Ensenada, Mexico



Nov. 14, 2005, Steve Ross, Bad Dog, Marina Coral, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico:

Someone invariably asks me, "When is the best time to go fishing in Ensenada?" Surprisingly, the answer is from now, November, until the yellowtail show up in force in April.

This is when Ensenada's Marina Coral is vacant. I am the only one walking around, many slips are empty and you can fire a cannon down any ramp. You have to strain to see any other fishing boat on the water and the fish are stacked up on most of the Banda Bank rocks. You do need a good meter.

For fishing out of Ensenada on Saturday, November 12th, Alex and I met at Bad Dog at 0500 to collect our thoughts for our first rock cod trip of the new season. It took us an hour to assemble the rods and discuss the new tactics for this change of pace. Our last trip was hunting for marlin, and now we're going deep.

As we arrived on Ensenada's Banda Bank the sun in all its glory burst over the Punta Banda mountains and the incline to the top of the Bank began it's uphill run. My first set of fishing numbers were given to me by Sammy Susarrey and I recall the last time I ran on these was almost a year ago and it was loaded with reds. Not this morning.

Before going to my reliable rocks, I tried a set that Jim Chavez, Los Pangueros, gave me and bingo, the mutha load at the north end of the Bank. Nothing but reds on each drop. I chose to use my custom made ganians with 3 hooks; one giant circle hook with a live mackerel and two 6/0's for the frozen squid. I labored over these ganians for days building the perfect mouse trap. Alex chose to use some cheap ganians I bought at Fisherman's Landing Tackle marked $1.95 with shrimp flies. Alex had his limit on the first drop, and I caught one red with my fancy rigs. That does it, back to Fisherman's Landing Tackle for the cheap rigs that worked so well.

For fishing rock cod I use a Penn 10/0 and 9/0's with black dacron line in 80 pound with 3 pounds of lead. Alex, and every other Mexican I have fished with prefers a Penn 4/0 with straight mono and 12 ounces of lead.

The news here is that in rolling seas with occasional six footers and blowing 10K my Furuno fish finder found red vermillion stacked up on two rocks at 370 feet that would have sunk the boat. Nothing but reds from the smallest weighing 3 pounds to the largest at 6 pounds. The only exception was a 4 pound white fish and one cinnamon rock cod. Not one junk fish. No stinky salmon grouper and best of all...no seals. There was a cluster of 4 Ensenada fishing boats just south of me, and they were the only boats I saw all day.

This was Ensenada rock codding at it's best. Alex made up a rig with a chromed heavy 7X for weight and an M.C.Swimbait. The M.C.Swimbait caught 3 beauties in a row.

I had an order for 6 rock cods for dinner. It was Dorothy and Mike Kraus, their Canadian friends, and Gail and I driving over to Bahia de Mariscos Ensenada. We took 6 reds and had 4 fried, Pesca Frito, whole head on and two seandreado style, butterflied and grilled. This is what will drive you to rock codding...absolutely delicious...best ever. We did manage to uncork a few along with. This Ensenada restaurant allows you to select off their menu of whole fish styles, supply your own fish, and they charge you half their menu price.

So you want to know when to go fishing in Ensenada...RIGHT NOW! Epoch fishing and the finest dining fare of all.

We have had two Bad Dog's in Ensenada for 7 years now. While we have seen differences in offshore fishing, the inshore rock has always provided exceptional results that keeps us anchored in Ensenada.

The fishing water temperature off Ensenada on Saturday was 61 degrees and it was choppy with swells to 6 feet.