SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: GORDO BANKS PANGAS, San Jose del Cabo, April 18, 2001, Eric Brictson, Reservations 800-408-1199; Fax 619-447-4098; 011-52-114-21147. A late update to this report is that the yellowfin tuna have become active on the Inner Gordo Bank, quality size fish to over a hundred pounds were seen feeding and tuna to 80 pounds were landed on Tuesday by anglers using live sardinas.
The tuna could be seen near the surface feeding on both red crabs and small baitfish, though they did prove difficult to hook up, finicky feeders, along with being line shy. They would most readily take the lighter line but then the problem was that the fish would usually break off, best to use 50 pound tackle for a chance at landing the larger yellowfin tuna. This recent action has everyone pumped up at the anticipation of the tuna fishing about ready to break wide open.
Despite it being the Easter Holiday the crowds of anglers were minimal, especially over the weekend when the majority of the sportfishing crews, along with the rest of the local population, were enjoying a welcome heat wave and extended camping adventures with their families on the many beautiful beaches throughout the area.
Conditions were cool to start off the week but did steadily improve, as high temperatures reached the upper 80s.The ocean was mostly calm with just some light wind in the afternoons, water temperature was still cool, averaging 65 to 69 degrees. Supplies of live sardinas remained steady in the area of Palmilla and La Fortuna, where pangeros were netting them each morning. With the continued lack of action offshore fleets were concentrating on fishing the various rock piles and along the shoreline. Overall catches were very good for a combination of species, including pargo, cabrilla, amberjack, yellowtail, bonita, sierra, yellowfin tuna and roosterfish. Daily catches per boat were about 6 to 12 fish in combination, with bonita, sierra and pargo being the most common catches.
Most of the fish were weighing 5 to 10 pounds but some of the yellowtail, amberjack and grouper ( cabrilla ) topped 20 pounds. Anglers working yo-yo style jigs in blue/white, brown/white, and chrome/blue had good success for the variety of bottomfish being taken. The areas of La Fortuna, Iman, San Luis and Red Hill all produced quality fish. The clarity of the water has improved and now we just need it to warm back up about 5 degrees.
Along the shoreline the best action was found while trolling with live sardinas or small rapalas for sierra. The sizes of the sierra were impressive, with many weighing in the 4 to 8 pound class and several topping the ten pound mark, including one monster 12 pounder. There were a few small roosterfish and jack crevalle mixed in along the beaches but it seems that the larger fish are still waiting for the water to warm back up and more schools of mullet to move in. Several anglers fishing off the beaches of San Jose reported hooking into sierra, jack crevalle and there was other unconfirmed reports of a couple medium sized snook be caught.. Good Fishing.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: BAJA ON THE FLY, San Carlos, April 17, 2001, Gary Graham, Reservations Tel 800-919-2252; Fax 760-746-7260. Temperatures: 72-degree high; low 57. Fair skies. TUNA--Not much is happening. YELLOWTAIL--A few fish down deep. CORVINA--Find a deep hole in one of the channels and fish it on an outgoing tide using one of Bob Popovic's Jiggies in gray and white. SNOOK--No one targeted them this week. HALIBUT--Best action near Punta Belcher. QUICK COMMENT--Warmer weather prevailed this week and the fishing has improved. The best bet was the halibut near Punta Belcher.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: MAG BAY TOURS, Punta Hughes, April 17, 2001, Brian Freitag, Reservations 800-599-8676. Yellowtail are still hitting at the entrada, lots of Halibut and Corvina in the esteros. Steve reports that Bahia de Almejas is pristine! Lots of Cabrilla, Halibut, and Sierra hitting all over. Surf spots look possible but the access is very difficult if not impossible in any sort of swell.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: PICANTE FLEET, Cabo San Lucas, April 18, 2001, Sergio Cortes, Reservations Tel 011-52-114-32474; Fax 011-52-114-35969. Fish available: Striped Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna & Swordfish. Water temperature, 70-73. Air temperature, 97/57. Humidity: 31%. Wind, 10-12 Knots(Pacific), 8 -10 Knots (Sea of Cortes). Fleet production (6 boats): 4 Striped Marlin & 25 Yellowfin Tuna. Hot spots: Cerro Colorado, Gordo Banks (Sea of Cortes). Luckiest boat: Shameless (35' CABO). Captain: Chary Ledezano. Angler: Lynn Evans. Production: 2 Striped Marlin 160-180 lbs.(released).
The Sea of Cortes has the best fishing at the time. The Pacific Ocean remains very cold and not much action therefore. Striped Marlin are finally starting to show up this way. Lots of Yellowfin Tuna, all sizes and numbers. Sierra has been caught and some Swordfish have been spotted also. Blue skies all day long, No wind at all and warm afternoons.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: FLY HOOKER SPORT FISHING, Cabo San Lucas, April 14, 2001, Capt. George & Mary Landrum, Reservations Tel 011-52-117-01271; 011-52-114-87452. We finally got an extremely nice week! It was sunny all week long; just a very light overcast for the last half of the week. The wind blew very strongly starting Monday afternoon but had died off by mid afternoon Tuesday. Gusts were recorded to 64 knots on the Pacific side and 48 knots at Chileno! A lot of the boats cancelled their trips for Tuesday morning but the boats that did go out found good fishing on the Sea of Cortez side near shore. The rest of the week the conditions were near perfect. Temperatures were between 65 and 82 degrees all week and once again we had no rain.
The Pacific side has continued to be a bit choppy, except for Tuesday, and then it was unfishable! The Sea of Cortez side of the Cape and the area just to the south of the Cape in the current line have continued to have decent water conditions for fishing. The most important consideration this past week was the water temperature. At first we were afraid that the winds on Monday were going to continue and blow more cold water our way. Thank goodness they died down! That gave the warm water a chance to creep back to us. At the beginning of the week we started to see temperatures in the 70s again, at least on the Sea of Cortez. Temperatures on the Pacific side have remained cool, but as the wind stayed down the warm water moved in from the east. The temperature break has moved as far west as the west side of San Jaime Bank and there appears to be a 5-degree difference between the warm side at about 70-71 degrees and the cool side at 65-66 degrees. The difference is covered in a width as small as two miles.
BAIT: The usual here, larger baits at $2 each with many more Caballito available than Mackerel. Sardinas are once again available now that the water warmed up a bit and the heavy surf conditions died down. Prices on these have been at $20 for a couple of scoops in San Jose and a bit higher here in Cabo San Lucas.
BILLFISH: Good news! With the water temperature warming up and the moon fading towards new we saw an upsurge in the number of Striped Marlin sighted and the number of hookups being reported. Most of these fish were found beginning on Wednesday and the concentration seemed to be 5-10 miles offshore on the Sea of Cortez side. This area had a small temperature break where the warm 70-degree water abutted cooler 65-degree water that held inshore. Many boats reported seeing as many as a dozen Striped Marlin in a trip and quite a few of these fish were traveling in packs of three or more. They were hungry also, and that made it all the more exciting. Hook ups were about evenly split between live bait tossed to tailing fish and fish that came in on lures. At the tail end of the week the fish appeared to have spread out a bit more as the temperature break disappeared. The average size was down; most of the ones I heard about and saw were in the 100-pound range.
YELLOWFIN TUNA: Good news in this department also! The Porpoise showed up and the Tuna were with them on Monday, but they were out 40-50 miles. The boats that found them had a hard ride back when the wind started to pick up that afternoon. On Tuesday the boats that went out found the porpoise and fish much closer to home, within that 5-10 mile range of the shore. The bite went wide open on Wednesday and continued throughout the week until Saturday, then they moved a lot further offshore again. Most of the fish were in the 15-30 pound range but a few were caught that were in the 60 pound to 80 pound range also. Although kept as a secret for the first few days of the week, it didn't take long for word to get out that Gordo Banks was holding Tuna again, and that the average size was up considerably. Most of the fish that were found early in the week were in the 60-100 pound class but a few up to 200 pounds were reported hooked up also. The fish in the porpoise schools were falling for cedar plugs and feathers in green/black and pink. The fish at Gordo Banks, while larger, were being much more picky and would only bite well on Sardinas, large baits were just not working on them this past week. A few of the boats have started working spreader bars again and are having luck with larger fish outside the edges of the banks and ahead of the Porpoise pods.
DORADO: I wish I could say that the Dorado bite has picked up, but that is not the case. Hopefully it will happen soon but for the time being they have been an incidental catch and most of the fish have been on the small side, averaging just 10-12 pounds. A lot of the ones caught this week were found mixed in with the tuna so they were caught on small feathers. An occasional patch of seaweed showed up. Probably knocked loose up north by the strong swells last week and when these were found the first few boats there had good action on larger Dorado. The bite dropped off a lot as the traffic at the patches increased and if you were the fifth or later boat there you may as well have stayed away! The action was had on both live bait tossed to the patches and later on by chunking the patches after the fish got a bit shy.
WAHOO: What Hoo? Boats wanting to brag about catching something flew the red Wahoo flags I saw a lot of this past week. It turned out that in every instance I came across, the Captain or mate chuckled when I asked them and then admitted that they were flying them for the Mexican Wahoo, Sierra! I am sure some boats actually caught Wahoo this past week but I did not come across any personally nor did I hear any second-hand stories of them being found.
INSHORE: Inshore action really fell apart this past week. I don't know for sure what the problem was, perhaps water temperature, clarity or bait availability, but the action was very slow for the normal inshore species. A fair bite was on for the Sierra, but not red-hot action, to be sure. Roosterfish as well were slow and those that were found were on the small size. Skipjack and Bonito were the exception to the slow inshore bite; there was good action on these fish on the Sea of Cortez side. Yellowtail are not biting as well as they were for the past two weeks and the Snapper action has dropped considerably as well.
NOTES: There is still a lot of Red Crab in the area and at some spots they are so thick that the water is solid red with them. They are in the harbor as well and the Caballito are having a field day feeding on them, almost looks like feeding time at the trout hatchery some evenings! This is Easter week and there are a lot of Mexican families taking holiday at the beach so beach conditions are crowded. The crowds should thin out after the 16th. There have been reports of several Yellowfin in excess of 300 pounds taken by the use of spreader bars. The Whales are almost gone from the area.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: HOTEL SOLMAR SUITES, Cabo San Lucas, April 13 2001, Renee Santa Cruz, Reservations Tel 800-344-3349. Both the weather and fishing made a comeback this week at Cabo: the winds started to calm down, water and air temperatures began a warming trend, and tuna and marlin made a moderate return to action--mostly in an area 20 to 25 miles off San Jose, from Chileno to Palmilla, and on the Gordo Bank. A few boats in the Solmar Sportfishing Fleet were successful with marlin this week at the Golden Gate on the Pacific side, according to fleet manager Rene Santa Cruz. Smaller game fish were still plentiful from El Arco to the Lighthouse. Solmar's star angler this week was 7 year-old Johanna Bible, Rancho Santa Fe, CA, fishing with her grandfather on the 26' Galeon II. Johanna took her first striped marlin, fighting the 165 pounder on 60 pound test line for 40 minutes, using a red and black lure. This was not her first big game fish--2 years ago, she landed her first sailfish.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: BAJA ANGLERS, Cabo San Lucas, April 13, 2001, Grant Hartman, Reservations 888-588-3446. Hi Folks. Our inshore fishing continues to be very good, but it has slowed down over the last few days due to the full moon. As the moon continues to wane the fishing should jump back to normal. We are catching jacks, travelle, sierra and snapper right now along the surf line. These inshore fish are plentiful and great fun on the fly. Some roosterfish around, but most are on the shy side. The roosterfishing will pick up with peak season from late April through early June.
Offshore fishing is very slow right now for striped marlin. The yellowfin tuna bite has been inconsistent with most boats fishing 20 to 30 miles offshore.
The Pacific's been kinda windy and rough, but the sea of Cortez side has been like glass. Our luck is holding as most of the fish are on the sea of Cortez side. Water temperatures are in the mid 60s.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: BAJA ON THE FLY, Buena Vista, April 18, 2001, Gary Graham, Reservations Tel 800-919-2252; Fax 760-746-7260. TEMPERATURES: High of 86 with a low of 62. No wind for two days. STRIPED MARLIN--Not much to talk about locally. YELLOWFIN TUNA--Just a few here and there. DORADO--Same as the tuna. Just a few. ROOSTERFISH--Great!. JACK CREVALLE--A few small fish are hanging out in front of the hotels. BARRILLETE OR MEXICAN SKIPJACK--A few of the boats found some Punta Colorada to Cabo Pulmo. PARGO AND CABRILLA--Good in all the usual spots. OFFSHORE: Flat, calm conditions, but little action so far. INSHORE: With decent weather, the fishing has improved tremendously. BEACH: We,re starting to see a few jacks and small roosters on the beach between Rancho Buena Vista and Buena Vista Beach Resort.
QUICK COMMENT--What a difference a day or two makes. The last two days have been good, bordering on very good. Guest, Russ Burken, fishing with his family, committed a nearly unpardonable sin by catching his first rooster on his second cast. Using an olive deep diver in front of the Buena Vista Beach Hotel near the bait panga, he nailed it with a slow erratic retrieve. Dr. Bob Corbett and his son Tom, from Seattle, Wash., had an equally good day fishing from a super panga. Jeff DeBrown guided them to double digit roosterfish on the fly as well as sierra, jacks and pargo. We are glad the Easter Bunny is gone. Bring on the roosters!
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: BUENA VISTA BEACH RESORT, Buena Vista, April 12, 2001, Axel Valdez, Reservations 800-752-3555. After the typical holy week wind, the peace is back, and this should get the fishing back to the normal 2001 season. Total boats out: 26. Air Temperature: Low 70s-Mid 80s. Water Temperature: 70-75. Kept/Released: Striped Marlin, 1/1; Sailfish, 1/0; Tuna, 17/0; Roosterfish, 1/1; Wahoo, Bonita, 4/10; Skip Jack, 0/34; Cabrilla , 7/0; Jack Crevalle, 1/11; Red Snapper, 22/0; Sierra, 5/0; Triggerfish, 5/0. Even with the winds that blew during the week, overall this Holy week was beautiful.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: RANCHO LEONERO, Bahia de Palmas, April 14, 2001, John Ireland and Roy Baldwin, Reservations 800-646-2252; Hotel 011-52-114-10216. Nearly perfect weather, with daytime highs in the mid 80s, cool evenings near 60, mostly sunny skies, dead flat clear seas with warming water temp about 71-72 deg. Warming water combined with huge quantities of bait (squid & mackerel) has brought lots of striped marlin to the East Cape. On Saturday, every boat scored, with stripers to 150 lbs taking both lures (red best color) and live bait, with most fish taken gorged with squid. Tailers are spread everywhere about 20-30 miles offshore in the blue water. The inshore action for pargo and jacks is strong south off Las Barracas, with pargo to 37 lbs taken this week, mostly on live sardinas and mackerel. The yellowfin bite remains a pick, with only 3 or 4 fish per day showing up at the cleaning station, with fish to 65 lbs taking mostly rapala CD-18s. The dorado bite is still off, look for improving conditions with the warmer water.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: EAST CAPE SPORT FISHING, Los Barriles, April 13, 2001, Dave Dixon and Gil Mendiaz, Reservations 800-837-1556; Fax 805-493-5446. Fishing continues to be relatively slow, following the pattern of cold green water and erratic weather throughout the region. SST maps show very uniform 70-72 degree water throughout the cape, with the only strong break appearing very far south around San Jose del Cabo. Our crews are reporting that the squid are also in for their yearly spawn, providing the gamefish with ample food. Some striped marlin and dorado are being taken on the troll and with live squid. Such reports may provide anglers with concern about the quality of fishing they will encounter. However, it is precisely in such "tough conditions" that it falls on the angler to be prepared and knowledgeable to enhance their chances of getting hooked up. There's no doubt there are ample fish around--they're filling up on the massive schools of mating squid. The water and bait conditions lead to different behaviors, and one must adjust angling tactics to match. Obviously, the best source of such info is an experienced skipper. We asked one of our longtime skippers, Jose Antonio of the Alma Rosa II, what tactics he employs during this part of the season. He told us: "I like trolling dark colors in the Spring, since the water is often dirty and the sky is cloudy. Fish can see the shadow of a darker lure more easily than bright colors. With so many squid around, I choose dark squid colors, like brown and dark red, since this is the only thing the fish are eating. The inshore fish hold deep in the cold and dirty water. I fish baits with an egg sinker above a leader, or try to find baits that will swim down when hooked through the back or vent area. The fish are cagey in these conditions, and you need to put the bait right in front of them. Heavy yo-yos also work well. We like to run a lot in the spring, rather than work one spot, to find the fish. Sometimes clients get impatient because we don't give one spot much time, but we have to cover a lot of ground to find the good fishing."
Another tactic we recommend for Spring fishing at the Cape is making your own bait. The bait boats often find it tough going during this time of year. Worse, with all the squid in the water, gamefish often will want nothing to do with anything else. Let your skipper know that you're willing to spend some time making bait if he thinks it will increase your chances. Bring some yo-yos or large squid jigs for snagging squid. The squid are mating, and not agressive, but are schooled up in huge bait balls, so you can usually snag 'em using the Mexican rip. Live squid is dynamite this time of year. The most important thing is to be willing to work for your fish. Don't just sit back and drink beer--scan the water for signs of fish or bait ( you can still have a beer while doing this!) Be prepared to catch your own bait. If you're fishing yo-yos inshore, work 'em hard--aggressive technique is the key to getting hooked when the fish are touchy. You also need to be on a good, fast boat with a lot of range, since you may have to travel to find the fish. A panga won't cut it in these conditions. Ask for an experienced skipper, since the most commonly used tactics are not effective in the cool green water. You want somebody who has been around awhile and knows the tricks.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: HOTELS PALMAS DE CORTEZ, PLAYA DEL SOL, PUNTA COLORADA, East Cape, April 15, 2001, reported by Dave "Smokey" Manuel, East Cape Smokehouse, Hotel Reservations, 800-368-4334. Hey Gene, not much to report yet. Lots of Marlin in the water, but not agressive. We've finally got some good Tuna action Monday and Tuesday, down past Los Frailes towards the Gordo Banks area, so it's improving.
If fishing doesn't pick up soon I'm going to have to take up writing a social column somewhere in this report so you guys have something interesting to read. Sorry, but still not much encouraging news from down here on the East Cape. The wind continued on Friday, making it 7 out of 8 days with strong North winds, but by Saturday there was a glimmer of hope with a beautifully calm and quiet day only to be followed once again by more wind out of the North on Sunday. Saturday was the only day of the weekend with anything even worth mentioning and that was a Tuna bite up North off of Punta Perico, which is just outside of Muertos Bay. A handful of charters had some success there on Tuna in the low to mid 20s on Sardines, but it was a max of 4 or 5 per boat. Many more returned on Sunday but no action was reported. A few Striped Marlin continue to be taken down near Cabo Pulmo to Los Frailes on the outside anywhere from 10 to 20 plus miles, but the abundant supply of squid for food is keeping those numbers at a minimum. One Marlin that was brought in this weekend and hung for a picture coughed up over two dozen whole squid. My guess as to that amount's equivalency in human terms is about that of a large double cheese pizza with all the toppings for one person. Remarkable that the fish even looked at the lure it was hooked on. Bait supply worsened, with very few big bait of any kind available and fewer Sardines than has been the norm. My optimism for improvement will continue however!
LA PAZ, MEXICO: JONATHAN ROLDAN'S TAILHUNTER ADVENTURE SERVICES, La Paz, April 15, 2001, Jonathan Roldan, Tel 626-333-3355; Fax 626-333-0115; Pager 323-349-8111; Message Pager 877-310-7734. Well, the fishing around La Paz really "bites," at least it did earlier in the week and for all the wrong reasons! Just when we think it's over, Mother Nature has a tendency to slap you down as big winds came tearing down the Sea of Cortez and made it almost impossible to get over to the islands or outer areas. Combine that with a case of "lockjaw" on the fish and it wasn't the best of weeks. Even our reliable cabrilla and pargo went to ground and were reluctant to cooperate. Before then, it was almost a sure thing if you soaked some bait off the Punta Perrico ridge. The yellowtail all but vanished, at least in the places we normally fish so we just have to locate the schools again. Dorado haven't been around for a few weeks, but I'm expecting that to change shortly. Some smaller roosterfish have been spotted, but overall a slack week for us.
However, this being Baja, things started improving as the weekend came up. Winds settled down. Still stayed close to home, but yellowfin tuna to 40 pounds came charging strong off Las Arenas and Perrico. Give it a few days to zone in and we'll be back up to speed. It must have been slow down the coast as well because alot of the East Cape cruisers were thumping up the coast to fish our backyard.
I'm going to be teaching the first of our fishing schools this week at Hotel Las Arenas from Tuesday April 17th to Saturday April 21st. We have a great group of folks coming down and I'm looking forward to it. Some of you readers are part of that group. Much as I love the hotel, if you've been there, one of the drawbacks is that there are no phones, fax's or emails so if you could do me a favor, ease back on any unnecessary emails (hold the jokes!) or be patient until I get back and back up to speed. Thanks! We'll have a great re-con report for you when we get back! I'll be back for about 2 weeks, then down to La Paz pretty much hanging at La Concha Beach Resort for the season waiting for you all to come down and party with me and the fish!
LA PAZ, MEXICO: HOTEL LAS ARENAS, Punta Arena de la Ventana, April 12, 2001, Linda Glassman-Davis, Reservations 888-644-7376. Captain's: Efren, Zapata, Valente, Roman, Luciano, Tolon and Johnny. Fish count for the week: 34 Yellowtail to 34 pounds, 17 Yellowfin tuna to 14 pounds; 20 Cabrilla to 13 pounds; 7 Pargo to 22 pounds. The New "La Palapa" Restaurant featuring "Pescado Sarandeado" and all new upgrades in our other restaurant await you. All this made possible by you, our friends and family. On behalf of the staff and management of Las Arenas, we wish you all a very Happy Easter. Feliz Pascua. May you all enjoy safe, healthy holidays..From our family to yours.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: FISHERMEN'S FLEET, La Paz, April 12, 2001, David Jones, Hotel los Arcos, Reservations 011-52-112-21313; Fax 011-52-112-57334. Legend has it that the last big wind of the season will take place on or about the full moon closest to Easter. Well we're right there, right now. The last couple of days have been, as they say, "blowin' like stink". That should calm down a little tomorrow and by Friday, we be fishin' good. Yellowtail, Yellowfin, Pargo, have all been in evidence when we have been able to get to them. Larger Cabrilla have started to show and it's time to dust off that good ol' orange CD-18. My son Chris says that his indicators are that we are going to have a great year for large Dogs, Tuna, and Marlin. Well, I always appreciate an optimist, and I look forward to him being correct.
LORETO, MEXICO: ARTURO'S SPORT FISHING, Loreto, April 13, 2001, Arturo Susarrey, Reservations Tel 011-52-113-50766; Fax 011-52-113-50022. Almost all the last week was sunny and calm, except this weekend we had some north wind, but not enough for cancel trips. YELLOWTAIL: Pulpito and San Ildefonso Island: They are eating on the surface in big schools and the are biting more with a jigs. Their weight is between 18 to 38 lbs. and the average caught per boat was 8. Catalana Island: They are biting live bait (big eye or mack) on the surface at north side of this Island and south of El Bajo Seco, with a weight between 25 to 38 and the average caught per boat was 6. Carmen Island (Punta Perico and Punta Lobos east side): There are some schools not big size, with live bait (big eye or mack) with a weight between 25 to 38 lbs. AMBERJACK: North Punta Catalana Island and El Bajo Seco, they are in good number, they are biting live bait (big eye or mack) the average caught was 2 pieces per boat, with a weight between 35 to 70 lbs. BAIT: Big eye or mack for $1.00 usd each in front of Loreto Marina. Mackerel in Coronado Island around 6:30 to 7:00 a.m. This week the bait was ok again (no mas problema).
LORETO, MEXICO: EL FUERTE SPORT FISHING, Puerto Escondido, April 18, 2001, Ty Miller, Reservations Tel 714-775-6658; Fax: 714-755-3501; Loreto 011-52-113-30863. Hola Pescadores, Well, it's time to do a little catching up on the action down here. I'm sure a lot of you thought we were MIA. I gotta tell ya, between the hot yellowtail bite of Isla Catalana and the succcess of our bighorn sheep hunt, it has been quite busy the last two weeks. So let's get up to speed.
Other than two days this past two weeks, the yellowtail bite off the south reef of Catalana has been awesome! Fish are up on top and takin the fly-lined baits. Yellows are solid 30 to 35 pounds with a few pushing the 40lb. mark. Big fish this past weekend went to regular El Fuerte client, Wayne Pero with a 44 pounder! This bruiser was taken on straight 40 pound mono, which is quite impressive considering we are fishing in 65 to 125 feet of water. So, that also tells you wer are losing about 50% of our hookups to the rocks.
Everybody here out of the Park is scoring and we are even seeing local boats out of Loreto sneaking in on the action. Speaking of people here in the Park, I want to congratulate the "Rat Pack" on breaking in their new 28 foot Boston Whaler Outrage by covering the decks with toad yellowtail. Sorry, Randy, you missed out!
Bait has moved over to Punta Baja with Spanish mackeral and green mackeral awaiting as soon as you arrive.
So, the yellows are making us go long but the ride is definitely worth it. There is nothing better than hearing the hootin' and shoutin' amongst your friends on the other boats for the joy of bent rods and screaming reels. Of course there is some other language out there too that can't be printed.
That about wraps it up! Don't forget about our Tourney in May over Memorial Weekend. It's going to be a blast! Hasta!
Water temperature, 68. Air temperature, 85. Sea state, flat. Winds, none.
LORETO, MEXICO: BAJA BIG FISH COMPANY, Loreto, April 11, 2001, Pam Bolles, Reservations Tel/Fax 011-52-113-50448. We got really spoiled by the springtime weather in the last few weeks, but now we're in the middle of a cold front that's keeping us huddled indoors and out of the nasty cold wind. Temperatures are in the low 70s during the hottest part of the mid-afternoon and mornings are chilly in the low 50s. During this cold front, the skies have been partly to mostly cloudy. This cloud cover is making it feel much cooler than it really is.
We've been experiencing north winds. These northerlies are tag teaming up with westerlies and providing us with the "wind tunnel effect". This is my new term for the 24 hour a day winds we've been living with for the last couple of days--we're getting north winds starting early morning with the sun, then the direction changes to westerlies as the sun goes down, but wait, they blow all night long and change back to northerlies in the morning! Yikes!
Yellowtail: Yellowtail is a touchy subject (for me) right now. We haven't had much of a season to speak of. I'm not saying that there haven't been any good days because there really have. What I'm saying is that those good days have not been consistent enough for me to shout about the great Loreto fishing from the highest rooftops.
So what happened this year? A combination of events occurred that provided us with a less than dazzling yellowtail year.
The first reason was that the winter water temperature stabilized on the warm side. Typically we see a cooling down to about 68 degrees . This year the temperature never fell below 71 from what we were able to measure, even in the coldest months of January and February. Because the water was so warm this winter, the yellowtail were found feeding at the surface for most of the season. However, this surface feeding was very unpredictable as from one day to the next the schools would move to all depths of the water column to feed on the plentiful baitfish in the area. This fact foiled my attempts to catch a very large specimen of this elusive species with my telephone-pole sized flyrod for yet another year!
Now, another sad reason, commercial over-fishing. There are many who do not want me to report this but I feel that I must, for some reason that I don't even understand. This is the second year that I've seen outright over-harvesting of the local Yellowtail. It's a difficult pill for us in the sportfishing industry to swallow. The yellowtail is not a species that is protected from the commercial fisherman like the Dorado is. As a result, local pangeros with an obligation to feed their families (and who can blame them?), have purchased nets and, well you know the rest. These nets are being made more available in this town now. In fact two stores which cater to the local pangero and commercial fishermen have opened their doors within the last year. The availability of the commercial nets, and the success rate of last year's catch, have promped the local pangero to make some extra money by commercial fishing for yellowtail.
It brings tears to my eyes to think about the things that I saw this past season. Pangas so overloaded with fish that looked they like they were about to sink, heading back to town and leaving behind a net full of dead fish that would have to wait until their next trip back out. Those tears are not because I have to come to the realization that as a business we may only be looking at one fishing season here, but they are for that magnificent, intelligent fish expiring in such an ungraceful way. I feel for the commercial anglers who have to feed their families. I also realize that we're in a marine park and cannot understand why there are not more regulations enforced that can help the sportfishing and commercial industries work together instead of against each other. Thus we come to the close of our 2000/2001 Yellowtail season.
Dorado: Well at least there's some good news to report. The Dorado season, or pre-season as I should call it is shaping up nicely, and about a month early! For several weeks the sargasso has been piling up along the shorelines and off the breakwater. The reefs rocks are full of the growing, anchored plantae. This is the very stuff that makes inshore fishing next to impossible now, but keeps the Dorado in our area during the summer. The water temperature is less than ten degrees lower than optimal Dorado water, we're about a month away from being at the beginning of the season for real. The first boats with Dorado have already come in, and word is that they're holding just South of Isla Monserrat. That seaweed that is a major annoyance now, will blow out to sea and "lure" the fish into our area. That sargasso structure will keep the fish in our area and make us all very happy anglers because of the numbers of Dorado that will remain in a holding pattern feeding in our area. As the water temperature rises, the sargasso will break anchor, and fish will happen in a big way!
MULEGE, MEXICO: GALERIA SIRENA @ ECOMUNDO, Mulegé, April 17, 2001, Becky Aparicio reporting from the shore of Bahía Concepción. Hola Gene. Hope all is fine with you. Graham Macintosh's show was very entertaining and I enjoyed his presentation. Jinx, of Troubled Sea was also a special guest on a Mujeres en Miercoles lunch and the book sales have been brisk. It's a fun read.
We are planning a 2002 calendar which will be open to all Baja aficionados who would like to participate in this fund raiser: "CALENDAR 2002 MY MULEGE MIO."
The calendar will be 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches, with a landscape theme: people, places, animals, plants of the municipio (county) of Mulege, with emphasis on botanicals and environmentally important dates for the U.S. and Mexico. All proceeds will go to the Club Ecologista de Mulege--youth ecology club.
Any Baja photographers who wish to participate may submit their photographs in as large a format as possible or in slide format. All work will be returned. Please submit work by May 31, 2001 to Becky Aparicio at Galería Sirena at EcoMundo, or send to: APDO 60 Mulege, BCS Mexico, 23900. Please include your complete name, address, phone number, any appropriate personal information, business, where photo was taken, what it is (species, etc.), how the photo was taken, film speed, etc. If your photo is chosen, you will receive 5 free calendars. (Hey! This is a fund raiser!) Mil Gracias!!!
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: CAMP GECKO, Bahia de los Angeles, April 18, 2001, Abraham Vazquez, Tel 011-52-515-19454; Fax 011-52-665-03206 (goes to Guillermo's). Air temperature 86-63. Winds, none to light west winds. Humidity, variable 45-70%. Seas calm to moderate. Water temperature 63 -59,. Fishing slow for most of the week. The main catch is still bass and jaw fish and not to many of them. The better catches have been out by the "bajo de abraham", but it happens to be 25 miles north of the bay. It has been very productive the past week on large bass and huge ocean whitefish. A few baqueta are still being caught, and no yellows as is usual this time of the year. There are large schools of baitfish coming into the bay hopefully the predators will follow Road conditions excellent first 9 km, bad 1 km and good rest of the way The main hwy south of Catavina and north of the parador is getting lots of new pot holes. The road crew probably ran out of budget with those "escalera nautica" signs. Gasoline is still 130.00 pesos for 20 liters. The dirt roads north and south of the bay are being graded now.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: SEA OF CORTEZ SPORTFISHING, April 16, 2001, 6-day Midriff Islands trip aboard the panga mothership, Celia Angelina, Bob Castellon, Reservations 626-333-9012; Fax 626-336-1966; San Felipe 011-52-657-71778. A group of retirees from Sun City, Arizona enjoyed a 7 day trip aboard the Celia Angelina with fishing ranging from fair to excellent, cabrilla and spotted bay bass were pretty much wide open. Yellowtail and giant squid were found at two locations. Mainland Mexico north of Tiburon Island, San Estaban and Refujio were hot locations. Weather temperature was on the cool side, water temp. ranging from 53 degrees to 68 degrees, air temp. from 60 degrees to 80 degrees. Bait was at Francisquito. The yellowtail ranged up to 23 lbs. Cabrilla to 17 lbs. and giant squid were in the mid season form as they were up to 30 lbs. The weather curtailed our fishing on the mainland side. Bob feels really good about the start of the season. Looking forward to white seabass fishing.