LORETO, MEXICO: The southern Sea of Cortez got a brief break from the wind last week and kicked out some quality yellowtail action on fish close to 50 pounds, as visitor counts rose sharply in spring-like conditions in many areas of Baja.
LORETO, MEXICO: Part-time Loreto resident DON BEAR relayed a report on Friday from independent panguero PAULINO MARTINEZ, saying there were "huge schools of yellows on the surface at Pulpito feeding on squid."
Martinez said he was also catching yellowtail on the bottom, where their strikes were stripping the paint off his jigs, Bear added.
LORETO, MEXICO: Arturo Susarrey of ARTURO'S SPORT FISHING confirmed the red-hot bite at Punta Pulpito and Isla Ildefonso, about 35 miles north of town. A group of 8 anglers sent to the remote San Nicolas Camp organized by Blue Water Tours scored on 100 yellowtail, 30 cabrilla, 2 amberjack, and 1 snapper, in 3 days of fishing, Susarrey said.
Closer to town, Susarrey reported yellowtail from 10 to 18 pounds hitting at Candeleros on the north side of Isla Coronado, with one boat landing 10 fish. A trip to Isla Carmen by Capt. Roberto ended up with only a single 31-pound fish, after he was rocked by 6 others. "They were deep," Susarrey said, "and they kept breaking the lineas."
Loreto weather was the best in many weeks, with several calm and sunny days, afternoon air temperatures from 72 to 76 degrees, and some northwest winds.
Susarrey said mackerel live bait has been in short supply, and he recommended that anglers bring plenty of heavy and light jigs in scrambled egg, blue, green, and yellow-green.
LORETO, MEXICO: At BAJA BIG FISH COMPANY, Pam Bolles reported that Capt. Antonio Romero Murillo recently brought in the largest yellowtail she'd ever seen, a 47-pounder nailed at Isla Carmen on a yo-yo jig. The big forktail took almost an hour to land, Bolles said, and was mixed with surface fish that were not hitting. Bolles added that commercial pangueros are netting heavily off Juncalito. Because of the short supply of live bait for sale at the marina, she recommended that anglers be sure to bring Lucky Joe rigs with #4 hooks.
Bolles pointed to several signs of a possible early spring, including two dorado caught off Puerto Escondido that weighed 30 and 50 pounds, the surface activity of yellowtail during February, and squid and pargo appearing in the area.
LORETO, MEXICO: Scheduling information provided by Aero California telephone reservations agents for flights from Los Angeles to Loreto during the past two weeks was incorrect.
Aero California flights from Los Angeles to Loreto after March 15, 2002 were listed on reservations computers variously as "daily," or "six-days-per-week," for periods ranging from one week, through the end of August.
Aero California said that reservations computers would be checked to confirm that they are now current. As of Thursday, the schedule to Loreto was variable, according to the week flown, and callers were directed to the regular reservations number for further information: 800-237-6225.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Yellowtail action dropped off along Baja's Pacific coast last week, from San Quintin northwards, but anglers continued to enjoy a steady bottom fish bite featuring some of the best lingcod counts in years.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: At Ensenada, Sammy Susarrey of LILY FLEET said the newly-refurbished Tamara fished the Maximino Reef on Saturday, in 280 feet of water and calm weather, catching limits of red rockfish. The Amigo fished at Punta Salsipuedes for limits of lingcod of 5 to 7 pounds in 200 feet of water. The Amigo's 4 anglers caught their limits by 11:30 a.m., Susarrey said.
Earlier in the week, the Lily fished with 4 anglers in front of the Hotel Las Rosas, catching 18 sand bass, and 2 halibut to 15 pounds. The Lily also fished last week at University Point and in front of the toll gate at San Miguel, finding limits on sand bass, and halibut to 20 pounds, Susarrey said. The Ensenada bait barge had big anchovies and small sardines on most days.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: At SERGIO'S ENSENADA SPORTFISHING CENTER, Sergio Susarrey said the lingcod bite continues to be about the best he's ever seen. One boat brought back 12 lingcod of 6 to 10 pounds over the weekend, he said, and most anglers continue to limit on red rockcod, whitefish, and sheephead.
Overall, boats were busy last week, with whale watching boats outnumbering fishing boats about 3 to 1. Six boats went out Sunday, Susarrey said. There was little surface action on barracuda and bonito, but they were expected to start showing up in a couple of weeks.
PUERTO SANTO TOMAS, MEXICO: Sam Saenz of the PUERTO SANTO TOMAS RESORT said ocean and weather conditions were excellent over the weekend, and even the road has been graded and is in excellent shape right now. "The sea urchin season was over on February 28th, and the lobster season ended on the 15th," he said, "so there will be plenty of pangas now available for sport fishing. Some of the local pangueros will start fishing commercially."
Saenz said two pangas fished at Punta China on Friday and Saturday with Jim Ellis and his group from Palm Springs, and they found excellent catches of lingcod, rockcod, and big whitefish. The top fish for the trip was a 10-pound sheephead, Saenz said.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of PEDRO'S PANGAS said local weather was beautiful over the weekend and all boats were limiting on good-sized rockfish and lingcod, plus an occasional shot at 12 to 15-pound yellowtail.
"One of our boats was at the 15-Fathom Spot," Hillis said. "They ran into some nice yellowtail brought in on jigs (chrome-blue and blue-white). Hearing that, the next day all boats were out there, but as fate would have it, the yellowtail were gone."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: At the OLD MILL HOTEL, Nancy Harer said business was good last week, with many off-roaders, anglers, and other vacationers arriving. She said Pedro's Panga's hot yellowtail bite at the 15-Fathom Spot was enjoyed by Mike and Katy Boswell of the San Diego area, who caught 15 fish from 10 to 15 pounds. Other boats did well on lingcod, rockcod, and whitefish, and San Quintin water temperatures were about 58 degrees, Harer said.
Last week, 21 black brant hunters visited for the final weekend of the season, each limiting on ducks and then heading into the hills for quail and dove. Harer said that San Quintin's annual "Black Brant Ball" was "attended by all the brant who had the good fortune to survive the hunting season," and "the quacking could be heard way into the wee hours of the night."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: At SAN QUINTIN SPORTFISHING, Gene Allshouse, said he didn't locate the yellowfin tuna reported to be in a warm pocket of water 15 to 20 miles west of the point, but that we would continue looking for them as water temperatures rise.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Tony Marquez of DON EDDIE'S LANDING said 5 boats fished last week, with 18 anglers. The fishing was steady in "fantastic" weather conditions. Marquez reported a combined fish count of: 160 rockcod, 2 sheephead, 20 sand bass, 6 lingcod, and 4 yellowtail to about 12 pounds. Top fish for the week was a 20-pound lingcod caught on squid between Isla San Martin and the 240 Spot with Capt. Gato. So far, 15 anglers are confirmed for the Easter Tournament, and there were still boats and rooms available.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Juanita Peterman of Rancho Cielito Lindo on the south side of Bahia San Quintin announced plans for a free party that is sure to fill the town on Saturday, April 13.
"As thanks to our friends and clients, to celebrate remodeling of Cielito Lindo, and to celebrate the grand opening of Gypsy's Beach Camp, Juanita, Dave, Esteban, and Jose Luis invite you to a fiesta," she said.
"Motel rooms, RV sites, and camping are free for the weekend. A free fiesta will be held at Gypsy's beginning at noon Saturday, lasting until 8 p.m. Free pig and goat roasts, fish fry, free keg beer and sodas, and Mexican music will highlight the fiesta."
Peterman said as of last weekend, all rooms at the Cielito Lindo itself had been spoken for, but free camping or RV space was still available, and she was checking with other motel owners in the area for discounts on their rooms.
"We ask that you make reservations, so we can plan for enough food and drink. Your reservations will not be held past your reservation arrival time unless you notify us otherwise."
Visitors were asked to contact the Cielito Lindo to make arrangements: 619-593-BAJA, or email@example.com.
"We will not feel offended if you stay elsewhere, such as La Pinta, Old Mill, Old Pier, Don Eddie's Landing, or one of the other facilities in our area," Peterman said. "But you will have to make your own reservations there and pay their charges."
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of BAJA ON THE FLY said yellowtail were caught at the entrada last week, and there were some quality cabrilla under them. In the mangrove channels, the best action was on spotted bay bass, jacks, and pompano from Devil's Curve to Mario's Spot. Snook were limited to smaller fish at Almejas Bay to the south, Graham said. Magdalena Bay air and water temperatures averaged 62 to 69 degrees, with some wind in the afternoons. Graham said he will be at the Long Beach Fred Hall Show this week, at the Buena Vista Beach Resort Hotel booth on Thursday, and the Rancho Leonero booth on Friday.
Photographer Herrmann didn't find the interesting tunicates that are found on some mangrove roots. The strange animals look like transparent jelly beans and sometimes contain tiny fish or other creatures.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Professional sport fishing photographer Richard Herrmann of San Diego returned recently from an exploratory trip to Bahia Magdalena where he got an underwater view of the fish holes and took a series of underwater photos with local guide Enrique Soto, including some of the very heavy gill netting that is occurring in the bay's northern mangrove channels.
"Enrique really gave us some good opps," Herrmann reported, "on whales, mangroves, commercial fishing for shrimp, sardines, and sharks.
"Unfortunately, some of the best snook holes are getting gill netted pretty hard. We saw gill nets across the entire width of some mangrove areas, one on each end, to catch fishes moving with the tides.
"I shot images in one of the mangrove areas across the channel, and just north of San Carlos. The gill nets were placed about 400 meters apart and went across the entire mangrove channel. Species I saw were many mullet, sierra, pompano and barracuda."
Herrmann said he looked for, but did not find the very interesting tunicates that grow on some of the deeper dead mangrove roots. These animals resemble big, transparent jelly beans, about two inches long, and they sometimes contain small fish or other creatures inside them. They grow clustered completely around some dead branches, and are sometimes seen when a fouled lure is pulled up.
"I did not see the tunicates," Herrmann said. "I looked a little deeper, but probably did not look hard enough. When I went to the deep spots that have all the fish, the visibility was not good. When I did go deep to the snook holes I did see lots of fish, however."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Striped marlin action improved dramatically last week after a two-week slow period, but yellowfin tuna numbers dropped, and dorado continued to be found only in scattered pods.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Mario Bojorges of PICANTE FLEET reported Cabo San Lucas air temperatures of 63 to 80 degrees, water temperatures of 71 to 76 degrees, relative humidity 44 percent, and winds of 10 to 12 knots on both the Pacific and Cortez sides.
Seven boats chartered on Friday caught (including released fish): 15 striped marlin, 25 dorado, and 15 yellowfin tuna. The best fishing was found at the Inner Gordo Bank on the Cortez side.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of CABO MAGIC reported on 23 boats chartered during the week: 20 striped marlin, 18 dorado, 24 yellowfin tuna, 21 skipjack, and 1 mako shark.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of CORTEZ YACHT CHARTERS said GAVIOTA FLEET averaged 1 marlin per boat-day last week. Top boat was the Gaviota VII with Capt. Ramiro Gonzalez, who fished 6 days and landed 12 striped marlin (11 released). Gaviota Fleet boats also did better on tuna and dorado last week, Edwards said, fishing mostly at the Gordo Banks. The overall fish count for the week, including released fish, was: 25 striped marlin (21 released), 40 dorado, and 78 yellowfin tuna.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At SOLMAR FLEET, boat manager Rene Santa Cruz rejoiced over the improved marlin action. "The marlin are back!"
"Solmar anglers caught and released 3 striped marlin in the 2 weeks before this report," Santa Cruz said. "This week our boats recorded 45 stripers, with a very low number of boat days. It was clearly a welcome turn-around for Cabo, where billfish are fishing's royalty." Even with return of marlin at the Cape, the tuna catch tumbled by 50 percent from the week before, Santa Cruz said, 83 compared to 162.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At FLY HOOKER SPORT FISHING, Capt. George Landrum commented on the unusual fog that enveloped Cabo San Lucas on Monday morning. "It lasted about an hour," he said. "Almost a solid wall that dropped the temperature by 10 degrees for a while."
Landrum said the bulk of the marlin action occurred when warm water moved in on the Cortez side early in the week. "Most of the boats were finding up to 20 fish tailing on the surface. Catches of 1 to 4 fish per boat were reported. That was on Wednesday. By Thursday, they had moved off again and the catch dropped."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Beach fishing guide Mike Santry of LA PLAYITA TOURS said winds hampered the action last week, although sierra and roosterfish were seen. "The wind has kept any productive fishing to a minimum," he said. "A few sierra were taken near Punta Gorda, but for the most part fishing from the beach here has been slow this week."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: At GORDO BANKS PANGAS, Eric Brictson said water temperatures off San Jose del Cabo ranged from 70 to 74 degrees, with the warmer water found 15 to 30 miles off shore. With plenty of live mackerel available and more sardinas than in recent weeks, the La Playita pangas were reporting mixed results near shore on bottom fish, sierra, and skipjack, plus a brief flurry of dorado.
"The last few days of February saw the best dorado action in the past couple of months," Brictson said. "From 3 to 12 miles out they found as many as 8 dorado per boat, with sizes ranging up to 35 pounds. Even larger fish were reportedly hooked up and lost. By the weekend, this bite had slowed way down and just a scattering of the dorado were found."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: VISTA SEA SPORT'S Mark Rayor said water temperatures are hovering at about 70 degrees, and the winds returned on Saturday after a week of mild weather. "Water conditions have been fickle" he said. "One day the current is ripping. That tends to make the visibility very good. The next day the current stops and vis closes in. Sea life on the reefs is prolific. Huge grouper, snapper, jacks and rays everywhere."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Aluminum boat launch wheel manufacturer, Larry Cooper, of BAJA BOAT WHEELS, said Los Barriles angler Harold Schrame ran out 32 miles on Saturday, put the lines in, and got an instant bite on dorado. Schrame then trolled all the way back in the wind, taking 5 hours to return.
Cooper's well-known, center-mounted launch wheels are now being displayed and sold at Tio Pablo's Restaurant, he said, and he's working on expanding his successful concept to a line of wheels for canoes and kayaks.
Earlier in the week, Schrame fished in 71-degree water, 22 miles east of the lighthouse, Cooper said, and his party pulled 27 dorado out from under a balled-up commercial net, releasing most of the fish, and keeping enough for a big fish feed. Cooper said the bottom bite has been steady on mixed amberjack, yellowtail, pargo, and snapper.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At RANCHO LEONERO, John Ireland said few boats were fishing, but marlin, dorado, yellowfin tuna, yellowtail, and giant squid were all active to the south. "There are lots of tailing striped marlin about 20 miles off Cabo Pulmo," he said. "Football-sized tuna are biting about 10 miles off the lighthouse, and yellowtail are directly in front of La Ribera, 1 to 2 miles off shore. There are 30 to 40-pound fish taking mostly yo-yoed jigs."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At MARTIN VERDUGO'S BEACH RESORT, Marisol Verdugo George said that, once again, Papá Martín is refusing to make the trip to the Fred Hall Fishing & Boat Show. "There is a lot of work here," she said. "You know, it is really hard to convince him to go up to the States. Maybe next time." The rest of the Verdugo family will be staffing their Fred Hall booth at the Long Beach Show as usual, she said.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Shannon Moe of Baja Fishing & Resorts, reported for the Van Wormer resorts of HOTELS PALMAS DE CORTEZ, PLAYA DEL SOL, PUNTA COLORADA, saying that 20 boats chartered during the week landed (including released fish): 9 striped marlin, 41 dorado, 7 yellowfin tuna, 47 pargo, 6 yellowtail, 2 cabrilla, and 20 sierra.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of BAJA ON THE FLY said the best inshore action is on the reef in front of Rancho Leonero, which produced some double-digit days last week on pargo and cabrilla. "A few yellowtail are still making an appearance in front of La Ribera, and in the early morning, sierra are knocking the tar out of schooling sardinas from Rancho Buena Vista to Punta Colorada. All of that and very little wind. Most of the rocky points are holding schools of small to medium-sized fish."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Mino Shiba of MOSQUITO FLEET said local water temperatures up to 76 degrees were found last week, along with plenty of sardinas, mackerel, and caballito live bait. Shiba said the water around Isla Espiritu Santo is cold with a lot of "green stuff like sargassum close to shore," but there were yellowtail here and there from about 25 pounds up to about 40 pounds. There were also yellowfin tuna from 25 pounds to over 50 pounds off the north end of Isla Cerralvo, plus yellowtail to about 30 pounds. Shiba said La Paz weather last week was "beautiful and like summertime some days, but with north winds or Santa Ana-like wind on other days."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: At FISHERMEN'S FLEET, David Jones remarked on the spring-like conditions, saying that, traditionally, winter wind is supposed to end around Easter time, and it looks like that might be happening this year.
Fishermen's Fleet anglers caught yellowfin tuna, sierra, cabrilla, and pargo last week, Jones said. Last week, he said he had a good day on yellowtail at the north end of Isla Cerralvo, drifting sardines with rubber core sinkers. Two large fish were landed, but 4 others were lost, Jones said. "I was rocked by 2 fish who took my 50-pound line down and did nasty things to it. These are brutish fish, strong and determined. One that I lost was a much bigger fish. The ease with which he abused my buttoned-down Newell was astonishing. He ran 50 yards. Then he ran off 50 more yards just to demonstrate that I really had very little control, waited, and then tied me off on a rock and disappeared. I'm not used to feeling helpless with a fish. I'm gonna do it again, real soon.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: At Bahia de los Angeles, Abraham Vazquez of CAMP GECKO said the yellowtail fishing inside the bay is much better than normal.
Vazquez commented on the early, spring-like conditions: "Usually at this time of year we have to go to Los Machos or Remedios, but this winter we have yellowtail at the local islands," he said. "They are behaving as if it was May, boiling on the surface. There are also some species like barracuda around, and frigate birds that we usually don't see until June. It's definitely a weird year."
Vazquez said one possible reason that yellowtail are so plentiful this year is the low price that the commercial fishermen got last year. "The low price caused them to look for different species," Vazquez said, "so the commercial yellowtail catch was close to nothing. The other theory is that there's another El Niño brewing, and the fish decided not to migrate far from their summer home. Maybe it's a combination of both. Anyway, there is definitely more than usual for this time of year."
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: PATTY HAYNES was just back from a two-day trip to Puertecitos and said that pangas fished both days, catching mostly halibut and triggerfish. Shrimp boats were still working the area, she said, and everybody in town was just enjoying the warm weather with "perros calientes" and "cervezas frías."
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At San Felipe, Catalina Meders of the TITLE COMPANY bookstore overlooking the malecon said the town was "unbelievably dusty" on Saturday as big crowds of racers and support crews crowded in for the San Felipe 250 dirt race.
"The town is a madhouse of racing vehicles, trailers, backup trucks, photographers, racing wannabes, and racing groupies of every variety," she said. "The taco stands and restaurants are doing a bumper business, as well as the street peddlers, and that is good news for the town in general."
Meders said it will be a while before San Felipe reverts to its normal, sleepy self, because right after the racers depart, the spring break crowd will arrive, and right after them will come Easter and Semana Santa.
As for this week, she said, "There will be much partying and celebrating all afternoon and far into the night...and then this particular motley crew will disappear up Route 5, taking their own cloud of dust and pocket of noise with them, and leaving a small mountain of empty beer cups, soda bottles and potato chip bags, which the sanitation department will already be clearing up in preparation for the next onslaught!"
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Nora Alonso Rice of ARIES SPORTFISHING FLEET reported good offshore and inshore action, with good weather and air temperatures in the mid-80s. For the week, 15 offshore boats caught (including released fish): 7 sailfish, 7 striped marlin, 7 dorado, and 7 yellowfin tuna. Ten inshore pangas reported: 93 mojarra, 14 yellowtail, 51 red snapper, 28 triggerfish, 58 corvina, and 14 sierra.
"The boats report they see swordfish in the area," Alonso Rice said. "They are about 20 to 25 miles south of the harbor. We have calm seas with no wind, so you can perfectly spot the swordfish. We expect to catch some this week because they are getting closer every day."
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: The wild sailfish action of the past several weeks has dropped off sharply, but boats are still averaging more than 1 fish per day.
Marcos Vargas of VARGAS SPORTFISHING said 12 boats chartered during the week caught (including released fish): 14 sailfish, and 3 dorado. There are many visitors in town now, Vargas said. Ixtapa air temperatures were about 90 degrees, and water temperature about 84 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the FINTASTIC TOTAL CATCH & RELEASE TOURNAMENT said the drop in sailfish numbers was partially compensated by some blue and black marlin, and some larger yellowfin tuna located about 15 miles out, with some tuna landed in the 150 to 250-pound range. Phillips asked all visiting anglers to bring tags, as most boats have run out.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze of MAR Y TIERRA SPORTFISHING said in addition to the sailfish he's seen a good showing of roosterfish in the surf line. "Martin Cortez, on the panga Isamar, has been fishing the Troncones area all week and got several nice fish. His best was a nice 45-pound rooster while fishing with Steve Sandberg of Chicago. Steve also picked up a 25-pound jack crevalle and a 20-pound grouper."
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinky of IXTAPA SPORTFISHING CHARTERS said the top boat for the week was the Sequestro De Amor with French angler Mr. Picard who landed 7 sailfish and 1 roosterfish in five days. "While the cooler currents slow down the sailfish activity, the cooler water has historically meant a dramatic upswing in the big marlin and tuna activity," Lushinsky said. "After the passing of this full moon period, we would expect the arrival of more and more of these trophy fish."