SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: The first days of spring brought water temperatures near their seasonal lows last week, and fishing action was slow in most areas of Baja, as strong winds alternated with days of warm, sunny weather.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: At San Quintin, all rooms at DON EDDIE'S LANDING were booked for this week's Easter fishing tournament, and additional sign-ups were being referred to other hotels.
Don Eddie's Tony Marquez said, "There are 30 anglers signed up so far. Competition is on Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m." The post-tournament celebration on Saturday includes a dinner and Mexican live music from 6 p.m. until midnight.
Marquez said a total of 16 pangas fished from the bay this weekend, in windy but warm conditions. Thirty-five anglers caught full limits of rockcod and ocean whitefish, plus a total of about 16 yellowtail. Roger Sanchez, Steven Oquindo, and Abel Romero of San Bernardino fished with Capt. Kelly Catian of El Capitan Sportfishing, and landed 22 lingcod to 17 pounds, Marquez said. San Quintin water temperatures averaged about 58 degrees.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Jim Harer of the OLD MILL HOTEL said San Quintin weather was "beautiful and calm" last week, but windy again on Saturday. "Yellowtail fishing was good only if you had live bait on board," Harer said. "Iron and lures couldn't buy a fish." Six boats were chartered at Pedro's Pangas, and 2 boats at El Capitan Sportfishing.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of PEDRO'S PANGAS said the wind was not a factor in reaching the fish over the weekend. All boats were fishing, but not finding many yellowtail. Most boats were bringing in nice sizes of rockcod and lingcod, and most of the yellowtail were being caught on live bait, around the 240 Spot and the 15 Spot.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: The extraordinary bite on lingcod continued last week around Bahia Todos Santos. On Friday, Sammy Susarrey of LILY FLEET said the Lily fished with 4 anglers and reported: 32 lingcod to 6 pounds, 8 red snapper to 4 pounds, 10 salmon grouper to 5 pounds, and 9 assorted species. Ensenada water temperatures averaged about 55 degrees, and water color continued to be green in inshore areas.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: At GORDO'S SPORTFISHING, Erick Ptacnik said some barracuda have begun to show up, and some yellowtail are being seen around Isla Todos Santos. Bottom fishing continued good.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham on BAJA ON THE FLY reported several days of cold, windy weather last week, and skies clearing toward the weekend. "Because of the rough conditions, very little fishing took place this week," he said. "No one was on the outside, and inside, only a few halibut and small corvina were taken."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Cool water temperatures and rough sea conditions made fishing tough for several days last week, and fish counts remained down on all species except for scattered catches of schooling yellowfin tuna and sierra.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At PICANTE FLEET, Victor Sandez reported 6 boats chartered on Friday had a combined fish count of: 38 yellowfin tuna, 13 dorado, and 1 wahoo. Fishing was mostly at the Outer Gordo Bank.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At CABO MAGIC, Tommy Garcia reported on 13 boats chartered over an 8-day period, with a combined catch (including released fish) of: 4 yellowfin tuna to 50 pounds, 56 sierra, 3 skipjack, 1 dorado, 4 roosterfish, 1 yellowtail, 1 mako shark of 150 pounds, and 2 wahoo lost.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of CORTEZ YACHT CHARTERS reported the largest striped marlin caught in memory at Cabo San Lucas last week. A non-GAVIOTA FLEET boat, the Knot 2 Worry, skippered by Capt. Yeto, caught a 285-pound striper at the Jaime Bank for angler Casey Metz of Scottsdale, AZ, Edwards said. Otherwise, fishing was on the slow side, with 39 percent of Gaviota Fleet boats landing billfish and some boats getting skunked. Overall, the fleet reported a fish count of: 16 striped marlin (8 released), 1 wahoo, 18 dorado, and 50 yellowfin tuna. Water temperatures were mostly in the low-70s, with some temperatures to about 75 degrees reported at the Jaime Bank.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At SOLMAR FLEET, manager Rene Santa Cruz said there was "more talk about fishing in the cantinas this week than fishing," as the season reached its annual low point and many at the Cape felt "it can only get better."
Solmar boats reported cool water in the 65 to 69-degree range, high winds, and 4 to 8-foot swells. "Anglers who fought the March winds scratched out a grab-bag of small game fish, plus a scattering of striped marlin off the Old Lighthouse and and around El Arco," Santa Cruz said. Overall, only 3 marlin were caught, plus some yellowfin tuna, and 2 mako shark that were released.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tracy Ehrenberg of PISCES FLEET said about 6 percent of boats chartered caught billfish last week. "The week was very slow for marlin." Pisces boats landed 4 marlin (3 released) during the week, plus up to 7 yellowfin tuna, to 90 pounds, mostly caught 10 to 20 miles off the Old Lighthouse. Inshore, Pisces boats caught good numbers of sierra, some cabrilla and amberjack, and a few roosterfish to about 20 pounds. Water temperatures observed were 68 to 70 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of FLY HOOKER SPORT FISHING said water temperatures were most favorable to the south and east of Cabo last week, and satellite maps showed "an eddy of warm water in the 78-degree range coming at us from the direction of Mazatlan, that might change things a bit.
Landrum said the cool water has brought some sightings of broadbill swordfish to the area, but so far, none had been legally hooked.
Although dorado were hit-and-miss last week, Landrum said yellowfin tuna were finally close enough to target. "Almost all of the fish have been porpoise associated, and the majority of the time they have been between 18 and 35 miles to the south," he said. "A few of the schools had fish in the 40 to 60-pound class."
Giant squid, earlier reported to 80 pounds, were still hanging around, Landrum said. They were being found about 13 miles from the arch on the Pacific side, and were ranging in size from 6 to about 60 pounds.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of GORDO BANKS PANGAS said inshore water temperatures dropped to as low as 68 degrees last week, as stiff north winds on Tuesday and Wednesday brought mixed conditions and rough water.
"It did not help the fishing action any," Brictson said. "Counts were down from the previous week. The most consistent bite was for sierra close to shore, or for a variety of bottom fish."
Sierra were located along the whole region, with one of the hot spots being around Punta Gorda. "Trolling with live sardinas, Rapalas and hoochie skirts all produced fish, but live bait was the way to really get them into a feeding frenzy," Brictson said. The sierra were averaging 2 to 3 pounds, but there were some of 6 to 8 pounds mixed in.
Anglers fishing yo-yo jigs off the bottom were finding some success on pargo, amberjack, yellowtail, grouper, cabrilla, pompano, bonita, and skipjack, and some yellowtail were caught to over 20 pounds last week. Some small roosterfish were also being seen, and one 20-pounder was caught and released on a surface lure by Sue Kammer of Gold Beach, OR.
The brief but intense yellowfin tuna bite that teased anglers last week has dissipated for the moment, Brictson said, even though the water at La Fortuna and the Iman Bank is clear and blue.
Brictson reported that pelagic red crabs are showing up north of the Gordo Banks now, and he expected fish counts to drop temporarily as fish fill up on the crustaceans instead of hitting bait.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: At LA PLAYITA TOURS, beach fishing guide Mike Santry said things were very slow last week. "The pangas with nets are around again, and it's starting to show," he said. "What fish are here are going into the pangas. We managed to pull a few sierra and a ray, but until mid-April things will be slow."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Axel Valdez of BUENA VISTA BEACH RESORT said 29 boats chartered last week caught a combined total (including released fish) of: 1 striped marlin, 47 dorado, 7 tuna, 9 roosterfish, 150 pargo, 7 jack crevalle, 4 sierra, 17 cabrilla, and 14 skipjack. Water temperatures varied from the high 60s to the low 70s, and boats were running 5 to 30 miles to find the fish.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chris Moyers of EAST CAPE SMOKEHOUSE, reporting for the Van Wormer resorts of HOTELS PALMAS DE CORTEZ, PLAYA DEL SOL, PUNTA COLORADA, said 71 boats chartered during the week caught a combined total (including released fish) of: 95 dorado, and 19 yellowfin tuna. Water temperatures were 68 to 70 degrees, and air temperatures were 60 to 78 degrees.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Seasonal resident Larry Cooper of BAJA BOAT WHEELS said the high point of the week was dorado of 15 to 40 pounds caught around a dead whale floating about 10 miles north of Punta Pescadero.
"On Monday, Oscar aboard the Borracho out of Hotel Palmas de Cortez found the fish slightly north of where we hit them on Friday," Cooper said. "Two lucky passengers scored 22 dorado and 4 yellowfin tuna. Oscar said they hit the marlin lures, dead chunk bait, and iron. Virtually anything that hit the water. I am sure if there were more fishermen here to charter boats the count would have been huge!
"Unfortunately, things turned around Tuesday and Wednesday with monster north winds. Wind waves were hitting our beaches over 6 foot. I even had a surfer out in front of my house! Did not see any boats come in with fish.
"Thursday morning looked fishable. By 11 a.m., it was flattening down, and by 3 p.m. you could water ski. Because of the big winds, water temps on the inside dropped from 69 degrees to 63 degrees. The all-knowing professional skippers took off early and went out 23 to 25 miles east of Cabo Pulmo and found 71-degree water, scoring with big dorado to 35 pounds. Several marlin were baited but none hooked.
"Friday the Sea of Cortez was like a lake! With high hopes, we launched our 16-foot tin boat, and shot up north hoping to find the dorado. After working for 4 hours with no strikes, we shifted gears and shot for Punta Pescadero. Ended up with 5 nice sierra, trolling a two-and-a-half-inch Rapala/Rebel-like lure that looked exactly like the sardines we were getting for bait.
"Saturday we shot straight for Punta Pescadero, ended up with 9 sierra. One was about 6 pounds. Lots of fun on 10-pound spinning gear. We heard on the radio that the dorado were back at the "La Ribera" spot. This is a slide located 8 miles north of La Ribera, and about 13 miles northeast of Hotel Palmas de Cortez. Most of the boats over-ran the fish, thinking they were still outside of Cabo Pulmo, but the persistent ones scored on the way back in.
"Overall, I am sure the numbers will improve as more fishermen arrive for the Easter holidays. You can't catch the fish if you're are not here!"
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At MARTIN VERDUGO'S BEACH RESORT, Marisol Verdugo George said one boat cruiser chartered on Monday caught "a bunch of small tuna and a few dorado to 25 pounds." Three other boats fishing through Saturday caught a combined total of: 10 dorado to 25 pounds, 1 striped marlin, and sierra and pargo. The weather turned warm and sunny toward the end of the week, and the highest water temperature observed was 86 degrees, Verdugo George said.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At VISTA SEA SPORT, Mark Rayor said the week's three days of strong winds "kind of mucked things up." Conditions were calm and air temperatures were in the 80s by the weekend, and water temperatures at diving depths were 69 to 70 degrees. "Sea life is abundant, with huge schools of manta and bat rays being the main highlight," Rayor said. "Humpback whales seem to be hanging out at Cabo Pulmo Marine Park, and we have been able to get up close and friendly on every tour."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Local residents of the Buena Vista-La Ribera area said local pangas were harpooning large numbers of manta rays around the gill net buoys.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At RANCHO BUENA VISTA, Tami Moyeous said 12 boats chartered during the week caught 8 marlin, 52 roosterfish, 6 barrilete, and 6 yellowtail. Moyeous said most of the rooms at RBV have just been fitted with new air conditioners in anticipation of the coming season. "Another couple of weeks and it should start to be really nice with good fishing conditions."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Karen Kennedy of La Capilla had two announcements: she's decided to sell her EAST CAPE TACKLE COMPANY store in downtown Los Barriles, and this year, local residents are doing "Midsummer Night's Dream" as their second annual Shakespeare production. About the store, Kennedy said, "I am ready to move on. It is a really great opportunity for someone, a turn-key business in a beautiful area." This year's local Shakespeare production follows a successful run of "Macbeth," last year, which played to big crowds at Palmas de Cortez.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At RANCHO LEONERO, John Ireland reported good fishing conditions with lots of squid and red crab in the water. Good numbers of stripers were taking "mostly red colored lures" to the south off Los Frailes, and dorado were being caught daily 15 to 20 miles off Cabo Pulmo, taking "exclusively pink and red lures."
Inshore, Ireland said the fishing was good on pargo, cabrilla, and lots of sierra right in front of the hotel.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of BAJA ON THE FLY said he fished through last week's wind and clients were scoring on sierra, football yellowfin tuna, and some dorado inshore, and jacks from the beach at Punta Colorada. The best action on sierra is in front of Scott Glenn's house, and jack crevalle were very active on the beach and inshore, Graham said.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Mino Shiba of MOSQUITO FLEET said Sunday was a very good day for yellowtail, cabrilla, and yellowfin tuna almost anywhere on both the La Paz and Las Arenas sides.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: At TAIL HUNTER INTERNATIONAL, Jonathan Roldan said that the winds earlier in the week kept most boats pinned to shelter, but that anglers willing to go out still caught fish. "Fishing close to shore, cabrilla were taken on bait and slow-trolled Rapalas," Roldan said. "In deeper water, some light tackle guys had a blast on big-shouldered bonito and skipjack." Other anglers scored on pargo lisa and yellowtail at Isla Cerralvo. Roldan said bait is still scarce around La Paz, so anglers should bring squid.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: David Jones of FISHERMEN'S FLEET said his "stalwart group of fishermen" who fished through the wind produced catches of pargo to 20 pounds, cabrilla to 12 pounds, sierra, and some smallish yellowtail under 15 pounds at Punta Perrico and Las Pilis.
LORETO, MEXICO: Arturo Sussarey of ARTURO'S SPORT FISHING said most of last week was "really bad" when it came to wind. "We are hoping this is the last cold front this season," he said. Loreto air temperatures were about 60 to 73 degrees, and boats stayed ashore for several days.
Earlier in the week, one boat caught 7 yellowtail to 30 pounds at San Bruno reef, 12 miles north of town, and after the winds, boats were unable to locate the schools again at either San Bruno or Punta Pulpito.
The with live bait situation still spotty, Sussarey recommended that anglers bring plenty of iron in scrambled egg, blue, green, and yellow-green colors.
LORETO, MEXICO: At BAJA BIG FISH COMPANY, Pam Bolles said the winds came from all points of the compass last week, and finally died down on Friday.
"Yellowtail have been very elusive for most, but plentiful for others. Right now most of the boats are fishing over the bajo de San Bruno. This is a very technical area, as the rocks are quite shallow in some places, making it easy for the yellowtail to break lines. Even some folks fishing 60-pound line are losing them regularly."
One fish successfully landed recently was a 42-pound yellowtail caught by Tony Declue of La Cañada, CA, using 30-pound line. Declue fought the fish for half and hour, Bolles said. "Don't underestimate a yellowtail. They're as strong as a marlin at their current size of 30 to 40 pounds, and they have a high I.Q."
Earlier, Bolles reported on a trip to the islands south of town:
"We fished out of Puerto Escondido, mainly to the east of Carmen and Monserrat. Nada, only bait. Fished there again on Monday, and almost made it to Isla Catalan in very rough water. We turned back and fished the east side of Monserrat, as the west winds were blowing hard. Later it calmed a bit and we tried for yellowtail west of Monserrat with no luck."
MULEGE, MEXICO: Fly-in resident RON GRANT relayed a telephone report from Chris Jensen saying the winds were blowing in Mulege last week, although air temperatures were in the low-80s. "The boats that did venture out had little problem getting yellowtail," Grant said. "Fish are in any direction depending on the boat ride you want. For the big yellows, Isla Tortuga or the north end of Isla San Marcos seem to be the key. Few boats are going that far due to winds. The campers at San Lucas Cove are picking up fish at both ends of Isla San Marcos."
MULEGE, MEXICO: Steve Black of BLACK MAGIC FISHING CHARTERS reported warming water temperatures nearing 70 degrees, and windy days into the low-90s, with other days calm. Yellowtail were showing on the surface under birds at Isla Santa Inez, and on the troll at Isla San Marcos and Punta Teresa. The largest yellowtail of the week was a 38-pounder, Black said, and small roosterfish were being netted north of town and south of Punta Chivato. Cabrilla were also boiling on the surface and hitting chrome at Punta Colorada an hour before sunset, Black said.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Catalina Meders of San Felipe's TITLE COMPANY BOOKSTORE overlooking the bay said Saturday's air temperatures peaked at a summery 84 degrees last week, and water temperatures averaged 66 degrees, with humidity at 40 percent.
"San Felipe has a very large group of spring breakers in town right now, which means that activity here has tripled," Meders said. "There are twice as many street vendors and taco stands, and a tremendous amount of rental business going on, horse-backing riding and ATVs, a very mixed blessing. At times the noise level is deafening.
"During Semana Santa, we usually leave the car at home and walk to work. There are so many people in the streets that driving is much slower than walking.
"The sea is a glorious shade of olive-green with patches of opal yellow this morning, and the tourists are just starting to come out to play. The sky is high and clear. All's well in San Felipe."
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of CORTEZ YACHT CHARTERS said 62 percent of ARIES SPORTFISHING FLEET boats were returning with billfish, but they were making long, 40-mile runs to the fish. Offshore, 24 boats chartered caught (including released fish): 10 striped marlin, 5 sailfish, 1 mako shark, 1 hammerhead shark, 15 dorado, and 24 yellowfin tuna. Inshore, 8 panga days fished produced: 47 corvina, 4 jack crevalle, 3 yellowfin tuna, 35 red snapper, 12 mojarra, and 34 assorted species. Water temperatures averaged 74 degrees, and weather was generally calm in the mid-80s.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky of IXTAPA SPORTFISHING CHARTERS said last week was "just about as difficult as it gets."
"The historical temperature change has landed in the area, and it has slowed down the fishing," Lushinsky said. "A band of cold green water stretches from the shore to about the 25-mile mark.
"Capt. Adolpho Espinosa wishing to beat the odds and make a generous contribution to PEMEX, made a 65-mile, one-way run to find the schools of tuna, and was rewarded for his efforts. He landed 20 tuna to 80 pounds, and reported running away from schools of sailfish at the 35 miles mark simply because they were not the target of his client. This is a super sign that the fish are just outside our doorstep. With changing conditions we should have a return to the red-hot sailfish action that has become the signature of Ixtapa-Zihuatanjeo."
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze of MAR Y TIERRA SPORTFISHING said sailfish action is very slow, with most boats making the most of every strike. Boats were landing about 1 to 2 sailfish per day, Kunze said. "The one bright spot is the fantastic action we have been having on the roosterfish. Dominic Garfino of Calispell, Montana fished with me on the Gaby and we took 5 roosterfish to 40 pounds."
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the FINTASTIC TOTAL CATCH & RELEASE TOURNAMENT said, "the sailfish have gone on a red crab diet and are not giving the baits much attention. More marlin are showing but the tuna are still fairly far offshore at around 40 to 50 miles."