Baja HaHa

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For the last 45 years, I’ve had the pleasure of boating in and out of Newport Harbor with the love of my life, Judy. Besides being a wonderful wife and successfully raising our two children (who have become model adults and parents), she’s a whole lot of fun on a boat. Fishing with Judy is a true delight. I’ve rarely observed a person “light up” hooked to fish as she does. Babe, thanks for the memories!

Last week was the annual Fred Hall Fishing Show at the Long Beach Convention Center. There were fishing pools where children and adults could test equipment and catch live fish. There were dozens of new boat models to choose from, and hundreds of booths which included rods, reels and the newest tackle. Scores of Alaska fishing site representatives were very informative.

While a few Newport Harbor yachts summer cruise the San Juan Islands and Alaska, scores of Newport yachts cruise the winter months with “Bara Nividad” becoming the most recent darling of our yacht club cruisers.

The last few years, the Sea of Cortez seems to have lost favor locally, but the fishing in the Sea of Cortez continues to provide an abundance of exotic species bordering on record size. The sunny weather and 75 to 80 degree water temperature provides the tropical weather of Hawaii but a whole lot closer at a fraction of the cost.

Next winter is the power boat event “Baja HaHa.” The Hirt brothers printing business “Primary Colors” will be sending their restored 50-foot Hatteras sportfisher “Sundance” south with the group to Cabo San Lucas, which is where the HaHaer’s will disband. The brothers will then share the next several months of superb weather fishing and cruising up the mainland side and then south along Baja, California.

As I am the caretaker, part-time helmsman and maintenance crewman, I will be moving the yacht around for the family so they can enjoy the prime vacation and fishing areas without losing time moving from site to site.

It is my intention to provide the expedition highlights in my column and provide photo highlights if there’s room in the paper. For Newport Harbor yachts 40-feet or more, I strongly encourage the owners to at least once HaHa to Cabo and then visit the Sea of Cortez. As I mentioned to a client a while back, if you wait till retirement, elderly health problems or other issues could hinder a later in life trip. Do it sooner rather than later!

In the meantime I have several new lures and methods picked up from the Fred Hall Show that I’m itchen’ to try. One of the experts I follow mentioned that with two more degree rise in ocean temperatures, the white sea bass and yellow tail should start showing up.

I’ve been invited to accompany one owner of Sundance to the first annual “Shipwreck Weekend” March 22 through 24 at Two Harbors, (the Ismuth area), for fun and sun. The new Harbor Master of the coves is Armando Eason, a former Newport Harbor harbor patrolman, yacht delivery captain, boating instructor for Orange Coast College on Mariners Mile, and Sea Magazine writer. If you run into Armando at the island introduce yourself as a Newport “yachty.” It may make a difference to your stay.

Tight lines.

Sea Ya,

Skipper Steve


Steve Barrett has more than 50 years boating in Newport and performs systems checks, repairs and pilots yachts. Email him at [email protected]


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