Every year about this time, my mind wanders as waiting for schools of tasty yellowtail to swim north from the warm coast of Baja California.
If the fish won’t come to me, I think about going to the fish. And one of the best fisheries in North America isn’t very far from me, it’s just south of the Border with Mexico in Loreto, Baja Sur, Mexico. It’s hard not to have grown up in Southern California and not know about the fishing in Baja and the sleepy Mission village of Loreto on the Sea of Cortez.
Loreto isn’t Cabo San Luis or Mazatlan, it’s a nice safe little town that in my lifetime has developed a reputation as the place to go for limits of yellowtail, pargo nd other snappers, ‘cudas, trigger fish or mackerel family members that will spool or fry your reel. Yes the fishing in Baja’s Sea of Cortez is really that good.
The first time I ever lost a reel full of expensive line and fried a reel was in Loreto. It was a life-altering experience that forged my bond with this town. I was young and didn’t understand that there are times when a used $25 fishing reel and cheap hooks are sometimes completely inadequate. I know better now
A big yellowtail inshore at Loreto taught me that lesson.
Getting to Loreto is now as easy a booking a flight on Alaska Airlines out of Los Angeles International. Alaska now offers two 737 flights a day to Loreto. It’s a short 90 minute hop down Baja from LAX to this fishing paradise. Hotel accommodations range anywhere from about $(US)55 a night for a basic room in a nice hotel to $(US) 100 a night for an upscale establishment. Don’t fret catching El Tourista in Loreto. The food is fresh and tasty.
Every hotel in Loreto is capable of getting you on a panga from the beach out to the fishing grounds. Panga fishing is synonymous with the Loreto experience. Pangasfa are open boats so be sure to bring your sunscreen and a hat. In all the years I’ve fished Loreto; I’ve never been skunked or come back to the beach with fewer than four nice fish.
But while Loreto has a well-deserved reputation as a fishing destination, it’s also flat out beautiful and the site of marine ecological preserve and one of the oldest and prettiest California missions, Mision de Nuestra Senora de Loreto Concho.
Loreto is full of surprises, one of which I made hiking up a stream coming down from the brown hills to the west of the town. My mellow was harshed when I saw two foot-long trout jump from a pool chasing an afternoon hatch. Trout in Baja? Si, all things are possible here.
If you go to Loreto and stay more than three days you need a visa, which is available for $24 from any Republic of Mexico consulate or embassy. In addition, a valid US passport is required for travel in an out of Mexico.
If you’re nervous about airline baggage fees, fishing tackle and gear can be rented in Mexico. More information on traveling to Loreto can be found at http://www.mexinsider.com/loreto-tourist-information.html.
Don’t forget to bring your camera, sketch pad and embrace your inner Steinbeck on the Sea of Cortez. Tight lines. Jim Forbes on April 1, 2012.
be still my heart, a nice loreto tasty fish