We were a SAD crew…
Sebastien had landed in La Paz early in the morning. When I picked him up, he bravely (or is it barely?) stood on the airport arrivals sidewalk after a soul destroying 15 hour red-eye flight from Montreal. Terry Lynn and myself had partied until daylight. It was a mix of socializing at the mezcalaria named “La Miserable” as well as a visit to another bar with a genuine DJ.
Many bad decisions were made before and after sunset, but we had agreed to go fishing… So the “zombie squad” hit what passes for roads in Baja.
The secluded beach we were going to was at the end of five kilometers of a forgotten goat trail. It’s not entirely possible to ride it in a compact car. Not without some work at least… the trick is to get out of the car every sixty seconds to place rocks strategically in the many deep ruts that would otherwise destroy you undercarriage. Obviously, a jacked up Jeep or Ranger would only need to slow down once in a while if it can stay on the road. There are no guarantees though since one such vehicle spent most of the evening and much of the night stuck in mud. It took three large specialized off-road trucks, multiple mud dives and a lot of expertise to get it out. I could write an entire book on Baja “non-roads”.
We launched our kayaks two kilometers from a rocky point. Terry Lynn was foaming at the mouth for a yellowtail.
Two kayaks overtook us to the spot. Yes, in this secluded place with no road access, we had competition! Fortunately they were anglers. Terry Lynn gave them the mean eye. I held her back as she reached for her speargun. Fish and Games can be sticklers about such things.
We anchored 200 yards from the point, out of the way of the anglers. The tide was very low. For some reason, this is when we see the most fish in the Sea of Cortez. There were immense schools of yellow snappers, some monstrous bar pargos, alas no school of yellowtails.
I almost took a shot at a 30 pound bar pargo. I don’t know if it would have been a record, but it would have been a personal best. I think it felt the my inner conflicts since it fled as soon as our eyes met. It was a wise decision on its part. I would not have trusted me.
I dove the rocks in depths between 15 and 20 meters. The sand was at 21 meters, much shallower than the other points in the same area. Perhaps it was the reason I wasn’t seeing schools of yellowtails. I saw them elsewhere almost every time I landed on sand below 23 meters. They were all small though. I hadn’t seen a large one all season.
I was laying between boulders at about 19 meters when finally I saw a large silhouette. It saw me and fled. I turned the 120 and took the shot within half a second. By that time it was a long shot, but I struck it in the yellow line near the head.
I fought the fish all the way up to keep it out of the boulders. The power of those fish is surprising. I only gave it about 15 meters of reel line since it fought me up the water column.
It really went for it after I got to the surface. It took me back down with ease. That’s when I lost the camera I had on my forehead! I didn’t know it at the time. I barely feel it in general, and never think about it. Down it went, taking incredible images!
Terry Lynn was close by. She helped me find the camera. I knew it couldn’t be very far even with the current, and the visibility was good enough to search a wide area at every dive.
It took about half an hour. It was Terry who finally spotted it next to a boulder. I could hardly believe it when I grabbed it from the sand.