Kayak Fishing in East Cape, Baja California, Mexico
by Corey Wyrick
Wow! what a great trip to Punta Colorada. After arriving on Sunday afternoon and sucking up a few we woke up Monday and paddled out in front of the hotel to meet up with Alonso, the badass captain of our support panga, the Bohemia. After about a 10 minute run from the hotel we stopped to grind in a few 30# squid from about 400' deep to use as chum and hopefully tuna bait. Here's a shot of the crew:
From there we motored about 10 more minutes to the spot that Alonzo deemed a good one for the possibility of tuna, marlin and sailfish. We unloaded the kayaks and began to slow troll 12 greenbacks. After what seemed like about 15 minutes I heard a commotion and looked behind me to see an upside-down scupper pro about 100 yds. Behind me with Scott from Boulder, CO in the water with a marlin jumping around him. As I turned around and tried to paddle over to help, Alonzo and Jim quickly motored over and took the rod momentarily while Scott righted himself and resumed the battle. As Scott was towed, the rest of us slow trolled while watching the action and trying to stay within sight of the battle. A few minutes later my bait was picked up and I heard a splash behind me. With marlin on the mind I gave about a 5 count and put the reel in gear to watch a large dorado erupt from the water and spit my bait. After no luck trying to re-interest the fish, I got a fresh bait and kept trolling- hopeful for some action. Within 30 min, still following Scott's sleigh ride, we sighted a sailfish about 30 yds ahead of me. I paddled like hell to try to get my bait in front of it, and was almost sure that it was gonna be on, but the fish disappeared and did not hit my bait. After a short while of continuing to follow Scott & his fish, I decided to turn and paddle back through the water that we had already covered, since that area was definitely holding a few fish, and the rest of the crew followed. Soon we heard over the that Scott's fish had been landed & released estimated at 100# after a 2 hour fight.
Shortly after, I got picked up again and this time I let it eat for a good 10 mississippi before putting it in gear and bringing it tight. FISH ON!!!. Suddenly a frigging marlin erupts from the water about 30 yds behind me. The next 20 seconds happened in slow motion as the fish jumped repeatedly and headed toward my yak. Next thing I know, 20 seconds into the fight, the barrel swivel from my 6' leader is 12 from my tip guide and the fish is jumping just in front of the bow of my yak. Feeling too close for comfort with such a green fish, I backed the drag down and conceded about 50 yds of line to get some breathing room. Within 2 minutes the fish had screamed off another 50 yds and we were stalemated with about 100yds of line out. At this point my screams of SMARLIN, MARLIN!!!! had been relayed to the Bohemia and the boat arrived alongside me to offer support as I was towed along at a ridiculously fast clip. Soon Jim jumped on a yak and paddled over to take my paddle and to offer support.
After about an hour and a half of tug-of-war, Jim and I landed the striped marlin, estimated at 100# and I received what is now the 2nd best lap dance of my life.
Mucho gusto to Jim for being my leader-man and to Alonzo for being a bad-ass M'F'er. WOW!! What a feeling!! I had hoped so much to get a marlin on the trip, but on the first morning? Unbelievable! Thanks to Scott for the pics:
After the battle, I took a break on the boat while we moved to a new spot. Soon Darryl was hooked up with a sailfish, so I filmed the battle from the Bohemia whil eJim used my kayak to assist Darryl. After a 2 hour battle Darryl & Jim landed an estimated 130# sailfish (see pic on Jim's board). A funny note is that when Darryl first hooked up, Scott paddled up behind him to take his other rod because he had a megabait in the water when he got bit. As Scott reeled in the megabait, it got bit by another sailfish which broke off after a jump or two. What an exciting day!! After landing Darryl's sail we headed in and celebrated a great first day. What a view!
Day two began just as day one. We made some squid (an asskicker of a battle in itself) and headed to Alonso's billfish grounds. Within 20 minutes I was bit again and this time the fish was headed down immediately. At first I thought that I had a tuna, but quickly the fish changed direction and began coming up. Just as the fish came to color, it zipped under the bow and as I quickly cleared the line I saw the beautiful blue-purple glow of another striped marlin. The fish proceeded to peel some line and we played tug-of-war at a distance of 100 or so yds. for a while. Although it didn't jump at first, this fish jumped a lot later in the battle and proved to be a sketchy one to land. On our first landing attempt, the fish actually came out of the water onto Jim's and my kayaks, thrashing a few times before it went back into the water. After a jedi move to clear the bow and the line from around my rod tip, I let the fish run since it was still way too green to land. After an overall battle of an hour and a half (again) and several more jumps we landed this one that was estimated at 120#: Thanks to Darryl for filming and taking the pics:
Exhausted, I took a much needed break while the other guys continued to fish with no success. With no wind and no current, we decided that our best bet was to head inshore and fish a nice reef spot for triggers in about 60 or so feet of water.
Having never caught a triggerfish before I was impressed with their spirit. They put up a strong fight for their size. They were pulling line on 15# string. We had a steady pick on triggers ( and the occasional puffer to fill out the day. Here's Kurt with Wednesday's ceviche:
Wednesday we made squid and began heading out to the grounds when the transmission went out on the Bohemia. Alonzo radioed for a tow and we decided to launch the yaks and fish near the boat until help arrived. Within 30 min. or so Dave from New Mexico hooked up a big Striped Marlin which began jumping just 30 yards or so from my kayak. How awesome! As Dave began to be towed off, I paddled back to the Bohemia to let Jim use my yak to follow Dave, while I stayed on the boat with Alonzo. After 45 min or so the tow boat arrived and Alonzo offered to stay with the boat and the rest of the crew while I took the video camera and jumped on the tow-boat to chase Dave and his fish. After a 2+ hour battle, Dave & Jim landed the biggest Marlin yet estimated at 140-150# (See pic on Jim's board). During the battle, we found out that in the meantime George had hooked a marlin and lost it when it threw the hook on a jump. As we motored back to the Bohemia and the rest of the crew, Kurt hooked a sailfish on a megabait with no leader, which gave him an exciting aerial display before breaking off. Then we towed the boat in for repairs and hoped that it would be ready for the next day.
Thursday, we had no support panga since the Bohemia could not be fixed and the other boats were fully booked. Alonso offered to take 2 guys fishing from his personal 22' commercial panga sans kayaks, so Kurt and George fished with him, while myself, Scott, Darryl, and Jim paddled out from the hotel and fished close to shore for an hour or so hoping for a rooster or jack crevalle, but all I got was this pretty little yellow snapper:
The inshore fishing had been reportedly slow due to a lack of sardinas, a conclusion that our data strongly supported after very little action. We then paddled out a few miles to some blue water in about 350- 400' where some commercial pangas were fishing. On the way out we saw a marlin greyhounding across the surface. Unfortunately we had not brought macs, so we trolled rapalas, fished irons, and squid for a nada but a few triggers on the way back in. After lunch Scott and I trolled the shorelin for a few miles to the south of the hotel for a few ladyfish, a smaller relative of the tarpon, which jump like crazy and are a lot of fun on light tackle. Kurt and George came back in from boat fishing with a coulpe nice fish under their belts. George had caught a 90# or so striped marlin and Kurt got a monsterous 130# sailfish on a double hookup while fishing macs from the boat.
Friday was our last day and because of Thursday, the resort allowed Alonzo to take us out on a different panga, the Yayo. We also had a camera crew from the hotel following on a different boat hoping to get pics for a brochure. We made our usual squid and headed to a spot to chunk some squid and fish for tuna. After 45 min or so with no takers (except for a skippie caught by Jim on the boat) we decided to go give the marlin a try while our macs were still lively. We motored to the new spot and unloaded the yaks and slow-trolled macs for an hour and a half for no takers. I had a really good feeling for a few minutes while my mac was taking some clicker and acting erratically, but nothing happened. Knowing that it was a short day, and feeling pressure to get some shots for the hotel crew, we changed our strategy to cover more water and try to find a few billfish. We loaded the yaks onto the panga and began to troll a 3 jig spread hoping to raise a fish into the spread. I baited my rod with a mac and let it hang in the tank waiting for the opportunity to drop it back to a fish. After about 15 minutes of trolling we got a tap but no stick on one of the jigs, so I flipped the mac out behind the boat. After 20 sec or so I felt the pickup, gave it a 5 count, brought the line tight, and hammered the hook home onto a sailfish which immediately began jumping and taking line. The rest of the crew quickly unloaded a kayak and Kurt jumped in and received the handoff and was quickly towed off into battle as I ran the video camera. This fish was pissed and crazy, jumping numerous times near the boat and actually hitting Kurt's yak several times with its bill before he and Jim landed it. Here's a pic of Kurt regrouping after shitting his pants:
Then we loaded the yaks back onto the boat and began trolling again. We ate lunch during an hour or so of no action, when finally another fish hit & spit one of the jigs. I jumped up to flip the mac out just as Alonzo accelerated the boat to keep the fish interested. The fish came up right behind the boat and I had to grind the mac back to the boat to get it in front of the fish. It took the bait, but the hookset didn't connect, so I cranked in to grab another bait. After a few seconds of fishingaround the tank for a live mac the guys told me to just grab a dead one and get it out there. On Alonzo's advice I held the rod tip high and let the dead mac skip on top of the water behind the boat when the fish lit up and slashed at the bait 3 or 4 times before taking it down. I set the hook hard twice and BAM! it was on again. This time we handed off to Scott and he and Jim landed the fish relatively quickly (30 min or so) as it became tail-wrapped in the leader. The hotel guys got some more pics and we released the fish and quickly headed back to the hotel to head to the airport.
Sorry to be so long winded with this report but I just wanted to share all of the details of a great trip. If you're still reading this I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks to Jim Sammons, Alonzo, the rest of the crew, and the fish that participated for making it such a great trip.