Ensenada, Mexico



July 8-9, 2005, Steve Ross, Bad Dog, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico:

Departed Marina Coral, Ensenada, @ 0330 to search for albacore on the inner banks. This fishing trip was labeled as our first offshore trip as we have been very successful for the past few months fishing in Todos Santos Bay for large local yellowtail. Additionally, we are all tired of barracuda ceviche.

With reports of rough seas off Ensenada and very few boats catching any albacore Gail, Alex (our Marinero) and I trolled over all the inner banks for nothing. To add insult to injury, we found many large perfect hotels (kelp paddies) with no one home on any of them. We metered a lot of bait everywhere in perfect 63 degree cobalt blue water. If there were any albacore there, we would have found them for sure. We had Mike Richardson's Ensenada Live Bait "La Perla's" finest live baits.

On the way home we were desperate to catch something so that Gail could take some fresh fish home for her Japanese fish hungry family on Saturday and to show them that we are good fishermen. So we stopped at Todos Santos Island and snagged a half dozen log barracuda. We have this game down.

The plan was for Gail to drive up to L.A. on Saturday and I was to kick back in Ensenada. Until Randy Hinton called us on Ch. 72. He just pulled into the Marina Coral with his new to him Cabo 30 Express. Which by the way is beautiful and all tricked out. Randy said that some of the SWYC guys (Bob Woodward, et al) found 4 marlin and hooked one on the 295. He received this news via his sat phone from Walter Moss who was on the boat.

OK...bye bye Gail and hello Alex. Alex and I decided that we wanted to be on the 295 the next morning at first light with a tankful of mackeral. Done deal. We arrived at the 295 in the dark and began the marlin game with a tank full of perfect casters we caught at the Ensenada bait barge late Friday. I spent a great deal of our time in the morning schooling Alex on what to expect upon a marlin jig strike or finding one cruising around. The drop back was rigged and ready.

Saturday, July 9, 2005 Ensenada, Marina Coral:

At 10 a.m. I received a call on the "Mexican Channel" from Mike Kraus on the Melody (a 50' Mikelson) and basically Mike meant to say,"What the F are you doing?" They were heading home with limits of albacore, all toads.

That's it for the marlin game. Not willing to wait it out we reeled 'em up and ran for the numbers he gave me which I entered into my GPS.

Arriving on his numbers I found more than a dozen American boats, mostly Parkers and Grady's parked and pulling on fish. What was I thinking with this marlin nonsense?

We put out a pattern of quickly grabbed traditional Sevenstrand albacore tuna clone feathers in mostly blacks and purples and one in my favorite in "carrot top." We put out a pattern of 6 jigs using my outriggers and nothing down the center. The water was a perfect 63 degrees, blue, and 3-5' with some light wind.

Wham...immediately a double on both 7 Strand blacks. With no bait other than mackeral, I dropped a mackeral back on the double jig strike...nada. Once again in my vast years of fishing I have proven to myself...albacore really don't eat mackeral.

Put two on ice, turned into a circle and drove through the herd of boats and...wham, a single. As the sun tried to come through the fog...carrot top began to once again live up to it's reputation along with another Sevenstrand color I made famous in San Diego...Loco Joe. They were biting every position from long to the shotguns.

It was awesome, this was albacore fishing at it's best. With just two of us, we had it with 10 fish...Mexican limits in an hour all on jig strikes. Sooooo, we decided to put out the fillet board and head on back at 9 knots with 4 rods out and fillet the catch.

It took about 15 or 20 minutes to run out of the Ensenada fishing boat pack and set out on our own on a course back to our Home...Marina Coral, Ensenada. I thought to myself...wow, finally that mayhem is over. We're jugged and happy. To heck with marlin fishing...this is fun.

Wham...double jig strike with Carrot Top and Loco Joe again. By now carrot top has lost it's outer layer and shedding. This jig was provided courtesy of Bob Hoose of Pure Fishing. Stopped the boat, brought in the two albies dragging them through our filleting station and our new Shimano 9' rod I bought at Fisherman's Landing from Doug last week with a Newell 220 and 25# Ande went off. I threw it in gear wondering what Alex had done here. Apparently, he threw out a smelt from the mackeral pack in the tank and one albie wanted it for lunch.

All of these fish were toads in the upper 20 pound class. Several weighed 24 pounds. This one was bigger. All 9' of this graphite high tech rod was in full action and bendo. I finally got the fish within 25 yards and it wouldn't budge an inch even on the outside of his circle. We had to plane him up with the boat in gear and he went 34.5 pounds on two boat scales. I had just purchased the new "Fluorocarbon Ringed Leaders" in the mail from Owner American Corp. through their advertisements and their 2/0 30# model was perfect. Also available at ownerhooks.com I wonder if they know how good these are for albacore? I pulled on it right up to it's breaking limit and neither that nor this toad albacore's teeth broke it. I'm impressed and want more. But, this bite would have taken straight 100# mono if you wanted to do it.

We could have put 100 more fish on the boat if we had live bait and lift poles...it was truly wide-open. It wouldn't stop and they wouldn't go away.

In this area, away from the pack and closer to home, it could have been epoch. Had they all come up to the surface we could have walked home. If we put the boat in gear, it was either another double or another triple 7Strand jig strike. We used the only two other smelt we had in the tank and produced two more on live bait. This became the perfect testing grounds for mackeral and albacore. They wouldn't eat a mackeral; and upon processing them, their stomachs were empty.

You know you're into fish when after you reel up the jig fish and start to clean up from the throes of battle and just for the heck of it you throw out a chrome Invader and you get bit on the sink.

Basically, these fish were on the 30 line just below the 238 and 295. But for the record book here's where they were Saturday, July 9, 2005 all day long:

31.34/117.27, 31.33/117.08, 31.32/117.11, 31.31/117.15, 31.31/117.22, 31.29/117.19, 31.28/117.17, 31.27.6/117/24.6.

Two marlin we reported seen by Ensenada boats. One was seen on the 295 and another popped up next to a boat in the middle of the albacore on one of the set of numbers above.

I spent several hours yesterday on the boat detaching worn out reels and worn out line and getting a new set ready for Saturday. Can this last like this?

Well, I paid the dues to know. The albacore have shown up in mass at Ensenada and they showed up last Saturday...not Friday They weren't there on Friday as far as Bad Dog can tell you.