Dorado, yellowtail and skipjack caught in fishing off Baja's Magdalena Bay

Mexico Fishing News, November 5, 2001



MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of BAJA ON THE FLY said his chartered yacht Mary Lee made its first exploratory run toward the Thetis Bank last Thursday and found dorado, yellowtail and skipjack in mixed water temperature and sea conditions. Aboard for the first week of Graham's annual "Fly Rod Marlin 101" series of offshore trips were the Mary Lee's owners, John and JoAnn Barnes, and anglers Gary Meyer of Albuquerque, Bill Myers of Berlin, WI, and the intrepid Ray Barker-Smith of England, who will be fishing aboard the boat for the next month.

Graham said lots of dorado and birds were being reported on the Thetis Bank itself, and the boat would be heading there for the next few days. Meanwhile, his group was settling in for the fly rod series and enjoying the outstanding cuisine served aboard the Mary Lee, which was good enough to be featured by BBC last year. The weather off Bahia Magdalena was windy and a bit rough Thursday, with air temperatures peaking at about 80 degrees and water temperatures about 74 degrees. Fishing in the mangroves last week was mixed, due to strong currents during the full moon, but halibut were being caught on the rising tide at the bridge leading into town.

In other mainland Mexico and Baja fishing action this week:



ENSENADA, MEXICO: LILY FLEET'S Sammy Susarrey said fishing action last week was focused on bottom fish and inshore action around the bay. On Saturday, the Punta Banda Bank yielded limits of early morning bottom fish, including lingcod, reds, and salmon grouper caught on live sardines. The water temperature at the bank was 63.5 degrees. Some boats fishing outside from Marina Coral reported a few small yellowtail at the kelp paddies in windy, bumpy weather. Earlier in the week, good inshore action was reported by the Lily at Todos Santos Island, where 2 anglers scored on 5 yellowtail to 20 pounds, 18 medium barracuda, and 2 bonito to 10 pounds, all caught trolling blue/silver Rapala CD14s. The boat returned to the dock by 1 p.m., Susarrey said.

The Amigo also fished inside the bay with 3 anglers at Todos Santos Island, and reported 6 yellowtail to 20 pounds, caught on iron, and limits of barracuda and bonito to 6 pounds. The water temperature inside the bay was 63 degrees.



CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of FLY HOOKER SPORT FISHING had some comments on the number of billfish he's observed being killed at Cabo San Lucas lately, despite progress in recent years on making clients and crews aware of the need for catch-and-release fishing. "I am still seeing a lot of marlin being brought in, and it is hard for me to believe that all these fish came to the boat dead," Landrum said. "This means that there is still work to do in convincing people to release their billfish. "Ask the boat's policy on that before you book a charter. That is one way of assisting in the effort. If they say they release all billfish unless the fish die during the fight or are critically injured, book them. If they say it is up to the captain and crew, tell them why you are going somewhere else." Landrum added that big leatherback turtles are coming ashore to lay their eggs now, so there's a good chance they may be spotted by anglers in the Cabo San Lucas area. As a further note, Landrum said many dorado now being kept are little "chicken" or "peanut" fish in the 3-6 pound category. These fish are fun on light tackle, he said, but should be released. They grow to 30 pounds in a year, and will become trophies within a very short time. "There have been reports that some crews are keeping all these fish," Landrum said. "If you are fishing and get into them, please tell your crew to release the small ones."

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At PICANTE FLEET, Marco Arechiga reported Cabo water temperatures at 80-85 degrees, and air temperatures of 72-90 degrees, humidity 55%, and winds of 8-10 knots on both the Cortez and Pacific sides. Seven Picante Fleet boats sent out during the week reported 5 striped marlin, 5 tuna, 32 dorado, and 2 wahoo, with the best fishing found at the Jaime Bank.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Fishing around the tip of Baja continued to be slower than normal last week on all species. Tracy Ehrenberg of PISCES FLEET said, "We need to say that honestly fishing has not been that great this past week. Only 63% of boats caught fish (billfish, tuna, dorado, or wahoo), with an even smaller percentage for billfish of 30%." Nevertheless, with Cabo being Cabo, many Pisces Fleet boats enjoyed good catches last week despite the slow conditions. Ehrenberg said that Clint and Jody Brooks and Greg Saben, of Oregon, released 3 striped marlin on Sunday, plus a sailfish and two other marlin hookups, aboard La Brisa. The Valerie also scored a double last week, and a 290-pound tail-wrapped blue marlin was boated on the Rebecca. The striped marlin were spread out and found not to be hungry, as Pisces Fleet boats reported a combined catch of 12 stripers released, 2 sailfish released, and 2 blue marlin boated. Pisces Fleet boats also caught fewer than normal dorado, with boats averaging 2 fish in the 25-35 pound class. Yellowfin tuna were not abundant, although the Adriana found a school and landed 5 fish to 180 pounds at midweek. Most other tuna were averaging 35 pounds. Other catches included some wahoo to 50 pounds, roosterfish, and skipjack. The best fishing was around the lighthouse and the Gordo Banks.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Dick Wilkes, reporting for the HOTEL SOLMAR SUITES Sportfishing Fleet, said, "The most exciting fishing happening this week didn't even involve a hook-up, but an awe-inspiring display of marine life in full view of Mike Petteruti, of Haverhill, MA, and the crew of the 36-foot Solmar IX, with Capt. Antonio and Mate Pepe. "The crew spotted some action on the water that appeared to be a whale surfacing," Wilkes said. "It turned out to be a dramatic struggle between a huge bull dorado and what was estimated to be an 800-pound blue marlin. Those on Solmar IX were spellbound by the repeated action of the dolphin leaping out of the water just ahead of a pounding marlin trying to capture his prey." According to Solmar Fleet Manager Rene Santa Cruz, the blue marlin failed to "land" the dorado, but also failed to be attracted to the lures offered to it from the Solmar IX, Wilkes said. Petteruti had to settle for a 65-pound bull dorado and a 75-pound wahoo. Other Solmar anglers during the week scored on blue marlin to 200 pounds, wahoo to 65 pounds, striped marlin to 200 pounds, and yellowfin tuna to 80 pounds.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of CORTEZ YACHT CHARTERS said the biggest fish of the week for Gaviota Fleet was a 400-pound blue marlin landed aboard the Gaviota III by Charlie Duff of Santa Barbara, with Capt. Jose Castro. Gaviota Fleet boats did extremely well on dorado last week, Edwards said, with an overall fleet count of 84 dorado, 10 yellowfin tuna, 6 wahoo, 1 sailfish, 7 striped marlin (6 released), and 2 blue marlin.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Resident angler JOHN AMBROSE of Maya Roca Real Estate said Pacific water temperatures off Todos Santos are still over 80 degrees, and water color is a clear greenish blue. Many dorado in the 15-30 pound range were being reported, and surf and surge on the beaches was negligible, making launching easy. "Schoolie-size tuna are abundant and a few wahoo are being sighted," Ambrose reported, "but the full moon is making them very finicky." On the beaches, roosterfish, sierra, pargo, and corvina were crashing bait at the water's edge, but would only hit on live bait, when it could be netted or snagged.



SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of GORDO BANKS PANGAS said tourists are making a big comeback at La Playita, keeping the panga fleets very busy, and boats are averaging a combined catch of 8-12 fish per day on yellowfin tuna, dorado, sailfish, wahoo, good numbers of 5-8 pound rainbow runners, amberjack, skipjack, early season sierra, pargo, and roosterfish. Last week's weather was sunny, Brictson said, reaching into the upper 80s with evening lows in the 60s. Water temperatures averaged 80-82 degrees and seas have been extremely calm on the Sea of Cortez. The La Playita fleets have been fishing from the Gordo Banks to Vinorama, and the most consistent action has come from spots in the north, between Iman and Vinorama. The supplies of live sardinas have been plentiful. The tuna were hitting best on live bait in the area off of Vinorama, according to Brictson, with the fish averaging 15-40 pounds, and some larger ones mixed in. Early in the week, wahoo were hitting sardinas and cast lures first thing in the morning, and boats were averaging 1-3 fish each, of up to 40 pounds. However, the fish were wire-shy, and many were lost after hitting on straight mono. Sailfish were being seen in numbers in the same area as the tuna, but few were being hooked, due to the small size of the sardina baits. Those that were landed weighed 60-100 pounds. Other billfish action continued slow for striped marlin, blues and blacks, but there was some improvement last week on the number and size of dorado being caught, with many fish weighing 15-25 pounds. The dorado were hitting trolled feathers and vinyl skirts, and others were being hooked under the boat with bait.



EAST CAPE, MEXICO: A continued hot bite on school-sized yellowfin tuna and dorado paced the action around Los Barriles and Buena Vista last week, with some blue marlin, stripers, sailfish, and wahoo also being caught.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: BAJA ON THE FLY'S Gary Graham said fly fishing guide Lance Peterson had a big roosterfish yank his best Sage rod from his hands last week, and somehow that event seemed to change his outlook on life. As soon as Peterson recovered from the shock of losing his rod and reel, he called his girlfriend in Oregon and proposed on the spot. The marriage is scheduled in a couple of weeks. Congratulations, Lance! Baja On The Fly's new resident guide, Dave Hill of Telluride, CO, arrived in East Cape on Wednesday and scored on 3 jack crevalle and a pompano right in front of Rancho Deluxe. Last week's hot beach bite on black skipjack (barrilete) slowed down somewhat, according to Graham, and beach action at the moment features ladyfish, jacks and roosterfish cruising along shore. The best-working flies last week were chartreuse and pink Clousers, plus sardina colors.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: RANCHO BUENA VISTA'S Tami Moyeous said the hotel sent out 68 boats during the week, reporting calm, warm water, excellent weather in the 80s, and a fleet catch of 194 yellowfin tuna, 105 dorado, 8 sailfish, 6 blue marlin, 4 striped marlin, and 6 wahoo. Moyeous said the hotel has some spaces available and is still offering a fourth night free for the winter season.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: RANCHO LEONERO'S John Ireland said fleet boats reported continued good fishing in water temperatures of 82-83 degrees last week, with clear blue conditions outside, and dirty water found near shore. Ireland said the bite was consistent on tuna and dorado with "no real size" to the fish, but with all anglers limiting. The tuna were being found in compact schools of fish averaging about 10 pounds, and there were some larger fish outside being caught on live sardines and bright colored hoochies under porpoise. The dorado were averaging 15 pounds, with most anglers limiting with live sardines around floating debris, and some bigger bulls were hitting marlin lures outside, Ireland said. Ireland also reported an active billfish bite. Of 22 boats fishing during the week, 6 caught blue marlin, mostly on live caballito and trolled dark colored lures, and others found striped marlin and "lots of sails" on live sardina. Leonero boats also enjoyed a good inshore bite on pargo to 35 pounds, with cabrilla, roosterfish and sierra also showing up in the mix. Live sardina, frozen squid, and cast Krocodiles were working well on the reefs, according to Ireland.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Marisol Verdugo of MARTIN VERDUGO'S BEACH RESORT said last week's boats caught lots of dorado and tuna, plus two black marlin, the larger of which weighed in at 565 pounds.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: VISTA SEA SPORT'S Mark Rayor said divers are finding surface water temperatures in the mid-80s and visibility ranging from 30-60 feet. "The season and currents are changing," said Raynor, "but we're still seeing incredible numbers of fish on the reefs, with a lot of huge Cortez stingrays, as well as turtles and large grouper. Still no wetsuits!"



LA PAZ, MEXICO: David Jones of FISHERMEN'S FLEET reported a good week overall, with excellent weather, fishing, and plenty of business. "It don't get any better than this," he said. "We've had mild breezes with 85-degree highs all week, cooling into the 70s at night. Couldn't ask for better, and the fish and fishermen have been meshing like the gears in a Calcutta all week." Fishermen's Fleet anglers were scoring on dorado, tuna, and some yellowtail, according to Jones. A regular group led by Bill Miholich of San Diego had an excellent week. "This group has been with us for 5 or 6 years now," said Jones. "They just keep getting better. A very nice and highly spirited bunch, well coached and prepared by Bill. They had many good fishing days at Las Arenas, some excellent tuna fishing at the Bajo, and an awards banquet that featured awards not only for biggest dorado and tuna, but for 'Biggest Ranchero,' and 'Biggest Whiner.' They did very well on tuna to 78 pounds at the south end of Cerralvo and in the channel itself, and had dorado to a high of 18 pounds." Another Fishermen's Fleet regular, Bill "Senor Gallo" Mathias, was down for his usual monthly visit and did well on his favorite roosterfish quarry. Jones said that Mathias (author of a popular Spanish/English sport fishing dictionary) described one day last week as "the best day I've had since starting the rooster thing." Jones said, "Mathias had five roosters (he uses circle hooks exclusively and releases all fish) with two of them over 85 pounds, and the others over 50. That's an eighth of a ton of roosters in a day."



LORETO, MEXICO: Arturo Susarrey of ARTURO'S SPORT FISHING said air temperatures are still warm, about 82-87 degrees, but that northern breezes have begun to show up on some days as the winter season approaches. Loreto water temperatures were 70-75 degrees. With dorado on the decline, and yellowtail just starting to show up, fishing effort has been concentrated on bottom species such as cabrilla, pinto bass, and snapper, around Carmen Island and in the San Bruno area. Squid to 20 pounds were being caught from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. about two miles off town, and Susarrey recommended that anglers bring 3-4 inch squid jigs.

Pam Bolles of BAJA BIG FISH COMPANY said, "The weather definitely has a winter feel to it. We have started to see true north winds and even wind lines. The couple of days that we did have north winds, they were mild and merely cooled things down. The seas have been very calm, to perfectly flat! Beautiful fishing seas." Bolles reported dorado to 20 pounds around Isla Monserrat, and yellowfin tuna in the 50-60 pound range off Isla Catalan. Yellowtail to 15-18 pounds have made their appearance off Punta Pulpito, she said, and also in the deep trench off the east side of Isla Coronado, and off several spots off Isla Carmen, but bait is not being sold at the marina. "Mackerel are available to catch, but the bait sellers are not bothering to sell their product, as it's very slow right now. Bring your Lucky Joes along."



BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Abraham Vazquez of Bahia de los Angeles' CAMP GECKO reported daytime highs in the mid-80s and nighttime lows of 70-72 degrees. Humidity was about 60%, and water temperatures last week dropped to about 76-78 degrees. "The yellowtail are starting to move," said Vazquez. "In the mornings they are feeding on the surface, and later they are down deeper. The bite has continued to be good on trolled Rapalas. We are also catching a few on cast blue/white iron, and most of them are in the 8-15 pound range. "The hot spots have been Punta Pescador and the northeast side of Isla Smith. "There are lots of barracuda and sierra still in the area, and there are still a good number of whale sharks in the bay. We have very few people around, normal for this time of year. My boat is out of the water for the winter season."



IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Marcos Vargas of VARGAS SPORTFISHING was looking forward to a good winter season, saying that "the fishing is very good now. We have many sailfish. It looks like it will be very good for our customers in December." Vargas Fleet sent 7 boats out last week, reporting 5 sailfish to over 100 pounds (all released), 1 dorado at 10 pounds, 4 tuna to 80 pounds, 1 wahoo at 20 pounds, and 1 roosterfish at 10 pounds. The weather has cooled off a bit, Vargas added, with daytime temperatures about 88 degrees. Seas were calm, with water temperatures averaging 84 degrees, and blue water was very close to shore, "about 500 meters," Vargas said. Although fishing pressure was still light, some boats were taking out sightseeing passengers from Mexico City.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: "Back in business!" was the way last week's local fishing was described by Paul Phillips of ZIH CHARTER CAPTAINS, reporting for the Vargas, Whisky Charter and Mar y Tierra fleets. Phillips said that with improved water conditions and the passing of the full moon, boats are now raising 3-4 sailfish per day. Fifty-three charter boats last week reported 70 sailfish hookups, 31 school-sized yellowfin tuna, and 31 dorado to 40 pounds, all within 8 miles of shore. Inshore fishing last week featured steady action on medium roosterfish, and good numbers of jack crevalle, mackerel and bonita on flies and live bait, according to Phillips. Seas were calm, with water temperatures averaging 84 degrees, and blue water found within 4 miles of shore.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze of MAR Y TIERRA SPORTFISHING confirmed the improved fishing conditions, saying, "Our fishing season is finally starting to kick into high gear. We have what is generally referred to as a winter fishery here, with our best months being from November through June. "On the last day of the week, and with a very bright moon, Karl Peters from Nashville, fished with us on the Aleta Negra. We raised 5 sailfish, and hooked and released 3. We were fishing from 14 to 16 miles out of Zihuatanejo Bay on a 190 degree heading. We also got 5 yellowfin tuna averaging about 35 pounds. The yellowfin tuna are here in large numbers, and your compass heading does not seem to matter. They are all being caught among the porpoise and by watching for diving birds."

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