Features

Fishing trip planning company casts impressive line for LH owners

By Leon Romero
La Habra Journal

With summer in full swing many people are looking to cool off on sunny days by going on a fishing trip and looking to catch massive fish to bring back home.

Photo courtesy of Leonard Phillips Adventure awaits:  Co-owner Leonard Phillips of Baja Pirates stands in front of their headquarters. Phillips and his wife operate 15 boats and help guests plan their fishing adventures in Baja.
Photo courtesy of Leonard Phillips
Adventure awaits: Co-owner Leonard Phillips of Baja Pirates stands in front of their headquarters. Phillips and his wife operate 15 boats and help guests plan their fishing adventures in Baja.

Planning a fishing trip on a boat without going through a vacation planning company can get pricey quickly due to all of the equipment, fishing license, and transportation required.
Luckily, 12-year La Habra Heights residents Leonard Phillips and his wife Diane Robert are the co-owners of a full-service vacation planning company called Baja Pirates based in La Habra, that helps you organize your personal fishing vacation in La Paz, Mexico.
The company began operations in 2000, and now has 15 center-console and cruiser boats and 15 captains to accompany and instruct customers throughout their trip.
Their most recent boat purchase happened when they came across a Triumph boat that was no longer in production, in excellent condition, and for sale. The owners went through the financial company Bizfi to finance the rare boat, and were able to purchase it for around $20,000, according to Phillips.
Baja Pirates has been involved in four different television shows spotlighting different types of fishing at different times of the year, and their next appearance will be on NBC’s fishing show “Season of the Fly.”
The show portrays various methods of fly fishing in different locations around the world, and whenever the film crew comes to La Paz, Mexico, Baja Pirates has always been there to provide their services. The company has made previous appearances on the show, so they’ve learned that it takes hundreds of hours of filming throughout five days to make a 30-minute episode.
Before bringing Baja Pirates to La Paz, Mexico, Phillips and Robert worked in Sitka, Alaska at another vacation planning company called Alaskan Advantage, but eventually decided to begin business in Mexico because everything from hotel accommodations to food were much more inexpensive.
“We took that Alaskan style of business and brought it to Mexico. When we brought the vacuum packers down there in 2000 they’d never even seen them,” Phillips said.
The company’s main attraction is fishing trips, but they also offer scuba diving, snorkeling, sea kayaking, golf trips, and tours of the location.
Those who would rather not go on the water, schedule a vacation around the best restaurants, spas, sights, and shopping centers nearby.
The two different types of bookings they encounter on a daily basis are single day rentals and vacation packages.
According to Phillips, a five-day four-night stay at a waterfront resort with three days of various activities is around $1,000, while a single day fishing trip is around $400.
Mexico has a limit on how many fish can be caught during a trip, but generally customers leave from a three-day fishing trip with a 50-pound cooler of fish that has been filleted, vacuum packed, and frozen.
The company recently received their third consecutive certificate of excellence from Trip Advisor, which is only awarded to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn excellent reviews from customers.
There are over 850 different species of fish and marine mammals that call La Paz home, which is one of the various reasons why Phillips believes making it your next vacation spot is an excellent idea.
“You’ll be out fishing and you’ll see whales, dolphins, turtles, and all kinds of birds,” Phillips said. “It’s an amazing place.”
For more information on how to schedule your next vacation with Baja Pirates visit their website at: bajapiratesoflapaz.com.
They are nonoperational December and January due to the strong northwest winds in that area.

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.