GROUP FISHING TRIP TO CAMALU WITH CAPT. LEE MORENO
Sept. 21, 2004, Jeff Williams, Camalu, San Quintin, Baja California, Mexico:
We took our annual surf trip to Cuatro Casas this last weekend. Had a great group of 14 guys down for a weekend of surfing, motorcycling, horseshoes, and a beer or twelve.
Having read about the new sportfishing operation in Camalu in WON, I called and made reservations with Lee Moreno for Sunday the 19th. Three of us, including Scott Morgan of Costa Mesa and Eric DeVore of Dana Point, got up early (0530) on Sunday and drove the 35 minutes south from Cuatro Casas to Camalu for our fishing adventure.
The Camalu office and boat yard are Lee's house and yard. A dry wind-blown hillside above a semi-sheltered bay. Three boats, one trailer, and an '80s vintage Chevy 4x4.
We determined which boat was ours and after Lee told us that we wouldn't launch until 0730, we put together our gear, loaded the boat and put on our life jackets and foulies.
A note, if you are going to do this Camalu fishing wear the foulies and the life jacket and bring a throwable cushion as it is wet and the the seats are brutal. My fishing partners were looking at me like "what have you gotten us into?"
We were the first Camalu fishing boat out as ours was the boat on the trailer. Once we reached the beach, riding in the boat on trailer, we were told to hang on. With that the truck spun the trailer around, threw it in reverse and floored it. Moments later we were in the surf.
Lee hoped in and started rowing towards the small breakers. Once there was adequate water under the engine, 70HP tiller steer Johnson, it was started and we motored out.
Once we were maybe a mile and a half offshore we reached the first of many flocks of birds-terns, gulls, pelicans, and shearwaters working bait schools.
Lee stopped and told us to start fishing. "For what?" we asked. "White Seabass" was the reply. Eric and Scott are both very experienced WSB fisherman and I've done it a number of times as well, and none of us had ever pulled up in the middle of nowhere and decided this was the thing to do. We had brought 10#'s of squid down on dry ice and I had pulled the tackle from the WON article.
Eric fished plastic, Scott fished squid, and I fished a Megabait. One hook-up on the plastic, spit after a short battle, and we moved. The next stop we started catching loads of Mackerel from 1/2 to 2#'s. Lee said most of these were bait size--all of them up to about 1#.
The third stop Lee gave me a large chrome and green Crocodile and I cast it out and almost immediately hooked up with a 1#+ Mackerel. Reeling it in I crossed lines with Scott. Just as we got our lines to the boat there was a silver flash at my bait. WSB on the surface chasing my bait. I free spooled the rig back out and Scott cleared his line and re-baited in a frenzy. We were all excited now.
Lee told me not to free spool, back the drag all the way off and let it sit. Since this was all different and it was his game, I followed directions. One minute later the line started to peel off the Trinidad. I let him run for what seemed like an eternity and then slowing started to increase the drag. Once I had some pressure on him I worked him to the boat.
Then Scott hooked up, same method. In 5-6 minutes we had two 22-25# white seabass on deck. Now we were pumped.
We picked up and moved back to the birds and drifted again. This time it was Eric's turn. His ended up a bit more exciting as a Sea Lion picked it up and ran with it. Eric free spooled and the Lobo dropped it. Lee throttled up and Eric reeled the little TN14 as hard as possible. Just as we reached the fish the Sealion picked it up again. We yelled at it, beat on the boat, free spooled and it dropped it for a second before picking it up one last time and breaking it off.
Now the wind was picking up and Lee said we need to move in shore and get his boats back on the beach soon. We had ended up about 3-4 miles off shore and we now headed in to about 1 mile offshore and met up with another of his boats. This boat had one on deck about 35#'s and one on the line. When that one hit the deck it went an easy 50#'s. Really nice fish.
As the wind reached 20kts Lee pulled the plug on the day, at about 1100. The return through the surf was uneventful, though we did take pause when we saw the kite surfers launch adjacent to us. Once back at the "office" the fish were cleaned and we went back to our windblown surf camp at Cuatro Casas, where we BBQ'd White Seabass for our hungry compatriots. Camalu's a great trip and I highly recommend it. Go prepared to rough it.
(See "Mexico Fishing News" online for current fishing reports, photos, weather, and water temperatures from San Quintin and other major Mexican sportfishing areas. Vacation travel articles, fishing maps and seasonal calendars, and fishing related information for San Quintin may be found at Mexfish.com's main San Quintin page.