Weekly Fishing Column: Punta Colonet well worth trip to Baja

Published 01 December 09 01:55 PM

The Daily Breeze
By Phil Friedman, Correspondent

Punta Colonet is located 120 miles south of the Mexican border in Tijuana.

The drive there takes you through some of the most picturesque geography of northern Baja California. You will pass through Tijuana, Rosarito Beach, Ensenada, the Baja Wine Country and more.

Highway Mexico 1 will take you through breath-taking views of the Coronado Islands, sheer cliffs, fish taco stands and wonderfully warm Baja California people. Hugo Torres, Mayor of Rosarito Beach, has done everything in his power to make Rosarito safe. The fact is, despite the fact no tourists have been killed in Northern Baja, the 24-hour news cycle as well as other influences have made the drive to Baja less desirable.

I have driven to Cabo San Lucas five times in the last two years without incident and have hooked my two sons on the Baja experience. There is so much to love about a road trip to Baja but for my sons, it always comes down to the warm and friendly people of Baja.

There is another way to get to Punta Colonet. You can jump on a sportboat out of San Diego for the next several months and enjoy spectacular fishing.

Yes, you will miss the people and the drive but you will experience the rich and bountiful seas of Punta Colonet.

Mike Acker of Long Beach made the trip on the New Lo-An last weekend.

"This was as good as fishing as I have ever seen," Acker said.

"Huge lingcod, big red snapper, halibut and more," he continued. "If you are into action and great eating fish then this is it."

Acker said from the time they arrived, it was constant action on a variety of fish. In fact, while Acker is not a big fan of bottom fishing, he soon became a convert.

"You only fish in about 200 feet of water so you feel the fight," he said. "Besides, these are some of the best, if not the best eating fish of the sea."

Nothing makes a better fish taco than a colonet red snapper. Deep fried and battered, the filet is put in a corn tortilla and then garnished with salsa, cilantro, onions, guacamole, sour cream and more. You talk about culinary ecstasy, this is it. Put some rice and beans on the side and you have a meal that your guests will remember for a long time to come.

Proper tackle on a colonet trip only requires a couple of outfits. A 25- and 40- pound outfit will be perfect. Eight- to 16-ounce sinkers are perfect along with 3-O hooks. Lingcod are another aggressive and delicious fish that are bountiful off Punta Colonet. Tagging studies show that lingcod are largely non-migratory and colonize in localized areas.

Lingcod live on the bottom, but may feed throughout the water column. And unlike many other bottom fish species like rockfish, lingcod do not have an air bladder, which enables them to freely swim up and down the water column without injury. Sport or commercial anglers can haul lingcod from depths of 500 feet or more to the surface and release them unharmed. Hard-fighting, great eating and yet another reason to head south of the border.

This Friday night, the Pacific Queen is departing from Fisherman's Landing in San Diego on a weekend trip to the rich waters of Colonet. The tips is priced at $250 with food and permits extra.



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