OFFSHORE FISHING FOR DORADO AND MARLIN AT THE RIDGE AND THETIS BANK
Dec. 3, 2006, Bill Erhardt, Puerto Lopez Mateos, Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur, Mexico:
I fished aboard my boat on the Baja California Pacific coast outside Puerto Lopez Mateos on November 20th and 21st and December 1st and 2nd, on both trips anchoring for the night in protected bays off Isla Magdalena.
On November 20th, I launched through the mangroves in Puerto Lopez Mateos ahead of Barry Wilkerson and Rod Dees, and Ron Beitelspacher and his brother-in-law Mike, who had trailered Barry's boat "Rocket" and Ron's boat "Miss Idaho" from Loreto.
I first ran west from Magdalena Bay out to The Ridge in search of wahoo, but found only dorado. I also struck out for wahoo on the high spots to and including the Thetis Bank.
Barry and Ron stopped outside the boca for yellowfin tuna.
By early afternoon we were all south of the Thetis Bank in schools of dorado. We did not stay in sight of each other but maintained contact by radio. In mid-afternoon I found an area of feeding striped marlin with no dorado.
I caught and released two marlin before the bite stopped. In late afternoon about 25 miles south of Cabo San Lazaro we found a large school of yellowfin tuna feeding under porpoise. We mined the yellowfin until nearly dark and then found an anchorage for the night inside the Magdalena Bay entrada to San Carlos.
On November 21st, I left the anchorage before daylight and headed south. I found no action there and ended up back south of Thetis with Barry and Ron. There we found more dorado, but no more marlin. Outside Boca de Soledad on the way back in I caught one more yellowfin. My tally for the trip was 2 marlin, 14 yellowfin tuna of 15 to 20 pounds, and more dorado than I bothered to count. The other boats did about the same, with a little more of this and less of that, and a good time was had by all.
On December 1st, I launched again through the Magdalena Bay mangroves in Puerto Lopez Mateos and entered the Pacific via Boca de Soledad.
Again I tried The Ridge west of the boca for wahoo and again I struck out. Hope springs eternal.
By early afternoon the wind had died and the water off the Baja coast was glassy calm.
South of The Thetis Bank I found flocks of frigate birds circling and occasionally diving on breaking fish. I approached the nearest diving birds expecting dorado or yellowfin and found instead marlin slashing balls of bait fish. There were dorado also in the mix, but the action was predominately marlin.
For the next two and a half hours I ran and gunned between the schools of breaking fish. I caught and released 3 striped marlin and 5 or 6 dorado. The dorado were big enough that they were more trouble to release than the marlin. In the nonstop action I had a double hookup of a marlin and a dorado, both of which I boated, and another of two marlin, one of which spit the hook while I fought the other.
After the double marlin hookup, I went to one rod and did not use the rod holder as I trolled through the schools of fish. I have never seen better marlin action. I retired to Bahia Santa Maria to anchor for the night, tired.
On December 2nd, yesterday, I returned to the scene of the crime and trolled Yo-Zuri bonitas to see if perhaps some wahoo had come into the area to clean up the scraps from the day before. No luck. In fact, no luck with anything.
I switched back to marlin feathers after a couple of hours, but caught only one bonita before I headed back to the barn. Outside the Magdalena Bay boca I trolled for yellowfin tuna, but caught nada.
The marlin I caught, and those I saw, averaged 110 to 120 pounds, and the dorado between 20 and 30 pounds.
The water temperature off Magdalena Bay on the late November trip was 78 to 79 degrees. Yesterday and the day before it was 75 to 76 degrees.
The days I fished the conditions were just about perfect, but between the trips there was a week of winds 10 to 20 knots. It looks good again next week.
(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.