By Todd Bersuch
We were geared up for Pargo in holes, Wahoo in blue water and whatever else the land of the giants had to offer.
As soon as we packed into Manuel’s family van I knew then it was the start of another adventurous Baja trip. My brother Kory, Jesse, Brandon and I were ready to slay some fish! Loaded with multiple guns each, we were geared up for Pargo in holes, Wahoo in blue water and whatever else the land of the giants had to offer. The two hour drive from Cabo to the Sea Sniper Baja in El Sergento seemed short because the excitement and anticipation of shooting the first fish lurked hard among us all. With water temps being so high last year, we scheduled this trip earlier in the season so we could hopefully present better results. Regardless, warm or cool water, it was inevitable that this trip would strengthen friendships, bring about new challenges and learning experiences and ultimately go down as another incredible dive trip.
Day one I jumped in with my 2 band 130cm and my “know-it-all” mentality. I saw Wahoo right away and instantly proceeded to take the shot, only to watch my shaft sink out 20 feet before the fish – 100 foot of visibility and farming hard! Kory’s magical flasher drew all the fish, including Wardo’s fish that proceeded to swim around him as soon as they got a glimpse of it. At times, the Wahoo would be making love with it, leaving Kory with a perfect shot down through the head. By mid afternoon Kory had already put two Wahoo on the boat. Around the same time a big yellow presented itself in front of Jesse. He fought long and hard before, sadly, losing it to the abyss. He also simultaneously was fighting a gnarly sinus infection that would not ease up and further added challenge to his dives.
Lastly, motivated and determined, we landed on our next spot. Ranging from 50-60 feet and looking somewhat like a broken down freeway I finally saw red and a perfect shot. There he was, just laying on the bottom between rock slabs with not a clue as to what was coming for him. I fired and the shaft went flying through his tail and stuck into the sand between the rock crevice. The fish was pinned and not going anywhere! As my brother made an easy retrieval I breathed up. It was the perfect ending to day 1.
I suddenly saw a figure making its way right at me and fast.
Our breath-holds were feeling strong on day 2. With diminishing visibility and a lack of Wahoo being seen, we opted instead to chase down rock dwelling Pargo. Arturo, our pangero, took us to a new spot where the current ran like a river over a small bed of reef. On the inside Jesse made quick work to a big Rooster and blasted it while laying on a sand pile. On the outside I began to make my decent on two Pargos I spotted milling around a sand channel in the distance. At 40 feet I watched them spook out. I tried to pinpoint my drop to the rock channel that the one swam into in hopes of finding it. Upon arrival to the crevice, at 50 feet, I suddenly saw a figure making its way right at me and fast. Instinct told me to aim forward and by the time I took aim we were face to face. I shoot. I think I strung him? At this point I needed to get back up. As I headed back up I watched the Pargo turn into a sidewall and the shaft entangled on rocks. Perfect! Now just slide up the floatline and breathe. I laid on the surface and let the current bring me my fish up the floatline from the depths. Because I was so close to the fish that when I pulled the trigger the shaft went straight through it like a shish kabob, the fish had no chance. As adrenaline raced through my head and my legs began to cramp from the raging current, the best case scenario had just presented itself. I was left with a personal best Pargo weighing in at 34.88 pounds!
I look across the surface and all I can see is a dancing float in mid tow with Brandon chasing not far behind.
The fun wasn’t over yet though. After a few more drops on the reef, with the camera in hand, I spotted another pargo between two rock crevices. A perfect situation for a Bersuch Brother ambush. I went down, guided Kory in the direction he needed to be and he blasted off with a 90 Rob Allen! He tried to pull the fish up same dive but the stubborn Pargo wouldn’t budge. Arturo came right in and took us for another loop. He had a gaff on board for us to take down which allowed us to drag up the relentless fish with a lot more ease.
The third and final day of diving was simply Wardo’s day. That day he tried a bigger Sea Sniper gun with further range. Move north and use a larger gun was the plan, and it proved to be successful. Working above a cold murky thermocline, it didn’t take Wardo long to connect with the right kind. I look across the surface and all I can see is a dancing float in mid tow with Brandon chasing not far behind. It was a good sight to see first thing in the morning and brought aboard a quality Wahoo that we all envied!
We further strengthened our friendships, shared a lot of good laughs and faced new challenges.
The next spot was shallow reef diving with low viz, where I flailed around the holes and frantically tried to see into complete darkness. I later learned that you’re suppose to dive down and sit on the sand or on top of big boulders and wait for the fish to come to you. Wardo and Jesse both explained this to me after having blasted some more good size Pargo.
Baja is truly a majestic place with giants that lurk beneath the water. From the simple dirt roads, endless beaches, the hot weather and warm water, to the simple wave you get from passing traffic while riding in the back of a truck. It’s a lifestyle and a world way different from home with so much to be learned from. On the water we learned from each other with our missed shots, stone shots and tear outs. We further strengthened our friendships, shared a lot of good laughs and faced new challenges that will forever impact us and our diving. And while we hope these memories and experiences will stay with us (or haunt us) forever, one thing we know for certain is we’ll be back for more!