No, we’re not talking about getting bit on the bottom by a flea or a mosquito; this is all about doing something that is as old as Mankind itself …getting bit by the fishing bug!
One of the best places to do this is on a 6 day fishing adventure aboard a panga mothership out of northern Baja’s placid seaport of San Felipe, which lies just across the Sea of Cortez from Arizona’s most popular party beach town, Rocky Point.
Imagine yourself slowly drifting along in a light breeze on a glassy turquoise cove on the lee side of a barren, cactus covered desert island. Suddenly, all Hell breaks loose …your rod jolts violently and then bends practically in half as the drag on your reel begins to scream.
You had better get used to it, this scenario will likely replay itself dozens of times over your next 6 days on the water.
Panga motherships generally run between April and October of each year. These large vessels, often converted shrimpers, can usually accommodate up to 25 fishermen, and come complete with staterooms, bunks, showers and a full galley. The small pangas that they tow behind them are perfectly suited for fishing the rich waters that surround the numerous rocky islands dotting the upper Gulf of California, and offer a unique fishing adventure of a lifetime.
The Daily Routine
Shortly after breakfast, each of the small pangas is boarded by 2 or 3 passengers and a skipper who then set out for a reel grinding day on the water catching everything from yellowtail, cabrilla grouper and snapper, to a bevy of other coveted sportfish. The real luxury comes in when the tired, sweaty anglers finally return to the mothership for a couple of drinks, a hot shower, warm meal and a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bunk before getting up and doing it all over again the next day.
Although women are certainly allowed to book passage on one of these trips, they remain primarily a masculine adventure, if for no reason other than to better match up with the brute strength necessary to bring some of these huge fish to the surface.
They also offer a prime venue to get away for several days with a few of your best buddies in an environment that is totally devoid of the pressures presented by life in modern society.
Make no mistake about it, these captivating journeys are not just about hooking, fighting and landing fresh fish for the cooler. A majority of the picturesque areas visited are adjacent to small remote islands and rocky outcroppings that offer a perfect opportunity to enjoy snorkeling in the clear depths among schools of the many subtropical fish species that thrive in the region. You can also just take a refreshing dip, or paddle around on one of the several sit atop kayaks that are usually brought along on these voyages …or you can simply lounge around on deck with a cold beer in your hand. The choice is yours.
Alright, this may be the most daunting aspect of planning any vacation, but in this case it isn’t as gruesome as you might think. A 6 day mothership fishing adventure, complete with a bunk in a 2 person stateroom along with all meals, beer, water and soft drinks plus fish cleaning is all included for the base price of just under $1,500 (U.S.). Gratuities, tackle and gear rental are all additional.
Who to Contact
Tony Reyes Fishing Tours is the original operation offering these types of trips, and is still the best. For more information, contact them directly at http://www.tonyreyes.com/about-the-trips.html or through The Longfin in Orange, CA at http://www.thelongfin.com/