ENSENADA, MEXICO: Fred Hoctor, long-standing Baja California columnist for Western Outdoor News, passed away on July 24, 2001 after a battle with heart failure and other ailments that never dimmed his great intelligence and brilliant wit. Although Fred had thousands of loyal fans who read his weekly columns, his magazine articles, and his classic book, Baja Haha, few knew that he was--behind the wacky humor and carefully cultivated image of the crusty old curmudgeon--also a kind-hearted gentleman and a true scholar.
Fred could readily quote passages from John Donne, Socrates, Descartes, Melville and a host of others, whatever the occasion called for, but he usually did so only privately, and the great breadth and depth of his intellect was rarely revealed in the public writings by which he was known. One of his favorite novels was Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, which he re-read every few years.
Fred was born in Schenectady, NY on November 3, 1930 and attended Port Washington High School on Long Island. In 1952, he graduated from Hamilton College, and he later attended graduate school at NYU. His early employment included stints as a lifeguard, dishwasher, elevator man, bellhop, seaman, bartender, manager of a pet cemetery, horse rancher, flower peddler, illegal fishing guide, and many writing, editorial and public relations jobs in New York, Florida and California.
After a fast-paced series of careers and adventures that could fill several lifetimes, in 1973 Fred married Sylvia Ann Hickman, of Wichita, in San Diego. In 1984 his book, Baja Haha, was published. In 1985 he became Baja columnist for Western Outdoor News, following Ray Cannon and Tom Miller in that position. In 1987 he gave up drinking, and when pressed to describe himself in his later years, offered, "bon vivant, raconteur, fishing guy."
But, above all, Fred was a magnificent story teller who could cut to the core of the matter with a few subtle strokes. He was a master of humorous tone and voice, and here, in his own words, is the little-known story of one of his real life adventures -- when he was "bitten by Ernest Hemingway's dog":
"It was the summer of '51...just before my senior year. I was chasing after a shapely Minnesota girl in the chorus line with Holiday on Ice and toward the end of the summer tending bar in the Bamboo Room, just off the tropical garden at the posh Roney Plaza in Miami Beach. Part of my job was watching Meyer Schine's (G. David "McCarthy Hearing" Schine's father and owner of the Ambassador Hotel in LA) matched Amazon parrots to be sure they were not stolen off their perch. That is another story. Batista was still in power, but Miami was crawling with wealthy Cuban refugees dancing every night and waiting to see how the wind blew. God, could they dance. In the next year or so, Castro was in power and was throwing chicken bones out of his hotel window in NY ... remember that? In any case, after the parrots were stolen from under my nose, I had to go to work for a widow on her yacht, cruising to Cuba. I was a dopey kid. When we got to Havana, she sent me for a bottle of rum. When I got back to the dock, the boat was gone. I took the rum, wandered down Obispo Blvd to the Hotel Nacional and plunked myself down behind a potted palm in the lobby, where I began to furtively drink it. There was a little fountain in the lobby that was full of pure pineapple juice. It had a spigot, and there was a Dixie Cup dispenser, so people would walk up and sample the juice. It was perfect with the rum. The night manager finally caught me and threw me out. I slept in the park. The next day, fiercely hung over, I rented a scooter and went off looking for Hemingway's house somewhere off in the hills outside of town. I remember it was at the top of a cobblestone street, and I peered through the gate to see if I could get a glimpse of the master. The caretaker shooed me away twice. I was just about to leave of my own volition when a little door next to the iron gate opened and out came a big dog that chased me down the hill, nipping at me and tugging at my pant leg as I bumped along on my Lambretta. I don't think that it really drew any blood, but scared the hell out of me. I have a scar on my leg which I got when I became entangled in a barstool at the Windjammer and broke my leg. I always refer to it as "My Hemingway scar."
Fred, amigo, you will be sorely missed. --Gene Kira
ENSENADA, MEXICO: LILY FLEET, Ensenada, July 18, 2001, Sammy Susarrey, Reservations Tel/Fax, 5 to 9 p.m., 011-52-617-46747; Cell 011-52-618-67485. Today the Amigo on a tuna trip with 5 anglers reported 21 albacore 15-20 pounds, 2 dorado to 12 pounds, 9 yellowtail to 15 pounds. Best feathers were pure white and black and purple. The kelp paddies did very well today, with a lot of good bait. The fish hit very well. Water temperature was 66.5 degrees. The Lily fished locally with 4 anglers, reported 22 log barracuda, 6 bull calico bass, 2 white seabass, 1 yellowtail and 4 big bonitos.
JULY 20, 2001-- Today we had a slow day at the 328, slow day with average 5-10 fish per boat. The Amigo and Lily fished locally inside Punta Banda reporting big bonitos to 10 pounds, also a lot of medium sized barracudas and limits of sand bass, 3 yellowtail to 12 pounds, and 6 white seabass to 12 pounds.
JULY 21, 2001-- Today we caught albacore to 35 pounds only 7 miles outside Punta Banda, heading 230 degrees. We caught 16 albacore on the way back, fishing on the Tamara with only 4 anglers. Water temperature was 66.7 degrees. Nice medium sized anchovies for bait. Today's best feather was Mexican flag.
JULY 22, 2001-- Today the Amigo took 4 anglers outside for tuna, reporting 5 yellowfin tuna to 35 pounds, 5 yellowtail to 15 pounds, 2 albacore to 30 pounds. Captain David says many fish were lost due to broken lines. The fish were found 28 miles outside North Todos Santos on a 235 heading, 35 miles from Marina Coral. It was a calm day, water temperature 67.2 degrees.
The Lily fished locally with 5 anglers, reporting limits of lingcod to 9 pounds at North Todos Santos Island. At Estero Beach they caught limits of barracuda in medium sizes, big bonito to 10 pounds, and 13 sand bass in very good sized. They called it a day at noon, with enough fish for the day. Captain Sergio reported water temperature of 72 degrees, with fish hitting bait on the surface.
JULY 23, 2001-- Today the Amigo fished with 4 anglers at GPS numbers 31.33/117.06, 25 miles outside Punta Banda on a heading of 225 degrees, reporting 12 albacore to 30 pounds, 6 yellowfin tuna to 35 pounds, and 10 yellowtail to 15 pounds. Water temperature was 69 degrees. The bait situation is very good, with sardines and anchovies. Again, purple and black, and Mexican flag were the best colors, also cedar plug natural in small sizes. All yellowtail caught at kelp paddies.
The Tamara and Amigo fished locally today, reporting limits of barracuda and 10 big bonito on each boat. The Tamara also reported 2 yellowtail to 12 pounds and a white seabass.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: SERGIO'S ENSENADA SPORTFISHING CENTER, Ensenada, July 24, 2001, Sergio Susarrey, Reservations Tel 011-52-617-82185. The latest fish counts from the outer banks are the following SHIR LEE (5 anglers): Albacore (75), Yellowtail (10) & Tuna (2). ENSENADA CLIPPER (15 anglers): Albacore (50), Yellowtail (22) & Tuna (2). This are the best result so far for the season! Local fishing got a bit slower especially with the surface fish but smaller fish such as bonito, barracuda and bass continues to be really good.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: PEDRO'S PANGAS, San Quintin, July 22, 2001, Pete Hillis, Reservations 888-568-2252. Weather has been just about the same as last week. It has been just a little windy but not too bad. Air temperatures have been in the 70's, which makes for beautiful days which have tended to be overcast in the morning but by 9 or 10 a.m. the sun is out.
Yellowtail, albacore and yellowfin provided the best fishing this weekend. All albacore and yellowtail were found under kelp paddies, trolling rapallas and using live bait and jigs. All were taken on a 240 heading, 12 to 18 miles off the point.
Fishing with us this weekend were Jerry Campbell, Sr. and Jerry Campbell, Jr. (both from Corona, CA). Their first day they brought in 6 albacore (25 to 30 lb.) and 8 yellowtail (12 to 20 lb.). On their 2nd day, their catch was limited to 16 yellowtail (12 to 20 lb.).
Also with us this weekend were Mike Mercado (San Marcos, CA) and Lisa Johnson (Escondido, CA). They kept their lines focused on the tuna. They brought in 2 nice yellowfin (20 lb.) and 1 albacore (18 lb.).
Frank Duarte (Huntington Beach, CA), Dave Holiday (San Diego, CA) and Sharon Judge (San Diego, CA) also brought in limits of yellowtail (12 to 20 lb.) and 1 nice albacore at 31 lb.
Finally, Shu PingYu and Amy Yu (Walnut, CA) decided to stay inside this weekend. However, as is always the case in San Quintin, they were not disappointed. Bottom fish are always available and their panga brought back in nice limits of ling cod and rock cod.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: SAN QUINTIN SPORTFISHING, San Quintin, July 23, 2001, Gene Allshouse, Reservations 011-526-165-9229. Ahola Amigos The Albacore bite has been steady but, not wide open as in the last couple of years. We are averaging from 8 to 12 per boat on just about any color feather and Cedar plugs. The Yellowfin are still few and far between with only 1 or 2 per boat. On the other hand, the Yellowtail bite has been great with most boats catching limits in the 15 to 25 pound class on the same feathers. They are on every kelp patty no matter how large or how small. We troll by, get hooked up and go back and fly line live bait and throw iron. Their hitting just about anything you put in the water! We are picking up a few small Dorado, but nothing really to brag about. It's still a little early in the year. Most anglers are finishing up their day catching some nice Halibut in the bay on live bait and fish traps. Basically, were catching a lot of fish and filling up the coolers as the attached photo will attest to (this is not the total catch as we ran out of hanging hooks) but, were just not catching a lot of one species as in the past years. Except the Yellowtail! The water temperature varies from 66 degrees outside 15 miles to 71 degrees in close. This is obviously the reason for the nice variety of fish. The weather has been just great with very little wind and temperatures in the low 80s. As always, hope to see you all here and happy fishing!
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: BAJA ON THE FLY, San Carlos, July 25, 2001, Gary Graham, Reservations Tel 800-919-2252; Fax 760-746-7260. Temperatures: 90-degree high; low 70"MARLIN--More seem to be showing up every week and it is still early in the season"DORADO--Most of the fish are smaller school fish with a few larger ones mixed in"TUNA--A few a long way out"YELLOWTAIL--Pretty quiet"CORVINA--Still a good bite going on throughout the bay"SNOOK--Devil's Curve and under the bridge at the entrance to town are both producing fair action"HALIBUT--I don't think anyone was targeting them this week.
QUICK COMMENT--Sounds like the offshore is improving every week. Inside the esteros the fishing continues to be fair to good.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: PICANTE FLEET, Cabo San Lucas, July 25, 2001, Sergio Cortes, Reservations Tel 011-52-114-32474; Fax 011-52-114-35969. Fish available: Striped Marlin, Blue Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna & Dorado. Water temperature: 82-86. Air temperature: 89/74. Humidity: 66%. Wind: 8-10 Knots(Pacific), 8-10 Knots (Sea of Cortes). Fleet production (5 boats): 4 Striped Marlin, 2 Blue Marlin, 11 Dorado & 5 Tuna. Hot spots: 15 miles off Chileno (Sea of Cortes). Luckiest boat: Picante Pride ( 35' CABO). Captain: Antonio Romero. Angler: Bob HendricksProduction: 1 Blue Marlin 350 lbs.(released), 6 Dorado 40-60 lbs.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: FLY HOOKER SPORT FISHING, Cabo San Lucas, July 22, 2001, Capt. George & Mary Landrum, Reservations Tel 011-52-117-01271; 011-52-114-87452. WEATHER: The entire week was warm and humid and I am positive we can look forward to more of the same in the future. Daytime temperature remained in the high 90's for the most part and dropped into the low 80's during the evenings. The beginning of the week and the last day of the week were times of little air movement while the middle of the week supplied afternoon breezes that cooled things down a bit. The first half of the week was clear and sunny with the last three days having a fair amount of overcast. My air conditioner was on every night. I wish the one in the van worked!
WATER: Surface temperatures were into the high 80's, up to 88 degrees in the Sea of Cortez offshore more than 10 miles. Inshore in the area fluctuated all week with the temps in the early part of the week being in the low to mid 70's rising to the 80-degree range during the last few days. The Pacific side had 80-degree water out about the San Jaime and Golden Gate banks areas but much colder, in the low to mid 70's just off the beach. Water conditions were good early and late in the week but Wednesday the winds kicked in from the northwest and caused some pretty choppy conditions off the Cape.
BAIT: There has been just about anything you are looking for available except the Sardinas this past week. Mullet have been around and easy to come by if you special request in advance. Plenty of Caballito and Mackerel also, and all the baits have been available in both smaller and larger sizes. The normal price is still $2 per bait.
BILLFISH: The Blue Marlin are finally starting to show up! A lot of these big billfish have been hooked up this week and a number of them have been over the 300-pound mark. Most of them have been caught on lures and one of the favorites has been a swimmer in green/black about 12-14 inches overall length. The warmer 82-degree water in the Sea of Cortez and south of the Cape have been the areas experiencing the Blue action this week but there are signs that the Pacific side ought to take off soon. There are still plenty of Striped Marlin around and these fish are being found in the cooler waters closer to shore. Most are about 1 to 6 miles out and there are still small packs of them out there. Tossing live bait to tailing fish, the time-honored method here, still reigns supreme. The Striped Marlin are ranging between 80 to as high as 180 pounds.
YELLOWFIN TUNA: We are starting to see some decent Yellowfin Tuna again, but not yet in the super sizes we want. Inshore on the Sea of Cortez action was pretty steady on fish in the 25 to 50 pound range. Boats slow trolling small live baits or deep-running plugs off of planers or downriggers caught most of these fish. A spreader bar put out with the slow trolled baits seemed to help a few boats hook up. There were some very nice fish in the 60-90 classes caught about 30 miles south in the middle of the week. These fish were found associated with the Spotted Dolphin but they were moving through the area and did not stay long. Feathers and straight running Striped Marlin lures seemed to work well on these fish for the boats that got into them.
DORADO: We still haven't had any real concentrations of these great game fish, but that should change sometime soon. Did I say that last week also? They are around and it was common for a boat to get one or two on a trip and the fish have been between 15 and 30 pounds. Most of the strikes have been incidental fish caught on lures intended for Marlin, but a few have been targeted by boats finding a likely looking current area and chumming with chopped tuna and Caballito.
WAHOO: Due to unforeseen circumstances I did not get a chance to try out a few techniques and areas that I wanted to this week and I saw no one else come in with and of these oceanic rockets either. Maybe this week?
INSHORE: The action has been fair for Amberjack to 35 pounds on the Sea of Cortez side as well as for Yellowfin Tuna to 50 pounds. Early in the week the water off the beach was too cold for the Roosterfish but later on up towards San Jose it started to warm up and a few were caught by boats in the right place at the right time. Pangas fishing out about one mile found a few Striped Marlin as well as several Sailfish. Scattered Dorado have added a bit of spice to the variety normally found just outside the surf.
NOTES: As I write this we have a tropical storm approaching from the south. It is expected to pass well to the south of us and all we should experience is a bit of a build-up in the swell.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: PISCES FLEET, Cabo San Lucas, July 24, 2001, Tracy Ehrenberg, Reservations Tel 011-52-114-31288; Fax 011-52-114-30588. BILLFISH: We are definitely now back on track here at Land's End. Although striped marlin continue in the area, we are now seeing blue marlin and sailfish, pretty much on a daily basis caught by the Cabo fleet. Overall we had an eighty-five percent catch success rate for all species combined, with sixty percent of boats catching billfish. There were some nice fish this week, such as a 440 lb blue caught by Steven Lee from Baton Rouge, La.on July 24th, aboard Paulina. Rebecca scored two blues in the same day for Rubin Kremling, one released and one boated at 350 lbs, as well as nice 45 lb dorado. Tracy Ann had an exceptional day July 24th, releasing one blue marlin and two sailfish as well as boating a 45 lb tuna for Colin Comer from Houston, fishing with Greg Givens and Oscar Durham. July 22nd was a good day for La Brisa and anglers Richard Malajian and David Regins from New York--they released both a blue marlin and striped marlin and boated a large dorado for the table too. Sean McClure, from Arlington Tx, was another lucky angler to get a 350 lb blue too (his wife did great on small game see below). This is how the catches went most of the week, though striped marlin dominated - still being finicky about the bait offered, it was frustrating to cast bait time after time and not meet with success. Seas were pretty flat most of the week, but as we got the close of this report, hurricane Dalia, far out at sea, did cause some big swells. It seems like we will see an increase on blue marlin and sailfish and smaller game is on the same schedule. Pisces anglers caught a total of 26 striped marlin this week, all released, six blue marlin, all but one released and 4 sailfish, released.
OTHER SPECIES: We are now starting to see big dorado, ranging from 20 to 50 lbs, taken on both live bait and lures; mostly found in one's and two's . For the first time in quite a while, we saw an increase on yellowfin tuna, who are now getting a bit of size to them, at 50 lbs. These were individual fish, picked up while trolling, with some taken on live bait. Shawna McClure from Arlington Tx, caught a beautiful 60 lb roosterfish on 30 lb test line that took her one hour and 10 minutes to bring to the leader after taking a live bait. Pangas are still catching a few small snapper and cabrilla's, as well as skipjacks, pompano and the odd yellowtail here and there.
LOCATION: Mostly off of Chileno, off of San Jose and Punta Gorda. WEATHER CONDITIONS: Clear skies most of the week, seas flat, then developing swells up to 5 feet at the close of the week. AVERAGE WATER TEMP: 71-74 close in, 80 on the outer Gorda. BEST LURES: Live bait.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: JEFF KLASSEN SPORT FISHING, Cabo San Lucas, July 18, 2001, Jeff Klassen, Reservations Tel 360-402-3474. Howdy everybody! Greetings from Washington. We bagged the trip early this year due to flaccid... alright, CRAPPY surf-fishing. It costs me a bundle to stay down there, without taking bookings for the surf-fishing trips. We canceled most of them or switched people to boats. I don't know what happened this year. The water just never warmed up on the Pacific-side, to what it should have been at. Oh well, I guess we'll wait and see what happens next year. The tournament was a good time, despite the tepid (where do I come up with these words?) fishing.
Surf-fishing is still really up and down, although it's moved up from 90% down/10% up to almost 50/50. In fact, the last day I was there (Sunday) I actually got in to several nice fatty roosterfish, loosing all of them. This is because I was fishing the rocky areas east of Playita in San Jose and every time I hooked up one of the buggers they'd take a bunch of line and it would get caught up in some rock between myself and the fish. I actually discovered these fish there the day before, while fishing poppers with a client, looking for Leopard grouper, pargo or whatever. They just sort of appeared at the outside edge of the rocks. Jacks are finally starting to show along there as well. I picked up 3 and a small Rooster right at La Fortuna a few days before leaving. There were sardines backed right in to the shoreline. The mullet populations are starting to dwindle a bit at Playita. I guess this is the start of the end for the season. Gulf-side locations closer to town that may hold fish would be between Palmilla and the Westin, Cabo del Sol and also over at Shmengy point, or the first rocks. There are smaller roosterfish, and jacks along the sandy parts, with hawkfish, needlefish and the odd Yellow snapper in the rockier areas. Sand crabs, or "cockroaches" as we call them in Mexico, are working real well also for smaller species while bottom fishing. During the non-productive lure times in our tournament, we tried some bottom fishing and caught a bunch of species, including; Yellowfin croaker, Burrito grunt, Gaftopsail pompano, Paloma pompano and of course, everybody's favorite the Bullseye puffer! Anyway, I can't believe that the surf-fishing season is over and am still waiting to hear that it has opened wide up. Now that I,m back, it probably will!
Offshore fishing has improved quite a bit as offshore water temps have risen somewhat, but it's almost all marlin, marlin, marlin, marlin, marlin, marlin, marlin, marlin and marlin with the odd marlin thrown in. Hey at least they,re finally @$#%^&* biting! It has been pretty frustrating of late, encountering 20 Stripeys in an outing, and getting the interest of one or maybe two. Now, you should be able to land at least one in an outing with 2 or 3 or even 4 a legitimate possibility. We actually had 2 boats out this past week landing 5 and 1 with 6. Most boats are still wasting an hour and a half (each way) needlessly charging way on out to the Gorda Banks before they start fishing and all I can say is "Hey you guys wake up and smell the fishies!" Get your lures out once you hit Cabesa Ballena (the first lighthouse) on the Gulf side. There's marlin all over there from about 4 to 10 miles out, all the way to those banks and yes they will actually hit lures, for a change. Purple/black, Mean Joe Green and Petrolero, all darker colors) will attract them. If you encounter fish on the surface, and you will, make a pass by them first with the lures before automatically roaring in with a live bait. They have been real finicky. The Pacific-side also has fish. Fish there from about 2 miles off of land's end, in the direction towards Jaime Banks. This area has also produced a number of the first Blue marlin of the season, all in between 250 and 300 pounds. There are sailfish as well in and amongst all of these fish. You can see free jumpers, shaking off remoras, or whatever it is they are doing, throughout the course of a day. Dorado bites are still weak, although there seems to be a few more caught each day. Not many of the big Bulls showing up though with most fish being between 15 and 25 pounds. Don't bother targeting them at the moment unless you like frustration. Be happy with the 1 or 2 you may get in a trip, while fishing for other stuff (marlin).
Okay, let's set the record straight on tuna there have been conflicting reports of tuna, with some fleets reporting excellent catches, with others showing "zero" in the daily tally sheets. Tuna are few and far between at the moment, with very small schools of smaller fish making short appearances only, particularly in and around the 95 Spot and Gorda Banks. Only a couple of boats were lucky to be in the area where tuna suddenly surfaced. Most of what's being reported as tuna is Pacific bonito and Blue or Black skipjack. Although these fish are all technically part of the tuna family, none of them are really considered by most as being a "Tuna" or at least a sport fish tuna, like the Yellowfin, except in the cases when targeted by fly-fishermen, or light tackle enthusiasts from pangas. When you hear about tuna catches, you should be expecting to hear about Yellowfin. Some of these reports you,re seeing are from charter operators trying to fill their boats. Pangas are targeting the smaller tuna species as mentioned above, as well as roosterfish, in the 10 to 20 pound range, which are still present throughout the gulf-side, right from Shmengy point eastwards. The roosters get larger, the further east you go, but numbers dwindle. There are still pargo around, if you can believe it, due to the lingering colder water, right in front of the Finisterra hotel, towards the Pedregal, but few people are catching them. They will NOT touch a live bait, no matter what you do. Toss a topwater lure or drag a Rapala-type lure right on through them and you'll have a better chance. Live bait is not always the best bet.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: BAJA ANGLERS, Cabo San Lucas, July 21, 2001, Grant Hartman, Reservations 888-588-3446. Hi Folks, Cabo is currently into it's seasonal water temperature transition period when the southerly warm water currents move north into our area colliding with the northerly cooler currents. This collision creates unstable water temperatures and an off green water color created by dying algae.
During this short period the fish turn off and the fishing is always kinda so-so.
When the warmer water pushes the cooler water north, expect the fishing to take off. Once the water warms up, it's fun time in Cabo when the offshore species come out to play. If you don't mind a little warm weather, come on down and have some fun, you might just get into some of the best fishing in your life.
Right now there are a noodles of striped marlin in the area. We are spotting as many as 20 marlin a day on the surface, but getting one to eat has been the problem. They are refusing even the choicest live baits thrown their way.
Some large 30 to 50-lb dorado are being caught as a bycatch while marlin fishing, but it's nothing to write home about.
Rumors are starting to grow of large tuna, dorado, and blue marlin way offshore. Expect these fish to work there way north as the water temperatures start to warm up.
Inshore fishing is slow right now. The inshore water temperatures fell 10 degree's last week dropping the water temperature into the high 60's. Again as soon as the water warms up a bit the fishing ought to take off for roosters and jacks.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: GORDO BANKS PANGAS, San Jose del Cabo, July 22, 2001, Eric Brictson, Reservations 800-408-1199; Fax 619-447-4098; 011-52-114-21147. It was a beautiful week in Southern Baja, with the exception of one day when the wind blew out of the south, the days were very calm, which made for great offshore fishing conditions. The water is back on a warming trend, after having cooled off inshore close to ten degrees last week. Anglers found that the fishing action also improved, most common catches for the panga fleets out of San Jose del Cabo were yellowfin tuna and amberjack, but there were also a good mix of other species being caught. Good supplies of mullet were available from the bait boats off of La Playita and for the second part of the week there were also live sardinas being netted off of Desteladera. The most consistent bite was off of Punta Gorda, in the spot known as " Zero ".
Quality sized amberjack were being taken by trolling live bait close off of Punta Gorda. It was especially good early in the morning before the crowds of boats made the fish shy. The largest amberjack of the week weighed in at 75 pounds, several others were over 50 pounds and they averaged about 25 pounds. Some pangas accounted for as many as 6 of the ambers during a morning charter. Most people that did troll for them in the right area, at least had several opportunities.
With the availability of sardinas the panga fleet located a good bite on yellowfin tuna within a mile of shore, at Punta Gorda. The fish would hit on both trolled and drifted sardinas, average fish weighed 25 to 35 pounds and the larger ones in the school were over 50 pounds. Many fish were hooked but a good majority were lost due to anglers using too light of line. It was wise to use at least 30 pound and preferably 40 or 50 pound, since were some larger tuna mixed in. The tuna that were brought to the fillet tables were noticeably filled to the brim with shrimp, but it did not keep them from feeding on sardinas. The bite would vary from one morning to the next, one day it would be a late bite and then the next the hot action would be early in the morning.
The offshore action is starting to heat up for blue marlin, as the cruiser fleet reported blues of up to 500 pounds. There was a particular productive area outside of the Outer Gordo Banks. The marlin were taken on the medium to large sized trolling lures. Dorado catches were still down from normal but there were a handful of monster bulls being landed, included one that was estimated at close to 75 pounds, caught from a La Playita panga.
Action along the shore continued to produce a mixed bag, but this past week the most common fish were jack crevalle, and some nice size specimens up to 25 pounds were taken. Some roosterfish are also being caught, but not in numbers that they were the past month. A few pargo, sierra and pompano rounded out the inshore action. Best success was by trolling either live mullet or sardinas.t
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: BAJA ON THE FLY, Buena Vista, July 25, 2001, Gary Graham, Reservations Tel 800-919-2252; Fax 760-746-7260. TEMPERATURES: High of 93 with a low of 80. Strong winds in the afternoon yesterday (Tues.). STRIPED MARLIN--Fair. YELLOWFIN TUNA--A few down toward Cabo Pulmo and Las Frailes. DORADO--A few being found early morning around the shark buoys. Larger fish are being found in open water. ROOSTERFISH--Good inshore action continues early morning and mid-afternoon in front of Buenavista Beach Hotel and Rancho Leonero. JACK CREVALLE--The bigger fish are seen close to the beach at Punta Arena. BARRILLETE OR MEXICAN SKIPJACK--Not much reported this week. PARGO AND CABRILLA--Reef in front of Hotel Rancho Leonero producing fair catches.
OFFSHORE: A blue here and there. With the Bisbee Black & Blue tournament going on for the next three days, I am sure some will turn up. INSHORE: Roosterfish, jacks and sierra provided the best opportunity this week. BEACH: Roosterfish strung out all along the beach from RBV to La Ribera.
QUICK COMMENT--Yesterday, while working at home on the computer, a couple of fly-fishers stopped by on their way home. They had experienced what I have been saying for the last month. They had very little action offshore and were asking if I knew something they didn't. When I told them how good the action had been close to shore they said, "... Oh, sure we know about that, but we got tired of catching roosterfish and jacks and wanted to do something different." Amazing! This is some of the best inshore fishing I have seen, but they only wanted to fish for something that wasn't biting. I think we will keep fishing for what is biting and let it go at that.
Aside from that, Hurricane Dalila is headed out to the west and except for some high clouds and pretty strong wind yesterday afternoon it had little influence on the area.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: RANCHO BUENA VISTA, Buena Vista, July 21, 2001, Tamara Moyeous, Reservations 800-258-8200. Reasonable good week with 80 degree water temperatures. Weather was nice and hot. Fishing netted 5 released striped marlin, 6 released blue marlin, 12 sailfish (10 released), 14 roosters, 52 dorado and 118 tuna. This weekend starts the 13th annual Crouch/Roberts Tag and Brag Tournament. Stay tuned for updates!! Best, Tami.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: RANCHO LEONERO, Bahia de Palmas,, July 21, 2001, John Ireland and Roy Baldwin, Reservations 800-646-2252; Hotel 011-52-114-10216. Hot weather, with daytime highs in the low to mid 90's, with warm evenings in the 80's, mostly sunny skies, flat seas with stable water temp in the mid 80's. Consistent warm water is helping the bite, with the East Cape Bisbee tournament starting next week, the blue marlin bite has improved, with fish spread throughout the bay, ave. 2-3 hooked daily (2 this week over 400lbs), mostly on darker colored trolled lures. Lots of sails within a mile of the beach, taking mostly live sardinas. A strong yellowfin bite the 1st half of the week, with fish ave. 15-25lbs concentrated 1-2 miles off La Ribera, with larger fish to 125lbs taken north off Cerralvo Island, exclusively on live sardinas. Schooling dorado have finally shown up, with fish ave. 7-10 lbs near the shark buoys taking live sardinas, while large solitary bulls to 67lbs were taking dark colored marlin lures outside. The inshore action remains active, with big pargo from 10-25lbs, roosterfish and amberjack all biting aggressively off most area beaches.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: HOTELS PALMAS DE CORTEZ, PLAYA DEL SOL, PUNTA COLORADA, East Cape, July 22, 2001, reported by Dave "Smokey" Manuel, East Cape Smokehouse, Hotel Reservations, 800-368-4334. The dueling Tuna and Dorado action of the midweek report was short lived as Dorado numbers came to a screeching halt the last three days. Tuna numbers dropped as well, but there was some success on Yellowfin in several spots. Most of the Tuna found were down to the South off Cabo Pulmo, Los Frailes and down near Destillederas. The bites ranged from just off shore 2 to 3 miles out to about the 15 miles mark and most fish taken were on Sardines. Sizes on most were the same as the midweek report, around the 20lb mark, but a few larger Tuna were mixed in also running from the 40 to 60 lb mark.
The exception was the big Tuna pictured here. Bo Clayton, Bill Elliot and John Irish had this fish come up and hit a yellow and green Marlin jig fishing on the "Dona" out of Hotel Playa del Sol. It weighed in at 231lbs and is the largest Yellowfin I've seen this season. We have for the last several years averaged one or two Tuna above the 300lb mark here on the East Cape, so this will perhaps be topped in the coming months, but it is still one hell of a fish. A few spots of Tuna swimming in with Porpoise were also found this weekend and large Tuna seen in these schools, however few were taken.
Numbers on Sailfish and Striped Marlin haven't changed since the last report, they're being caught daily, but the frequency of catches really isn't that great for this time of year. 100 charters caught a combined total of 33 this past weekend or a 33% average for you math challenged readers. In our past three seasons, Striped Marlin numbers had begun to fade by late July, but Sailfish have been more abundant, but this year we're still waiting for that. Blue Marlin however did show some indications of growing numbers. Blues very rarely ever will even get near the overall numbers that Striped Marlin can produce, but the past weekend we had the best numbers so far this season with 11 being caught or released on those same 100 reporting charters. A Black Marlin was also caught this weekend. Maybe the skippers are practicing up for the Bisbee or maybe there's just a few more fish showing up, I'm not sure. Sizes for the most part remain in the 250 to 350 lb range. Bait supply on big bait was adequate this weekend, however several charters were unable to find Sardines here in Los Barriles.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: JONATHAN ROLDAN'S TAILHUNTER ADVENTURE SERVICES, La Paz, July 22, 2001, Jonathan Roldan, Tel 626-333-3355; Fax 626-333-0115; Pager 323-349-8111; Message Pager 877-310-7734. The week started out at somewhat of a whimper around here. The great tuna bite at the north end of Cerralvo didn't just drop, it fell off the map just when I was telling everyone that we were finally into a consistent bite. Boats from both Las Arenas as well as La Paz had all been converging there at Punta Norte on yellowfin that had been going up to 90 pounds. Then all of a sudden fleets and anglers were left scrambling for other spots and we had a few days of a pick bite on whatever we could get.
During that time, Las Arenas boats shifted to south Cerralvo for a scratchy yellowfin bite of 20-40 pounders as well as doing a recon of the Punta Perrico area for 10 pound yellowfin with mixed success. They also worked the Castillo area in front of the Arenas lighthouse for occasional yellowtail as well as various other areas for small dorado and, of course, the saving roosterfish bite in bait balls in front of Arenas Beach where the pangas depart from.
The water in the area, again, went from blue to green here and there and temperatures shifted as well. One of the hightlights in the middle of the slack was the appearance of wahoo. No mistaking that we have wahoo right now with a number of anglers getting zipped and cut while fishing the tuna. Unfortunately, the wahoo around here seem reluctant to hit the wire and using wire means you won't get tuna bit! However, 9-year-old Ross Toussing spent an hour-and-a-half on a 55 pound 'hoo with 30 pound test when he snagged the fish in the flank and another 80 pounder was also caught by an angler who did the exact same thing!
The La Paz fleets were also scrambling a bit as well with a bit more success.
As the north Cerralvo bite tapered, the Gap between Cerralvo and Espiritu Santo got worked harder and kicked out dorado of varying sizes from 8-40 pounds depending upon the sargasso patch. Some days it was scratchy and others went WFO, but most boats at least seemed to get fish on most days..
As the week went on, the bite made a really nice comeback. The tuna at North Cerralvo again went on the chew with 40-50 pound fish rocking the pangas and boats getting 2-4 fish per day mostly on live and dead chunked sardines. Marine Col. Mike Jones of Vista CA, part of the Mike Mett's Group from San Diego is a La Paz first-timer and got an estimated 65 pounder. Coach Joey Fuschetti of Orange CA took a big boy on the yo--yo iron and 9 year old Alexander Kontomitras from Alabama tag-teamed with his dad, Forrest, to take a big 45 pounder in front of the Arenas lighthouse on 25 pound test, a bass reel and noodle stick that almost spooled him several times and took an hour-and-a-half to gaff and dragged the boat more than a mile!
On the La Paz side, the dorado also bullked up for a tour stop as well and limits of near limits was the rule rather than the exception later in the week as boats worked the sargasso spots on the Gap as well as in front of Las Cruces. Also, some boats finally went to El Bajo and, for really the first time, we got some good reports of 50 pound tuna and larger dorado coming off the high spot. Also, I saw quite a number of mako sharks on the surface, but wasn't able to bait any of the fish. For divers, water conditions are erratic, but improving. Visibility ranges from 20 to 70 feet depending upon the spot.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: HOTEL LAS ARENAS, Punta Arena de la Ventana, July 25, 2001, Linda Glassman-Davis, Reservations 888-644-7376. Captain's Buho, Johnny, Ramon Green, Chuy, Guicho, Cahora, Luciano, Charo, Zapata, Tolon, Lazaro, Ramon Lucero, Manuel Salvador, Israel, Tony, Johnny, Ramiro, Loreto, Beto, Fausto, Lazaro and Valente report: 78 yellowfin tuna to 77 pounds, 18 Dorado to 28 pounds, 12 Amberjack to 18 pounds, 11 yellowtail to 11 pounds, 28 pargo to 15 pounds; 3 roosterfish to 28 pounds; 1 striped marlin 88 pounds, 1 bonita to 4 pounds.
Thanks to Betsy and Gary Gillingham for making the 16th annual Roosterfish school, the largest and most successful event ever!!
LA PAZ, MEXICO: FISHERMEN'S FLEET, La Paz, David Jones, July 25, 2001, Hotel los Arcos, Reservations 011-52-112-21313; Fax 011-52-112-57334. As I mentioned in last Sunday's update, the fishing down here at the close of the week was miserable. A few nice fish, but compared to what you and I expect down here in July, a bust. Well, once we got over the moon stuff things have improved, perhaps not come roaring back as I had hoped, but definitely improved.
With the exception of Ted Howell and Willy Braddick, a couple of really good fishermen down from Washington and Idaho, who just had miserable luck, everyone else is starting to crank 'em in. Red Davis and his group down out of the California foothills from Jamestown have been doing very well on Dorado with Capt. Martin. They found some sargasso up around Las Cruces today and did well on fish to 40 pounds.
The Tuna are beginning to hit with an early morning bite at the Punta Arena Lighthouse and then later at the south point of Cerralvo Island. The Tuna are a little smaller than last week with 35 pounds being the average. Some big Marlin have been sighted down in front of Muertos, off the lighthouse, and at the South Point. Javier and I are going out to see if we can snag one of those tomorrow. A few Wahoo have been hooked, but none landed this week, and some nice Pargo are still coming off the south point for those wanting to work hard.
The weather is in flux, with out first real hurricane this summer coming past us yesterday. Some ground swell was noted, but she's out to sea now and seemingly forgotten. The last two afternoons have had the summer afternoon rain squalls that are so common down here in July and August, but these have been the first ones this year.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: CAMP GECKO, Bahia de los Angeles, July 25, 2001, Abraham Vazquez, Tel 011-52-515-19454; Fax 011-52-665-03206 (goes to Guillermo's), satellite EMAIL direct to Camp Gecko at L.A. Bay. Hi Gene, the weather has been holding steady but warm, during the day 96 with a cooling breezes, and at night 83 F, the humidity has been low up until today, and there has been no major prevailing winds for the past week, today we are getting a humid south -east wind, that will change condition no doubt, the water temperature cooled down at least 5 degrees during the new moon phase, very strong tidal variations and strong currents made for some strong upwelling that cooled the water in the channel down to 76 degrees and it turned green again affecting the fishing big time, as you might recall last week we where all excited because the dorado had finally showed up, they where not very big, but they were dorado never the less, this lasted for a few days in to the previous week, and then all at once the water cooled down and they disappeared, like magic, we haven't seen any for the last 5 days, even the rest of the fishing got affected severely, most of the boats including mine coming back empty handed (rare), finally yesterday big schools of yellowtail in the 15 lb range appeared again over by Quemado bay, and at Coronadito island even bigger 30 lb range fish, the white sea bass bite at Guadalupe reef, also died, as the current was too strong to be able to hit the bottom, but at the beginning of the week there was one WSB that weighed more than 60 lbs (sorry no picture) and today a boat from Chubascos fleet(Capt. Ponsona) came back again with 5 fish in the 40s. Bait has been easy to make this week mostly mackerel, and all the dorado have been on live or dead bait not on trolled feathers yet. the escalera nautica is still nothing more than a rumor, and one that's getting old now about to loose the momentum it never had, this coming week the town's traditional "fiestas del mar" will be held starting on the 2nd of august to the 5th, there will be a dance held in the town square every night, lots of food, and a carnival setting, fishing tournament on the 2nd and horse races, drag races, panga races, kayaking races, lots of cold beer and good friends and lots of hot weather. I might get a schedule today and send it if anybody is interested.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: TONY REYES FISHING TOURS, 6-day Midriff Islands trip aboard the panga mothership, Jose Andres, Tony Reyes, Exclusive booking agent, The Longfin, 714-538-8010, TRIP ENDING JULY 20, 2001. Water temperature 70 degrees. Fish count: 133 cabrilla 9-17 pounds; 98 yellowtail 35-44 pounds; 68 squid 15-45 pounds; 57 spotted bass; 22 pargo 10-12.5 pounds; 1 shark 19 pounds; 1 dorado 19 pounds, 1 sheephead 12 pounds. First place fish, Tom Montoya with a 44 pound yellowtail.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: SEA OF CORTEZ SPORTFISHING, 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, REPORT OF JULY 23, 2001. Clarence Becker of Upland Calif.led a charter of 18 fishermen this week. Dorado bite is still on but they are still on the small side. We fished them for 3 hrs one day because of this. We also had wind for a day and a half. This time of year conditions continue to change from trip to trip. Weather temp continues to climb. The air temp high was 94 and the water 73 to 82 degrees. We caught 102 yellowtail, 78 cabrilla, 67 dorado, 9 sheephead, 90 giant squid., and 185 misc. We released 3 grouper under 25 lbs and 2 golden grouper.