LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA: The Long Beach Fred Hall Show was the usual madhouse this year. In case you missed it, you have a chance to catch up at the Del Mar Show at the Fairgrounds next week, Wednesday through Sunday. We're a little thin on fishing reports this week, as exhibitors slowly return to their home bases. Meanwhile, here are some "Baja fishing" folks, caught in their booths at Long Beach on Saturday afternoon (see below).
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: BAJA ON THE FLY, San Carlos, March 14, 2001, Gary Graham, Reservations Tel 800-919-2252; Fax 760-746-7260. Temperatures: 74-degree high; low 58 - TUNA--Not fished this week - YELLOWTAIL--Entrada (the entrance to the bay) is still the best bet - CORVINA--A few near the power plant where the water is a little warmer - SNOOK--Slow going this week with only a few anglers out - HALIBUT--Continue to be a good bet for the fly rodder - QUICK COMMENT--Nicer weather this week, but still light fishing pressure.xt
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: PISCES FLEET, Cabo San Lucas, March 13, 2001, Tracy Ehrenberg, Reservations Tel 011-52-114-31288; Fax 011-52-114-30588. BILLFISH: A poor week again for striped marlin here in Cabo, with only about 20% of the boats hooking up to these, the most desired of our sportfish, at this time of year. Water is still cold and seas have been pretty rough. Boats had to search far and wide, with some going as far out as 38 miles to be able to find marlin. The stripers are not being found in numbers and not many are even being sighted. Those boats that are finding marlin report that that are solitary fish and occasionally in two's.
On the last day of this report, things did pick up somewhat, which is a good sign. Gary Orgill and Benson Clark from Arizona, were our top anglers this week; they released two striped marlin and boated three yellowfin and released a couple of skipjack, aboard "Karina" on March 13th, just off of Palmilla. This boat fished a completely new spot, as we have still been fishing mostly on the Pacific and obviously the skipper picked the right place to produce our best catch of the week.
Basically boats have been fishing the Pacific, particularly the Old Lighthouse, for smaller game, to avoid being skunked; but, as the week progressed they took a chance and headed off in the opposite direction, between Red Hill and Punta Gorda, which did produce more catches. Pisces anglers caught a total of 7 striped marlin, with all but one released. Our overall catch success rate for all species combined was 83%, a vast improvement over last week.
OTHER SPECIES: The saving grace this week, were the yellowfin tuna, which appeared on the last day of this report, to boost catches. There had been the odd one here and there throughout the week, but on Tuesday, March 13th, every boat out caught between 3 and 7 yellowfin, in the 15 to 30 lb class, along with lots of skipjack. La Brisa this day released 20 skipjack on light tackle as well as boating seven yellowfin. Sierra was still the most widely caught fish this past week, with boats catching from 2 to 20 near the old lighthouse. Boats fishing this area also caught red snapper in good numbers up to 15 lbs. There were a few yellowtail, which were small. Just one wahoo for us this week at 40 lbs.
LOCATION: Starting off at the Old Lighthouse, then moving to Los Arcos, Punta Gorda and Red Hill. WEATHER CONDITIONS: Partly overcast, windy in the afternoons, seas on moderate to rough. AVERAGE WATER TEMP: 68-69 F. BEST LURES: Live bait for marlin, assorted feathers and bait for tuna, Rapalas and Hoochis for inshore fish.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: PICANTE FLEET, Cabo San Lucas, March 14, 2001, Sergio Cortes, Reservations Tel 011-52-114-32474; Fax 011-52-114-35969. Fish available: Striped Marlin, Swordfish & Yellowfin Tuna. Water temperature: 67-71. Air temperature: 76/57. Humidity: 59%. Wind: 9-10 Knots (Pacific), 11-12 Knots (Sea of Cortes). Fleet production (6 boats): 0 Striped Marlin, 45 Tuna & 15 Spanish Mackerel. Hot spots: San Jaime Bank (Pacific Side ). Luckiest boat: Picante Express ( 31' CABO), Captain: Jaime Gonzalez. Angler: Brian McIntyre. Production: 13 Yellowfin Tuna, 20-45 lbs. & 5 Spanish Mackerel.
Striped Marlin fishing is pretty much back to normal, averaging one per boat. Yellowfin Tuna fishing has been improving considerably, with water temperatures heating up just a bit. Some Swordfish have been spotted also. · Scattered clouds during most part of the day and moderate winds in the afternoon.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: FLY HOOKER SPORT FISHING, Cabo San Lucas, March 11, 2001, Capt. George & Mary Landrum, Reservations Tel 011-52-117-01271; 011-52-114-87452. WEATHER: Deja vu! This week seems to almost a mirror image of last week as far as the weather is concerned. The cloud cover, wind and temperatures each day were a repeat of last week. The main difference was that this week there was no rain. The cloud cover moved in at the same time, just not as heavy, and the wind was just as strong. It blew steadily from Friday noon through this evening, Sunday the 11th.
WATER: Surface conditions were a repeat, day for day, of last week's. Late in the week the Pacific side was rough and choppy, becoming almost unfishable for the smaller boats on Saturday and Sunday. The warm water eddy that had been hovering over the San Jaime Banks moved a lot farther to the west and south and is now unreachable for the normal charter. Instead we have been lucky enough to have a warm water area appear off of the 95 spot and the edge of it was running to the northeast. A good 4-degree gradient over a very short distance might produce fish in the future.
BAIT: Mostly Caballito with a few scattered Mackerel were available at the usual $2 per bait. There were mixed sizes available all week long. There were Sardinas available again in San Jose at $20 per scoop if you were there early.
BILLFISH: The bite for Striped Marlin was almost non-existent this week although a few boats reported success in finding Marlin and a few of them actually got one hooked up. The full moon and the tremendous amount of bait in the water really crippled the ability of the charter crews to find and hook up these fish.
YELLOWFIN TUNA: Lack of Sardinas early in the week hurt the efforts here, at least for the boats working the Gordo Banks. Later in the week there were so many Skipjack on the banks that the Yellowfin had a very difficult time getting to the Sardinas first. A few boats that were able to make the 40-mile run south found Yellowfin mixed in with the Porpoise but it was by no means a sure thing for the boats that tried.
DORADO: Tapering off to almost nothing offshore, even the inshore fishing for Dorado showed signs of seriously slowing down. The few fish that were brought in were pretty much caught on a 50/50 mix of lures and live bait.
WAHOO: A couple of fish were caught but there was no bite on for them.
INSHORE: This was the only bright spot for this week's fishing and some boats had phenomenal luck on Sierra and Snapper. Sierra sizes were ranging from 3-6 pounds and most of the Snapper were the same size. An occasional Snapper in the 25-30 pound class was caught but these bigger fish were definitely the exception rather than the rule. Roosterfish were everywhere but the average size dropped to about 5 pounds instead of the 10-pound size we were finding last week. There were plenty of Skipjack and Bonito to provide light tackle action and quite a few of the boats were able to fight and release Jack Crevalle in sizes ranging from 5-35 pounds!
NOTES: Whales everywhere and so much bait in the water that the fish just have to swim around with their mouths open in order to eat. Hopefully this situation will change soon. If you book a charter while you are here in Cabo make sure you do it with a reputable company, preferably one with an office and one that is licensed to sell charter fishing trips. Some of the tourist anglers who have been thinking they were getting a real deal on a charter from a so called "captain" or "mate" have been found standing on the marina sidewalk in the mornings looking for the "captain" or "mate" who took their deposit as they watch the boat they were supposed to go on leave with the real captain and crew and other anglers take off for the day. Be careful, okay? Until next week, Tight Lines!
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: GORDO BANKS PANGAS, San Jose del Cabo, March 11, 2001, Eric Brictson, Reservations 800-408-1199; Fax 619-447-4098; 011-52-114-21147. Although the weather was not quite as crazy as last week when there was rain and hail reported, it was unpredictable as far as which direction the wind did come from. This is normal for March, which is a transition period from winter to springtime patterns. One day the wind would blow out of the north and then just as quickly it would switch and come out of the south. Though it was a bit breezy on certain days, the high temperatures ranged from 70 to 75 degrees and for the most part conditions were very comfortable.
Fleets are finding the most consistent action in the fishing areas off of San Jose and to the north. There were abundant supplies of live sardinas available and they continued to be the bait of choice for the mix of medium sized gamefish being targeting. The water temperature was averaging a cool 66 to 68 degrees and has started to clear up some, but is still a bit greenish, blue water is being found further offshore.
Most of action is now being found closer to shore, and in recent days the bite did improve on the Inner Gordo Bank. Yellowfin tuna have been on and off the bite but were the most common surface fish taken offshore. On some days the pangas were reporting from six to ten fish each, while on others they managed just one or two. The tuna averaged about 20 pounds but over the weekend many quality fish of 40 to 75 pounds also were weighing in. They hit on both live sardinas and chunk, with the larger fish preferring chunk bait. The fish were not particularly line shy and anglers had success using tackle ranging from 30 to 80 pound. One problem was that at times the black skipjack were so aggressive it made it impossible to get a chance at the yellowfin.
Though dorado were not numerous they are being taken daily, most of them closer to shore, with the most consistent area being Punta Gorda. The more fortunate anglers accounted for two or three of them, but the average was maybe one dorado for every couple of boats. They were found in small groups or pairs and hit best on live bait, though some were taken on lures. Sizes were ranging from 10 to 30 pounds.
On the days when conditions were not right on the offshore Banks anglers could break up the action by trying the bottomfishing or the shoreline. At spots like Iman and La Fortuna anglers working yo-yo jigs off the bottom found a mix of amberjack, pargo and cabrilla, most of them in the 10 pound class but a few of the amberjack topped 30 pounds and there were also several yellowtail found that weighed in the 20 pound range.
The sandy stretches from the San Jose Estuary to Punta Gorda produced some quality light tackle action for roosterfish, sierra, pargo and the season's first African pompano. They hit on live sardinas, most of the fish in the two to eight pound range but a couple of the roosterfish topped twenty pounds and there was one monster 11 pound sierra taken. The pompano were found schooling near the beach of La Playita and ran from 6 to 12 pounds.
No good news on billfish action, and many of the cruisers are now fishing in the same areas as are the pangas in order to find some type of action for their clients. A couple of striped marlin were hooked on live sardinas while fishing for tuna on the Gordo Banks, but they were on light tackle and the battles did not last long. Good Fishing, Eric.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: BAJA ON THE FLY, Buena Vista, March 14, 2001, Gary Graham, Reservations Tel 800-919-2252; Fax 760-746-7260. TEMPERATURES: High of 84 with a low of 56. STRIPED MARLIN--Slow - YELLOWFIN TUNA--A few up toward Muertos Bay - DORADO--A few dorado throughout the bay - ROOSTERFISH--Mostly smaller fish close to shore - JACK CREVALLE--A few small fish in front of the hotels - BARRILLETE OR MEXICAN SKIPJACK--Few caught - PARGO AND CABRILLA--Good near shore at Punta Colorada - OFFSHORE: Lots of boats looking in every direction with very little action - INSHORE: Small jacks and sierra was about it for the week - BEACH: A few small roosters and jacks early morning and late afternoon
QUICK COMMENT--We had more boats out fishing at East Cape this week than we have had all year and it was the poorest fishing I can remember. The weather was reasonably good for a change, but a few tuna, dorado, sierra, pargo and small roosterfish were all we could scratch up for our clients this week.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: RANCHO BUENA VISTA, Buena Vista, March 14, 2001, Tamara Moyeous, Reservations 800-258-8200. I was at the Fred Hall show all last week. I gave out more than 1500 brochures and I'll have a fish report on the 17th. Tami.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: RANCHO LEONERO, Bahia de Palmas, March 10, 2001, John Ireland and Roy Baldwin, Reservations 800-646-2252; Hotel 011-52-114-10216. Continued typical early spring weather, with daytime highs in the upper 70s, cool evenings in the mid 50s, partly cloudy skies with water temp 67-69. An off week for fishing, despite the improving weather, with only 2 days of wind early in the week. The catch was mostly inshore, with sierra, skipjack and amberjack providing most of the action. With lots of mackerel in the water, the fish were not biting aggressively. Lots of tailing striped marlin were sighted, but few showed interest in biting--watch for an improving marlin bite in the coming weeks.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: EAST CAPE SPORT FISHING, Los Barriles, March 11, 2001, Dave Dixon and Gil Mendiaz, Reservations 800-837-1556; Fax 805-493-5446. The main concentration of offshore gamefish was found 20 miles out, due East from Los Barriles. SST maps show large-scale water activity in this area, with a large eddy of warm water providing strong temperature breaks from 66F to 68F. As noted last week, the warm water was hanging around south of the Sea of Cortez, waiting for some cooperation from the weather to push up. Obviously this has occurred, and brought with it some better fishing. Striped marlin are showing again in numbers more typical of this time of year. When the wind cooperates, our boats are averaging about one fish per day, taken on the bait and switch. Dorado can be found at the usual spots in areas north and on the troll, and are eating trolling lures, live bait, and spoons. Yellowfin tuna action has really slowed down, and apparently little is happening in southern regions of the fishery. South Cerralvo is putting out good numbers of smaller yellowtail, most in the 10-lb. class. The yellows are eating jigs and smaller baits on Mexican dropper loops.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: JONATHAN ROLDAN'S TAILHUNTER ADVENTURE SERVICES, La Paz, March 13, 2001, Jonathan Roldan, Tel 626-333-3355; Fax 626-333-0115; Pager 323-349-8111; Message Pager 877-310-7734. Whew! Well, we just got off the 5-day run at at the Fred Hall Fishing & Boating Show in Long Beach, CA and I gotta be honest, I'm WHUPPED, amigos! They broke all attendance records this year and it was like a wave of fishermen coming over the rails! On the first day alone, more than 40,000 people showed up and early estimates indicates that perhaps 180,000 people came down the aisles over the 5 days! Is that unreal or what? My throat is actually swollen on one side from talking and I feel like I talked to at least 100,000 of you! Tell ya what. . .don't let anyone tell you that fishing is a dying sport!
Anyway, let's jump into the fishing. . .
Once again, the action around La Paz was paced by the tuna bite. Winds weren't too bad this week and we had several boats charge over the short distance from Muertos to South Point at Cerralvo Island. Boats did 4-8 tuna per boat with most of the yellowfin in that nice grade of 20-45 pound fish. Several of the boats did take limits of the fish which are all being nailed on live bait flylined or slow very slowly behind the boats. One boat wrapped a really sweet 60 pounder while trolling for wahoo with a purple and black CD-18 Rapala. They also tell me that they had one knock down, judging from the teeth marks on the jig, that was surely a good 'hoo that unfortunately didn't stick.
As for that bite in front of Muertos Bay that has been so solid these past few months, I think I finally have to admit that the yellowtail bite is no mas! Sorry, if you didn't get in on it. We are still getting the occasional forkie in the bay, but I think it's pretty much over. The water conditions seem to have switched to a colder green and the bait patterns have also changed significantly in the area. However, just outside the yellowtail "honey hole" we are also getting a nice pop of the smaller fun tuna running 10-20 pounds. Live bait, again is the best bet. Hard to know if anything else will work on these fish because it's so easy to wrap a hookup pinning a 'dine on a hook and dropping it over the side of the panga. As one of my clients said, "this is just fun fun dummy fishing!" Not to be forgotten, still lots of sierra around and a few of the boats are plugging the boats with them on light tackle. We only had one boat slide up to Pili on the East Side of Cerralvo this past week and they hooked and lost 4 of the nice pargo, but returned with a 30 pound yellowtail and 2 pargo, but tell me that they left in frustration over the pargo which would boil around the boat and refuse to chew the hookbait or suddenly grab the bait and tie up to the nearest rock. The rock always won!
OK. . .onto the news of the area and Baja tidbits. . .
By now many of you know that Alaska Air once again jumped ship from serving La Paz (Boo!) leaving our favorite Aero California providing such (choke) stellar service and great prices (yea. .. right!). Well, there may be some hope. Rumor has it that Aero Mexico might be taking up Alaska's time slots. We can only hope!
Speaking of airline flights and prices, Aero Cal seems to be slowly lowering prices. Therefore, whether you're working with me on your airline arrangements or your own travel agents, watch the prices carefully. We've been re-issuing tickets when we find that prices have dropped. Also, I know many of you got all kinds of literature from the trade show. There's ALOT of really great agents out there. However, make sure that if you're looking at prices you check the fine print to see if the taxes are included. That means hotel rates, boats and most of all. . airline prices! I've heard some guys tell me they were quote great rates from Los Angeles to La Paz at $180 or somesuch. That sounds unbelievable! I'd jump on that in a minute. However, the taxes add another 70-90 bucks! Also, you might get a fishing package from somone that has everything you want for a great price. Read the fine print. . .some hotels have taxes and tips added in that can add as much as 22% to the price of tourist taxes. There's nothing wrong with that, but if you know ahead of time, at least you can compare apples to apples and you won't get any surprises.
Finally, still got a few spaces on our fishing school for April 17-21st at Las Arenas. We also have space on our Sitka, Alaska trip August 22-26. Tight lines, all!
LA PAZ, MEXICO: HOTEL LAS ARENAS, Punta Arena de la Ventana, March 14, 2001, Linda Glassman-Davis, Reservations 888-644-7376. Hello Everyone: I just returned from the Fred Hall Sports Show in Long Beach immediately following a trip to Las Arenas. I enjoyed seeing everyone. Thank you all for making our 4th season, the best yet.
Important news before the fish report... our Bar/Restaurant La Palapa on the beach in front of the hotel will be opening as a seafood restaurant starting at the end of this month.
Captain's Efren, Luciano, Roman, Daniel, Manuel salador, Guicho, Fidel and Jorge : 13 Sierra to 5 pounds; 14 Cabrilla to 9 pounds; 8 Pargo to 4 pounds; 9 yellowtail to 32 pounds; 6 Bonita to 5 pounds; 25 Yellowfin tuna to 55 pounds; 3 Dorado to 22 pounds. The weather is calm. The water is warming up and the fishing is great. Come down and see us during our 4th Night Free.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: FISHERMEN'S FLEET, La Paz, David Jones, March 14, 2001, Hotel los Arcos, Reservations 011-52-112-21313; Fax 011-52-112-57334. We had a great weekend for fishing in La Paz. Of course I was at the Fred Hall show in Long Beach (see comments below), but for the guys who were in La Paz, they are still trying to figure out where to stash all of those fillets. We've had typical weather for this time of year, with about 1/3 of the days being beautiful, light to no wind, temps in the 70s, 1/2 the days having light to moderate winds pushing swells in the 3-foot range, and the remainder blowing like stink (a technical term that I learned from Al Roper). Over the weekend we had both of the first couple of types of weather, with some swells and also some very nice days. The fishing has been all over the map, literally, but has been universally good. For those wanting the Pargo Lisos the usual hole up at Las Pilis has been producing Pargo to 25 pounds, a few Yellowtail to 30 pounds, and Cabrilla in the small to medium class (3-12 pounds). The south point of the island and Punta Arena have had some decent Tuna action with Yellowfin to 70 pounds coming in the last week. Punta Perico has been where many of the boats have been spending the day, with Yellowtail to 40 pounds, Pargo to 18, and Cabrilla to 8 pounds being the main attractions. This Yellowtail bite has been a good one, and as we stated earlier in the year it would appear that we are off to a very good start on this "sometimes here, sometimes not" member of our winter fisherie.
LORETO, MEXICO: VILLAS DE LORETO, Loreto, March 13, 2001, Wendy Wilchynski, Reservations Tel/Fax 011-52-113-50586. Dear Gene. The fishing is good and the weather is better than anywhere else. The wind has stopped too!!! Come on down... Wendy
ARTURO'S SPORT FISHING, Loreto, March 14, 2001, Arturo Susarrey, Reservations Tel 011-52-113-50766; Fax 011-52-113-50022. Most of this week we have been enjoying such good weather, ocacional breezes from the north. We didn´t cancel any of our trips. Today is a flat day, warm and nice with an air temperature of 76 degrees and a water temperature of 70 degrees.
Yellowtail: Once again the best fishing place to be is the Pulpito area, fish ranging up to 35 pounds with an average between 18 and 25 pounds. We have been using jigs in scrambled egg, blue mackerel, yellow-green, and chrome. Better than bait. We have reports of some yellowtail between Catalana and Carmen.
We have been catching cabrilla by casting to boiling yellowtail and letting the jigs sink all the way to the bottom and yo-yoing. Bait (macarela) is $1 apiece, or catch it at Isla Coronado early morning 6:30 to 7:30 a.m.
LORETO, MEXICO: EL FUERTE SPORT FISHING, Puerto Escondido, March 14, 2001, Ty Miller, Reservations Tel 714-775-6658; Fax: 714-755-3501; Loreto 011-52-113-30863. Hola Amigos. Yellowtail have been the call this past week with everyone here in Tripui Resort scoring on the forkies off Smorgasbord Reef. Yellowtail are suspending anywhere from 50 to 200 ft. just southwest of the high spot. Fish are ranging from 25 to 35 pounds. (Three Amigos' comment that if we had Baja Buddy's scale these fish would surely go forty!) Double and triple hook ups are common so it's obvious for the time being there are plenty hanging around. Nothing on the Iron just yet until these fish settle in but they don't seem to mind the live Spanish or green macks when you drop them on their heads! Best technique for us has been search and destroy; meter the school, get right on top, then blow the baits down and instant Bendo! Forget that waiting around for the fish, when they are that thick you just work the high spot area then drop in and say hello with Mr. Mackerel! Deep bait hole has been the spot for both green and Spanish mackerel but the bite isn't really hot until about 7:30 a.m., which is a slight setback if you are running to Smorgasbord for the day. Tomorrow we will be checking a few other bait spots to see what's up and we will report on it next week. So, for the time being good 'ol Smorgasbord Reef is keeping us busy and making the gang here in Tripui happy. We are all excited to finally get into some nice fish. Let's hope they stay around for a while so we can do a little catching up! For all of you that spent your bucks on new gear at the Fred hall show, it's about that time to come on down and break it in! Hasta! Water temperature, 65; Air Temperature, 78.