CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Teams entered in the Bisbee's Black & Blue marlin tournament last week suffered through relatively slow conditions, as about 450 boat-days resulted in only 110 billfish landed, 92 of which were released as being stripers or under the 300-pound tournament minimum for blues and blacks.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Marco Arechiga of PICANTE FLEET reported Cabo weather as 92-74 degrees air temperature, water temperatures averaging 86-81 degrees, humidity 83%, and winds of 8-10 knots on both the Pacific and Cortez sides. Six boats sent out on Friday, the last fishing day of the Bisbee's tournament, reported 3 striped marlin, 2 blue marlin, 4 tuna of 40-150 pounds, and 5 dorado of 30-60 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Captain George Landrum of FLY HOOKER SPORT FISHING said the water on the Cortez side was cleaner last week, but that boats fishing in the Bisbee's tournament in all areas were having trouble finding the 5-10 pound tuna baits needed to catch the larger billfish. "The target of the week (billfish) was very hard to come by for almost all the boats here in Cabo," Landrum said. "There were many more striped marlin sighted and released than any other species, and overall the marlin fishing was considered very slow for Cabo. We are not quite sure of the reason but it probably has a lot to do with the after effects of the hurricane. "Most of the fish caught in the tournament were caught on live bait, most of it skipjack tuna or yellowfin tuna. These baits were either slow trolled over the edges of the banks or the drop-offs, or they were soaked in one spot for hours. Not a very exciting way to fish but it does produce results if you put the time in." Landrum also reported a drop in tuna and dorado action last week. "The catch ratio on dorado per unit hour of effort has dropped dramatically. Most of this is due to the disappearance of all the wonderful debris we had floating in the current lines for the past three weeks. Mother nature finally decided it was time to remove it from the area."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At PISCES FLEET, Tracy Ehrenberg said last week's top anglers were Gene Layne, with a 420-pound blue marlin caught aboard Andrea, and Harold Peck with a 400-pound blue aboard Adriana. Overall, Pisces anglers caught 4 blue marlin (3 released), 20 striped marlin (16 released), and one sailfish (released). "Dorado catches were a lot lower than expected this week," Ehrenberg said, "as they are not schooling, but rather found spread out. Most boats only got one or two and on the small side at 15 to 25 pounds, though occasionally, some did get up close to 60 pounds. Yellowfin tuna catches were fair, with most being around 10 to 25 pounds, but again, some were larger up to 90 pounds." Pisces Fleet's Ruthless also caught a 45-pound wahoo to win its category in the Los Cabos Billfish Tournament.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: HOTEL SOLMAR SUITES' Dick Wilkes said dorado were the most numerous species taken last week for the Solmar boats, according the fleet manager Rene Santa Cruz. "Most fish were landed or released before noon," Wilkes said, and the most favored water holes were 15 to 20 miles off Cerro del Vigia (between El Arco and Playa Solmar) on the Pacific side, and 10 to 15 miles off Chileno and Palmilla on the Cortez. The fleet's top boat for the week was the 28-foot San Lucas IX with Capt. Carlos, who found a 280-pound blue marlin and a 140-pound striper for anglers Bill and Jerrie Chapman of Brownsboro, AL.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of CORTEZ YACHT CHARTERS said GAVIOTA FLEET boats checked in with a week's count of 7 blue marlin (4 released), 17 stripers (15 released), 40 dorado, and 39 yellowfin tuna. The Gaviota V also had a good inshore day, catching 12 roosterfish. Best fishing was at the Gordo Banks on the Cortez side.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: JOHN AMBROSE of Maya Roca Real Estate reported Pacific water temperatures of 76-79 degrees, and color "still cloudy inshore but clean-green with blue pockets on the 100-fathom curve." "Local pangueros have been seeing lots of dorado and a few wahoo while bottom fishing for huachinango and deep water grouper," Ambrose said, and there were also reports of huge black and blue marlin "playing cat and mouse with trophy-sized dorado just one-half mile off Colonia Calles."
For anglers interested in visiting the relatively unknown Todos Santos area, veteran local angler Ambrose had the following basic tips for boat launching:
"Todos Santos has no launching ramp, no live bait, no marina, and no mercy for those lacking open ocean launching experience. Surf and wind conditions can be brutal. "Punta Lobos has been concessioned by the local fishing coopertivas and permission to launch in their zone must be arranged prior to testing one's luck with mother nature. Los Cerritos beach approximately 12 miles south of Todos Santos is a bit more forgiving and not controlled by the co-ops, but you should still pick the right day and study the conditions for at least 15 minutes before you commit."
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Some offshore action was still available on albacore and dorado last week, but most fishing was centered on a very good inshore and bottom fish bite, said Sammy Susarrey of LILY FLEET. On Sunday, Lily Fleet boats fished the Punta Banda bank area for cowcod to 20 pounds and lingcod to 15 pounds, plus red rockfish to 7 pounds. Susarrey said the cowcod caught Sunday were the biggest he had seen taken from the area. Fishing was with live sardines, frozen squid, yo-yo jigs, and rubbertails on the surface. The Amigo reported limits on log barracuda Sunday, catching everything on silver/blue UFO #3 jigs near Santo Tomas. Also caught were two 25-pound class halibut in the kelp beds at Maximinio Reef.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Earlier in the week, Lily Fleet's Tamara fished with 4 anglers, 33 miles outside Todos Santos Island in a heading of 240 degrees, and reported 13 albacore to 12 pounds, and 5 yellowtail at the kelp paddies to 10 pounds. Offshore water temperature was 65.5 degrees, and most fish were caught on small live sardines. The same day, Lily Fleet boats reported "incredible" bottom fishing at the Punta Banda banks, stopping at noon with limits of salmon grouper and lingcod. Inshore water temperatures averaged about 64 degrees.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of PEDRO'S PANGAS said San Quintin weather continued to be good last week, "a bit cooler in the evenings and early mornings," but into the mid-70s by noon, with no winds. "As far as the current catch," Hillis said, "a few albacore were taken to 35 pounds last week, but it was mostly yellowfin tuna in the 18 to 25-pound range that made up the biggest part of the catch. All fish were found in a warm current 14 miles off the point on a 240 heading."
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: BAJA ON THE FLY's Gary Graham confirmed the spotty offshore billfish situation but said that he expects conditions to improve soon. "The best we heard was one boat that reported raising 4 to 8 fish a day," said Graham. "The wahoo, dorado and tuna reports have been good. Water currents and temperatures still need to settle down a bit, and it appears that is starting to happen. With more boats arriving in the area every day. I expect the fleet to locate the main body of fish in short order."
In the mangrove channels north of San Carlos, Graham said guide Enrique Soto was reporting hot action last week on snook, grouper, and pargo, but for very few anglers. As is often the case, the best action was centered around the northern area known as Devil's Curve (near La Florida). Soto also said dorado were being caught in good numbers near the shark buoys just outside the entrada. San Carlos air temperatures ranged from 84 during the day to 75 at night. Graham also said that due to recent cancellations, two spots have opened up in the otherwise sold out "Flyrod Marlin 101" Thetis Bank series for this fall, one space each on the trips of Nov. 21-28 and Nov. 28-Dec. 5. More information is available from Yvonne at 800-919-2252.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Brian Freitag of MAG BAY TOURS said local services are now recovered from Hurricane Juliette, all roads are open, and fuel and supplies are again readily available. Freitag said action is slow at the Thetis Bank due to dirty green water conditions, but that passing sport fishers are reporting clear blue water coming down from the north. Inshore fishing was good. "We had great fishing at the pinnacles in Santa Maria Bay," Freitag said. "Clients brought in several grouper to over 40 pounds, and enjoyed a wide-open yellowtail bite on fish in the 15 to 25-pound range. When we say 'wide open' we mean it! The bite was non-stop.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of GORDO BANKS PANGAS said the La Playita fleets were booked close to capacity last week, and conditions were excellent, with water temperatures of 82-78 degrees, plenty of live sardina bait, and calm seas. Most boats were fishing from the Gordo Banks to Vinorama, catching yellowfin tuna, dorado, pargo, bonita, skipjack, sailfish, amberjack, sierra and wahoo.
The overall catch rate was down from the previous week, however, due to extreme pressure from the tournament boats.
"On the Gordo Banks it was very crowded in recent days and the fish did not want to cooperate with all that activity and engine noise," Brictson said. "Some quality yellowfin to over 75 pounds were taken from the banks, but they were not numerous. The tuna hit on sardinas, chunk bait, chihuil and trolled lures. The best bet seemed to be the sardinas. "The more consistent action for the panga fleets the past week was found to the north, in the areas between Iman and Vinorama. One day the fish would bite at Iman, and then the next it would be off of Vinorama." Wahoo action was "very limited and spotty" according to Brictson, except for angler Charlie Klug, who seemingly could not get away from them. "He was fishing with Gordo Banks skipper Jesus by himself and caught 8 wahoo. The largest was 52 pounds. It was a trip of a lifetime for Charlie. He caught the wahoo on chihuil, chunk bait, yo-yo, and on trolled Marauders. He was lucky to be at the right place at the perfect time. At times like that, it does not seem to matter what you throw at the fish."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: BAJA ON THE FLY guide Lance Peterson said beach fishing sort of died Sunday, after a sustained period of super-hot action. Inshore, the dorado continue to be crowd pleasers with plenty of tuna and skipjack to back them up, said Baja On The Fly's Gary Graham. "Even the billfish, particularly the sailfish, have picked up this week. Most of the boats are hitting the inshore first thing, and then working out to the outside looking for blues, stripers and sailfish for the lucky ones." Recent beach action has centered on small roosterfish and jack crevalle, big ladyfish, needlefish, and a raging bite on beach-caught black skipjack, according to Peterson.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: RANCHO BUENA VISTA'S Tami Moyeous reported 34 boat trips last week, resulting in 90 fish caught, including 2 striped marlin, 8 blue marlin, 2 sailfish, 4 roosterfish, 64 dorado, 8 tuna, and 2 wahoo. The Ranch is offering a 4th night free until April 2002.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At RANCHO LEONERO, John Ireland reported another week of "outstanding" fishing, with excellent weather, daytime highs in the mid-80s, mild evenings, sunny skies, calm seas, and water temperatures averaging 82-79 degrees. All anglers are limiting on yellowfin, with quite a few dorado and sailfish also being taken, Ireland said. Offshore action centered on tuna to 60 pounds, 2-3 miles out, and some larger fish swimming with porpoise farther out. Dorado were very scattered, taking live sardina, and Leonero boats were experiencing a "wide-open sailfish bite with lots of multiple hookups, and the occasional blue or black marlin taken."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: VISTA SEA SPORT'S Mark Raynor said, "huge schools of manta rays have invaded the East Cape in full force. We are sighting them jumping and doing flips everywhere from Cerralvo Island to Los Frailes. I was awakened twice this week by the sound of their bodies slapping the water in the middle of the night in front of our house." Raynor reported water temperatures averaging 85 degrees, "blue and gin clear." "Today conditions at Cabo Pulmo were spectacular," he said. "We are enjoying fall diving at its best."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of TAIL HUNTER INTERNATIONAL also reported good fishing for mixed species on the Las Arenas side of the hill, checking in with one day's "significant fish" count for 6 boats, not including bonito, needlefish, skipjack and lost tuna or dorado: 16 tuna to 60 pounds, 12 dorado, 1 yellowtail, 2 sailfish, and 2 wahoo boated with another big one lost.
Roldan added that the bite at the Bajo slowed down this week, but some larger tuna to over 60 pounds were still being hooked up, and La Paz weather was near-perfect, in the low 90s, with flat water, and "almost no humidity." As in most areas of Baja at the moment, post Hurricane Juliette water puddles are breeding a big bloom of mosquitoes and no-see-ums, and visitors were advised to bring plenty of insect repellent.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: With many areas reporting relatively slow fishing, some of Baja's steadiest action last week was found south of La Paz in the Las Arenas area. Linda Glassman Davis of HOTEL LAS ARENAS said 21 fly anglers scored on a total of 497 fish, representing an outstanding 26 species, including dorado, yellowfin tuna, pompano, pargo, cabrilla, sailfish, roosterfish, striped marlin, wahoo, and many others. The group's overall count included 184 dorado averaging 30 pounds, 102 tuna averaging 20 pounds, 28 wahoo averaging 45 pounds, 15 pompano to 35 pounds, and 12 pargo averaging 8 pounds, Glassman said.
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of BAJA BIG FISH COMPANY reported good fishing, but very few anglers last week. "Fishing is really good right now. Lots of sierra right in front of the marina and the breakwall, as well as roosterfish and jack crevalle. "Further out off Coronado and the northern side of Carmen are yellowtail and amberjack. The yellowtail are deep and coming in at around 20 pounds. The amberjack are less frequent, but they're huge, around 50 pounds. To the south are smaller yellowtail in deep water off Punta Baja, and dorado just offshore from there. "The kicker is that there are 50 to 60-pound tuna off Isla Catalan. There are practically no tourists in town, so anglers will have the water all to themselves." Loreto weather was 90 degrees in the daytime, to the mid-70s at night, with plenty of mosquitoes, both in town and in the outlying areas. True north winds were beginning to make their seasonal appearance, and fishing was best limited to the protected areas around the islands.
LORETO, MEXICO: At VILLAS DE LORETO, Wendy Wilchinsky and Ron Bellerive were catching their breath after hosting a sell-out group of kayakers for a week, and Ron was busy with his new project of getting government approval for the sinking of the hulk of the historic dive ship, Marisla II, as a diving attraction, off the northwest side of Isla Coronado. The Marisla II is being stripped of parts now at the Aquamarina RV Park in La Paz, by owners Richard and Mary Lou Adcock, after running aground in a sudden wind and suffering irreparable damage to its hull.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Abraham Vazquez of Bahia de los Angeles' CAMP GECKO said daytime temperatures have been in the mid-80s, and nights about 70-72 degrees. Humidity is about 60%, and the desert is green. There was no wind last week, and water temperatures are 77-79 degrees inside and outside the bay. "The yellowtail have been biting well this week," Abraham said. There were a growing number of yellowtail on the surface, biting on trolled Rapalas and "a few on cast blue-and-whites." Most of the yellowtail were in the 8-15 pound range, and Vazquez said the hotspots were at Punta Pescador and the northeast side of Isla Smith. "There are a few grouper mixed in the catches," he said, "but no dorado. There are a great number of dolphin in the area, and lots of whale sharks inside the bay."
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At SEA OF CORTEZ SPORTFISHING, Bob Castellon said the panga mothership Celia Angelina found near-perfect weather at the Midriff Islands almost every day during its final six-day trip of the season last week. A full charter led by Lloyd Hubbard of Phoenix fished for dorado at Rancho Barril, and then Islas San Lorenzo and San Esteban for yellowtail and cabrilla.
Twenty-six species were caught during the trip, topped by an 83-pound black seabass landed by Bob Doyle of Phoenix, on 40-pound test line. "We had an great trip," said Castellon. "October is an excellent time of year to be on the Sea of Cortez. The charter master has booked two trips for next year, and we want to thank everyone for a wonderful season."
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Nora Alonso Rice of ARIES SPORTFISHING FLEETsaid Mazatlan sea conditions were excellent last week. Bottom fishing was good on triggerfish and snappers to 15 pounds, and live mullet baits were working well on roosterfish to 45 pounds about 6 miles from Marina el Cid. All roosterfish were being released. Sailfish were seeing jumping throughout the area last week. They were striking well on green-and-black lures, and a few blue marlin were being reported.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Very light fishing pressure continued this week, with weather in the low 90s, seas calm, and water temperatures about 86 degrees. Marcos Vargas of VARGAS SPORTFISHING reported for 4 boats sent out during the week, catching 3 sailfish (all released), 1 dorado, 1 wahoo, and 3 tuna. Blue water was being seen about a mile from the coast, Vargas said.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze of MAR Y TIERRA SPORTFISHING said fleet boats were finding blue, 84-degree water 6 miles out, with sailfish averaging one to two per day, and no marlin reported. Yellowfin tuna to 45 pounds were reported in good numbers by the commercial pangueros, but they were about 35 miles out, and few tourists were fishing for them.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky and Susan Richards of IXTAPA SPORTFISHING CHARTERS said fleet boats were averaging 2-3 sailfish per day, but that a pelagic red crab bloom was keeping fish well-fed, and many more fish were sighted that would not bite.