CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: CABO SAN LUCAS - Although relatively few visitors were present in Baja California last week, fishing action at the tip of the peninsula continued to be red-hot on dorado, and excellent on striped marlin. Superb conditions prevailed for all sizes of dorado around the Golden Gate and Jaime Banks, and striped marlin action on the Pacific side ratcheted up a notch from "good" to "very good."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At PICANTE FLEET, Marco Arechiga reported Saturday's water temperatures at 78 to 82 degrees, average air temperatures of 68 to 84 degrees, and relative humidity of 73 percent. Winds were 10 to 12 knots on the Pacific side, and 8 to 10 knots on the Sea of Cortez side. Seven boats sent out Saturday checked in with a catch (including released fish) of 13 striped marlin, 29 dorado, and 9 yellowfin tuna, with most of the action at the Golden Gate Bank, Arechiga said.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Pisces Fleet angler, MERLE ERICKSON of Chicago called his recent fishing days aboard the Tracy Ann "unbelievable" on marlin, sailfish, wahoo, and over 60 dorado, all but a few of them released. He had high praise for the catch-and-release practices of Pisces' crews, as opposed to some boats that he observed taking excess fish during the raging dorado bite.
"The port captain is checking boats for limits on dorados," Erickson said. "A couple of boats came in with 30-plus fish, and were hit with big fines one day. Our mate mentioned this to us, but we were already releasing nearly all of our fish. It is really embarrassing to watch people take more of those beautiful fish than they need.
"Our crew insisted on releasing most of our dorado. That's part of why I like fishing with that fleet. I think they get it. The mate said to me several times disgustedly while pointing at other boats, 'this is sport fishing, not commercial fishing.'
It is embarrassing to watch Americans wasting the resource. The boats with striped marlin tied to the step, rotting in the sun, were the same boats gaffing every dorado hooked."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: PISCES FLEET'S Tracy Ehrenberg called last week's action "stupendous," with 100 percent of boats scoring on dorado, tuna, wahoo, or marlin. "I didn't think we would see a repeat of the incredible December fishing we had last year," she said, "but all the signs are here that this year may be even better." In addition to releasing uncounted dorado, Pisces boats caught 68 striped marlin during the week, all but one released, Ehrenberg said.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: HOTEL SOLMAR SUITES manager Rene Santa Cruz also reported wide-open, unlimited action on dorado, plus a combined fleet catch of 33 striped marlin (27 released), 48 yellowfin tuna, 12 wahoo, and a single blue marlin. Sea conditions were a little choppy at 4 to 6 feet, Santa Cruz reported, but the fishing was a carbon copy of previous weeks, except for a noticeable uptick in the dorado count.
Santa Cruz said first-time angler John Vantuka of Colfax, WA was the top gun for the week aboard the 28-foot San Lucas VIII with Capt. Hector. Vantuka released 3 striped marlin at the Golden Gate Bank, and landed 2 wahoo, plus a limit of bull dorado to 50 pounds. He also released double digit dorado, using mackerel and lures.
Bob Houston of Kansas City, KS, also did well at the Golden Gate, aboard the 42-foot Solmar VIII, releasing 4 stripers and landing his limit of dorado. And in the same area, Rick Keithley, John King, and Jim Kine, of Tulsa caught 8 bull dorado and an 80-pound wahoo on live mackerel.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of CORTEZ YACHT CHARTERS said GAVIOTA FLEET boats have been catching plentiful live mackerel bait for drift fishing at the Golden Gate and Jaime Banks with spectacular results, including 28 striped marlin (19 released), 10 wahoo in the 40 to 60 pound range, 4 yellowfin tuna, 1 mako shark, and full limits of 258 dorado. Gaviota Fleet boats were reporting clear blue water in the upper 70s.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At FLY HOOKER SPORT FISHING, Capt. George Landrum said everybody in Cabo is complaining about the small number of tourists in town, but he thought it was just the normal between-holidays lull, and he expected things to pick up after the first of the year. At the end of the week, Landrum said water temperatures were falling slightly to the mid-70s, with a warmer band of water close to shore, and he said Fly Hooker anglers found slightly fewer dorado this week. Inshore, the sierra catch was picking up on 5 to 6 pound fish, and there was a good showing of snapper, plus scattered roosterfish and jacks, he said. Also, the gray whales have started to show up for the winter season as the water cools.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Resident angler JOHN AMBROSE of Maya Roca Real Estate in Todos Santos said Pacific water temperatures are still holding in the mid to high-70s, with blue water coming right to the beach. A big northwest swell was continuing to making launching hazardous, Ambrose said, but the local pangueros were going for it. "No fish, no food, no cerveza, so out they go," he said, and the action has been good for huachinango (true red snapper), pierna (whitefish), and diablo (chilepepper rockfish). There were still big dorado hanging around, plus wahoo showing from time to time, and lots of picudos (billfish) at the Golden Gate Banks. Ambrose added that sport boats from Cabo San Lucas have been fishing the 100-fathom curve off Colonia Calles for hot action on dorado and wahoo. One boat even tied a helium balloon to a floating log, so the fish could be found again the next day, he said.
On the beach, Ambrose said the action has been "fantastic" on pargo, sierra, and even dorado big enough to "spool" a hand line, at "Piedra Blanca," "El Tepetate," and "El Arco," for those willing to make the hazardous approach to the water.
"My trip to Cabo was a dream come true. My wife and I truly had an experience of a lifetime. We left the pier at roughly 6:45 a.m. and watched the sunrise as we headed for your magical fishing spot. When we arrived there were several boats already with lines in the water. But in less than 15 minutes with our lines out we hooked up with what was my dream come true. A estimated 140 pound class striped marlin. The fight was something I will never forget. Our boat captain handled the boat like a true professional. We landed the fish in 38 minutes while everyone watched in disbelief that we "hooked up" so very fast. We proceeded to land another marlin however smaller but just as much fun.
"Then our captain asked if we wished to catch some dorado and after being so tired from the two marlin so I agreed to move to something with a little less pull. In less than a 15 minute boat ride we were in the dorado so thick that as soon as the bait hit the water we were "hooked up". My wife really enjoyed this fishing! Seeing the beautiful dorado so vibrant in color. She had to release all her fish because she couldn't bare to kill such a gorgeous fish. Her words exactly!!
"We owe Pisces and the crew of La Brisa for fulfilling our dreams of catching a Marlin come true. Thank you all sooooooo very much for such a wonderful trip. My wife and I are already planning to return and you can guarantee that I will be scheduling another trip on La Brisa.
"Thanks, Wes Partain"
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Good local bottom fishing continued at midweek for LILY FLEET last week, as Sammy Susarrey reported limits of 6 to 8 pound lingcod, red snapper to 5 pounds, sheephead to 16 pounds, and sandbass to 4 pounds, for 4 anglers fishing aboard the Tamara. There were also limits on lingcod, red snapper, and sandbass for all anglers aboard the Amigo. Susarrey said the fish were found 18 miles from Marina Coral, off the Bajamar Golf Course, in 145 feet of water. They had been feeding on squid, but hit medium live sardines. Ensenada water conditions were calm and flat, but chilly in the mornings.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Tony Marquez, reporting for DON EDDIE'S LANDING and TIBURON'S PANGAS, said only 5 boats were sent out last week, carrying 18 anglers, but everyone caught limits of rockcod and whitefish, plus 5 yellowtail from 12 to 15 pounds that hit green-and-white jibs. Four lingcod and 2 sheephead to 4 pounds were also taken on live bait. The top fishing locations were 8 miles out on a heading of 180 degrees, 6 miles out at 015 degrees, 8 miles out at 240 degrees, and around Isla San Martin, Marquez said. Water temperatures averaged 58 to 60 degrees. Marquez also reminded readers that Don Eddie's Landing is still offering the super promotional, double room rate of $29, and this will remain in effect through March.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Jim Harer, reporting for the THE OLD MILL HOTEL and EL CAPITAN SPORTFISHING, said no boats were sent out last week, despite the warm, sunny, and clear weather. Harer said evenings have been cool, in the low 50s, and most of the guests in the hotel lately have been either off-road motorcyclists, or duck hunters, who have been taking easy limits of San Quintin's big supply of black brant this season.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Local residents at San Carlos continued to report concerns over what appears to be a significant increase in the harvest of sardines from the bay, including a new cannery that is now being completed on the commercial pier. There have also been recent fishermen's reports of sardine boats netting in the mangrove channels, and taking game fish as by-catch, including snook, grouper, and other valued sport fishing species.
Offshore, Gary Graham of BAJA ON THE FLY, reported very good action on striped marlin, as the late season Thetis Bank fish pile-up unfolds. "As I suspected, everything is coming later, because of the lack of storms along the West Coast," Graham said. "Since the storms began a couple of weeks ago, the volume of fish has increased dramatically. There are now fish from the 38 all the way down to Cabo San Lazaro, and the water has cleaned up as well. Yesterday, our fly-fishers raised 7 marlin."
"The ocean has been like glass," Graham continued. "No wind. The temperature in San Carlos last night was 71 degrees. Spectacular!" In the mangrove channels, Graham said there was good action last week at Devil's Curve, the power plant, and the bridge, with corvina plentiful and snook caught to 17 pounds. Inshore, yellowtail were making a good showing in about 100 feet of water from Punta Hughes all the way to Cabo San Lazaro.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Despite cooler temperatures and choppy offshore conditions, Eric Brictson of GORDO BANKS PANGAS said anglers were still scoring on steady catches of yellowfin tuna, dorado, sierra, pargo, and skipjack. Water temperatures were holding close to 80 degrees, he said, although cooler water was moving in from the Pacific side. "There were many whale sightings reported this past week," Brictson added. "This is a sign that water temperatures will now be on a cooling trend, and it will be another transition period for migrating fish.
Brictson said local pangueros were finding the best action north of Punta Gorda around the Iman and San Luis Banks by drifting live sardinas for yellowfin tuna in the 10 to 25 pound range, but the bite was up and down in occasional rough seas, and cool air temperatures were making everybody glad when the sun came out.
Most boats were coming in with about a dozen fish, half of them tuna caught on 1/0 or 2/0 hooks, and 20 to 30 pound line. The Gordo Banks themselves were slow, except for a few larger tuna caught there. Dorado in the 15 to 25 pound range were scattered throughout the area, both inshore and offshore, with no particular pattern seen, and although the counts were not up to summertime highs, some boats were coming in with 3 to 5 fish.
The wahoo catch dropped off last week, Brictson said, although an 80-pounder was brought in by local angler, Carlos, after a double hookup off Cardon. A smaller, 20-pound wahoo was released.
"Inshore fishing showed signs of coming to life," Brictson said. "More sardinas are moving into the beach areas, and this has attracted sierra, roosterfish, pargo, jacks and croakers. More surf fishermen are now lining the beaches, taking advantage of the improved action.
"Trolling along the shoreline gave anglers a calmer second option to the rough offshore waters and also produced some wide-open action on sierra up to 5 pounds, with many smaller roosterfish mixed in."
Brictson said tourist activity at San Jose del Cabo has dropped off from November highs, as it usually does through the Christmas holiday.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Windy conditions continued last week, and visitors were very few at East Cape, except for sail boarders who were arriving to take advantage of approaching winter conditions.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of VISTA SEA SPORT said water temperatures were still about 77 degrees at diving depth, and the water is still blue, with abundant sea life and great numbers of big eye jacks being seen. Rayor commented on the relatively new sport of kite sailing that is appearing in East Cape:
"No sail. A person on a surf board-type thing with foot straps and a kite they can control by the way the handle is pulled. It is something to watch guys that are good. They can jump 10 or 20 feet in the air and go for a hundred yards. It doesn't look like much fun to learn. We see people fall off their boards and getting towed a long way before they can get the kite down. Kinda like being tied to your water ski rope, and the boat not stopping when you fall."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At RANCHO LEONERO, John Ireland said winter conditions reduced air temperatures to the mid-70s, with partly sunny skies, and surface water temperatures in the upper 70s. Leonero boats were pinned to shore by wind toward the end of the week, although there had been a good bite on tuna, dorado, and sierra a few days earlier, Ireland said. Sierra were very active from the hotel, south to Cabo Pulmo, and they were hitting on live sardinas and hoochies.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Inshore, Gary Graham of BAJA ON THE FLY said there is still good action on small and medium roosterfish, plus a mix of other species, at the first arroyo north of Los Barriles. The recommended areas were from the arroyo north of town to Punta Pescadero, and also directly in front of Rancho Leonero on the south side of the bay, for roosters and some ladyfish. Sierra were increasing daily in front of La Ribera, he said.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Good inshore fishing was also reported right in front of the resort, by Eddy of EL CARDONAL'S HIDEAWAY. "Since the hurricane, we have had good fishing inside the point at the north end of the bay," he said. "This is because the currents in the arroyos have carried lots of debris into the sea." He added that fishing off Punta Pescadero was good for tuna until the winds hit last week. El Cardonal's Hideaway now has 3, 28-foot super pangas, Eddy said, plus a new 28-foot cruiser based in La Paz.
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of BAJA BIG FISH COMPANY said winter winds have been blowing 3 to 4 days per week, and very few boats have been fishing. "Man, how the weather has changed!" she said. "Clearly it is winter here. Highs are in the mid to low 80s, but colder when the northerlies blow. Today, they're blowing, and the wind chill makes it feel as though it's in the 50s." There were thought to be yellowtail around the usual spots to the north, around Punta Pulpito and San Bruno, but there were no boats looking for them.
Bolles added that, wind or no wind, there will be a fly-tying class at the store on December 28th, and she's planning an all-inclusive fly fishing course called "Saltwater Fly Fishing 101," which is scheduled for next May. Also, the tacos are selling like hotcakes, she said, at Francisco's successful new stand in front of the store.
MULEGE, MEXICO: Diana Johnson of the HOTEL SERENIDAD said there were very few tourists in Mulege last week, and the weather has been cold and windy. There were thought to be plenty of yellowtail around Isla San Marcos, but virtually nobody was fishing last week, she said. The Hotel Serenidad's special promotional rate will be available through February 14th, Johnson said. This is a special, double room package for 3 nights, including full breakfasts for 2 people, at the promotional rate of $207. Up to 2 children under 12 are free.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: PATTY HAYNES just returned from Puertecitos, advising caution on the road south from San Felipe. "There were four accidents over the Thanksgiving holiday," she said. "Two fatalities that I know of. The road is okay to about Km 40. After that, there are a lot of pot holes and drop-offs, before and after the vados. Drive slow, and make sure your equipment is in excellent mechanical condition." Haynes reported slow fishing conditions as far south as Isla el Huerfanito, saying anglers are coming back with little or nothing, in windy conditions that have been keeping boats ashore. "I only heard one report of anybody bringing anything in while I was there, and they weren't bragging about that," she said.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Nora Alonso Rice of ARIES SPORTFISHING FLEET said weather was a little windy and cloudy last week, but still very fishable. Capt. Victor of the Aries II reported losing a big swordfish 30 feet from the boat after a 45-minute fight, plus seeing another in the area. He was fishing 29 miles from the harbor on a heading of 220 degrees.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Other offshore catches for Aries Fleet included 5 sailfish, 1 shark, 1 blue marlin, 5 dorado, and 36 yellowfin tuna, reported Larry Edwards of CORTEZ YACHT CHARTERS. Inshore and bottom fishing were productive, with catches reported of a dozen red snapper, 19 mojaras, and 30 sierra. The best sierra bite was located at Marmol, 14 miles north of the harbor, Alonso Rice said.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Marcos Vargas of VARGAS SPORTFISHING said water temperatures are averaging 83 degrees in calm conditions, with no rain, and somewhat improved numbers of tourists in town. About 60 boats fishing during the past 15 days reported a catch (including released fish) of 40 sailfish to 100 pounds, 3 marlin to 250 pounds, 1 dorado of 20 pounds, 8 yellowfin tuna to 80 pounds, 3 roosterfish to 40 pounds, and 1 wahoo at 30 pounds.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze of MAR Y TIERRA SPORTFISHING said blue water is within a mile of the beach, and sailfish action took a big jump over the weekend for Capt. Mecate on the Agua Azul, who reported 7 releases in one day for Jim and Susan Fredricks of Houston. There were also many tuna in the area, Kunze said, but they were boat-shy and being caught mainly on live bait.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: At IXTAPA SPORTFISHING CHARTERS, San Lushinsky and Susan Richards said sailfish catches are improving on the back side of the full moon, with boats reporting about 1 fish per day. Inshore, Capt. Adolpho Espinosa reported a super-hot day on roosterfish, with 18 caught, between 30 and 60 pounds, before noon. The best fishing area for sailfish was 10 to 20 miles offshore, they said.