Islands Cedros Island, Labor Day


Jul 27, 2009
los angeles
17 Boston Whaler

Postponed from a year ago,
because of the covid,
the Watkins Bunch was finally able to hook up,
Labor Day Weekend,
and head down to Cedros Island,
for Terry's "Celebration of Fishing".

Our party of twelve,
all close personal friends,
met at the CBX on the Mexico/USA border.

Our hostess, Rosie Flowers,
from Cedros Sportfishing,
was there to meet us,
pass out paperwork,
and answer any last minute questions.

Tee's good fishing buddy, Dave Bee, was there.
If you've read me, you know him.
Ditto for Nigel the Englishman.
Nigel has brought along his partner, Karen for this adventure.
The Fabulous & Famous Faro brothers,
Tim & Dale,
well known Rooster boosters,
are here with their bud,
and my roommate to be, Dave Cee.
Ryan and Eric from up north near Fresno.
Bryan and Christine from further up north in the great northwest.

At the proper time,
Rosie turned us over to her assistants,
who guided us thru the airport,
to our gate,
where we waited for the bus,
to take us to our plane.

Two long hours later,
we were landing on the island,
being met by Rosie's right hand man,
her major domo,
the king of everything,
and his posse of young lads,
who shuttled our gear and luggage to the lodge.
Richard drove us up in the company van.
Easy Peasy.

Seven anglers made hurried preparations
for an afternoon excursion on the water.
The rest had cocktails,
and assembled their tackle at a leisurely pace.
Nigel & Karen went for a long walk on the beach.
I surveyed the lay of the land.

Richard, the Man,
came by with his notebook,
to assign us a panga boat for tomorrow,
take our lunch orders,
and see if we had any special requests.
We sent him on a beer & booze run,
and the lads put it all on ice,
in the coolers provided.

A few hours later,
our anglers returned with tales of the sea,
and fish landed.
Between turns in the shower,
munching on snacks,
and imbibing cervezas,
they filled us in on all the action.

Six p.m.
Dinner was served,
but not before Richard introduced to some VIP's,
who welcomed us to their establishment.

Funny, I don't recall the soup,
but the main course was Carne Asada,
on fresh, authentic flour tortillas.
Platters of charred cubes of beef,
platters of various toppings,
guacamole, salsa.

After dinner,
we made final preparations for the battle tomorrow.


5:00 a.m. Coffee, no sleep on the side.

5:15 a.m.
Some more of those soft, warm tortillas.
So good with everything, or even alone.

6:00 a.m.
Into the van for the short ride to the dock.

Thanks to Richard,
the pangas are waiting,
already loaded with our coolers of drinks,
and lunches,
and gear,
when we arrive.

Ryan and Eric,
friends of Tee's from Fresno,
drew the short straw,
and got me for a boatmate.
I've fished with Eric before,
so I'm sure he warned Ryan,
to watch out for "this guy".

We are riding Cuatro today,
Capt. Chevo at the helm.

We rig up some bait catchers,
and in no time at all,
we fill the tank,
with a combination of,
small to medium mackerels,
and small sardines,
right there in the harbor.

It was so easy,
I couldn't believe it.

We headed offshore,
and Chevo asked us what we wanted to try for.
"Yellowtail!", we said.

He drove to an area where other boats were already at work.
We dropped down baits,
and jigs,
and caught a fish on almost every drop.
It was so easy,
I couldn't believe it.

After we put a limit of thirty pound yellowtail,
in the icy fish hold,
Chevo asked us if we'd like to try for something else.
"Black Sea Bass!", we said.

Chevo drove to a different area where there were already boats working.
It wasn't quite as easy as the yellowtail fishing was,
but it didn't take a real long time,
before Ryan hooked one,
on his minty green and white colored yo yo jig.

Because they are sportsmen,
and women,
who run Cedros Sportfishing,
they limit the take on black seas bass,
to one fish per boat per day.

Having achieved our one fish limit,
Capt. Chevo asked if there was something else we'd like to try for.
"Halibut!", says Eric from Fresno.

Chevo drove to another area,
where there were no other boats already at work.
We were close to shore now,
fishing shallow turquoise water.
We could see buildings up on the cliffs above.

I looked at my watch and it said 1:00 p.m.

We bobbed along,
drifting with the current,
pushed by a cool, gentle breeze.
Thirty minutes later,
Smiling Eric,
was holding up his hot halibut,
and his icy cold cerveza for the cameras.

We called it a day after that.
I called it the best day of "menu" fishing I've ever experienced.

3:00 p.m.
Back at the lodge for appetizers & cocktails,
the whole Bunch of us,
swapping stories
about the day we just experienced.

Meanwhile, Richard & his lads hauled our equipment up the hill,
for a quick freshwater spritz,
and back in the rack for tomorrow.
Fresh line is in order for some of those outfits now.

The lads head over to the nearby Ice House,
and process our catch for us.
I took a walk over to see what's what.
I was not surprised to see an operation that would rival anything, anywhere.
I could see Rosie's fingerprints all over the place.
She used to run the best processor in San Diego.

The lads invited me in for a look-see,
and I saw a team of cutters that took pride in their work.
I saw them using a clean, fresh, filtered water rinse,
vacuum packers,
multiple freezers.
I peeked inside the freezers and they were clean.
Soft cooler bags for transporting fish on the planes.
The lads have it down!

6:00 p.m.
First, last, and only call for dinner.
Richard says we are in for a treat,
albondigas with a twist.
I ring in ahead of the others,
and guess the meatballs are made from fish.
Richard points his pen at me,
and says, "We have a winner."

The soup was good,
but the best was yet to come.
Classic fishtacos, two on a plate,
waiting for the cabbage,crema, salsa, & guacamole.
"Que clase es?",
I asked Flor as she brought me my plate.
Walking away,
she turned her head back,
"Jurel", (hoo-rell) she replied with a smile,
and that twinkle in her eye.
That means Yellowtail.
Sweet, white meat.
The tacos were not fancy,
just good and tasty food,
well prepared.
Mine were delicious.

After dinner,
it was time to relax,
and enjoy the warm night air.

Down below, on the beach,
we could see the locals gathering up for a regular Saturday night fiesta.
Grillin' & Chillin' with their families after a long week at work.

Someone put some "Mexican" music on the boombox,
until it was time to go to bed.


6:00 a.m.
After breakfast & coffee,
we're back in the van for the ride down the hill.

Whoever it was that claimed it was "too easy" yesterday,
the fish gods must have heard him,
because today,
it's not so easy.
All of that bait that filled the harbor yesterday morning,
is nowhere to be found.
It took a lot of searching to put a few scraps in the tank.

Chevo gets frustrated after a couple of hours,
and says, Eff this, let's go fishing.
"No more Yellowtail!", we said.
"What would you like to try for?", he asks.
"Dorado!", says Ryan.
Chevo sort of shrugs his shoulders.
He fires up his engine,
and gets on the radio.
We head off into the channel between the island,
and the peninsula.

A couple of hours of searching yields nothing but a wooden pallet,
with a single bird aboard it,
looking like the master of his domain.

9:30 a.m.
We called an audible.
We ended the dodo hunt,
and decided to try for our one per day/per boat black sea bass.

The audible was the correct call.
We got to the zone,
fewer boats than the day before,
and went to work.

Making up for some of the time we burned this morning,
looking for bait,
and then doing the do-do no show,
we got a knock knock.

Eric was the lucky angler this time.
Deep drop, yo yo jig did the trick.
One black sea bass.
We scored!

Not ten minutes later,
Ryan and his minty green and white yo yo jig gets bit,
and he winds in a nice white sea bass.
Man, we scored big time.

11:30 a.m.
Chevo asks us what we'd like to try for now?
Having enjoyed his experience yesterday,
Eric asks if we can try for another halibut,
and off we go.

Back to the beach,
north of the resort.

A beautiful afternoon.
Clear blue sky.
Turquoise colored water.
The scenery was grand.

We bobbed along,
pushed by a light breeze,
our baits bumping the sandy bottom.
We were so close,
you could hear the water lapping the shore.

Once in a while,
a fish would jump,
a seal would poke his head up to check us out,
or a sea bird would do a fly-by.

Capt. Chevo, fishing with a lightweight bass style outfit,
has his bait picked up by a torpedo disguised as a fish.
He knew he was on a big one right away,
and it was fun for us,
and educational as well,
to watch a master craftsman at work.

After more than a few zips back and forth,
up to the beach,
back out to deep water,
and a couple of laps around thepanga,
they finally settle down.

Chevo's sitting in the bow,
he's facing us.
His left hand is holding the reel,
his right hand is turning the handle.
The rod is extended over the port rail.
In this sitting position,
he uses his right knee to lift the rod up,
winds down,
knee up,
winds down.
Coolest move I'd seen in a while.

End result was a beautiful yellowtail,
Eric on the gaff shot,
how about that?

I asked Chevo to guess it's weight.
He squinted his eyes,
and said, "Vente kilos, un poco mas."
That's a forty something pound yellowtail caught on the beach.
Just Wow.

1:00 p.m.
Back to the halibut hunt.
Ryan, this time not using his trusty minty green and white yo yo jig,
but a bait instead,
connects with today's prize.

Time to call it a day.
We travelled back to the dock,
and while waiting for our sister & brother anglers to return,
we realized that despite the slow start,
the lack of bait,
the hours wasted looking for dorado,
we had had a really good day.

Standing on the dock,
I remembered to ask Richard about those cold showers.
"Why didn't you say something sooner?", he asks.
"Because this is Mexico, and we figured that's just the way it is.", I replied.
He told me he would investigate as soon as we returned.

Flor and Imelda had appetizers waiting for us when we got there.
We moved up from the beer to the hard stuff,
someone put some American music on,
and we got a little Sunday night fiesta going on of our own.

Tonight's dinner began with a special soup.
Pozole. It's pork, peppers and hominy corn.
Hominy? you say.
A dozen or so per bowl.
Sorry for the corny joke.

King Richard,
who floats around the dining room like a mother hen watching her chicks,
asks if everything is OK?
I asked Richard if it was possible to have some of the condiments normally served on the side.
There's usually a bowl of chopped cabbage, some chopped onions, or radishes, and always some fresh dried oregano to sprinkle into your bowl.
It makes the soup a meal.

Richard disappeared on me.
I heard some conversation,
and then some commotion in the kitchen,
and then he returned with everything I asked for.
Some of my table mates gave it a try,
and came away impressed,
I think.

Richard told me later,
they used to put the condiments out,
but the majority of gringos who come to visit,
don't know what to do with it,
so they quit putting it out there,
rather than waste it.
I'm OK with that.

The main course was tostadas de res.
Shredded beef on corn tortillas.
Muy deliciosa!

After dinner we rocked the house....
until about eight thirty,
then we all went to bed.


What a difference a day makes.

5:00 a.m.
Everyone's moving a tad bit slower this morning.
It's cloudy, overcast, and a bit cooler.
The gloomy skies,
and bittersweet feeling,
knowing we'll be leaving soon,
when we just got here...
mildly depressing.

But, for some unknown reason,
I have a good feeling about today.

6:00 a.m.
In the van for a quiet ride to our final day of fishing together.

The bait was back in the harbor this morning when we started.
It slowly disappeared as the sun rose higher in the sky.
We went to another spot to try for bait,
but instead all we found were biting calico/kelp bass.

Back to the black bass zone to try for our one per day.
There are a few other boats working the zone when we arrive.

My first deep drop of the day to the bottom of the sea,
brought up a nice sized sheepshead,
and I crossed that off the menu.
I recollected that good feeling I had on the patio this morning,
shook my head and smiled.

My second deep drop yields the Black Sea Bass we are looking for.
It's almost too easy.

They say that fishing at Cedros is like California used to be fifty years ago.
Fifty years ago, fishing Southern California was all about the three B's.
Bass, Barracuda, and Bonito.
Throw in an occasional Yellowtail.
I know.
I was there.

That notion was brought back vividly to me over the next four to five hours.

We drifted along, hooking a model of those species,
one after another,
from an overwhelmingly abundant supply.
We even caught some whitefish.

Took me back to the days of my youth,
when the legend was nothing but a dream.
I basked in those memories with a cold Tecate,
as we motored back to the dock.

No time to party today.
We gotta pack up and be outta here first thing in the morning.
There was time for a nice HOT shower though, thanks Richard.

For dinner they grilled up some steaks,
which were OK,
but outshone by the grilled yellowtail collars,
they served alongside them.
Bryan won the grand prize tonight,
when he chimed in,
with the correct response,
"What are hamachi kama?


Up at five for coffee.
Our flight is at eight.
The lads pack our gear and take it to the airport while we have breakfast.
We said our "thank yous" and "good-byes" to Flor & Imelda.

Richard loads us in the van for the short, last ride.
He's got another load of gringos coming in later today he's gotta get ready for.

When the plane arrives,
the lads load our gear,
while the pilot grabs a cup of coffee.

Luckily, no one objected to me taking the co-pilot's seat for the ride home.
A final look out the window,
and I see Richard giving me a thumbs up.

An uneventful and scenic two hours later,
we're back at the Tijuana airport.
We said our good-byes on the tarmac as we waited for Rosie's people to guide us back across the border to where Rosie's waiting for us.
Easy peasy.

It was the wonderful adventure I was hoping for.
Just what the doctor ordered.
I shared a good time with some old friends,
and made a few new ones over a holiday weekend.
I even caught a couple of fish.
You can't ask for more than that, can you?
Can you?

Adios amigos!!
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USCG Master
Oct 21, 2004
San Diego/SF Bay
Capt. Erik
21' Center Console
Very well written adventure! Thanks for sharing! Now I wanna go! Where do I go for details?
Upvote 0


Deep release specialist
Jul 3, 2003
Mission Viejo
Blazer Bay 1860
I was there just before you, we came home the Friday before Labor Day. We didn't have Richard, he was out due to Covid, your trip was his first after coming back.
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Upvote 0


Jan 31, 2020
Sounds like ya had a great trip with a nice mix of fish. Pretty funny about the pozole without all the fixings. That stuff rounds out the meal.
Upvote 0


Database Nazi
Apr 12, 2005
Anaheim Hills, Ca
16 ft, Klamath
So well thought out and nicely written! Thank you!
Upvote 0


Long Time Tuna Abused Member
  • Aug 11, 2006
    Costa Mesa
    AWESOME Report/info. Sounds like fun!
    Glad you all had a great trip. Great read.
    WHAT? NO PICS??? The gang want's em!

    Upvote 0


    I've posted enough I should know better...
    Jul 26, 2007
    Northridge, CA
    Donald W. Clarke III
    11+ ft, Ocean Kayak Scrambler, P 'N' Queue Pod
    Getting into the rhythm of your words, transported to that neck of the world. I'd love to go again, but couldn't bear the thought of having to leave again. Thank you for another fish filled, all-detailed account of your journeys.

    Good fishin'!
    BDC OK
    Upvote 0