Ensenada, Mexico



Aug. 13, 2004, Steve Ross, Bad Dog, Ensenada, Mexico Fishing Report:

It was August 14-30, 2004, when all hell broke loose on the Banda Bank off Ensenada and some here enjoyed some of the best marlin fishing we have ever seen. Bad Dog killed two, one for Juan Lu and one for Gail. It was then that we decided to have Juan Lu join San Diego Anglers for 2005.

So it was fitting that one year later we go looking for marlin again with Juan Lu. But this time we had our Marinero Alex "Jando" Ruiz on board as well. And it was a good thing that we did as you will read.

I was driving in red ocean up until 6 miles short of the 450 spot. When it cleared there was a large mako shark finning. I had a wire leader for 3 years now on the bridge with a special hook given to me by Tim Athens 10 years ago. It was a rare Mustad you can't find anywhere and Timmy swore by it for sharks. I grabbed Jando's leg as he began to run down the stairs and handed him the bag with this set up in it.

He ran to the cockpit, attached it to a trolling rod, pinned on two large sardines and tossed it behind the boat. I swung the baits in front of the shark, he sunk out (whoopee) and Gail who now had the rod yelled, "Hook Up!"

I punched the boat, drove in the hook, stopped the boat, reeled up the shark and Juan Lu gaffed him under his jaw, a lesson for me as I always preferred the gills, clamping his mouth shut, and then dragged him into the cockpit where Jando beat his brains out and cut off his head. This became dinner tonight for Gail and I after a day in marinade and dinner for Jando's family, mom and dad included.

At about 11 a.m., I was tired of looking at much smaller makos. They were everywhere. We grabbed the biggest one I saw all morning at 75 pounds. Sooooo, I headed south, which happened to match the heading for the lower 500.

At 1 p.m., Jando woke me up while I passed out and was sleeping on auto pilot at the wheel with "MARLIN!"


"He just went past the bow, turn the boat."

I turned and then tried to figure out where the heck he went. I saw no signs. Jando asked if I saw the marlin and the huge bait ball of anchovies which they were eating.

"No, I was dreaming in La La Land."

And just then, "boing" off the starboard outrigger and the reel went off. I looked behind the boat and saw a marlin jumping about 50 yards behind the boat and running from the starboard to the port. Soooooo, being properly trained, I turned to the starboard to pick up the line and get out of his way.

But, what the heck is that charging up the center?

"Get a bait back," I yelled at Gail, she did and the fish came hot, high and dry to the step and inhaled the short shotgun on the starboard side. They love this boat, it gets jig bit.

I turned the boat and ordered everyone to the bow with the two screaming fish. One problem, the lines were wrapped on each other. Jando jumped into action and wound the rods until they came undone. But, just as Juan Lu was heading for the bow with Gail trailing, Gail's fish turned and ran 180 degrees to the stern, passed the boat, and kept going as she turned and returned to the cockpit.

Now, I have two screamers, one on the bow, who is jumping his brains out and one on the stern who wants to run deep and out to the horizon. Hmmmmmm, let's see, what does my years of marlin fishing experience tell me to do?

Charge the shortest one with the least line and stick him hot. This fit the description of Juan Lu's fish on the bow. So I began the accelerated chase, the darting back and forth, and the yelling, "Wind, wind, wind...keep him tight, wind wind wind." He was cranking as fast as he could and I was going just that fast, and no more. We go within 25 yards when I heard from Gail in the cockpit: "I'm out of line."

Jando ran to the cockpit, dropping the gaff on the bow, and Gail told him to grab a rod for a back up and connect it, and throw it in the water.

"Are you sure?" he questioned.

"Yes, now please," she replied. And I watched a 30 International on a custom rod go flying off the back of the boat and take off as this fish was pulling hard.

"Back to the bow, Jando, now...deep color."

The fish on the bow came up jumping 15 feet from the plank, much to our amazement, and came down with a splash for a thrill.

Meanwhile, Gail's fish is running fast with 500 plus yards of 40 pound and a rod and reel attached.

The fish on the bow was on 80 pound and a wide 6/0 so I told Juan Lu we need to get this over now so raise him up. He did, and we had a darting fish swimming down swell almost within gaff range. I told them to get ready, wind to the swivel, I'm charging him, and they followed instructions and bingo one marlin on a flying gaff with a second straight cane pole in the tail. That secured our claim for "First Marlin of the Year" for San Diego Anglers, our only Club.

Now, everyone to the cockpit where Gail had 1/2 a spool of 30 pound left.

Gail went to the bow and we chased the line to pick up the rod and reel. Whew, that was a relief when we saw deep color on gold.

She wound up one hell of a lot of line, probably 800 yards or more, off of two reels and soon the fish was in plain view lying on it's side almost totally expired for an easy gaff.

Juan Lu's fish weighed 98.9 pounds and Gail's weighed 121.6 pounds at the Ensenada Marina Coral weigh station with Fito's assist.

One fish was filleted and split between Juan Lu and Jando for their waiting families as Juan Lu called Botes Juanitos and let everyone know. I am so happy to provide Jando's family with both marlin and mako fillets as his Mom is always so nice to us and making us traditional Mexican dishes for the boat including lobsters. They also have a large family who will really enjoy the meat. There were 300 at his brother's wedding a few months ago.

Gail's fish is going to be smoked into small packages and we will bring it all back for the anxious Ensenada crowd as well as some San Diego friends. I am making ceviche out of some of it and marinated mako steaks for dinner tonight. Some packages of fillets went to employees of the Ensenada Marina Coral on Sunday. Fito thanked Gail for bringing the fish into the Marina as he said that business was slow partially because people think that fishing stinks. This proves otherwise, we did hear that one boat left the Marina and gave the reason that fishing wasn't any good in Ensenada. So Fito thanked us for the weigh in.

Rude's wife said she heard on Let's Talk Hook Up that Pete Gray said that people kill marlin and don't eat it. All I know is that there is a long list of people at the San Diego Marlin Club who are waiting for the call and as far as Bad Dog goes. We love it, our crew loves it to eat, and we have many families who are waiting for their fillets in Ensenada.

I learned to eat it sashimi once with Ken Schilling as we pulled into Avalon one night tired and exhausted and we cut it up on the step and I ate it raw. It's absolutely fabulous sashimi, right up there with the best. Also, marinated steaks cut thin is the secret for barbecue, and ceviche to die for.

I am once again convinced that the best hook for marlin jigs is the Mustad 7732 in size 6/0. It used to be 100 percent until last year in August where we lost 8 in a row on the Banda Bank. That ruined it's track record. But, Saturday, it drilled both fish in the upper part of it's bill toward the mouth and went deep. Both fish had big marks where the hook penetrated.