OUTDOORS: Big fish landed down in Baja California Sur
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Mike Reichner
Ted Morris, left, and Fort Flagler State Park manager Mike Zimmerman hold a 37-pound and 9-ounce dorado caught while fishing with Sequim's Mike Reichner in the Sea of Cortez off of Baja California Sur.

By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News

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SOUTH OF THE BORDER, about 615 miles give or take, is the Mexican fishing village of Mulegé in Baja California Sur.

The village is located on the eastern coast of the southern Baja California state on a river that flows into the Sea of Cortez and is notable mainly for ample deep sea fishing opportunities.

It's also where Mike Reichner, a former Sequim Bay State Park ranger and the operator of Purple Haze Lavender Farm, owns a vacation home with his wife Rosalind.

Mike recently invited his buddies, longtime Fort Flagler State Park manager Mike Zimmerman and Birch Bay State Park manager Ted Morris down for some vacation.

The three amigos went out fishing in the second annual Bart Santos Memorial Dorado Tournament and came back as the big winners, with Zimmerman hooking and landing a 37- pound and 9 ounce dorado (you might know them as mahi mahi).

“It was actually pretty slow fishing for everybody else,” Reichner said.

“There were eight fish caught for 30-some boats and we ended up with four of them.”

The trio had excellent luck on the water, reeling in four dorado and three marlin, with the smallest fish weighing in at 26 pounds.

They also took home the first-prize purse, 6,000 pesos or about $460 in U.S. currency.

Reichner, a self-described “fishing nut,” had previously guided along the East Cape of the Baja Peninsula.

“It's one of the biggest ones I've ever boated,” Reichner said of the winner.

Zimmerman caught the first place dorado with a Jedhead type feather lure, which Reichner said is really similar to a hoochie that you would use to catch salmon around here.

Coincidentally enough, the lure was the “tricolores” of the Mexican flag, red, white and green.

“It had a spinning head on it and the more tension you can get the better. The dorado can see in that water for miles, so you have a better chance of a strike,” Reichner said.

The rod used was a new Daiwa Saltiga with a Daiwa two-speed reel.

“We were going about 10 miles per hour when we caught it, which a lot of experts say is too fast but it shows you that speed isn't too fast to catch these fish,” Reichner said.

Landing the fish and getting it aboard ended up taking about 40 minutes.

“We had a couple of different shots to gaffe it and took a couple of swipes before we got it,” Reichner said.

After weighing the fish in at the derby headquarters, the trio decided to give their catch over for the derby fiesta.

“We donated it for the awards banquet which was open to the local community there,” Reichner said.

“We ate some of it at the party.”

Zimmerman and Morris were back at it soon after, going deep into the Sea of Cortez for another day of fishing.

“The guys were ruthless,” Reichner said.

“They went out about 50 miles and caught all sorts of tropical fish and brought some back for a big fish feast.”

With the win, the trio qualified for another larger fishing tournament, the President's Cup, a $20,000 fishing tournament set for August.

Due to work schedules, Morris and Zimmerman won't be able to make the trip back down.

Reichner, however, is contemplating a trip back to compete.

“If I can get a crew, I'm considering coming back down to compete for the $20,000 payout for biggest dorado and marlin and boats and cars and other prizes,” Reichner said.

Reichner and his wife are excited for another fishing trip, this one planned for the fall.

“We are going to spend an extended six weeks fly fishing in Idaho, Montana, and southern Oregon, on the Crooked and Deschutes rivers,” Reichner said.

“I'm lucky enough to have a wife who loves to fish as much as I do.”

Join state commission

The state Fish and Wildlife Commission is seeking applicants to fill three vacancies on its advisory committee for persons with disabilities.

The seven-member committee advises the commission on issues of concern for hunters and fishers with disabilities, including special hunts, modified sporting equipment, access to public land and recreational opportunities.

Committee members are appointed by the commission, which sets policy for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Qualified applicants must have a permanent physical disability and reside in this state.

A candidate from our area would represent Region 6 (Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Grays Harbor, Mason, Thurston, Pacific and Pierce counties).

Members serve four-year terms and are required to attend advisory committee meetings, held at least twice each year.

Members serve without compensation but receive reimbursement for travel expenses.

For more information, phone Fish and Wildlife's Office of Human Resources at 360-902-8132 or visit wdfw.wa.gov/commission.

Applicants must submit a resume and a statement of interest by July 10, to DFW Human Resources Office, Washington Department Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091.


Outdoors columnist Michael Carman appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at mcarman@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 19. 2014 6:45PM
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