This week, the position of Western Outdoor News Baja Editor is assumed by Gene Kira, who follows in the footsteps of Ray Cannon, Tom Miller, and most recently, Fred Hoctor, who passed away late last month, after covering Baja California for this publication over the past 15 years.
Gene is the coauthor, together with the late Neil Kelly, of the fishing guidebook, The Baja Catch, and he is also author of the Baja literary novel, King Of The Moon; and The Unforgettable Sea Of Cortez, a pictorial biography of Ray Cannon and a history of Baja California's post-World War II "Golden Age" from 1947-1977.
Gene fell in love with Baja in 1964, and since then he's made over 200 overland trips down the length of the peninsula, staying mostly at fish camps with the local pangueros and their families, and fishing from a small aluminum boat. He claims to have caught and released over 10,000 fish of over 100 species "without using worms." In addition to his Baja travels, Gene has been the editor of a U.S. Air Force newspaper in northern Italy, a combat reporter/photographer in Vietnam, a daily newspaper editor in Rome, a magazine editor in New York, a farmer in California, and a night janitor in a mental hospital. He is an English literature graduate, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, of Columbia University.
"I feel very fortunate to have known and loved such an amazingly beautiful place as Baja California," Gene said, "and I hope to carry on the great tradition of Western Outdoor News, as the people of Baja move into a future full of possibilities and wonder."
ENSENADA, MEXICO: LILY FLEET, Ensenada, August 15, 2001, Sammy Susarrey, Reservations Tel/Fax, 5 to 9 p.m., 011-52-617-46747; Cell 011-52-618-67485. Today the Tamara fished with 2 anglers at the Lower 500 Bank and got limits of albacore, 4 dorado to 20 pounds, and 10 yellowtail to 15 pounds.
The best trolling colors are still Mexican flag, also purple/black Zukers. Today was bumpy, but with excellent fishing for the second day. We have nice green back sardines for bait. We are using one-ounce sinkers with the bait. The Lily also reported a good catch of calico bass at the Punta Banda rocks, and nice lingcod off the point.
AUGUST 8, 2001-- Today the Tamara fished at GPS numbers 31.46/117.06 with 5 anglers. Water temperature was 69.3 degrees. Twenty-three miles out from Marina Coral we found a big kelp paddy. We got 9 albacore to 10 pounds, 6 yellowfin tuna to 30 pounds, 3 bluefin tuna to 40 pounds, and 1 yellowtail at 20 pounds. All fish today hit live bait. We have sardines, small anchovies and some mackerel. The Amigo and the Lily reported local fishing was slow today.
PUERTO SANTO TOMAS, MEXICO: PUERTO SANTO TOMAS RESORT, Puerto Santo Tomas, August 14, 2001, Sam Saenz, Reservations Tel 714-256-2577; Ensenada 011-526-174-5683; Remote Santo Tomas Cell 011-52-617-13364, after 6 p.m. or 6:30-7:00 a.m. Hi Gene. The bottom fishing was excellent last weekend. The water was calm and no wind blew. They also caught one white seabass, one yellowtail, plus one salmon. We know the albacore and yellowfin tuna are within 10 to 15 miles from us within panga reach, but recently no one has requested that type of fishing. They have also been catching a few barracuda and bonita, but the bite has not been red hot.
This upcoming weekend we have a yellow fin tuna and albacore fishing reservation. We will report on our finding next week. I do not have access to the internet at Puerto Santo Tomas, and I get my email here in Ensenada once a week., consequently I can only answer on Tuesday or Wednesday. I am looking into satellite Internet service. If I can get such capability here in Mexico then I will really be in fat city.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: THE OLD MILL, San Quintin, August 19, 2001, Brenda Hayes, Reservations 011-526-171-3498. Wide open yellowtail!!! Plus, half-limits on albacore, dorado, yellowfin tuna, and white seabass!!!
This week brought a mixture of everything. But the title for the most fish (I'll say FULL limits) goes to Denny Gatten of San Bernardino, Vincent Vitalie of Apple Valley, and Donny Witherspoon of Crestline. Fishing 2 days, they landed full limits of yellowtail. On their first day they found a loaded paddy and filled the boat within one and a half hours by throwing iron and using live bait. Their second day, the bite was a little later because the live bait took a while to catch. They loaded up with yellowtail, 2 yellowfin tuna, and 2 dorado, with Denny landing the largest dorado at 22 pounds. Average size of the yellowtail was 18-22 pounds.
The albacore are still making a showing with the average of 2 per rod, only 15 miles off the point, caught by trolling. Average size is 12 pounds, although there were a few biggies over the weekend, one 23 pounder and a 36 pounder. White seabass can be found at San Martin Island using live bait, although they are running fairly small, 10-12 pounds.
Water temperature is 66-69 degrees, with foggy conditions in the morning, but pretty decent seas. Air temperature is high 70s to low 80s. A few yellowfin were caught on the troll, with average size being 12-13 pounds. Also, nice lingcod. In fact, Ron Ward of Corona landed one at 40 pounds. Beautiful! (If you can say that about a lingcod.)
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: BAJA ON THE FLY, San Carlos, August 18, 2001, Gary Graham, Reservations Tel 800-919-2252; Fax 760-746-7260. Temperatures: 86-degree high; low 73. cloudy. MARLIN--Best action reported was 15--20 miles west of the entrada. DORADO--Same area as the marlin produced good catches. TUNA--Plenty of action on football-sized fish several miles west of the Thetis Bank. YELLOWTAIL--Still a fair bite at the Thetis Bank. CORVINA--Good catches reported up by the Power Plant. SNOOK--Devil's Curve produced several larger snook this week. HALIBUT--Sand beaches on Magdalena Island are your best bet.
QUICK COMMENT--Both the inshore and offshore picked up this week. The marlin and dorado were close enough for even the panga fisherman this week. The Punta Redonda area produced some quality grouper and pargo. The best action was close to the shore using a 300-grain shooting head and a Chartreuse Baja Deep Diver with a slow retrieve.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: MAG BAY TOURS, Punta Hughes, August 18, 2001, Brian Freitag, Reservations 800-599-8676. After what seemed like a good start, with marlin and dorado showing up a month early, the water turned cold, and (contrary to some other people's reports) the fishing flat out died.
Well, the water is warming up again, and on Wednesday we sent a one-half day trip out to the Thetis. With the warming of the water, the big boys are starting to show again. Yellowfin, dorado, and marlin are in the area. Gerad and Lisa Wooters of Costa Mesa took the trip out to the Thetis and quickly returned with a 30-pound yellowfin and 4 dorado up to 25 pounds pulled out from under a kelp paddy. They saw "tons" of dorado, and said they could have pulled them in all day, but quit because that was enough to feed the camp for a few days.
Pargo, pargo, pargo, inshore and off the rocks in 5 -30 feet of water, 3 to 5 pounds, on Krocodiles.
The water is warming up rapidly (now in low 70s). Last week was pretty flat, but everyone still managed to get a few waves, especially the longboarders. A small swell was building Friday, and should last a few days. For the first time ever, we have completely sold out the surf season! Book your 2002 trip now!
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: PICANTE FLEET, Cabo San Lucas, August 17, 2001, Sergio Cortes, Reservations Tel 011-52-114-32474; Fax 011-52-114-35969. Fish available: striped marlin, blue marlin, wahoo, tuna & dorado. Water temperature: 80-86. Air temperature: 93/77. Humidity: 54%. Wind: 8-10 Knots (Pacific), 8-10 Knots (Sea of Cortes).
Fleet production (5 boats): 4 blue marlin, 1 striped marlin, 6 dorado & 7 yellowfin tuna.
Hot spots: 20-25 miles off Cerros de Arena (Pacific Ocean). Luckiest boat: Picante (40-foot Tollycraft). Captain: Emiliano Arenas. Angler: Carolina Arechiga. Production: 2 blue marlin 250-280 pounds (released), 1 Dorado 60 pounds.
Blue Marlin fishing is on right now! Big size dorado and yellowfin tuna have been caught as well. We have been fishing all along the Sea of Cortes and about 10 to 15 miles off Cerros de Arena in the Pacific Ocean. Some good size wahoo have been caught recently to 110 pounds. No storms near Los Cabos, great fishing days.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: PISCES FLEET, Cabo San Lucas, August 14, 2001, Tracy Ehrenberg, Reservations Tel 011-52-114-31288; Fax 011-52-114-30588. Wow, what can I say, but what a week. The Cabo fishing is wide open right now. A point in case is Rick Walsh, a 55-year-old cardiologist from Shaker Heights, Ohio. On August 11th Rick fished alone aboard his favorite boat Rebecca and had an amazing day. To start the day off right he released a 100-pound plus sailfish, and then went on to release 2 blue marlin, weighing from 230 to 260 pounds. He then followed this with a 120-pound striped marlin, and then to top off the day, released a 375-pound black marlin. Most people don't achieve this in a lifetime, let alone in a day.
If this wasn't enough Rick had also released two other blue marlin, aboard this same boat on August 9th. A group from Boulder, CO had a great day on August 13th aboard La Brisa. Greg & Jamie Keene, Mark Apounder, Victor & Terry Reposo released 3 blue marlin, ranging in size from 200 to 310 pounds, one sailfish at 125 pounds, and boated 2 nice dorado 45-60 pounds. There were also several other of our boats that had 2 blue marlin in a day, or a combination of sails, stripes and smaller game.
Basically this week, it was all or nothing. Those boats that got into billfish got, more than one and those that didn't caught small game alone, which was also excellent this week. Just a little over half the charters caught billfish this week, but the overall catch success rate was 82 percent. This is the best showing of blue marlin that we have seen in a long time. All of our blues this week took lures, with dark colors being the ones hit, such as purple, and red with black. Pisces anglers had a total of 22 blue marlin this week of which 19 were released, 5 striped marlin released, 5 sailfish released and 1 black marlin released.
OTHER SPECIES: Smaller game was also very good this week, and we are pleased to see some really nice tuna, although we only had a half dozen fish up to 60 pounds. We did hear of some fish up to 200 pounds. The tuna catches are improving and will continue to increase as we get into late summer and early fall. We had some beautiful dorado this week, up to 60 pounds, and the ever lucky Rick Walsh, mentioned above, claimed to have lost one at the leader between 90-100 pounds, whose head was as broad as a blue marlins'! Most boats got 1 or 2 dorado, but others were lucky to get as many as 6. John Henessey from El Segundo, CA did exceptionally well on small game with 7 dorado between 25 and 55 pounds, 2 nice yellowtail, one 30-pound wahoo and a couple of bonita--not bad for a morning. Inshore even some of the pangas have hooked up to blue marlin, but are scoring mostly dorado, some tuna and some roosterfish.
LOCATION: The best fishing was concentrated between Chileno and Punta Gorda, though some boats were also fishing the Old Lighthouse in the early morning, for small tuna and dorado.
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Clear, sunny skies, fairly calm seas, a little choppy on the Pacific. Daytime temperatures are pretty high, but nighttime temperatures are lower than normal. Average water temperature, 81 degrees. Best lures: purple/black, red/black for blue marlin, live bait for sailfish, striped marlin both, dorado and tuna a combination of lures and bait.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: REEL EASY SPORTFISHING, Cabo San Lucas, Mike & Renee Hebert, Reservations/Fax 011-52-114-33579, combined fleet report for El Chilito and Sea u Later, 10 trips ending August 16, 2001. Fish count: 5yellowfin tuna to 160 pounds; 1 wahoo, 35 pounds; 18 dorado to 50 pounds; 6 skipjack; 2 striped marlin to 100 pounds; 1 sailfish, 110 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: HOTEL SOLMAR SUITES, Cabo San Lucas, August 17, 2001, Dick Wilkes, Reservations Tel 800-344-3349. Fishing at Cabo this week remained close to shore, but stretched its reach from Chileno Bay on the Cortez to El Arco at the tip, and up to the Lighthouse on the Pacific, according to Rene Santa Cruz, fleet manager of Solmar Sportfishing Fleet. Solmar's boats found fish up to 5 miles off the Lighthouse, and to 6 miles off Chileno.
Under clear, sunny skies, and calm seas, John and Nancy Ortiz, San Pedro, CA, won Solmar's "big fish" award this week with the release of a 500-pound blue marlin. Fishing on the 33-foot Solmar I, the couple landed a number of dorado, but got "fish's revenge" in fighting 2 yellowfin tuna for up to 50 minutes each; both fish refused to surface, and the lines were broken off.
Chip and Rachel Tamagni, Atascadero, CA, released 3 striped marlin of 80 to 120 pounds, on Solmar III, plus 6 yellowfin tuna in the 15 to 20-pound range; the marlin all hit a purple lure. Topping that were Vinny Giglio and Orion Dragado, El Segundo, CA, with the release of 1 striper of 150-pounds, and 2 blues of 200 and 300 pounds; they were 19 miles offshore from El Arco on the 42-foot Solmar VIII Uniflite, and used purple/yellow lures.
Solmar fishing "regulars" for 10 years, Rick and Debbie Maple, Running Springs, CA, fished on the 28-foot San Lucas II, released a 250-pound blue marlin, and a 90-pound Pacific sailfish, boating and keeping a 50-pound dorado. All fish were attracted to red/green lures.
Santa Cruz reported that panga fishing is still a "hot item" at the Cape, because of the tranquil seas, and fish populating areas close to shore. Dorado, especially were pleasing to the anglers of the Solmar Fleet, including Ken Kaladas, San Jose CA, who boated 6 dorado in the 20-35-pound size, fishing 5 miles off the Lighthouse on the 23-foot Vigia inboard diesel super panga.
Dorado were the "fish of the week" for Solmar Fleet, with 162 recorded, and a balanced mix of blue and striped marlin, sailfish, yellowfin tuna, and roosterfish.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: GAVIOTA FLEET, Cabo San Lucas, August 17, 2001, Larry Edwards, Cortez Yacht Charters, Reservations 619-469-4255. Dorado counts shot up this week and the sizes continue to be amazing. Many of the dorado are tilting the scales at the 50-pound plus mark and it seems that the smaller fish are an exception to the rule. Blue marlin actions continues with about a 30% chance of catching one this week, along with stripers and sailfish. Also, more yellowfin tuna are beginning to show up in the area. Overall counts reflected 5 blue marlin (1 released), 8 stripers (6 released), 2 sailfish (including a 120-pounder taken by San Diego angler, Farron Chistianzon, fishing aboard the Gaviota III), 13 yellowfin tuna, and 72 dorado.
Cabo weather was good until this morning, when rain and squalls hit, closing the port for the remainder of the day. Boats got out but had to return early. Seas conditions were very good until the squalls, then rough and choppy. Water temperature is 82-84 degrees. Best fishing is from out in front of Chileno Bay to above and outside the Gordo Banks, 5-15 miles offshore. Most blues are being taken on artificials, stripers on live bait and artificials, sails on live bait, and dorado on artificials, often with a second fish on live bait.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: JEFF KLASSEN SPORT FISHING, Cabo San Lucas, August 11, 2001, Jeff Klassen, Reservations Tel 360-402-3474. Great news on almost all counts from Cabo. Overall fishing has picked up greatly with catches of all species being reported. What a nice change it is to say that. Let's start with the offshore fishing. The transition from striped marlin to blue marlin has almost completed. Blue catches outnumber stripers now 2 to 1, which is nice. Finally, some billfish that are hitting lures. The blues aren't really big yet, with most fish being between 150 and 250 pounds. No real preference to lure color yet. They're just really starting to show and they seem to be somewhat aggressive, hitting all kinds of colors and lure shapes/sizes. Straight on out to about 10 miles, then turn northwest up the Pacific, towards Jaime Banks. The Gorda Banks, up the east side, has billfish too, but mainly stripers and sailfish. We actually had a boat last week back in by 11 a.m., too pooped to continue, after landing and releasing 4 blue marlin, a striper and a sailfish. That was a pretty good day compared to most however, as an average catch would include 1 to 3 billfish with assorted tuna or dorado, depending on where, how and who you are fishing with. Tuna have started to show up now as well, right on time. Most of the schools encountered at the moment are made up of 10 to 20-pound fish, however, some 50s and 60s have also been landed. Although these fish are showing up along both sides, the gulf-side, from Cerro Colorado onwards to the Gorda Banks would be your best areas to target them. Let's hope the commercial tuna guys don't get wind of this and rape the area again, wiping them completely out of the area, as they did recently. Tuna feathers and live sardines are working the best for these fish. Dorado have also finally showed, after a dismal, flaccid June and July, when the big bulls should have showed and really didn't. These fish aren't the real juicy big ones, but also aren't the real puny ones either. Most are in the 20 to 40-pound range, which is alright with most meat and potatoes fishermen. Good all around lure colors right now would be Mackerel, Flying Fish and Bleeding Mackerel. The Petrolero, as hideous as it is, is always a popular color combination.
Of course, now that I'm gone, the rooster-fishing has picked up dramatically, right inside the bay as a matter of fact. From Villa Del Pal Mar, all the way to Shmengy Point (Las Primeras Piedras) has been great from what I hear. Most of the fish are being caught on live bait, since no one casts lures along the shoreline, and fish average 12 to 20 pounds, with some getting to 40 or so. Surf fishermen have been trying their luck with some success at Cabo Del Sol, as well as around Hotel Twin Dolphin for jacks, hawkfish and bigeye trevally. Pacific-side shore anglers are still pitching Rangers along the sandy beaches, particularly from Migrino up further north to El Cajoncito. I also heard from several people who've eyeballed the odd sharks, cruising along the shoreline. A big old chunk of tuna or a three-quarter section of mackerel or caballito will attract one of these, then, hold on tight!
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: GORDO BANKS PANGAS, San Jose del Cabo, August 19, 2001, Eric Brictson, Reservations 800-408-1199; Fax 619-447-4098; 011-52-114-21147. The weather continued to be hot and humid, with lots of sunshine. Throughout most of the week offshore conditions were very calm, but on Friday the seasons first rain squall swept in from the east. The rainfall was desperately needed, the perfect amount. Skies cleared later in the afternoon. For the anglers who were out on the water that morning, they will not soon forget how quickly the morning changed. It started out like a normal calm day, the fish were biting too, but conditions turned for the worse about 9 a.m. The wind was swirling with gusts to 40 miles per hour and more. Saturday was once again a beautiful, still day, with only some scattered clouds.
Overall fishing action out of the San Jose del Cabo area has been excellent. The black and blue marlin went on the first really big bite of the summer on the Gordo Banks, as marlin weighing from 200 to 600 pounds were landed, many by the panga fleets out of La Playita. The preferred technique has been to troll larger live baits around the vicinity of banks, where baitfish such as small yellowfin tuna, skipjack and bolito are schooling. Others anglers reported hookups on blue marlin while trolling with larger lures further offshore in the blue water. Water temperatures are now in the 80s and should be similar for the next couple of months. Clarity has still been up and down. The storm on Friday stirred the water up but it is now on the clearing trend.
Yellowfin tuna were dominating the action for the panga anglers and the bite was incredible, with the Outer Gordo Banks being the new hot spot. They also are hitting throughout the region but the most wide open action is coming from Outer Gordo. The fish are striking on both chunk bait and live sardinas, which in recent days have been available off of Palmilla beach. Average size tuna was 30 to 50 pounds, with some even larger ones mixed in. Everyone was catching fish and most people were deciding to come in early after catching their fill. Most boats were coming in with from 6 to 10 fish in combination. Dorado were also being caught everyday but in limited numbers, hitting on bait and lures, found in small schools in the same areas as the yellowfin. Most of the dorado being caught have been in the 10 to 20 pound class but there were several nice bulls to over 55 pounds accounted for.
Wahoo had showed some signs of increased activity the past week, hitting on lures in the areas to the north of Punta Gorda, but in recent days only a stray fish or two were being reported each day.
Inshore action was very good for medium-sized roosterfish, while trolling with sardinas and mullet. Most of the roosters weighed less than 20 pounds, but a few monsters also were still hanging around. The mullet have really been abundant off of La Playita this summer, but now it does appear that the last schools are starting to migrate elsewhere.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: BAJA ON THE FLY, Buena Vista, August 19, 2001, Gary Graham, Reservations Tel 800-919-2252; Fax 760-746-7260. TEMPERATURES: High of 93 with a low of 80. Wind and rain on Friday and cloudy Saturday. STRIPED MARLIN--Good catches on Wednesday. YELLOWFIN TUNA--Larger fish underneath the porpoise outside of Cabo Pulmo. DORADO--Slowed down somewhat this week. ROOSTERFISH -Good catches at La Ribera. JACK CREVALLE--Big schools cruising up and down the beaches from Punta Arena to Rancho Buena Vista. BARRILLETE OR MEXICAN SKIPJACK--A few scattered outside of La Ribera. PARGO AND CABRILLA--In front of Punta Colorada produced a few this week.
OFFSHORE: Action for billfish picked up midweek. INSHORE: Dorado and roosterfish provided the best action midweek. BEACH: From the lighthouse to La Ribera was great early morning.
QUICK COMMENT--Offshore the billfish action was great on Wednesday and then on Friday we had a storm come through that prevented most of the boats from getting out. Russell and Janis Sylvester from Elliot Me had great fishing on the pontoon for roosters and managed to land a handful.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: RANCHO BUENA VISTA, Buena Vista, August 18, 2001, Tamara Moyeous, Reservations 800-258-8200. Dear Gene. Just returned from RBV, had a fabulous time. First day out we hooked a big blue marlin. Captain Jose Manuel said "250." I fought him for 1 hour 21 minutes when my arms gave out, handed the rod to my beau and he landed him in 16 minutes. Big fish. Took the picture and the marlin yanked free and swam away. Later after seeing a minnow of a striper at 200 pounds we checked and were told ours was 250 kilos!!!! Wow, first time ever.
Fish count is 3 stripers, 12 blues (all but 2 marlin released), 4 sails, 3 dorado, 48 tuna and one wahoo. The weather is in the 90s, water temperatures in the 80s. Afternoon wind was welcome! Larry and Debbie Lombard of Emmett, ID each caught 275-pound marlin on 30-pound test. Laurie Webb of West Palm Beach, FL caught a 100-pound yellowfin tuna. Thanks and best regards, Tami.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: HOTELS PALMAS DE CORTEZ, PLAYA DEL SOL, PUNTA COLORADA, East Cape, August 19, 2001, reported by Shannon Moe, and by Dave "Smokey" Manuel of East Cape Smokehouse, Hotel Reservations, 800-368-4334. Hi Gene. Out of the Van Wormer resorts, 230 charters brought in 675 fish including 43 blue marlin, 32 striped marlin, 16 sailfish, 107 dorado, 415 yellowfin tuna, 17 wahoo, 1 amberjack, 3 cabrilla and 41 roosterfish. The billfish bite seemed to be picking up as of last weekend.
Water temperature 78-85. Air temperature, highs 92-98, lows 80-82. Seas, some wind and swells Tuesday through Thursday.
Yesterday morning when I normally would sit down to work on this, a butt kicking squall moved in off the Sea of Cortez which required a schedule change on my part. Time to put away the patio furniture, close the windows and doors and stow away everything and anything not tied down. The storm moved in from the North just after 8 a.m. and within minutes turned a calm Sea of Cortez into a really ugly place to be. Without exception, all boats out reversed course and tried to beat the storm back to the beach. Within an hour of the storms arrival, the shore break in all but a few spots grew too large to get a shore boat through and those spots that were passable were difficult and dangerous at best. Things calmed down enough by early afternoon to get everybody off the water on shore and besides a few mechanical problems and wild boat rides, all is back to normal.
I've got to mention two local anglers I know, Big Jim and Brian C. from Costa Brava Park in Los Barriles. These two were a good distance off Punta Pescadero in their seperate tin boats when the storm hit. They spent the better part of 5 hours navigating their 15 or 16-foot tin boats back through the storm in seas that made 30-foot cruiser crews wince and moan. Good going guys, that must have been some ride!
The sheer numbers of fish caught this period was not as good as it gets, but the sizes of tuna and dorado species caught certainly made up for it. Although dorado fishing continues to be on the slow side overall, a few good spots were found off Punta Pescadero and down at Destillideras where multiples were boated. Many of the fish taken from these spots ran in the 30 and 40-pound class, with a few over 50 pounds. Yellowfin tuna are scattered all over the place, most in with schools of porpoise and a few others found down near the Gordo Banks while drift fishing sardines.
I did a survey of average tuna sizes on Monday and Tuesday and here's what I found during those two days: 28% of catch was 20 pounds and under, 41% of catch ran 30 pounds to 50 pounds, 25% of catch ran 70 pounds to 90 pounds and 6% of catch was over 100 pounds. Those are good quality averages. Add to that a 202-pound tuna caught out of Playa del Sol on Thursday and I'll call it a good tuna week.
I heard the same story several times. Porpoise schools were consistently found with many more tuna in them lazily swimming along than there were feeding aggressively on the surface, so they're here and if they get aggressive, it's gonna be better than good.
The overall average on blues dropped from the previous report, but this may be due more to a change in locations than of fewer fish. Previously the most consistent waters ran out and to the south, this period the most consistent fishing was north, outside of Punta Pescadero and I think it took a day or so to move with the fish. Reports of blues to the south off Los Frailes and out are still coming in, but many of the reports of multiple catches on blue marlin were from the Pescadero vicinity. Striped marlin action slowed from the previous report, but a jump in sailfish averages was noted, nearly double of the past weekend.
This report period's success rate on landing one of the billfish species was 59%, down from a 73% rate last report. Unfortunately, that little spurt of encouraging wahoo fishing we had 10 or 12 days ago seems to have disappeared; only 3 were reported this week on 152 charters.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: BUENA VISTA BEACH RESORT, Buena Vista, August 17, 2001, Axel Valdez, Reservations 800-752-3555. Total boats out: 68. Weather: high 80s-low100s. Water temperature: 80-83. Fish count for the week (kept/released): blue marlin 2/6; striped marlin 1/1; sailfish 1/19; dorado 106/8; tuna 43/0; wahoo 2/0; roosterfish 1/24; grouper 4/0; snapper 2/0; jack crevalle 0/6; amberjack 19/0; bonita 0/2; yellowtail 1/0; triggerfish 8/0; sierra 9/0; skipjack 5/6.
The Fishing Gods have answered our prayers. Fishing is a lot better and finally a lot more consistent. On Friday we had a "COLLA" or "TRIBUNADA", this is a small Sea of Cortez storm, which is created at the entrance of our sea. It normally last about two-three hours, and yes, it does get a little bumpy. We had 13 boats out, some came right back, and others stayed out and caught good fish. The bad thing is that we had the pontoon fly fishing boat out, this one really got hit by the small storm. SUMMER!!! YES the best fishing season of all.
Most of the fleet is going south. Still, the buoys close to La Rivera and Pescadero are producing good dorado. The crew is working with the biggest lures in their arsenal, and the big dorados and the blues are hitting them. This week, we are adding the small lures for dorados.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: RANCHO LEONERO, Bahia de Palmas, August 18, 2001, John Ireland and Roy Baldwin, Reservations 800-646-2252; Hotel 011-52-114-10216. Warm weather, with daytime highs in the low 90s, morning lows in the 70s, mostly sunny skies, flat mornings with afternoon breezes, and water temperature about 82-84 degrees.
Decent fishing continues with a lot of large quality fish. However not in a quantity we'd like to see. Big tuna and blue marlin are south, with schooling dorado and a good roosterfish bite, although down from last week's awesome bite.
Yellowfin--Smaller tuna inside, from 10-30 pounds. Big tuna to 134 pounds, average 60 pounds biting outside under porpoise. A long boat ride for the big fish, with live caballitos, sardinas, Rapalas and cedar plugs all producing well.
Blue Marlin--A lot around, very spread, with most taken outside, from 10-25 miles offshore. Larger than last week, fish from 250-400 pounds taking darker colored lures, green/black working best.
Roosterfish--Very active, with limits for all anglers targeting roosters. Smaller this week, with fish averaging 10 pounds active off our south beaches, with live caballitos and sardinas working best.
Dorado--Seeing more this week. Fish are finally schooling off Punta Colorada, with fish from 10-15 pounds taking live sardinas and bright colored hoochies.
Angler of the Week--"Paco" Santa Cruz of La Ribera, Baja Sur, while fishing 1 day on a panga, won the local La Rivera fishing tournament with a 309-pound blue marlin.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: VISTA SEA SPORT, Buena Vista, August 16, 2001, Mark Rayor, Reservations, 011-52-114-10031. Current water conditions at Cabo Pulmo. Visibility 60-100+. Water temperature: surface, 84; at depth, 79-82. Mild current. Punta Perico, Cerralvo Island and dive sites to the north have the best conditions at this time. Common sightings on most dives: parrotfish, panamic pork fish, king angelfish, cortez angelfish, moorish idols, butterflyfish, porcupine and guinea fowl puffers, coronetfish, stone scorpionfish, goatfish, cabrilla, sergeant majors, and many varieties of moray eels, grunts, snappers, damsels, wrasse, hawkfish, blennies, jacks, surgeonfish, starfish, gobies, grouper, and grunts.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: JONATHAN ROLDAN'S TAILHUNTER ADVENTURE SERVICES, La Paz, August 19, 2001, Jonathan Roldan, Tel 626-333-3355; Fax 626-333-0115; Pager 323-349-8111; Message Pager 877-310-7734. Hoooohaaaaaa...what a roller coaster week we have had!
Where the heck to I begin? Early in the week, Bob Horton of Chub Tackle and Rabbi Shelly Donell's boys were here and went home with full coolers! Week started off kinda bouncy. I mean really bouncy at Las Arenas! Still managed to rip on some nicer tuna and scattered dorado as well as yellowtail, a wahoo (way to go, King Gama!); and nice biters on sailfish including Bob Griffiths' 150-pounder. First cast of the day. First bait...billfish takes it and SCREAMS for the island! He had just mentioned that it would be nice to hook his first billfish and I told him that anytime he has a line in the water, ANYTHING could bite! He said he was a lucky fisherman because he always spit on his bait before he casts it out! Whatever...hahahahaha!
Best biter of the early week was Richard Schwartzberg and Louis Magabgab. Took a long shot and ran to my honey hole at La Reynita near the north end of Cerralvo Island. No one has been there in a week and wow they spanked some nice 50-pound tuna. Half a dozen big boys in the box, but sure enough, true to form, the area shut down the next day, but we did get quite a few biters on sailfish and the Dome at the south end of Cerralvo put up a steady chew of 30-40 pound fish. Eric Endara of Paso Robles is 15 years old and finally nailed his first tuna and dorado fishing with me and like a good sport ATE THE HEART!!!! Full on bite and chew! He's a champ!
Early in the week we also had a good snap of dorado continue off Espiritu Santo Island, but the surprise was that Punta Lobos suddenly went ballistic with 50-pound toad yellowfin. This is the same area that kicked out the big fish last year during August. It's short. It's sweet, but it's white-knuckle back breaking fishing! I was on a boat with 6-year-old Connor Hayward and Eric Endara and no more than 50 yards off the cliffs, the big boys came to play! Eric hooked and lost one after 20 minutes, and I hooked one and tried to hand it to Connor who was a tad overmatched since he probably weighs 40 pounds dripping wet. Anyway, we got that fish and it was a 70-pound class YFT! Moved outside for dorado and while we were pulling on a 40-pound dorado, Eric hooked a 250-pound class blue marlin while soaking a sardine with 25-pound line. The fight didn't last long, but it was killer adrenaline rush! Some of the guys moved back inside towards the island as the bite turned sludgy and nailed cabrilla and some decent sized dorado.
As the bite went on, the best tuna bite rolled to SW Cerralvo Island. Not WFO, but pretty solid. Mr. Whopper Stopper, Ed Robison, Computerman Bill, Derrick and Rex Hamilton were with me managed to put the stop on half-a-dozen 30-40 pounders rounded out by Derrick's hour-and-a-half battle with a gorilla that left him like a major gumby man and shaking with arm and hand spasms, but grinning pretty big time!
The biggest kick in the short-and-curlies was Friday. Have you ever had one of those days when you might as well have stayed in bed? The whole armada was out at Arenas ready to go hand-to-hand again with the tuna horde. Mark Martis and Forrest Kontomitras brought their guys back again and were primed. But Mother Nature threw us another curve. I mean, what are the chances that a freak hurricane hits us? Yup, a freakin' hurricane, better knows as a "torito" ( little bull) rises off the north side of Cerralvo and swept down like a black curtain. We went from table flat waters to suddenly finding ourselves surfing down the faces of 6-8 foot wave faces! Winds to 40 knots whipped rain sideways on us and stung like mini-buckshot drenching us to the skin! Boats raced for the beaches. Gotta tell ya, it was more than a little nervous time although in the panga with Mark Martis and his dad we tried to keep it light by...yes singing songs like "Gilligan's Island," "The Pirates of the Caribbean" and various Hawaiian songs! Hey...don't laugh until YOU see what it's like surfing a 23-foot panga 35 degrees down the face of a wave into a trough with another wave ready to break over your bow and rain and wind whipping your butt side! Never let 'em see you sweat, but wow..that was pretty exciting. All of us got in, thankfully, but the port captain at La Paz did shut down all boat traffic for the day and a search and rescue was sent out for one private boat that got lost at sea. Gnarly stuff! Anyway, lost a day of fishing, but glad everyone of our people was safe.
Next day, you'd have never known anything had happened. Blue skies and blue waters! The Las Arenas bite didn't fully recover, but for Saturday, most boats took tuna between 5 and 40 pounds with a small mix of dorado. The biggest surprise was the explosion on El Bajo! It's done this before, then disappointed us as we raced back out there, but from what my people told me, "The waters exploded with 100-pound tuna! We could have caught all we wanted!" Ed Robison got 5 up to 60 pounds, "that was all I could handle!" then found a kick of dorado and put another 4 fish on the boat. Derrick Hamilton, still sore from his almost two hour battle the previous day, got 3 fish with the largest going 80-90 pounds! We'll keep ya posted on whether this hold on!
I'm taking a break next week from Baja, but not from work. Going to change latitudes and attitudes and head to Sitka, Alaska to take some folks to visit Mike and Karen Keating who own Big Blue Charters. I'll keep you posted! Ha... this will be fun having to wear a jacket while I fish! A Kodak moment!
LA PAZ, MEXICO: HOTEL LAS ARENAS, Punta Arena de la Ventana, August 13, 2001, Linda Glassman-Davis, Reservations 888-644-7376. Captains: Chuy, Adrian, Cachora, Daniel, Fidel, Fausto, Ramon Lucero, Lazaro, Tony, Beto, Tolon, M. Salvador, Zapata and Ramon Green reported excellent fishing this weekend!!! Fish count: 6 yellowtail to 15 pounds; 18 tuna to 65 pounds; 20 dorado to 48 pounds; 1 wahoo at 20 pound; 1 sailfish at 100 pounds; 3 cabrilla to 10 pounds; 5 pargo to 8 pounds.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: FISHERMEN'S FLEET, La Paz, August 19, 2001, David Jones, Hotel los Arcos, Reservations 011-52-112-21313; Fax 011-52-112-57334. There is good news. After a mediocre start to the week, with weather playing a major factor, we've finished strongly on both the meteorogical and piscatorial fronts.
Early in the week Kelly Anne Jones, and Larry and Pressy Carter of Temecula had a couple of smallish dorado, a couple of medium tuna, and a smallish (18 pound) wahoo. That catch was representative of the "fleet" with the exception that a few of the tuna were in the 60-pound range, especially those from the "El Faro Viejo" area of the island.
Glynnis and I encountered one of these beasties just the next day, while using 30-pound line. Glynnis took a turn, I took a turn, Enrique took a turn, and then I finished off "The People's Fish" (reminds me of the Berkeley days). That day was on the slow side until we pulled up on El Castillo to finish up the day drifting for a dorado or two. While none of them obliged us, I did make use of the Arma Secreto (YoZuri Hydro Metal Yo-Yo jig). On three drifts over the rock pile I took a 14-pound amberjack, a 12-pound yellowtail, a 6-pound huachinango (which became that night's dinner), and a 22-pound yellowtail, ably assisted by Miss Glynnis who finished up these guys after I did the easy part.
We figured that retiring undefeated was the way to go and so we headed for the beach. A nice day, but not the wide open stuff that great fish reports are made of. Things got worse, with the weather becoming a little unstable, culminating in last Friday, where our boats came back early (10 a.m. in La Paz) due to rain squalls and wind. One of the boats had 6 dorado in the 45 minutes that they got to fish, but that was the only bright note on a grim day.
Saturday our intrepid fishermen, led by the indefatigable William Osborne of Phoenix, headed out again and did much better, with a typical count being 3-4 dorado and a like amount of tuna in each boat. The dorado were up to 38 pounds, and the tuna almost twice that. That sort of fishing continued today (Sunday) with the addition of a couple of wahoo as well. Now that's more like it, with brilliant weather, bait just volunteering to be netted, and cooperative fishes, the last couple of days have put a great finish on a week that was okay, but just okay. There were also reported sightings of Scuba Steve, one of our icons down here, but as of yet we have only heard the rumblings and have not basked in the warm glow of his Scubaness. --Have fun, David Jones.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: MEMO'S FLEET, La Paz, August 19, 2001, Guillermo Chavez, Reservations Tel/Fax 011-52-112-27835. Hi Gene!! Here, we are waiting for the next tournament, hope the big ones run in a big numbers by then. Yesterday rains over the ocean and the wind blow so the scattered weed patches scattered more, but the water temperature is fine and the blue color is still all the way inside so the big game is around but feeding at mid-water. At the Bajo del Charro and north of La Reyna we spotted a nice school of sailfish, but they weren't interested. Tunas still feeding at El Bajo. I hope they stay there, because I'm looking for new recipes to cook them.g
LORETO, MEXICO: ARTURO'S SPORT FISHING, Loreto, August 16, 2001, Arturo Susarrey, Reservations Tel 011-52-113-50766; Fax 011-52-113-50022. Weather: This week we experienced less wind but the temperature remained high and the humidity increased for a couple of days. Water temperature: 80. Dorado fishing was slow in the early part of the week, but it began to pick up yesterday, with fish being found near San Bruno from 20 to 35 pounds. Today more dorado were located south between Monserrate Island and Catalina Island, from 15 to 26 pounds. Lots of sailfish are being taken in the San Bruno area. Sardines can be caught in the early morning hours and is usually the best bait for fly-fishing. We recommend buying bait for $1 each; this way you do not lose fishing time. If however, you want to catch it, try at the Coronado Island lighthouse 6-6:30 a.m.
MULEGE, MEXICO: READER REPORT FROM RON GRANT, August 13, 2001-- Weather hot with high humidity, normal for this time of the year. Water calm until noon when the south winds come up and chopping things up. Really no reason being out, as an early morning bite and back in with limits before noon.
Lots of dorado within 10 to 12 miles off the lighthouse. Not much in weed lines but no problem finding the fish. If you head out 65 to 70 degrees off the lighthouse and drop the feathers, any color, you will hook up in short order. Then use cut bait of live bait and you will pick up several fish a stop. The dorado are running 18 to 30 pounds.
For your San Lucas Cove campers. The local panga fisherman are getting the giant squid between San Lucas Cove and San Marcos Island between sunset and sunrise. They are cleaning their catch on the way back to San Lucas making a large feeding area for all type fish from dorado, bonita and skipjack and everything between. Its great daytime fishing close to the cove for the private boaters. Runway at Serenidad just graded this past week. --Ron Grant Crestline, CA.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: CAMP GECKO, Bahia de los Angeles, August 19, 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. The fishing is just incredible at the moment, dorado under every paddy and some of the 40-pounders.
The temperature is warm. For 4 days of last week the temperature was over 95 and the humidity high. After that the heat decided to give us a break and the temperatures now are 90 during the day and 85 at night. It is still humid, in excess of 70% most of the days. The skies have been partly cloudy, and the winds non-existent to moderate southeast breezes. The water temperature has gone up to 82 out in the channel. There are areas of blue water, and lots of green water. The visibility varies from 20 feet to 65 feet.
We (the guides) have been very busy, as there is a gold rush going on. The dorado action has mainly been south towards Animas Bay and Animas Point. Most of the dorado are found under paddies, but some also close to structure.The size range is from 8-22 pounds.
The yellowtail action has remained steady, with fish that vary in size from 12 to 28 pounds depending on the spot you find them at. They have been taken on live macks on the dropper loop, and a few more on blue/white jigs. Most of the days you can count the catch with just one hand, and some days with no hands.
There have been a few nice-size groupers in some of the reefs while dropping the baits, and today Igor found red snapper of good size over at Guadalupe reef. The bait has been easy to make, mostly in the middle of the bay at about 120 feet deep and catching them 40 feet from the surface. There are also great amounts of sierra mackerel of good size inside the bay, easy to catch by trolling chrome jigs. There is an unusual amount of flying fish (I have never seen so many ) and everything seems to be pigging out on them.
The road is still in good condition but going down. Still no gas station in town, but the gas is always available for 130 pesos for 20 liters.
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 August 17, 2001. Trip Number 17 out of San Felipe. Water temperature is 75 degrees. Fish count for the week: 163 spotted bass; 42 cabrilla, 10-14.5 pounds; 30 yellowtail, 24-32 pounds; 24 dorado, 8-14 pounds; 14 red snapper, 8-12 pounds; 7 white seabass, 25-61 pounds; 6 grouper, 40-90 pounds; 5 sheephead 6-8 pounds; 1 black sea bass, 55 pounds; 1 broomtail grouper, 14 pounds. Biggest fish: Donald Hanes, 90-pound grouper.
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, trip edning August 16, 2001. What was mostly a family oriented trip of 4 different families from northern California, Las Vegas, and Ohio found excellent weather conditions. There was not much wind and slack tides, good weather. The water temperature was high 86-74. The air temperature was high 9476. Seventy percent of the fish were caught at San Lorenzo and San Esteban. There was plenty of live bait and fresh dead. Fish count: 86 yellowtail, 41 cabrilla, 14 pargo, 18 giant squid, 199 spotted bay bass, 49 dorado, 4 shark, 4 grouper, 196 miscellaneous. No trips for next few weeks.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: ARIES SPORTFISHING FLEET, Mazatlan, August 17, 2001, Larry Edwards, Cortez Yacht Charters, Reservations 619-469-4255. The action continues to focus on dorado at the shark buoys and the numbers remain significant. Only a single billfish was reported this week, a 212-pound blue marlin, taken aboard Aries I by Los Angeles angler, Christian Woods. This dorado action is very conducive to fly fishing and for the light tackle enthusiast, and it would be easy to spend the entire day enticing dorato to the flies and top water plugs. Overall counts reflected 1 blue marlin and 148 dorado, mostly in the 15-45 pound range.
Mazatlan weather was hot and humid, near 100 degrees, with some night rains. Seas were warm with water temperatures pushing into the mid-80s, calm and clear. The blue was taken on a rigged bait. Dorado could be taken on live bait, strip bait, slow trolled baits, and a host of artificials, both top water and underwater.