A monthly Baja fishing report by Gary Graham -That Baja Guy
MONSTER FISHING BY FOOT
Los Cabos and monster fish have been synonymous for decades. Recognized as one of the top 10 places in the world to land huge billfish along with Volkswagen sized tuna, plus IGFA record breaking dorado, wahoo, and many others. All pursued inshore and offshore aboard everything from trailer boats to tricked out mega sportfishers.Baja beaches primarily known mostly for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing, offer, another option for many anglers is monster fishing by foot from the shore that delivers an equally unique fishing experience providing its own brand of monster fishing.Over the past several decades, fishing tackle manufactures have met the challenge producing and impressive array of fishing equipment specifically for beach fishing.That has revolutionized the local beach fishing here for both locals and visitors alike looking for a fishing adventure that doesn’t require a boat ride.
Wesley Brough, a local fishing guide, was perched 20-feet high on a rock, where he had been since dawn flinging a variety of lures well out beyond the white water of the booming surf. He worked the artificial lure with a slow-twitch all the way to the edge of the foam line by the rocks, and as he paused, a monster fish pounced on the lure in a mere five feet of water.Not sure just how large the beast was, he swung the 12’ rod mightily to set the hook; the huge fish didn’t budge. Then suddenly, it accelerated ripping the line off the reel as it fled toward some submerged rocks.Brough’s years of experience served him well, as he cautiously applied pressure, knowing that leading the fish through the rocks would be dicey. One huge set of waves rolled in and almost propelled the huge fish out of the water.The receding wave exposed the enormous fish, Wesley was stunned by its size. From his elevated perch, he watched another big set of waves roll in and thrust it up on the rocks and he pulled. SNAP, the leader broke right at the lure! Chucking his rod, he leaped off the rock into the water, pouncing on his catch before the next wave washed out to sea and struggled to land what would be his personal best snapper, weighing 61.5-pounds.
When young Zach headed out on the beach at daybreak he was keen to catch whatever was willing to bite, maybe a rooster, jack, sierra or one of the snapper and grouper that had been caught recently.However, as it turned out, he hooked into a yellowtail, one of the strongest and most sought-after members of the jack family. A memorable milestone in his young life that I’m sure will be told and retold for years to come.
Felipe Valdez, a member of the Valdez Family that founded the Hotel Buenavista Beach Resort at East Cape is another local that considers the beach as one of his favorite Baja fishing venues.He landed this green barred snapper that are deemed one of the toughest local fish to land from the beach. These colorful critters with their wide body and compact muscles are a challenging to catch on any tackle and are seldom caught on artificial lures. An awesome catch to add to Valdez’s noteworthy Baja catch list.
Monsters are in the eye of the beholder. Some are truly huge fish, others may be a personal best, or a new species caught. All memorable moments that will remain in an angler’s memory for a lifetime.Baja beaches are a welcome venue for those craving their own monster that for one reason or another prefer not to leave dry land.
Right place, right time at daybreak. A well-placed lure earned Cary Ross from Southern California his personal best roosterfish on a recent visit.
One last monster to hone the appetite. On the Sea of Cortez side near San José del Cabo where the surf is calmer Nathan Brown -visiting from Silverado, California- fished several days from shore, and opted for variety instead of size. He used his trusty Shimano surf casting outfit equipped with a Stella spinning reel. During two morning sessions he stayed busy chasing feeding fish up and down the beach, accounting for sierra mackerel, jack crevalle, along with an unusual totoaba.
Early in June Ricardo Reyes Martinez spent the morning prowling a beach on the Pacific Ocean side of Baja Sur, southwest of La Paz, when this monster fish struck.The power and speed of the fish shocked Ricardo as it headed for deep water. “The fish was furious,” He recalled. Twice he tightened the drag as much as he could, terrified that his 30-pound test line would break.As the age-old contest of give and take between angler and determined fish continued, he realized that this was a serious opponent that demanded all the skill he could muster.The minutes flew by and 35-minutes later the huge white seabass that was longer than Ricardo is tall, continued to struggle in the shallow surf at his feet. Exhausted, it took several tries for Ricardo to lift the heavy fish for photos while his four excited amigos congratulated him on his magnificent catch.Sometime later, the weight was confirmed at 88-pounds on a certified scale. Then, checking the International Game Fish World Record book, a stunned Ricardo realized that his catch was not only his personal best, but the monster seabass could potentially set a new IGFA Men’s 30-lb Line Class World Record. Plus defeat the existing All-Tackle Record of 83-pounds, 12-ounces that has stood for over 67 years! According to Nicholas Haddad, IGFA’s Angler Recognition Coordinator who confirmed the application is currently under review.