Waterman's Journal

Apr 27, 2010

Mixing it up in Mexico with Chris Mautino

Location: Central Baja , Mexico

Every season, massive winter swells originate around the Aleutian Islands in Alaska and travel southerly towards the Pacific coast of Baja California . We follow those storms and in October, Liquid Adventures leaves our summertime base in Seward , Alaska and we drive south to warmer climes, spending the winter months paddling, fishing, diving and surfing the magnificent Baja Peninsula .

Below: ' Gumby ' makes her way in the Mexican desert.

The Central Baja region is our favorite part of Mexico . It’s got some of the most dramatic desert and coastal scenery on the entire peninsula, it has some of the best inshore fishing on the planet and also offers some remote, near perfect, un-crowded waves.

Below: Chris shows off a fat Croake

First, the Surf: For a traveling surfer who loves right hand points and enjoys to camp in remote spots, Baja is it. A classic surf destination with ample swell, favorable offshore winds, and miles and miles of beautiful coastline

Below: Posing with a nice Mac on the ATV

In the 20 plus years of exploring Baja, we have gotten to know each break and where best to surf depending on swell direction, tides and wind direction. If conditions are just right we’ll sit on a spot for weeks at a time, sometimes surfing three sessions a day. This winter was no different. Solid Northwest ground swells marched in week after week throughout all November and December bringing an endless supply of waves wrapping into the points. Often we had the beach to ourselves with no one for miles. Sometimes we shared a sunset session with just a handful of friends. Either way, we were always stoked and sometimes we’d just sit back and watch the lines roll by.

Below: An incredible sunset

Below: Sticking a nice flatty ..

Below: Shear desert beauty at dusk

Below: Chris poses with tasty critters

The Fishing: One of my favorite fish to pull on are giant boiler rock Calico Bass. Central Baja delivers here too and when I want to catch big calico bass in coastal waters, I launch the kayak. There’s no better platform for the job. It’s the perfect tool. What makes the kayak such a deadly weapon? Simple, kayaks can go into the rough neighborhoods where bass live, right into the center of the thickest kelp and close to surf-tossed rocks. In January I was fishing a “new” piece of water that stoked me with some epic sessions. On one particularly good morning I released 16 trophy Calicos over 5lbs! I mostly throw swimbaits and jerk shads for the bass, but if I find good current I’ll toss the iron too. No matter the lure, fishing tight to heavy cover in a zone where fish rarely – if ever – see angling pressure is usually rewarded with some impressive boiler rock Bass.

Below: Let the kayak adventure begin!!

Below: Chris nails a couple nice Yellowtail

Below: Killer Kayak Bass

Below: Looks like dinner!!

All the other Stuff: In addition to the fishing and surfing, we spend a lot of time diving, eating, beach combing, stand-up paddling and sleeping. Always keen to try new things and explore different ways of playing in the water. No single piece of equipment defines us. We are waterman; drawn to all things “Ocean”.

- Chris Mautino

Below: No trip is complete unless you get to ride the Baja waves...