Fishing Remote Baja California on Jose Wejebe’s Spanish Fly

The Punta Abreojos area of BCS proves to have plenty of suprises for a group of anglers from Shimano and Sport Fishing.
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Pacifico Norte — that’s the regional term for the stretch of northernmost Baja California Sur coast between Cedros Island and San Ignacio Lagoon BCS. To say it’s well off the beaten track wreaks of understatement. It’s rarely visited by sport fishermen from the United States, but I was fortunate enough recently to have the chance not only to fish here but to do so aboard Spanish Fly, the 340 Open Sea Vee that belonged to the late Jose Wejebe; a full report will be in the March 2014 issue of Sport Fishing magazine. But in the meantime, this first of two photo galleries will offer a look at our October trip to the Punta Abreojos area. Here, Julio Meza, now the proud owner of Spanish Fly, with a giant sea bass he caught on a live bait, showing the rest of the group how it’s done (something Julio did repeatedly). (See more Sea Vee boats.)
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Middle of Nowhere

On the west side of the Baja peninsula, south of Cedros Island, Punta Abreojos (in red circle) hosts a small fleet of artisanal fishermen, but for the first time pangas geared specifically for sport fishing are available for charter. Googe Earth
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World of Salt and Sand

Part of Punta Abreojos from the air, on approach to the paved runway.
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The Baja Bad Boys Fishin’ Posse

In fact, a better group of serious anglers you won’t find, and I was honored to be included. Counterclockwise from back right: Dave Pfeiffer (Shimano), Chris Russell (Shimano), Barry Brightenburg (Inside Sportfishing), Jim Hendricks (Sport Fishing magazine), Oscar Catian Hernandez (mate on Spanish Fly), Julio Meza (owner, Spanish Fly), and yours truly. unknown
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An Abundance of Baitfish

The Pacific sardines on this loaded-up sabiki rig will soon be in the livewell. In the background, a local panga also is catching bait off Punta Abreojos. unknown
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Sand Bass City

An early morning drift for live bait took us over a wall-to-wall sand bass area; Dave Pfeiffer filled his sabiki rig,
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Sabiki: Full Up

Chris Russell scores a perfect six out of six on sardines for the livewell.
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What a Pair!

Early on, Jim Hendricks (left) scores with a lovely broomtail grouper and Dave Pfeiffer with a hefty gulf grouper, the latter on a big Lucanus “slow” jig. (See more Lucanus jigs.) (Find out more about broomtail grouper.) unknown
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Grouper Galore

The nearshore reefs along this remote section of Baja appear to teem with grouper. unknown
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A mighty big reel for a mighty big fish.

Sport Fishing‘s Pacific editor Jim Hendricks puts the pedal to the metal versus a broomtail grouper, using Shimano’s new Stella 30000 — the largest spinning reel in the company’s history. (Read more about the ****Stella 30000****.)
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Hendricks, with help from Julio Meza, hold up his weighty prize for a photo. Most of our big grouper were caught in 30 to 80 feet of water; most were released (suffering no barotrauma). (If you ever fish bottomfish, you should know about barotrauma; read more about it here.)
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Teeming With Life

Even where not a lot of bottom structure prevailed, plenty of fish and bait showed on the meter, much of the time. Jim Hendricks
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Lobster Central

Lobster populate these waters in great abundance; artisanal panga fishermen check traps. unknown
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Home Away From Home

We stayed at La Bocana, near Punta Abreojos,where this small resort is still under construction but open for business. Any sort of decent lodging is hard to come by in this remote region; we appreciated the clean if slightly spartan accommodations. unknown
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Action at the Front Door

Right where the entire commercial fleet ties up at La Bocana, we found action on small grouper (though we also lost a couple too big to stop on light gear). Live baits were hard to beat, but we caught fish on lures and jigs as well. unknown
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Innshore Broomtail

Grouper this size made for a real challenge on light levelwinds with braided line. Here, Julio Meza — the groupermeister — scores again with a sinking Orca lure from Shimano.
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Sport Fishing: A New Use for Pangas

A sight not seen previously is t-tops with rocket launchers on pangas, as four boats have been refurbished with amenities that anglers would want in a day charter. These boats now offer anglers access to inshore/nearshore grounds. unknown
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A Time Machine in the Desert!

Okay, so maybe it’s not that. But that’s what leapt into my mind when I saw this 8-foot-tall cast-iron creation at a desert crossroads. I was very disappointed not to see lights start flashing and watch it spin upwards toward the heavens. unknown