BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: There were very few boats fishing in most areas of Baja last week, although the action was actually pretty decent in several places, particularly on yellowtail. At Bahia de los Angeles, winter winds moderated for several days, and there was a good snap of yellowtail in and around the bay and at Punta Remedios to the north, according to Dr. Abraham Vazquez of Camp Gecko.
"The fishing was excellent for 8 to 12-pound yellowtail at Punta Pescador, and there were some very large yellows to over 40 pounds, and even some to over 50 pounds, at La Ventana and Horse Head," Vazquez said. The large yellowtail were caught on Salas 6X and Jr. jigs, over the shallow reef and some over open water, and many lures were lost, Vazquez said, even by local ironman, Igor Galvan.
At Punta Remedios, Vazquez said pangueros were reporting boils lasting hours on 15 to 20-pound fish, but the biggest fish were actually inside the bay. "Igor says what he likes most about this bite is that the big ones are so close you don't have to spend a lot of $3-a-gallon gas to get them," Vazquez said.
Bahia de los Angeles weather was in the mid-70s during the day, with nights dropping to the mid-50s, and water temperatures were measured as low as 63 degrees. Winds were mostly calm last week, except for three days of moderate north wind. Over the weekend, conditions were clear and calm.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Small, immature broadbill swordfish continue to show up at the Ensenada fish market as a result of by-catch dumping by the Ensenada longline fleet that is fishing Baja's striped marlin core zone on experimental shark permits.
Most of these boats are off-loading at San Carlos on Magdalena Bay, but the 150-foot boat Sea Bird has been seen unloading at Ensenada, and is thought to be the source of the illegal swordfish, local sources said.
Other longline boats now heavily fishing the core zone out of San Carlos include the following list: Agressor, Don Tomas, Kiliwa, Yumano, Orgullosos, Ileana; As de Oros; El Moro; Eduardi I; Progreso; Corina del Mar; Fantasma del Mar, Propemex T1-G, Propemex T4-G, Maria Gloria, Punta Abreojos 1, Punta Abreojos 2, Punta Abreojos 3, and one other boat whose name could not be determined. Although these boats are taking billfish, tuna, and other highly-migratory species on "experimental" shark permits issued by Jeronimo Ramos of the Mexican National Commission of Aquaculture & Fisheries, there is no effective monitoring of their catch being made, and no control over how and where they sell their fish.
This ongoing problem, as well as Ramos' proposals to increase core zone longlining are being addressed next week during a critical conference convened in Cabo San Lucas by the office of the Secretary of Tourism (SECTUR).
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ensenada weather conditions were generally fair and calm for most of last week, except for a large swell on Wednesday. The scattered, very late-season albacore bite continued to produce fish for some boats as late as Saturday. However, 3 boats fishing outside on Sunday all came in empty-handed, according to Fito Espinoza of Hotel Marina Coral. In a non-weather related incident, an old wooden sardine boat sank about 2 miles off the hotel on Saturday after springing a sudden leak, Espinoza said.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Veteran angler Barney Phillips of Tecate said about 15 boats fished outside Saturday at the 295 and 220 Spots--about 5 boats out of Ensenada and about 10 from San Diego--and they averaged about 2 to 5 albacore per boat in 61-degree water. "Look for conditions to pick up around the 16th," Phillips said, due to improving weather and an approaching quarter moon. Mike at the Ensenada bait receiver has good anchovies and sardines now, he said.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny Fleet reported that business picked up a bit last week, and he was fishing around the tip of Punta Banda for some nice catches of sheephead, whitefish, and a couple of keeper halibut caught in about 18 feet of water, right near the launch ramp at Campo Villarino. The halibut hit on live anchovies pinned on mousetrap rigs, he said, and water temperatures in the bay were down to about 58 degrees.
PUERTO SANTO TOMAS, MEXICO: Sam Saenz of Puerto Santo Tomas Resort says the 20-mile road is in pretty good shape, except for some areas of washboard that he expects will be graded soon by the crew from the cement plant at Punta China.
Weather conditions have been excellent, with a high of 82 degrees measured last week, but with sea conditions deteriorating to big swells and big surf with heavy undertow conditions toward the middle and end of the week. The sea urchin and commercial panga fishermen did not go out at all, Saenz said, although early in the week a single panga ventured south to Soledad Reef and came back with a good haul of bottom fish, including whitefish, rockcod, and lingcod to 9 pounds.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Bird hunters continued to do well on San Quintin Bay last week, according to Jim Harer of the Old Mill Hotel, and the brant monitoring crew of Marni Shepherd and Tyler Lewis reported that there are now about 35,000 black brant present, thanks to a new group of about 8,000 birds that just arrived.
Last week, 8 hunters visited the hotel, and they all got limits, Harer said. One of the hunter's dogs got caught in the outgoing tide at the mouth of the bay, and was finally rescued, waterlogged but okay, after a two-hour chase. Another dog named Mikey made a hit with everybody when it was discovered that he knew how to carry cans of beer back and forth from boat to boat.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Mauricio Garcia, reporting for Don Eddie's Landing and Tiburon's Pangaas, said only 3 or 4 boats fished late last week, and there was only a single party of anglers present over the weekend, even though yellowtail to 25 pounds were still being landed and the bottom fishing is excellent.
During the previous week, about 15 boats carrying about 34 anglers had gone out to the 240 Spot and fished for yellowtail, reported Don Eddie's Tony Marquez.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: The sudden closing of the very well-known and popular Old Mill Bar & Restaurant last year created a period of confusion among regular visitors to the San Quintin area. The bar and restaurant remain closed at this time, but the other businesses on the bay--including the separately-owned Old Mill Hotel--are alive and well.
San Quintin is a small community, and there is a fair amount of "overlap" in services. If you stay at one of the lodges listed here, you will probably end up fishing with one of the charter services also listed here. Or, you can contact a charter service independently.
However you fish out of Bahia San Quintin, by launching your own boat at the ramp, or with a charter service, it is recommended that you pay close attention when leaving the bay, and have a professional guide with you the first few times, at least. The bay is shallow, the exit channel is difficult to follow as it winds left and right, and the boca can be hazardous when there is surf and/or the tide is working against you.
Here is a list of some charter fishing services and lodging accommodations on the shore of Bahia San Quintin:
El Capitan Sportfishing, Kelly Catian
Pedro's Pangas, Pete Hillis; Rafael Hernandez
San Quintin Sport Fishing. Gene Allshouse
Tiburon's Pangas, Alberto Flores Galindo
Don Eddie's Landing, Eddie Marquez, Tony Marquez, Mauricio Garcia
Old Mill Hotel, Jim and Nancy Harer
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Baja's burro-hiking author, Graham Mackintosh, will give two slide-lectures on his books and his adventures during two epic walks down the peninsula, at the Elks Lodge in Blythe, CA, at 8 p.m., January 25, and at 1 p.m., January 26. Mackintosh will talk about his first trip around the coast of Baja, which resulted in his prize-winning book, Into a Desert Place, and his subsequent hike down the old Camino Real with his burro, Mision, after which he wrote Journey with a Baja Burro. The free lectures are sponsored by the Elks Lodge, located at 244 E. Hobsonway, in Blythe, and more information is available by calling 760-921-2248.
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: The California grey whale count in Scammon's Lagoon climbed passed 70 last week, according to Beatriz Bremer-Elourduy of Laguna Tours, and some of the females have already born babies this season, as the main group of whales continues to arrive. As in other areas of Baja, visitor numbers were down from recent years, although regular whale-watching tours began on schedule last week, she said.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said most local fishing is focused inside the bay and in the mangrove channels, and some yellowtail have been showing up at the entrada, plus some skipjack under working birds. Graham was preparing for an exploratory 3-day expedition to several untested esteros around San Carlos, with the primary quarry being snook, pargo, corvina, and palometa amarilla. No boats were known to be fishing outside, Graham said.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: At the Estero Esterito base camp of Mag Bay Tours, up to 5 California grey whales per day were being counted, according to Brian Freitag. In a few weeks, up to 20 times that number should be seen, he said, and early whale-watching bookings have been good.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Winter billfish action off the tip of Baja continued to build last week, with some boats releasing up to 5 striped marlin on the Pacific side, but most fleets averaging perhaps a fish per day, plus improved numbers of dorado under debris, and a light scattering of yellowfin tuna.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Picante Fleet, Roberto Juarez reported that 6 boats sent out Saturday checked in with a combined catch, including released fish, of 8 striped marlin, 12 dorado, and 8 tuna. Cabo air temperatures ranged from 52 to 71 degrees, and water temperatures were 72 to 74 degrees, with relative humidity 76 percent, and winds of 10 to 12 knots on both the Cortez and Pacific sides.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Solmar Fleet's combined catch last week, including released fish, was 47 striped marlin, 268 dorado, 97 yellowfin tuna, and 1 sailfish, according to Fleet Manager Rene Santa Cruz. Most Solmar boats were fishing the Pacific side, in fairly choppy conditions, from the Old Lighthouse north to the Golden Gate Bank, Santa Cruz said, and last week's action was marked by a doubling of the number of dorado found under floating debris.
One of the top boats for the week was the 36-foot Solmar IX, with anglers Norris Brook of Morgantown, WA, who scored on a striped marlin, a sailfish, 4 dorado to 30 pounds, and 8 yellowfin tuna to 40 pounds, with Capt. Tony at the Golden Gate Bank.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing said that the yellowfin tuna seen at the arch last week have dispersed, and so have the fish that were seen swimming with porpoise.
Cabo boats were fishing in a fairly wide zone from the 95 and 1150 Spots, around to the Golden Gate. Boats fishing farther south were seeing mostly tailers not interested in taking bait.
Dorado were found under debris from just off the beach out to about 20 miles, Landrum said, and most boats were getting at least a couple of fish to about 25 to 40 pounds by pounding hard with live bait when anything as small as a 2-by-4 was located.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Pisces Fleet, Tracy Ehrenberg said that 84 percent of boats sent out last week scored on marlin, and virtually all boats caught either marlin, dorado, or tuna. The top Pisces boat for the week was Valerie with Capt. Benito Agundez, who checked in with an average of four releases per outing at the Golden Gate Bank. Virtually all billfish were taken with soaked bait, mostly weighted, but about 20 percent on the surface, Ehrenberg said.
Another group fishing aboard the Libre early in the week fought a 500-pound class black marlin by taking turns on it for four hours. The big fish finally broke off after being brought to leader 7 times on 40-pound test line. The action took place 6 miles off the arches.
Overall, Pisces anglers caught a total of 61 striped marlin during the week, including 58 released fish, plus up to 8 dorado per day, to 60 pounds, either trolled up in ones and twos, or wide-open on debris. Most fishing was at the Golden Gate Bank, the 95 Spot, or off the Old Lighthouse.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported water temperatures as low as 70 degrees last week, with weather generally mild. Strong inshore currents continued to cause green, mixed water conditions off San Jose del Cabo, with sardina baits becoming scarce, and fishing action slow.
"Panga fleets continued to focus efforts on the Gordo Banks," Brictson said. "They have been scouting other areas without finding anything better.
"The week did have a good start to it, with Sunday and Monday showing some quality action for the larger tuna, including a 113-pound yellowfin. Some of the more fortunate anglers had as many as 4 or 5 dorado in the 10 to 25-pound class. But typically, anglers felt lucky to land one or two.
"Off the various rock piles catches included bonita, pargo, amberjack and cabrilla, the majority taken on yo-yo jigs. Most of the fish were less than ten pounds."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Very few boats were fishing at East Cape last week and hotels were lightly visited.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of Vista Sea Sport had a follow-up story on WON's recent Baja Beat column about some Pemex gas stations' practice of "short-pumping," or pumping less gas than the meter indicates.
"I just read your bit on Pemex," said Rayor laughingly. "One of my friends has a great way of looking at it. He gets 22 liters of gas in his 20 liter can and believes he is screwing the gas station out of 2 liters on every can filled!"
Rayon said that East Cape waters have turned green, but the sea is still very full of life. "Huge pargo and grouper have been easy to spot, and manta rays are jumping everywhere," he said. "The north wind has been off and on but water temperature has remained constant at 71 degrees."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Rancho Leonero, John Ireland reported beautiful days mixed with wind, and daytime temperatures in the 70s. Evenings were cool. No offshore information was available, except for reports of skipjack, but sierra were being caught near the beaches.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At El Cardonal's Hideaway, Eddy Beaulne said someone caught a bonefish near the hotel last week. A 170-pound marlin was also caught from the super panga, and lots of sierra were biting near shore. Yellowfin tuna were also being spotted north of Punta Pescadero, but were not in the mood to bite.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said the best action from the beaches is on sierra early in the morning. Anglers getting out right at sunrise were scoring on "sierra for sure, and maybe a few jacks and rooster," he said.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Very few boats were fishing anywhere in the La Paz area last week, and reports from around Tecolote channel, Las Arenas, Los Muertos, and down to La Ventana indicated that even most of the commercial pangueros were taking a vacation.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: David Jones of Fishermen's Fleet reported that a couple of pangas sent out last week took a pounding in wet conditions, but did manage catches of tuna, dorado, and a few pargo and cabrilla. One boat caught yellowtail from 8 to 15 pounds, cabrilla, a 10-pound dog snapper, and an amberjack, Jones said.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International said local divers were reporting water temperatures up to 71 degrees, and one panga caught 3 dorado at the shark buoys. Roldan said he enjoyed yakking with visitors at his booth last week during the ISE Sportsman's Show at the Pomona Fairplex. "It's been great meeting new friends and seeing old pals and amigos again."
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company said Loreto weather has been in the mid-70s during the day, dropping into the 50s at night, and skies were partly cloudy, with wind threatening toward the end of the week.
Bolles said the larger Isla Coronado yellowtail were being caught about 90 feet deep on mackerel and iron, and Capt. Francisco Muñoz scored on a 35-pounder Friday off Candeleros with an 8-ounce Tady jig in scrambled egg. Visiting anglers were advised to bring Lucky Joe rigs since the mackerel bait-sellers in the marina were showing up irregularly. Mackerel have been available at the bait hole off the southwest corner of Isla Coronado, she said.
LORETO, MEXICO: At Arturo's Sportfishing, Arturo Susarrey said larger yellowtail to about 25 pounds were also being caught off Isla Carmen, near Punta Perico, and north 30 miles at Punta Pulpito.
MULEGE, MEXICO: Fly-in resident angler Ron Grant said Mulege weather was outstanding last week, with daytime temperatures in the 80s, nights in the low 60s, and water temperatures holding onto the low 70s.
"Yellowtail are in, but you have to work for them," Grant said. "If you want size, go to the north end of Isla San Marcos, or the rock reef between Punta Chivato and Isla Santa Inez, in the deep holes working iron. Any color seems to work fine. Pulling a Rapala between the sand beach and Chivato Point off the rocks about a quarter-mile out will produce the smaller yellowtail under 10 pounds."
Grant said larger yellowtail were thought to be at Isla Tortuga, but nobody was making the long run out, due to the risk of wind.
MULEGE, MEXICO: Diana Johnson of the Hotel Serenidad said that around New Year's some night temperatures were measured just below freezing! Some guests were catching yellowtail last week, and the hotel runway was in very good condition, although there were few visitors in town.There were very few boats fishing in most areas of Baja last week, although the action was actually pretty decent in several places, particularly on yellowtail.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Nora Alonzo Rice of Aries Fleet said 16 boats sent out during the week reported a combined catch, including released fish, of 40 bonito, 14 roosterfish, 1 sailfish, 2 striped marlin, 144 red snapper, 1 mako shark, 24 grouper, and 1 dorado. Many striped marlin were in the area, Alonzo said, but they were not in a feeding mood. The roosterfish were being caught on live mullet at Cerritos, about a mile north of the harbor. The best offshore fishing area was 25 to 30 miles west of Marina el Cid, and weather and sea conditions were excellent.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Marcos Vargas of Vargas Sportfishing said that sailfish are charging the boats from horizon to horizon in a super wide-open bite, and there were also dorado trying to squeeze in there between the sails. A total of 21 boats sent out during the week reported a catch, including released fish, of 82 sailfish and 8 dorado. "That is all I have for you," said Vargas. Amen!
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky and Susan Richards of Ixtapa Sportfishing Charters called last week's action "incredible," with some boats posting double-digit strikes every day fished. Dos Hermanos, with Capt. Adolpho, landed 46 sailfish and 10 dorado in 5 fishing days, and virtually all other boats checked in with counts ranging from 5 to about 8 per day.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze of Mar y Tierra Sportfishing said one fly fishing group scored on 5 billfish in 2 days, including a blue marlin that pulled the hook after a fight lasting 4 hours and 40 minutes.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the Fintastic Total Tag & Release Tournament said the phenomenal action on sailfish last week included an incredible day on Wednesday by the Isamar with Capt. Martin, who landed 17 sailfish and released 15, with 2 that could not be revived. Overall, Ixtapa fleets landed over 400 sailfish last week, Phillips said.
Ixtapa weather was in the high 80s, and water temperature was about 80 degrees. Blue water was being found from 0 to 10 miles outside the bay, and the best fishing area was 4 to 15 miles off shore.