CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Southern Baja was recovering energetically and quickly last week from the massive flooding caused by Hurricane Juliette. In Cabo San Lucas, the transoceanic ferry was arriving for the first time in 15 years, bringing large trucks with supplies. Helicopters were taking food, water and other necessities to outlying areas, and an army of massive repair rigs was replacing power lines and poles between San Jose del Cabo and La Paz.
By last weekend, the only remaining highway areas passable only with 4WD were at two points south of Todos Santos on the west coast, and two points straddling Los Barriles-Buena Vista on the east coast. These were expected to be open to all vehicles within 48 hours. Cabo San Lucas itself was affected more by hurricane flooding and wave damage than by wind. In the northern colonias of La Gunita, Mesa Colorada, and Lomas del Sol, hundreds of houses were washed away. Many substantial buildings were destroyed, including two-story concrete block homes, and thousands of people were displaced.
At week's end, there were still shortages of some fresh foods, and especially gasoline, which was arriving by ferry from La Paz, and also in small drum lots brought overland with difficulty via the damaged Todos Santos highway. When gasoline did arrive at the Pemex stations, it was rationed out, and very long lines quickly formed. However, the supply was always enough to permit steady, if light, local vehicle traffic. Bottled drinking water, sodas, basic foods, and other essentials were readily available in markets throughout the city, and the major hotels were open with all services.
In central Cabo San Lucas, communications and power were 90% restored by the weekend. Although water was still being distributed by tank truck due to a break in the pipe coming from San Jose del Cabo, on Saturday morning, the health department permitted downtown restaurants to reopen for the first time since the storm.
Just outside the center of the city, the Vagabundos del Mar Trailer Park lost half of its front wall, and palapas, boats and vehicles were partly buried at the park's western side. The Country Club golf course and housing development lost its office building and was damaged by erosion, but no homes were destroyed there.
Storm damage to buildings around the Cabo marina was light. A survey last weekend showed some roof tiles missing from a few buildings, and only one storefront with broken glass windows.
In the marina itself, a number of floating docks were sunk or destroyed on both sides of the entrance channel and in front of the Hotel Plaza las Glorias, which itself was undamaged. Most harbor debris had been cleared away, except for one of the docks at the Plaza las Glorias, which remained partially sunk there. The old fuel dock near the entrance channel was destroyed by the storm and had been cleared away. The inner fuel dock near the Plaza las Glorias was functioning. On Saturday morning, a minimum of 63 boats left the harbor to fish. On a historic note, the old cannery pier was reduced to a few pilings sticking up out of the water after having stood for seven decades.
On the beach near the harbor entrance, the Hotel Hacienda was undamaged and had remained open for business throughout the hurricane.
However, the waterfront restaurants east of the hotel were completely stripped of their dining areas as storm waves removed about six feet of beach sand in that area. The buildings housing the restaurants' kitchens and offices were intact. The best known restaurants in this category were Billigan's, The Office, and Mango Deck. There were many other palapas, rental agencies, and small businesses also washed off the beach. New facilities were being rebuilt quickly by most, and The Office was the first to reopen, with a few chairs, on Saturday morning.
On the Pacific side of the arch, the Solmar Suites Hotel had much of its landscaping stripped of leaves by high winds, but the buildings themselves were virtually undamaged. There were 75 yards of beach sand between the main area of the hotel and the ocean, and guests were swimming in the cleaned out pool.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Over the weekend, Cabo boats were finding very good conditions for dorado and larger yellowfin tuna in clear 80-degree blue water about 15-20 miles from the coast. Inside that distance, the water was about 71 degrees, turbid and green, and there were distinct brown stains at the mouths of the major arroyos.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Dick Wilkes reporting for the HOTEL SOLMAR SUITES said the hotel was sending out about 20 boats per day and finding lots of dorado west of the arch, with plenty of larger tuna mixed in. Top angler for the week was Swarty Johnson, of Ambay, WA, who boated 6 tuna from 130-160 pounds on the 42-foot Solmar VII. Billfish caught during the week included a 120-pound striped marlin, and also a 300-pound blue landed by Ann Silva of San Diego aboard the San Lucas VIII.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Captain George Landrum of FLY HOOKER SPORT FISHING noted that most boats were limiting on dorado, which were beginning to concentrate on post-storm trash lines. Marco Arechiga of Picante Fleet said Cabo air temperature Sunday was 71-86 degrees. Six boats fishing in water temperatures of 77-83 degrees caught 2 striped marlin, 1 blue marlin, 16 yellowfin tuna of 80-130 pounds, and 10 dorado of 40-60 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tracy Ehrenberg of PISCES FLEET had 7 boats out Saturday and said she's had plenty of cancellations due to the hurricane, but almost as many new reservations coming in, so business is not off that much. Pisces anglers were doing very well on large tuna to 150 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At GAVIOTA FLEET, Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said all boats survived the storm in good shape. One charter early last week produced a striped marlin and one dorado for Keith Klinger of Santee, CA.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: The highway blockages south of town around Colonia Elias Calles were still preventing large trucks from passing through, but were expected to open shortly, reported Ruth Torres of the El Tecolote Bookstore. The worst aspect of the blockage, as far as the town was concerned, she said, was that tourist busses were unable to come up from Cabo. "In 7 hours today, we only had 4 customers." Sufficient food for Todos Santos was arriving from La Paz, she said, and helicopters were keeping Elias Calles supplied by air. There had been no critical shortages after the storm, and no serious injuries, although some people with other medical problems had been airlifted out.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sammy Susarrey of LILY FLEET said the Tamara, Lily, and Amigo all fished locally last weekend. The Tamara reported limits of bottom fish, salmon grouper, and lingcod at the Punta Banda bank on sardines and yo-yo'ed jigs. The Lily reported good catches of sand bass and calico bass, and the Amigo fished 4 miles north of Todos Santos Island and found bonito on the surface and nice lingcod 100 feet deep.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Juliette caused only minor damage to the San Carlos area. Gary Graham of BAJA ON THE FLY said that the long range boat Breezers arrived in San Carlos on Saturday, reporting there were lots of tuna north of the Thetis Bank. Weather was flat and calm, but little sport fishing information was available inside the bay since most pangas were fishing commercially for shrimp and shark.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Brian Freitag of MAG BAY TOURS said very little damage was caused to their camp at Punta Hughes. There had been some shortages of fuel in San Carlos during and immediately after the storm, he added.
More fishing reports and information for Magdalena Bay, Mexico, can be found in the Mexico Fishing News archives.
San Jose del Cabo (Los Cabos) Fishing
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: The El Tule bridge on the road from Cabo San Lucas to San Jose del Cabo lost its eastbound lanes, which were built close to the riverbed. The elevated westbound lanes were damaged but quickly repaired with packed earth, allowing two-way traffic to pass. The rest of the road was in excellent condition. A drive along this section on Sunday showed about two-dozen billboards and other signs blown down and very little other apparent damage, except erosion on golf course fairways located in arroyos.
The San Jose arroyo experienced massive water flows during the hurricane and grew very wide before narrowing again as it approached the sea. The estuary was washed out completely, according to Eric Brictson of GORDO BANKS PANGAS, and the landmark giant banyan tree estimated at over 200 years old that grew beside the road to La Playita was swept away. Transportation in the area was cut off by the flooding in the arroyo, normally a well-used thoroughfare, but helicopters kept the isolated parts of the community supplied with necessities.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: On Sunday, the highway from San Jose del Cabo to East Cape had water flowing across it at the arroyo of Las Cuevas. Otherwise, the road was in excellent condition, except for a 50-yard detour with standing water puddles about 6 inches deep at Santa Anita, and two other places where slowing was necessary at washouts filled with packed dirt.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Las Cuevas, the main highway was washed out for about a third of a mile. Eight houses and a small market were lost, along with part of the road to La Ribera. There was no loss of life. Heavy machinery was creating a raised roadbed along the original path of the highway. About a quarter-mile west, vehicles were crossing the arroyo with the help of tractors. Strong 4WD vehicles were crossing on their own, but with difficulty. It was anticipated that the road would be open to all vehicles within 48 hours.
From Las Cuevas, a farm road was being used by local residents and taxi vans to reach the coastal town of La Ribera. There, tourists were being picked up by cruisers and transported by water to their hotels in Los Barriles and Buena Vista. Some guests had also reached their hotels by wading across the Las Cuevas arroyo to waiting hotel vans.
At La Ribera, earlier reports of heavy damage proved to be untrue. The local police station confirmed that the town came through Hurricane Juliette without damage to houses.
East Cape power was finally restored at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, and telephone service was coming back to normal. Local resident, Jim Smith of Los Barriles, said the worst shortages during the past ten days have been for candles and gasoline. A controversy erupted in town, he said, when the local gasolinera shut down temporarily, and was persuaded by locals to reopen and pump gas until it ran out. Smith said the road north out of town was still impossible for large supply trucks, but it too was expected to reopen soon. As in other areas, perishable foods were in short supply, but real hunger had been prevented by helicopter deliveries and hotel cruisers going as far as La Paz for supplies.
East Cape boats were fishing daily, with some hotels sending pickups to the blockage at San Bartolo for fuel in barrels brought south from La Paz. Smith said that two sets of instruments in Los Barriles measured the maximum storm winds at 59 m.p.h., and total rainfall at about 15.6 inches. As in other parts of Baja Sur, the rain had lasted more or less continuously for 60 hours.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Steve Chism, also of Los Barriles, said that his usual habit of kayaking the arroyos after a hurricane had been put on hold for Juliette. "I might be dumb, but I ain't stupid," he said. "That was some rough stuff out there!"
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Raynor of VISTA SEA SPORT said there isn't any diving right now, but there have already been dramatic improvements in water quality, with currents washing away debris from the arroyos. Raynor said that guests were still arriving at the major hotels one way or another, and Palmas de Cortez had 60 guests on Sunday. Rancho Leonero was expecting 38 new arrivals, he said. "The last couple days, there has been a lot of air traffic," he added. "Choppers are bringing work crews and food and water. It is interesting to see how well everybody is working together. The bottom line is that we are fine."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: John Ireland of RANCHO LEONERO called the hotel situation "nominal" with little damage. "We are operating back to normal, with power, ice, beer, boats, air conditioning, wonderful weather and lots of fish," he said. Water temperatures were 75-80 degrees and lots of sailfish and marlin were being sighted, but most boats were targeting the tuna and dorado. "With all the storm debris in the water, dorado fishing is phenomenal!" Ireland said. "Fish to 50 pounds are all over the bay, wherever there's floating debris."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At BUENA VISTA BEACH RESORT, Axel Valdez said the hotel had been fully prepared for Juliette with extra diesel fuel, food, self-contained power supply, and its own well. There were 30 guests arriving Sunday via the La Ribera/cruiser method.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of BAJA ON THE FLY was so excited when power came back on Sunday afternoon that he called immediately with the good news. Graham said offshore fishing was very slow, with no billfish caught, and boats running a long way out for small catches of tuna and dorado. "There were a few dorado and a few tuna taken. No marlin. How bad was it? On Friday, we couldn't even get any bait for chum." Inshore fishing was hampered by turbid runoff water, Graham reported, but beach fishing was actually pretty decent, with two anglers scoring on 20 fish of a variety of species, including a 20-pound roosterfish.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Tami Mouyeous said that RANCHO BUENA VISTA was fully stocked and ready to begin operations again. Guests were scheduled to arrive as soon as boats were launched, and the Ranch is offering a special promotional rate of each fourth night free until April 2002.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Storm damage in La Paz was not as heavy as areas south, according to Jonathan Roldan of TAIL HUNTER INTERNATIONAL, although communications were knocked out for a few days, and the road to Pichilingue was impassable during that same period.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: David Jones of FISHERMEN'S FLEET said that although about 20 boats were damaged or sunk in the bay, services remained relatively intact. "I must compliment the utility workers down here," he said. "The power was never off for more than a few hours, the phones worked almost throughout the storm, and water service was restored in a day or so to almost the whole city."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Memo Chavez of MEMO'S FLEET said he launched a boat at mid-week that found dorado to 25 pounds north of Isla Partida in 80 degree water. As a special promotion, Memo's Fleet is offering a 20% discount on boats, gear, ice, and fillet services through the end of November, coming to $360 for up to five anglers on the 32-foot boat. Reservations can be made by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LORETO, MEXICO: The arroyo separating the center of town from Colonia Zaragoza to the south was blocked by water for several days, stopping the flow of traffic down Mex 1, but it was open by Sunday, reported Arturo Susarrey of ARTURO'S SPORT FISHING. During the storm, some brief shortages of water and bread occurred, said Wendy Wylchynski, of VILLAS DE LORETO, but nothing more serious than that.
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of BAJA BIG FISH COMPANY said local boats were finding dorado over the weekend off La Cholla (Isla Carmen) and off Isla Coronado, and yellowtail were appearing off Punta Pulpito. Bolles said that the recent cruise ship visit was a bust for town businesses, but that people were still hoping for good results from the next one on October 15th.
MULEGE, MEXICO: Roy Mahoff of ECOMUNDO, on the shore of Bahia Concepcion, said the main palapa and bookstore are intact. During the storm, there were brief highway blockages just south of the Pemex station and in town. Santispac and Posada had heavy beach erosion, and in town there were landslides and trees knocked down.
MULEGE, MEXICO: Don Johnson at the HOTEL SERENIDAD said the runway would be open by Monday or Tuesday at the latest, and the Saturday night pig roasts have resumed. The 100-year-old tree at Las Casitas was lost. Johnson said the air temperature was the lowest he had ever seen at this time of year, about 83 degrees and dry.
MULEGE, MEXICO: Fly-in resident Ron Grant said some planes were landing at San Bruno, 13 miles north of Mulege, where they were under 24-hour protective watch provided by the army.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: CAMP GECKO'S Abraham Vazquez at Bahia de los Angeles said weather has been in the mid-80s to the low 70s at night, with humidity at 75%. Rainfall during the storm totaled .5 inches, and the desert is exploding with green. There was no damage to the area. There have been some west winds at night, subsiding during the morning hours. Water temperature has dropped to 80-82 degrees inside and outside the bay.
"The sierra continue to be the main catch for the bay," Vazquez said. "We have been catching them almost everywhere you troll in the bay and around the islands. The yellows have shrunk to "mini "yellows of 2 pounds that can be caught almost everywhere. We have not been able to find the normal size ones. I seems that with the storm and the currents of the full moon, fishing was changed and we are waiting to get back to normal. Still , there are a few groupers mixed in the catches. There is no more dorado. A few of us have been keeping an eye open for yellowfin tuna, since this is the time when they show up, but nobody has caught any, and we may not get any this year again.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Tony Reyes of TONY REYES FISHING TOURS said the panga mothership Jose Andres canceled last week's trip out of San Felipe due to bad weather from Juliette. Storm damage to the town was minimal, Reyes said, with some flooding and water damage on the main shopping street, and a rock slide at the north end of town near the boat yard. The road south to Puertocitos and Gonzaga Bay was in very bad shape, although some vehicles were making it through.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Bob Castellon, SEA OF CORTEZ SPORTFISHING, of the panga mothership Celia Angelia said last week's trip had a split personality, beautiful until the storm hit, and pretty rough after that. On a trip lead by charter master Kim Marshall, a weather-limited session to the Enchanted Islands, Punta Final, Gonzaga Bay, and Puertocitos produced: 27 pargo, 87 spotted bay bass, 1 white seabass, 6 yellowtail, 37 sierra mackerel, and 51 miscellaneous fish. Three grouper under 25 pounds and a golden grouper were released, Castellon said.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Juliette kept the port closed for part of the week, but when ARIES SPORTFISHING FLEET'S boats did get out they found fishing red hot on sailfish, with boats averaging nearly 4 hookups a day. Largest fish for the week was a 250-pound blue marlin caught by the Aries IV. Best fishing was 16 miles southwest of Marina el Cid, in water temperatures of 84-85 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips, FINTASTIC, reporting for the Vargas, Whisky Charter and Mar y Tierra fleets, said local fishing turned on right after the passage of Juliette. Twelve charters during the week resulted in a catch of: 18 sailfish, 2 blue marlin, 12 medium dorado to about 20 pounds, and 71 tuna. Phillips said conditions are looking promising and there are plenty of top boats available for the November 15-17 Fintastic's Offshore Total Tag & Release Tournament, which is a qualifying event for the offshore portion of the Rolex/IGFA Offshore Championship to be held in Cabo San Lucas next May. Information is available at 250-768-3537, or online at www.fintastic.com.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Marcos Vargas of Vargas Fleet said water temperatures are averaging 84 degrees, and seas are calm. There has been a slight increase in the number of tourists in town, he said, and the hope was that the trend would continue.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze of MAR Y TIERRA said the best fishing for tuna and sailfish was 11-14 miles straight out of Zihuatanejo Bay, and there was also a strong showing of roosterfish inshore last week.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky and Susan Richards of IXTAPA SPORTFISHING CHARTERS said that although anglers were few, they were getting some of the best roosterfish action they had ever seen. One super panga caught 6 quality roosters in a day, 3 of them on the fly. The largest one fought for an estimated 2 hours and weighed in at 70 pounds.