YELLOWFIN TUNA CAUGHT IN THICK GREEN WATER
October 13, 2005, Bill Erhardt, Magdalena Bay-Thetis Bank, Mexico Fishing Report:
On Tuesday, October 11th, I fished at Thetis Bank off Magdalena Bay on Baja California's Pacific west coast with Ruben Duran from Puerto Lopez Mateos.
At 6:30 a.m., we launched my 17 foot McKee Craft over the clam shells on the bank of the river at Puerto Lopez Mateo and headed north to Boca de Soledad. At the south channel of the Magdalena Bay boca there was a small gap in the breaking waves guarding the entrada.
As we approached the froth, Ruben took the wheel and positioned the boat in the gap facing east. He explained that so positioned if a wave formed that threatened to break under the boat we could skoot out of its path. After five minutes or so Ruben saw the conditions he was waiting for and began a series of tacks back and forth through the troughs and up and down the waves where they were not breaking. Soon the breakers were behind us and all that lay between us and fishing at Thetis Bank was 31 nautical miles of relatively calm Pacific with 3 - 5 foot seas and a slight breeze from the west. If an early morning cup of coffee will not get your pulse rate up sufficiently that Magdalena Bay entrada surely will do it.
We could only make about 15 to 17 knots without pounding so we settled in for a two hour boat ride. About 5 miles northeast of the Thetis bank we found small bait fish with dorado and marlin feeding on them.
We put out lures and trolled on to the Bank. No luck on the way, and no luck trolling for about 2 hours on the bank. There was one other sport fishing boat in the area, a cruiser of about 40 feet; the cattle boat "Shogun"; and three commercial boats running a line of traps on the ridge.
After two hours with no luck trolling we decided to try jigging iron on the reef for yellowtail before trying elsewhere. We dropped and seconds after our jigs bounced on the bottom Ruben was hooked up. A couple of minutes later his line was straightened out on the surface with a small striped marlin jumping on the other end trying to shake the treble hook on Ruben's blue and white iron jig from the corner of his mouth.
Ten minutes or so later I helped him out with a pair of pliers on the hook and we started trolling back toward the Magdalena Bay entrada.
When we got to where we had seen the bait and fish earlier a bigger striper came up and took the petrolero from the center of our 3 lure spread. It turned out that he was foul hooked just in front of the dorsal fin. With the leverage on his side it took over an hour to get him to the boat.
We trolled back to fish in 120 foot deep water about 10 miles outside the Magdalena Bay boca with only one bite and no fish.
Between 10 miles and 5 miles or so outside the boca we found schools of yellowfin. We boated 6 between about 6 pounds. and about 30. By the time we hit the tuna it was late afternoon, the wind had come up from the west 10 to 12 m.p.h., and we were getting a little spray with the wind on our quarter heading in. If we circled around to stay in the tuna schools it was downright wet. We trolled on in and took what we got.
The tuna were there when we went out in the morning and I'm sure that if we had spent the day fishing there we could have filled up the boat.
We saw no wahoo although we trolled an orange and black yo-zuri bonita just about all day.
We caught no dorado but we did see a few and had one hit and long run-out on the bonita that acted like a dorado.
We put the boat back on the trailer at 6:00 p.m. The surface water temperature between the Magdalena Bay boca and Thetis bank was 75 to 76 degrees. I imagine that the air temperature at midday was about the same. The water on the bank was blue but closer to shore where the yellowfin tuna were it was a thick green.
(See "Mexico Fishing News" online for current fishing reports, photos, weather, and water temperatures from Magdalena Bay and other major Mexican sportfishing areas. Vacation travel articles, fishing maps and seasonal calendars, and fishing related information for Magdalena Bay may be found at Mexfish.com's main Magdalena Bay page.