28 VISITING AND LOCAL TEAMS HIGHLIGHT – FIRST ROBERT ROSS FISHING TOURNAMENT
Optimism has always been a common commodity in the Loreto area in May – in “the good old days,” the season’s clock could be set that month by the arrival of the Dorado.
Capitalizing on the momentum demonstrated at last November’s Grand Opening of Marina Puerto Escondido’s extraordinary facility, marina manager Enrique Salcedo announced the initial fishing event for mid-May of this year.
It would be the first Robert Ross Fishing Tournament to promote “the incredible inshore and often overlooked offshore sportfishing found in the waters surrounding Loreto.”
Some in the local sportfishing community expressed doubts about the timing, citing the disappointing decline of the seasonal dorado fishery over the past decade.
One thing anglers have learned over the years is that fisheries change. The bait that is plentiful year after year for decades is suddenly gone for decades and then returns. Species that draw anglers to an area for many years dwindle, only to return years later, as strong a fishery as they once had been. The smart hosts recognize this and focus on the fish that remain, or that suddenly pop up in an area.
Tournament officials at Marina Puerto Escondido were smart.
They were encouraged by the documented success of the event’s namesake, Robert Ross. During May over the years, he had encountered an expanded list of species, adding yellowfin tuna and billfish to the customary dorado and yellowtail which were normally targeted.
Robert Ross is the son of Doc Ross, a Brit who had settled in Cabo San Lucas long before the Cabo Marina (IGY) was built and was a well-known boat mechanic to the visiting fleet of sport fishers.
Robert first discovered San Cosme nearly two decades ago and began construction of his home there several years later.
Today, his Mexican-style home sprawls down the side of a hill to a small marina. With panoramic views from every area and pathways that lead to alcoves and recesses that are beautifully landscaped, the property is a work of art.
He has spent the past eighteen years fishing the surrounding waters, all the while gaining an astonishing understanding of the prolific fishery that is his front yard.
Ross has racked up many notable catches of different billfish that frequent the area. Plus, he has caught some huge yellowfin tuna, including a near-world record for the largest ever caught.
He is considered a voice of authority earned by his years of dedication to exploring the fishery, so it’s no wonder that the owners of the Marina Puerto Escondido honored him by naming their new sportfishing event for him.
Sportfishing Events Baja
Twenty-eight local and visiting teams from across the Sea of Cortez on mainland Mexico, as well as some from ports around Baja’s tip, took part in the inaugural two-day tournament based at the recently opened marina, a short distance south of Loreto.
There were no boundaries laid out for the teams. Some of them fished in the middle of the Sea of Cortez between the peninsula and the mainland, confirming that the once-rumored fantastic bluewater fishery was a reality.
On Day One, 17 teams arrived at the Marina Puerto Escondido weigh-in station with yellowtail, dorado, and videos confirming the numerous billfish – both blue and striped marlin plus sailfish.
The first-day awards included:
The 28 teams found even better weather on May 20, Day Two, than they had the first day as once again, they sped past the official start boat at 7 a.m. sharp.
Throughout the morning and into the afternoon, rumors of not only large but also plenty of fish ricocheted around the weigh-station until almost 4 o’clock when the first team – Bad Influence – arrived at the scale with both a qualifying dorado and qualifying yellowtail.
Once again, two-thirds of the teams returned to the scale with qualifying fish or videos of multiple releases of marlin. According to Ross, 136 billfish were released during the two-day event.
Each General Prize winner received a trophy courtesy Gray’s Fish Mounts.
All winners received an invitation to compete in the Grand Final Calisureños Tournament in August hosted in Loreto.
What People Have to Say
“The tournament was fabulous, set in a drop-dead gorgeous location, and the organizers were first class hosts; it was well organized with plenty of fish the second day. We will be back.” – Tracy Ehrenberg, Pisces Sportfishing
John Sercu observed, “Marina Puerto Escondido is fantastic! The offshore fishing for billfish this weekend reminded us of Magdalena Bay. It was awesome, and we are returning in August for the Dos Mares Finale!”
Jeff Hill, who spends three months in British Columbia and nine months in Loreto added that the tournament coordinators had done a fantastic job organizing the event and that he would be back next year as well!
C.P. Dewitt, Phoenix, Arizona, was delighted with his “personal-best dorado” that came along just at the right time. His team was also far offshore, and they caught the largest dorado in among the many groups of billfish they spotted.
Enrique Salcedo, general manager, could hardly contain his excitement as he thanked all the participants and congratulated the winners before wrapping up the event. “We are humbled that 28 teams participated in the inaugural Robert Ross Fishing Tournament,” Salcedo grinned. He thanked the local teams as well as those that had traveled long distances to take part. He added that he was reminded that “there were only ten boats that participated when Bob Bisbee began his tournament in 1982, and now look at the numbers.”
Salcedo also announced that an impressive $53,000 in cash prizes had been distributed among the winning teams.
Salcedo recognized the attending dignitaries, and he promised that the 2020 Robert Ross Fishing Tournament would continue to keep “fun” as the event’s foundation.
The positive impact of the Loreto Region by Inmobiliaria JEP and Hamann Companies’ Marina Puerto Escondido in less than a year is impressive. More than two-thirds of the slips available are reserved or taken already, plus they hosted their first 200-foot Mega Yacht in February, along with others since that time.
They have sold out all of the available boat storage spaces in their dry storage facility for the summer season, and they have already made plans to expand it.
These are in addition to not only completing their first successful Robert Ross Fishing Tournament but also to organizing and scheduling next year’s event on May 15-17, 2020.
Loreto Region Inmobiliaria JEP and Hamann Companies’ Marina Puerto Escondido and their entire team are to be congratulated on their impressive start!
The Baja and mainland Mexico fishing community, as well as the fishing world beyond, will be watching and participating as they continue to expand.
Hang on, Puerto Escondido. Times are changing!