Friday, April 20, 2012

Rosarito Beach Sportfishing, Alive and Well

From the standpoint of “petro-tourism,” it very well could be that nearby Baja California peninsula, with its Mediterranean-like coastal climate and uncrowded beaches, is one of the best draws for Southern Californians looking for a quality bargain getaway.

And these days, it’s one that keeps getting better as soon as you drive across the international border. At the current exchange rate, regular gasoline at the state-run Pemex stations runs about $2.97 a gallon, as opposed to over $4.30 a gallon in San Diego and Los Angeles.

Less than 20 miles south of the San Ysidro crossing, Rosarito Beach, with its many shops, restaurants, famous hotel and sportfishing pier, offers a quick opportunity to shed your cares and feel like you’re on vacation in a exotic locale.

Decades ago, Rosarito Beach was a popular surf fishing destination for many Southern California anglers. Those who diligently worked the shoreline could expect to catch a variety of species such as croaker, corbina, perch, sand bass, halibut and several types of rays and sand sharks.

As time progressed, however, Rosarito Beach was targeted by the spring break crowd, and an increasing number of trendy bars and eateries began to pop up along Boulevard Benito Juarez in locals’ attempt to earn their fair share of profits from the increasing flow of weekend and holiday visitors from the north. This is about the time that the vision of Rosarito as a worthwhile place to cast out a line began to fade into the ether.

Luckily, a few years ago Hugo Torres, owner of the Rosarito Beach Hotel, finally realized his long-time dream of building a sportfishing pier near his property. It now stretches over a quarter of a mile out into the ocean and eventually comes to an end at an emergent cluster of large rocks, situated well past the breaking surf.

catch of the day
This natural habitat helps to turn the area near the pier’s furthest extremity into an “all-you-can-eat” buffet for hungry halibut, bass, perch and other seasonal gamefish species. Nonetheless, fishing from the pier much closer to shore with light tackle for quality barred surfperch that are swimming barely beyond the inshore breakers can be extremely productive as well. Access to the pier is available to the general public for a small fee, and is free for hotel guests.

As spring turns into summer, it’s a safe bet that this popular pier will continue to draw throngs of intrepid anglers and other visitors from San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange counties who are looking forward to enjoying a few relaxing days under the warm Baja sun.

Once they’ve arrived, they will be delighted to discover that the legendary hotel’s pier is still flanked by numerous opportunities for shopping, entertainment and upscale dining that have made Rosarito Beach such a popular destination for decades.

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