Baja fishing charter boat catches sink in winter winds

Mexico Fishing News, February 4, 2002



EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Most areas of Baja California continued to report very few visitors last week, as water temperatures began to approach their seasonal lows, and surface action slowed. The Van Wormer resorts of HOTELS PALMAS DE CORTEZ, PLAYA DEL SOL, PUNTA COLORADA had high count for the East Cape area, with 14 boats going out during the week, in windy conditions, and a catch including 2 out-of-season blue marlin, 136 dorado, 39 yellowfin tuna, 16 pargo, 124 sierra, and 2 yellowtail, according to Chris Moyers of EAST CAPE SMOKEHOUSE.

Local water temperatures ranged from 65 to 71 degrees, and air temperatures were 56 to 76 degrees. Moyers said limited surface action on school-sized tuna and dorado was found 20 to 25 miles off Punta Pescadero, with live sardines working best.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: BAJA ON THE FLY'S Gary Graham said his guides recorded a nighttime low air temperature of 41 degrees last week, which had them digging through closets looking for their heavy jackets. "Wind and rain, with unusually cold temperatures kept everyone close to home trying to stay dry and warm," Graham said. "It's been pretty tough all week."

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At RANCHO BUENA VISTA, Tami Moyeous said nobody has been fishing lately, but there are reservations for every day next week, so things might be getting back to normal soon.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: John Ireland of RANCHO LEONERO also had no boats braving the wind last week, although Dennis Spike of Coastal Kayak Fishing said the hotel has just purchased a fleet of paddle-powered personal pontoon boats for fun and fishing on the reef directly in front of the hotel. Rancho Leonero is also hosting a special-rate kayak trip on April 14-17, for $450, including rooms, meals, 4 days of guided kayak fishing, kayaks, bait, and tips, Spike said. "John Ireland is a real benefactor to the sport of kayak fishing, and like many resort owners, he's also catering to fly anglers.

He's using Gary Graham's guiding services, and excellent pangueros. He really understands that a little extra special attention goes a very long way in serving his guests."

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of VISTA SEA SPORT reported that windy conditions hampered diving for most of last week. "There was only one day we were able to dive Cabo Pulmo," he said. "Conditions were surprisingly good. Water temperature is 70 degrees and it is loaded with life. Visibility was about 50 feet. One diver commented, 'the vis would have been better, but I couldn't see through all the manta rays.'" Rayor added that some people are enjoying the wind. "Local kite surfers were happy because a championship tournament is scheduled for this week and we're experiencing the hardest blow of the year."

In other mainland Mexico and Baja fishing action this week:



ENSENADA, MEXICO: Bottom fishing around Bahia de Todos Santos continued excellent last week in near-perfect weather conditions, for the few anglers who were fishing. Ivan Villarino of VONNY FLEET said the rocks around the tip of Punta Banda are producing a steady catch of rockfish, but people are waiting for the spring yellowtail schools to show up.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Visiting angler John Ryan fished with SERGIO'S ENSENADA SPORTFISHING CENTER on Friday and did well on 3 to 4-pound lingcod, using small lead heads. "Color didn't matter," Ryan said. "We fished in 60 to 80 feet of water. Lingcod have a very soft bite. I was using 15-pound line, and unless I was paying full attention, I would miss the strike. A local was fishing next to me with the same setup, except he was using 25-pound test, and he was catching 8 fish to my 1. He was really GOOD, and very helpful to me. The largest lingcod he caught was around 8 pounds. Diamond Jigs and even frozen squid did not produce. The boat crew told me they have not caught any yellowtail so far this year."

ENSENADA, MEXICO: On Saturday, Sammy Susarrey of LILY FLEET said he did find yellowtail. "Yesterday we were fishing for my family and crew. We fished very close to the shore and rocks and found schools of yellowtail feeding on small squid. We caught 14 yellows with sardine-colored jigs in medium sizes, Salas 6X Jr. We also found very good fishing for lingcod at Bajamar on yo-yo. The ocean was like glass." Susarrey reported Ensenada water temperature at 60 degrees, with good color, adding that local tour boats saw few whales last week, and the surfers going out to Isla Todos Santos were also disappointed, due to the very flat sea conditions.

Earlier in the week, the Lily fished near the Hotel las Rosas, finding generally slow action on 13 sand bass and a couple of large sculpin, Susarrey said.



PUERTO SANTO TOMAS, MEXICO: Excellent sea conditions prevailed last week at PUERTO SANTO TOMAS RESORT, according to Sam Saenz of Puerto Santo Tomas Resort, and the road is also in top shape, since it has just been graded. "The weather has been fabulous," Saenz said. "No wind, no rough seas. The ocean has been standing still for the last three days. One panga went out Saturday. It came back with full sacks of bottom fish from a spot 2 miles from the village, off Punta China. Lots of sheephead, rockcod, and lingcod up to 10 pounds."

Saenz said only half-an-inch of rain has fallen along the coast this year, and the local wild animals and cattle are having trouble finding enough food.



SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Brisk night temperatures, flat seas, and excellent bottom fishing continued last week, although a wide tidal range in the bay hampered black brant hunters. San Quintin had good angler activity over the weekend, with about 9 boats fishing on Saturday.

SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Nancy Harer of OLD MILL HOTEL said that Henrik Kristensen brought 3 friends to fish with El Capitan Sportfishing and scored on nice-sized yellowtail, rockcod, and lingcod in water temperatures averaging 60 degrees.

A group of 8 brant hunters got 17 birds Saturday morning. There are about 28,000 birds on the bay, Harer said. "Our 4 bird counters, Marni, Sharon, Diana, and Tyler, attended a fiesta at the home of a local guide, Alberto. They came across the bay from Pedregal in their boat about 5 p.m. at low tide. When they prepared for the return trip, they discovered their boat was quite a way out on the water, since it was high tide.

"But never fear! A guide named Tito tied a large rock onto the end of a fishing line and kept casting out until the rock caught itself inside the boat. Then he pulled the boat to shore. That's Mexican problem-solving at its best! The 4 young folks made their way back safely to Pedregal, under an orange moon, half-veiled by lacy clouds."

SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: At DON EDDIE'S LANDING, boats were finding very good to excellent action on rockcod, salmon grouper, whitefish, cow cod, lingcod, and some yellowtail, at the 15 Spot, 240 Spot, and at a 400-foot deep rockfish spot about two miles west of Isla San Martin.

One boat sent out on Saturday landed 58 fish in a couple of hours, including 6 cow cod, 8 whitefish, 25 miscellaneous rockfish, 1 sculpin, 5 lingcod, 8 salmon grouper, 4 mackerel, and a 17-pound yellowtail. Sea conditions were calm, with no whitecaps all morning.



BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Doris Middleton of LAGUNA TOURS said gray whales are beginning to arrive in rapidly increasing numbers. Up from about 80 whales the previous week, Thursday's census of Scammon's Lagoon showed 209 single whales, 173 mothers with calves, and an overall total of 555 whales in the lagoon. "Everything is going great," Middleton said. "A little rain yesterday and today."



MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: With wind and cold weather keeping most boats off the bay last week, the best action was for clams made accessible by some of the highest and lowest tides of the year.

MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of East Cape's VISTA SEA SPORT led a group of about 30 people to the bay and found conditions perfect. "With the low tide, the water receded over half-a-mile," commented fellow clammer Chris Moyer of East Cape Smoke House. "You could walk all the way out and dig buckets of a variety of clams."

"It was a great trip as usual," said Rayor. "The newest and greatest recipe was to split the clam open, put a shake of green tabasco in each half, and add a small piece of jalapeno cheese and a teaspoon of salsa. Pop them on the grill and wait 'till the cheese melts. Unbelievably good!"

MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Last week, Peter Langstraat of Holland, and the CICIMAR research center of La Paz, confirmed that the unusual fish photographed by Gary Graham of BAJA ON THE FLY was a paloma pompano, Trachinotus paitensis. The fish looks very similar to a Florida-style permit, and has a squared-off pectoral fin.

MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Graham said there was little fishing last week at Magdalena Bay, although some yellowtail were found near the entrada on Friday. Another boat reported sighting 4 gray whales with calves in the bay, and both air and water temperatures ranged from 61 to 74 degrees.



CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Fishing action at the tip of Baja was relatively slow last week, as striped marlin numbers averaged about 1 fish landed for every two boats sent out, and anglers were filling out the catch with school-sized yellowfin tuna. Inshore, cooling waters brought the season's first good catches of sierra.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: On Friday, Roberto Juárez of PICANTE FLEET said Cabo water temperatures averaged 69 to 70 degrees, air temperatures were 62 to 77 degrees, relative humidity was 83 percent, and winds were 10 to 12 knots on both the Pacific and Sea of Cortez sides.

Six boats fishing mostly around the Golden Gate Bank on Saturday landed (including released fish) a total of: 6 striped marlin, 12 dorado, 36 yellowfin tuna, and 6 wahoo.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of CORTEZ YACHT CHARTERS said fish counts were generally better on the Pacific side, at the Golden Gate and Jaime Banks, and GAVIOTA FLEET checked in with a combined catch of: 15 striped marlin (13 released), 28 dorado, 6 sierra, and 55 yellowfin tuna.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At SOLMAR FLEET, Rene Santa Cruz said fewer boats fished last week, due to intermittent windy days, and fish counts were down, except for an increase in yellowfin tuna (443 landed), and a blue marlin that was released.

"Almost all fish taken were hooked in the morning hours, some quite early," Santa Cruz said. "Almost all fish were taken either off the Old Lighthouse on the Pacific, or off Chileno Bay on the Cortez."

SOLMAR FLEET'S blue marlin was landed by Russ Herren of Indianapolis aboard the 28-foot San Lucas IV with Capt. Armando. Herren hooked the 260-pound class fish a couple of miles off the hotel and fought it to leader in 45 minutes, Santa Cruz said. Most of the marlin caught last week were taken on live bait.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of FLY HOOKER SPORT FISHING said water conditions were very calm by Sunday, after some wind and choppy conditions at midweek. Landrum said that the warmest water in the area was south at the 95 Spot, where temperatures were averaging 71 to 72 degrees. On the Pacific side, temperatures were as low as 67 degrees.

"Striped marlin were the only game in town," Landrum said. "The hookup ratio for fish seen was low. Perhaps as the moon goes towards new, the bite will pick up. Almost every boat had a shot at 1 to 2 marlin per day, but only about 50 percent were willing to take a bait or lure."

Landrum said the best fishing for yellowfin tuna was about 15 to 20 miles due south of the arch, under porpoise, and the dorado action last week was "hit or miss, with most of the boats missing. There were no large concentrations found and most boats were only flying 1 or 2 flags for fish found while working tuna."

Inshore, Landrum said the winter sierra bite has materialized. "It finally happened! The sierra showed up and were the meat fish of the week. Most boats were able to catch 30 to 50 fish in a few hours. The fish were on both the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific sides. The bite was early, shutting off by 9:30 every morning.

"Along with the sierra, the surf bite on jack crevalle turned on. They were being caught on Medano beach in front of 'The Office' and were running between 10 and 30 pounds. Snapper are also starting to bite, and so are the bonito and skipjack."

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At PISCES FLEET, Tracy Ehrenberg reported that a little more than half of the boats sent out last week landed billfish, and 84 percent landed billfish or other species.

"The fishing area changed to straight out from the point of Cabo, between 10 and 24 miles," Ehrenberg said. "Towards the end of the week, a lot of fish were being spotted, but getting them to bite was difficult. The sea conditions are great, with clear blue water, and lots of bait and squid, probably the reason the fish aren't too hungry. Our top boat this week was La Brisa with 6 striped marlin releases."

Ehrenberg also congratulated Pisces Fleet's Capt. Julio Castro, of the Tracy Ann, who was named by the Billfish Foundation as the top captain in the world last year for releasing striped marlin.



SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of GORDO BANKS PANGAS said the best fishing off San Jose del Cabo last week was for near-shore sierra.

"Offshore conditions were choppy, and the majority of charters found more comfortable and reliable action close to shore," Brictson said.

"Bait was not so easy to find and the smaller sardinas in particular were in short supply. Average water temperatures are now ranging from 69 to 72 degrees. Even without live bait, anglers found wide-open action for sierra. Once located they would hit aggressively on trolled hoochies and Rapalas. Most of these fish ranged from 1 to 3 pounds, but there were some 5 to 10-pound fish also mixed in. Not many other types of fish were hitting close to shore, just an odd roosterfish, jack crevalle, pompano and pargo. The sierra definitely dominated all action."

Brictson said bottom fishing was made difficult by persistent winds and strong currents last week. Some boats were yo-yoing off the bottom for a mixed catch of pargo, cabrilla, amberjack, yellowtail, bonita, and skipjack, plus some school-sized yellowfin tuna. Few dorado were caught last week.



LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of TAIL HUNTER INTERNATIONAL said seasonal winds persisted last week, but hardly anybody was fishing anyway, although there are yellowtail in town, mixed with some dorado that don't seem to realize it's winter.

"We have a nice yellowtail bite at Punta Perrico, Muertos Bay and on the Las Arenas side," Roldan said. "However, here's the zinger, we're catching dorado in the same areas! It's really pretty rare to find the two species in the exact same water, especially at this time of year, but the proof is in the fish boxes! What the heck, I've learned not to question this kind of thing. The yellows are mostly 10 to 15-pounders, and about the same on the dorado. Boat are averaging about 3 to 6 fish per day, plus just about all the sierra you want."



LORETO, MEXICO: Winds up to about 25 m.p.h. hampered fishing some days last week, but anglers who got out scored well on yellowtail between Islas Coronado and Carmen, north at Punta Pulpito, and at Isla Ildefonso.

LORETO, MEXICO: Arturo Susarrey of ARTURO'S SPORT FISHING said Loreto air temperatures were 51 to 72 degrees, and average yellowtail sizes in the northern areas have been running about 25 to 35 pounds. "And the good news is that surface schools are still being seen at Isla Ildefonso," he said.

LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of BAJA BIG FISH COMPANY said some of the deep water yellowtail hitting about 90 feet down are coming in at over 40 pounds from the north point of Isla Coronado (Candeleros), and from the trench at the southeast side of the island. Firecracker yellowtail from 5 to 10 pounds are also being trolled on the surface along the west side of the island, she said. "Punta Lobos is also holding fish but the winds have made it a tough location to investigate. Lobos is producing large yellowtail, both deep and at the surface."



MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of CORTEZ YACHT CHARTERS said ARIES SPORTFISHING FLEET boats lost a day of fishing due to wind, but still accounted for a combined count of: 13 striped marlin, 4 dorado, 51 yellowfin tuna, 29 jack crevalle, 9 red snapper, 75 mojarra, and 18 miscellaneous fish. The best fishing area had moved south to about 20 to 26 miles from Marina el Cid on a heading of 180 degrees, Edwards said.



IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Sailfish action continued red hot last week, with fleets raising about 8 fish per day, and releasing an average of more than 4 fish, according to Paul Phillips of the FINTASTIC TOTAL CATCH & RELEASE TOURNAMENT. "With the blue water almost lapping the beaches, the sailfish bite has remained strong," he said. "But the tuna that appeared last week made an exit this week, and were nowhere to be found."

Phillips said few inshore fish were caught last week, since everyone is out chasing sailfish. Ixtapa weather was in the high 80s, with water temperatures at about 78 degrees, seas calm, and blue water only a mile out.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Marcos Vargas of VARGAS SPORTFISHING said his boats have seen water temperatures as high as 86 degrees. Eleven boats sent out during the week scored on 48 sailfish and 4 dorado, he said. "We have the best time for fishing now. We have many fish."

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze of MAR Y TIERRA SPORTFISHING said there was a 2-day dip in fishing action last week during the full moon, but that the counts bounced right back. "Each boat is currently averaging about 4 to 6 sailfish releases per day. Fly fishing for sailfish has been gaining a lot of popularity. Today, fishing with PJ Cunningham from Idaho, we had 15 strikes on the cut baits. Seven of those fish came to the boat, and PJ hooked 3."

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky and Susan Richards of IXTAPA SPORTFISHING CHARTERS said fly angler Gary Roberts of Alaska landed 8 sailfish in seven days, and Jim Costolnick of the ESPN series "In Search of Fly Waters" landed 2 sailfish on the fly during his first day with Capt. Temo on the super panga Securestro de Amor.

Fish Photo 1

Don Sloan of Baja On The Fly shows a rarely-encountered paloma pompano, rachinotus paitensis, caught recently in the mangrove channels north of San Carlos on Magdalena Bay. The fish identification was confirmed by Peter Langstraat of Holland, and the CICIMAR research center in La Paz.

Fish Photo 1

Perry Butler of Napa Valley and Cabo San Lucas finally hit it big on wahoo last week after years of trying. His Boston Whaler landed seven fish weighing from 40 to 60 pounds. Photo courtesy Pisces Fleet.

Fish Photo 1

Guide Chame Pino with a 25-pound pargo and a 10-pound cabrilla yo-yoed off the bottom at the Iman Bank near San Jose del Cabo last week. Photo courtesy Gordo Banks Pangas.

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