Baja fishing lures
Bill Ehardt's offshore fishing lures for Baja


Nov. 24, 2007, Baja Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez offshore fishing lure photo selection by Bill Erhardt of Loreto, by Jeff Petersen, Lopez Sportsman's Lodge, Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur, Mexico:

Bill Erhardt: "I've been on the Baja since I retired 6 years ago, with the exception of a 3-month trip to the Florida Keys. (I found the fish there smaller, and there were too many people).

"I fished once out of San Quintin for albacore and the rest of the time has been spent in Baja California Sur at Santa Rosalia, Mulege, Loreto, El Cardonal on the East Cape, San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, Magdalena Bay, and the Pacific banks outside Magdalena Bay.

"I settled on Loreto for a home base for the generally good fishing, the 9 or 10 islands within easy reach, and the fact that Loreto is well situated for access to other areas I like to fish. I fished a bit inshore when I first arrived on the Baja, but in recent years have focused primarily on the pelagics offshore, marlin in particular.

"Other than when fishing for yellowtail I use exclusively artificial lures. I think that a lot of fish, in particular billfish, are killed unintentionally by catch and release bait fishermen using J-hooks. The lures I use are based on trial and error and recommendations from other fishermen.

"For marlin I like feathers from ALLure, made by Arturo Locht in Mexico City who came up with the petrolero color combination, Hi-5 lures made in Cabo San Lucas, and old fashioned Doorknobs.

"For dorado, which I only target in the early spring, I use marlin feathers and hope I'll catch a marlin instead.

"For yellowfin tuna, cedar plugs, and, for wahoo, Yo-zuri Bonitas or wire-rigged marlin feathers. I use iron and other jigs occasionally, but am not very good at it."

Yo-zuri lure for wahoo.

The Yo-zuri Bonita, a favorite lure for wahoo. Notice the deep gouging that results as the hook digs into the body of the lure while trolling. Bill Erhardt's swivel replacement to fix this problem shown below.

Yo-zuri lure with rings replaced.

Yo-zuri Bonita with split rings replaced. The hooks track without damage to the lure body. Bill first makes this modification to the lures before using them.

Yo-zuri lures for wahoo.

Wahoo lures in black-and-purple or orange-and-black work great. "I really think the fish are attracted to the orange. Anything with orange. I rig these up with cable. Maybe 12 to 14 inches of 225-pound test cable."

Rigged feathers for trolling.

"Wire rigged feathers are good for wahoo as well. The old Doorknob pictured in the center hooked the biggest wahoo I've caught this year. The petrolero pictured at the top rigged with wire leader is heavy. It stays down for wahoo while I'm trolling fast."

Feather rigging components 1.
Feather rigging components 2.

I rig my feathers with a Mustad 7732 9/0 hook, 470-pound stainless steel cable, and 200-pound mono. I use about 7 inches of cable, as it brings the hook in the position I like with the skirt. I like the hook in this position for presentation."

Marlin feathers.

"These are regular rigged marlin feathers. I've got a thing about marlin. It's just something I love. I do like marlin. The top feather is an ALLure marlin feather. Arturo Locht in Mexico City was first to develop the petrolero, or motor oil, color. It has an orange inner skirt and a silver, black-and-brown outer skirt. Day-in and day-out, the petrolero will catch more marlin on the Sea of Cortez than any other lure. Second down is a Flyer, after flying fish, a good one. Numbers 3 and 4, are green and Mean Joe Green, and number 5 at the bottom is a calamari. All are good choices. The vertical number 6 is pink and has been good this year. The website for Arturo is His feathers are the best. I use a short marlin leader. Fishing alone, I need to draw the marlin up tight with me. With a short leader, I can film, drive, hook and release. After every 2 or 3 marlin, I replace my leader. I prefer Jenkai, 200-pound test. At any sign of chafing from the bill, or if the line gets white or chalky, I change it."

Cedar plug lures for tuna 1.

"Tuna like nothing better than cedar plugs. The older and nastier they are, the better they work. Whatever color they come, I think it is the shape, the way they run through the water, not the color, that the fish like. Illustrated are 4, 6, and 8-inch favorite cedar plugs. The 8-inch illustrated is stabilized with an old fish line repair."

Cedar plug lures for tuna 2.

A bag of Bill Erhardt's tuna cedar plugs.

Large petrolero colored lure.

A larger petrolero blue marlin lure with a single 10/0 hook rig. PHOTOS COURTESY OF JEFF PETERSEN. DESCRIPTIONS BY BILL ERHARDT.