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Gary Graham's Blog

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Written By Gary Graham
Nothing is written in stone…
In my last column "Southbound again…" I shared my carefully laid out schedule to begin my Baja season. After I finished, and sent it in, a buzzer sounded ... a telephone call from Ken Franke asking me to fly with A1 Fish Spotter, Tom Greene. That call flipped my schedule. Seems that the volume of yellow and bluefin tuna being spotted here in Southern California is off the charts and he wanted me to see it and share what I saw. And here is what I found...

I was flying with Tom the day after Memorial Day instead of departing for Baja, and I must say it was well worth the change of plans. That was the most feeding tuna above and below the border I've ever seen is a single day … EVER.

I ended up flying to Loreto three days later and hooked up with the Sportfishing Association of California team President, Capt. Ken Franke; KeniaZamarripa, SAC Director of Marketing and International Affairs; Laura Patella, co-owner of the long range American Angler; along with Pete Gray of the “Let’s Talk HookUp -- Mighty 1090 Radio Show” and his sound engineer, Rick Cutler for a remote show which broadcast on Saturday, June 3 from the recently completed Port Captain’s building overlooking the Marina in Loreto.

From the minute I touched down, I joined the team in a whirlwind series of meetings, tours of the Marina and all the preparations underway for the one-day local fishing tournament which was also being held on Saturday beginning at 6:00a.m. (before the show).

The teams host for the weekend stay was the recently renovated, timeless "Hotel La Misión" managed by Maria Gámez, General Manager, overlooking the Malecón with a stunning view of the sparkling Sea of Cortez.

The entire trip began at the behest of Andrés Córdova , Secretary of Fisheries for Baja Sur. He had attended the SAC-hosted remote “Let’s Talk HookUp Show” broadcasts in other locations in Baja, had liked what he had seen and more importantly, had liked the results. He was convinced that the community of Loreto and all it had to offer could be showcased by SAC’s visit. As Franke noted later during the broadcast, "Córdova deserves recognition for his leadership, partnership development and strategic planning efforts to benefit Baja Sur."

Later that evening at the Hotel Mision restaurant, dinner featured the region’s seafood -- Almejas Chocolatas (Chocolate Clams), broiled whole grouper topped off with homemade flan. Secretary of SEPESCA, Luis Antonio García and Gonzalo Alamea from SEPESCA joined the group for dinner.

The following morning local and Baja Sur sportfishing representatives gathered out on the Marina quay wall for the official start of the Loreto "Serial Dos Mares" sport fishing tournament, one of the many events held in a number of seaside communities throughout Baja Sur each year. The winners of each community event are invited to participate in the great FINALE of the Serial de Pesca Deportiva Dos Mares held each year in Loreto, Baja California Sur, on Aug. 12 and 13 this year.

The series of tournaments began many years ago as a way of introducing sportfishing to the locals, involving not only the adults in the many communities that dot the coastline of the state, but the children as well. As it evolved, it has become well organized and incorporated many components. In the Loreto version, there is a Gastronomic Contest where 17 of the local restaurants compete for the “best of the best” in different cooking, preparation and presentation categories as chosen by a panel of judges.

Early Saturday morning, taking the lead from the big money tournaments, there is a shotgun start which is usually well-attended by every local and state government dignitary within driving distance.

This morning, Franke was given the honor of firing the flare to send more than 20 teams out to the fishing grounds surrounding Loreto in search of a winning fish.

The team then turned their attention to the final preparations for the morning’s remote show. Internet connections established, microphones in place and the final guest list and script finalized, it was time for the familiar clicker “buzz” followed by Pete Gray declaring "Let’s Talk HookUp," which began the show.

The two-hour show passed quickly as representatives of both local sportfishing and tourism, along with government officials from Loreto and Baja Sur and local business owners, filled the Port Captain’s office to inform the show’s large audience what Loreto had to offer for anglers and tourists alike.

After the show’s conclusion, part of the team returned to California on an Alaska flight; Gray caught a ride to East Cape with the Rick Jensen family for the 21st Annual Rancho Leonero “Let’s Talk HookUp” Spring Tournament sponsored by Sportfishing Financial and Statewide Stripes.

Franke and Zamarripa remained for the weighing-in festivities and awards ceremony on the huge stage overlooking the Marina. Fishing was good and the largest yellowtail of the event weighed just a click under 30 pounds.

Next came the sampling of all of the food prepared for the Gastronomic Cooking Completion.

As a side note, a few days later the season’s first serious dorado catches were made by  local charters … an encouraging sign after several years of dorado drought.

Show guests included:

Luis Andrés Córdova Urrutia, Secretario de Pesca, Acuarcultura y Desarrollo Aguopecuario

Profa. Arely Arce Peralta, Presidenta Municipal de Loreto

Arturo Susarrey, Representante de Pesca Deportiva en Loreto

Lucero Magdaleno Arreola, Presidente CANIRAC

Carlos Castañeda, Rigidor (Turismo)

Álvaro Murillo, Director de API Loreto

María Gámez, Gerente Hotel La Misión

Juan J. García, Capitán de Pesca Deportiva

Norma Beatriz García, Presidenta de la Asociación de Hoteles

To listen to the show:

First Hour:

Second Hour:

As a side note, a few days later the season’s first serious dorado catches were made by local charters … an encouraging sign after several years of dorado drought.

FRANKE WAS GIVEN the honor of firing the flare to send the more than 20 teams out to the fishing grounds surrounding Loreto in search of a winning fish.

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