came up behind my bait just as we were getting ready to pull the plug. I guess he just wanted to say ” See you next time” .

A jumper

Dorado Landed

Sean gets in on the Dorado action


If you are interested in a guided kayak fishing adventure to Rancho Leonero or Punta Colorada in the East Cape visit my site www.JimSammons.com for more information.