BIG WHITE SEABASS A SURPRISE AT CAMALU
Aug. 31, 2006, Ben Adams, Camalu, Baja California, Mexico:
Ed Avila, aka. "Captain Sting Ray," built a house just off the beach in Camalu, Baja, Mexico, this past year. The good captain asked me several times if I would like to visit his new place and go fishing with him. I asked if I could bring my son Andy, and he said sure. He would make all the arrangements for the fishing trip. All we had to do was show up. Ed has sent me many pictures to show that the fishing out of Camalu was something to behold.
Andy and I decided to take off on Friday August 18th. This was Andy's day off from work. We would take our time driving on the narrow road south, enjoying the sights and Baja scenery along the way. We stopped and ate goat tacos for lunch. They were great.
About 2 p.m. we found the turnoff to Ed's place. It was a dusty rocky road that lead straight to the beach and what a beach. There were so many rocks, as far as the eye could see. Not just any rocks but the kind that people in the state pay big bucks for their landscaping. Apparently as the beach erodes the waves push the rocks into an 8 foot high row along the shore.
Ed welcomed us and showed us around his place. We rested for a little bit and then we were off to explore Camalu.
Ed has stayed in Camalu with his wife, off and on for several years. He drove us all over the place, in town and out where only a few people live. He introduced us to all his friends, from the shop owners to the very poor. Ed is a great friend, not just to me but to everyone in Camalu.
We went to bed early. Ed said to set the alarm for 4:30 or 5 a.m. In the morning Ed put on a pot of coffee to help us wake up for a great day of fishing and made sandwiches to eat out on the water.
About 5:15 a.m. the first fisherman started showing up at the fish camp just a stone's throw from Ed's cabin.
By 5:30 a.m. we were at the camp looking for Captain Memo. When we found him we found out that he had a party of five that he was taking out. He made arrangements for us to take out his other boat with another captain.
As we watched each boat launch through the surf we were getting excited about what we might catch that day.
We were not more that a few hundred yards of shore when our captain said we need to catch bait. We threw our silver Krocodiles out and no sooner did they hit the water than we had mackerel on. The captain said to back hook them and throw them back out. This was our bait.
At that point I was wondering what we would catch with a one-and-a-half-pound mackerel. Are we fishing for whales?
We were given our choice to fish for white seabass or go out to the island and fish for cod, snapper or sheephead. All the boats decided to fish for white sea bass.
The day was long. We would fish here and there, chasing the birds. The mackerel were so thick it was crazy. Every time Andy would catch one he would laugh and call them stupid fish. We fished for a while and a couple of the boats caught a few white sea bass in the 15 to 20 pound range but nothing big. A few times I thought that I had seen a shadow but I didn't say anything.
About 12:30 p.m. we were back off of Camalu close to a lobster marker. We had just settled down when Andy said, "I think I have something." Ed said it was probably an anchovy. He was having fun giving Andy a bad time.
As we watched Andy fight the white sea bass, he didn't say a word. He didn't smile and we think that he didn't even breathe. We kept telling him "rod tip up and keep cranking." You could barely her Andy say, "I am, I am." When the captain gaffed the monster we were shocked at the size of the white sea bass. Andy was about as happy as you could be.
We fished for a little while longer, but the sea was getting way too choppy to fish so we headed back in to show off our catch. Our captain said, "Junior is happy, it is time to go."
We tried to weigh the white sea bass back at the camp with Ed's 50 pound scale. We hooked the scale in the lower jaw and Andy attempted to lift it up. As he struggled we watched the scale go all the way around. It it went past 50 and stopped hard on 20, maxing out and just then the hook bent and the fish fell to the boat floor.
We fixed the hook and tried again. Again the needle went around past 50 and stopped on 20. The full weight of the fish wasn't on the scale yet. There was still the least 12 to 14 inches of the fish on the boat floor. We could only guess that It weighed over 90 pounds. When we returned to Ed's place we measured the big guy. The white sea bass measured 62 inches long exactly.
We will never forget that Baja trip and Andy will probably never catch a fish that big. But it was a great day and a wonderful trip to meet my friend Ed and finally go fishing with him.
(See "Mexico Fishing News" online for current fishing reports, photos, weather, and water temperatures from Baja and other major Mexican sportfishing areas. Vacation travel articles, fishing maps and seasonal calendars, and fishing related information for Baja California may be found at Mexfish.com's main Baja page.