Ensenada, Mexico



Jan. 2, 2006, Steve Ross, Bad Dog, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico 2005:

Bad Dog had a good year of fishing out of Ensenada in spite of the dismal fish counts.

While the seiners off the lower 500 shut off the tuna bite we turned our attention to marlin and captured 7 in 8 Ensenada fishing trips, winning two tournaments.

The albacore shut off on July 23rd and our next trip was on August 13 when we took one large mako shark and two marlin. We took 2 makos during the season, one on jig and one Alex bounced in the dark of morning while slow trolling baits.

Our final marlin was on October 8th and it was our largest, weighing 185 pounds-plus. I add the plus since we cut him in half to weigh him since Marina Coral's scale was out of service. That marlin was caught on a Sevenstrand 1220C goatfish clone.

All of our marlin were jig fish. We never lost a fish that we had on. We lost a few on zips only including one on a bait drop back when he hit the mackerel high above the bait missing it in heavy seas. All of our marlin were caught in 3-foot seas at least and most in heavy seas.

I attribute our success to my hook of choice, the Mustad 7732 in size 6/0. All of these hooks were sharpened with the Donnmar Hook Sharpener which Norm Tanaguchi showed to me in his shop. It is absolutely the most perfect hook sharpener and then a few licks with a simple file of some type. The 7732 was almost 100 percent, with flawless hook sets in the upper roof of the mouth each time and buried into the barb. One was so deep that the surrounding area was darkened. I found this hook when my son fished with Harry Okuda and they pulled up to Tom Ham's with one on the step and the hook so embedded they needed a pliers to get it out. This must have been over 20 years ago and since then I have tried them all, but none have had the success rate of the 7732. When fishing 8# at the Cape Kenny Schilling and I used the 7732 in 9/0 and 10/0 on 250# test leader and we CAUGHT a dozen fish on Momoi IGFA High Vis 8# main line. I encourage you to try this hook.

Best leader for 2005: For albacore jigs, Momoi's Hi-Catch nylon mono-line X-Hard in 150 pound test For marlin jigs, Momoi's Hi-Catch nylon mono-line X-Hard in 220 pound test

Best hooks for 2005: For albacore jigs: Mustad 3407 SSD 7/0 or matched to the size of the head of the jig. I use a single hook. Bait: Mustad 7754 2/0 3/0 4/0 5/0 matched to the size of the bait For marlin jigs: Mustad 7732 in 6/0 live bait: Mustad 7754 in 5/0 + depending on the size of the bait.

Rigging: I recommend that all of your jigs be rigged with a loop at the end for the hook to be able to swing free. Any jig fish that zipped us and did not hook set was stiff rigged, any marlin that we caught was crimped on the Hawaiian loop for the hook. All our our jigs were single hooked with the eye in the skirt and the hook point at the bottom of the skirt with beads from the bottom of the lure to the hook for spacing and abrasion resistance.

For beads I have learned in 2005 that I like the oval bead better than the tri beads for most jig applications as they are thinner and take fewer to rig the lure. They are available in all the same colors and sold inexpensively at bolekscrafts.com

Buy Nu Finish at Pep Boys sold in a 16 fl. oz. orange plastic container to polish all of your jig heads. It will make the plastic look better than brand new. Wipe on and let dry. Then wipe off an hour or more later and be amazed at the depth of colors to the HEADS. Buy Armor All at Pep Boys in the big jug and pour it into a tall thin plastic glass. Then dip the skirts into the full glass wiping off the excess and watch your skirts come alive and get a new limp full luster life. Try it on your dull Fish Traps.

Best gaffs: I have learned to love our straight cane poles for easy maneuvering and controlled gaffing. Best source: Richard Razo (619) 475-2759. He makes them in his garage in different sizes. He is now making me a flying gaff and I brought him a 13/0 double barbed hook for a barracuda and dorado gaff. Buy the hook and bring it to him for this gaff. I bought a double hook and a marlin 6" flying gaff hook and he's making the shafts. The flying gaff hook was rigged by West Marine with 5' of cable then spliced to 20' of 1/2" nylon rope. Make sure the final length is shorter than the distance from your bow to your props. He can make any length from a shorty to 12 feet. Get the cord for grip wound tight and he'll wind it from the grip and into two sections for nonslip or more, whatever you want. We had them made before elsewhere and the cord was wound in a loose coil, not good. His hook penetrated a mola mola for a clue.

Best Lures: Marlin: We actually caught a marlin with an old PacLure which is a wahoo jig with a one pound lead head with shimmering eyes. The whole time this fish dragged that jig through 5' seas I could see it trailing alongside of the marlin when he jumped. I never thought that we would get him as I figured he would jump and throw it right back at me. But as it happened, the weight worked to our advantage the way he was greyhounding and not jumping and shaking. His mistake. The rest of the marlin were caught on either a Zuker 3.5 or Sevenstrand 1220C's in either orange or goatfish or mean joe greens.

Albacore: My favorite is the Sevenstrand Tuna Clone Feather TCF 300 and their Tuna Clone TC 300. Best color: # 113 Rainbow Runner AKA "Carrot Top." These jigs will run in the water without floating or skipping in our typical 3' or better seas. Carrot Top will be singled out every time in the pattern and when run in fours will provide quad jig strikes. It will outfish Mexican Flag and Zucchini all day long. While Bad Dog made Loco Joe #140 a household word in San Diego a few years back with sensational results my second color of choice is color #100 sablefish.

We killed a large mako shark who ate a Sevenstrand Crystalurz PRO850 Chugger in Color N50 after he went berserk, chewed the transom, left teeth marks on the gunwale, tore our graphics and lunged at Louie Garcia (who got even by puking on him). If you can find any of these newly produced jigs get them; they're on fire run short on my shotgun flat line.