ENSENADA, MEXICO: Warming water temperatures all around Baja gave signs of an early spring last week, and the season's first reports arrived of early dorado at Loreto, surface barracuda and yellowtail at Ensenada, and the first panga mothership departures from San Felipe.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: At SERGIO'S ENSENADA SPORTFISHING CENTER, Sergio Susarrey reported on last week's snap of barracuda and yellowtail, fair action on calico bass, good counts of sandbass and sheephead, excellent on rockcod and whitefish, and continued "unbelievable" on lingcod.
"The last five months have been one of best seasons in many years," Susarrey said. "We've never seen so many lingcod caught with rod and reel. There have been days when more than a hundred were taken.
"We've been complaining about the lack of surface action, but on Tuesday the Clipper II with skipper Mario Payen got the first big bite of large barracuda, taken on the north point of Todos Santos Island. On the same day, 2 yellowtail were also taken."
ENSENADA, MEXICO: At LILY FLEET, Sammy Susarrey said, "Hooray! Yellowtail and barracudas showed up at Todos Santos Island. Friday was the first day we targeted those fish." Lily Fleet's Amigo reported limits of medium barracuda and 7 yellowtail of mixed sizes for 3 anglers just inside the island, hitting on UFO #3 jigs and live anchovies. Water temperature was about 60 degrees. The Tamara reported limits of bottom fish at the Punta Banda Bank.
A day earlier, the Amigo was fishing for lingcod at Maximino Reef, but ran into heavy birds and switched to surface tackle, ending the day with 11 yellowtail, limits of barracuda, and 18 large lingcod. The water temperature at the reef was 60 degrees.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Private boater, STEVE ROSS, whose wife Gail was just named All-Around Angler of the Year by San Diego Anglers, checked in as he was closing his office and loading up for a run to Ensenada. "Water temp is up 3 degrees on the Banda Bank from last week. Whoa! Last Saturday, the 'chovy was s-o-o-o thick in the bay, I snagged 'em on the way through the meatballs. What's a fisherman to do? It's either halibut and sand bass in the bay, or run to the San Jose Kelp for calicos. Then there's trolling down through the warmer water for yellows to see if they've showed up yet on paddies. Decisions, decisions."
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Shore caster MICHAEL HINO reported on some recent findings around Estero Beach. "I found a great little fishing hole here at El Faro Beach, just before Estero Beach. There are small breakwater points along sandy bottoms.
"I caught numerous types of fish here using various baits. Sandbass, calico bass, and sargo using clams. Halibut using anchovies and grunions, and also barred surf perch using sand crabs.
"If I put a whole small squid on, I usually catch a bat ray or sand shark. I usually fish during the incoming or outgoing tides. Normally I fish for about 3 hours and catch about 4 to 6 different types of fish. Most of them small, but I do get some keepers."
ENSENADA, MEXICO: And TOM MCINALLY, who reported on some great late-season albacore action last year, said he's was heading for Catalina over the weekend, but would be setting up for summer action at Marina Coral about May 1.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: BAJA ON THE FLY said San Carlos weather and fishing were improving last week, after a period of wind and low temperatures. A few yellowtail are being reported at the entrada, Graham said, and fair catches of corvina were made around the bridge and commercial pier. The best mangrove action in the San Carlos area was at Devil's Curve, about ten miles north in the main channel.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Fishing was generally unspectacular around the tip of Baja last week as winds plagued the Pacific side, local water temperatures dipped a bit, and marlin counts averaged less than one fish per boat.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At PICANTE FLEET, Roberto Juarez reported Cabo San Lucas air temperatures at 64 to 84 degrees, water temperatures at 60 to 67 degrees, and relative humidity about 64 percent. Seven boats fishing Saturday around the outer Gordo Bank checked in with a combined catch, including released fish, of: 5 striped marlin, 9 dorado, and 3 yellowfin tuna.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of CABO MAGIC said 9 boats fishing last week reported a combined catch, including released fish, of: 6 striped marlin, 4 yellowfin tuna to 40 pounds, 25 sierra, 8 skipjack, 2 yellowtail, 1 pompano, 1 jack crevalle, and 6 bonito.
Other combined fleet and private reports, representing about 150 boats chartered during the week, showed a total fish count, including released fish, of about: 60 striped marlin, 60 yellowfin tuna, 15 dorado, 120 sierra, 8 yellowtail, and 80 skipjack. Due to windy conditions and cold water on the Pacific side, most boats were fishing off the Gordo Banks, and some went as far as Los Frailes in search of action.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of CORTEZ YACHT CHARTERS said GAVIOTA FLEET had some decent catches early in the week, and things slid from there. "But overall," Edwards said, "this was a better fishing week than we have seen for about a month." The combined Gaviota Fleet catch for the week was: 42 striped marlin (31 released), 21 dorado, 13 sierra, and 4 skipjack. The top boats for the week were Gaviota IV, with 8 marlin in 5 days, and Gaviota 7, with 15 marlin for 7 days, Edwards said. Most Gaviota Fleet boats fished from the Palmilla drop-off, up the Cortez side, and most billfish were being caught on live bait.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At FLY HOOKER SPORT FISHING, Capt. George Landrum said last week was "cold and windy!" Water temperatures on the Pacific side were as low as 64 degrees, Landrum said, and the warmest water was over 35 miles south, and even then, it was only about 71 to 72 degrees. As for the wind that persisted until Saturday, Landrum's best comment was "choppy but fishable." Fly Hooker boats found last week's marlin action slow, yellowfin tuna and dorado slow, and wahoo almost non-existent. "Most of the boats that were flying tuna flags were catching bonito and skipjack close to shore. A few scattered dorado were found, mostly 30-plus miles out on the Sea of Cortez. The red [wahoo] flags flown by the boats coming in were for sierra. I didn't talk to anyone this week who caught a wahoo."
Landrum said the week's best action was inshore for abundant, if not large, sierra, bonito, a scattering of yellowtail, and some amberjack and pargo.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At PISCES FLEET, Tracy Ehrenberg said some boats scored quadruple marlin catches early in the week, before things slowed down. "Towards mid-week, fishing started to be a long run, up to 35 miles off Punta Gorda," she said. "The fishing tended to be better on less windy days. Fish were found most days, but they were not always hungry." Ehrenberg said 41 striped marlin were caught last week, with 39 released, and 51 percent of boats chartered caught billfish. A combined 61 percent caught marlin, tuna, wahoo, or dorado. "We did have several nice wahoo ranging from 40 to 60 pounds. About 65 percent of the marlin were caught on bait. The wahoo took the 'guacamaya' type lures."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Beach fishing guide Mike Santry of LA PLAYITA TOURS said, "Hey, things are looking up. The gill netters have not been so heavy in the area. The weather has been just great and things here are turning to summer-like conditions. We're looking forward to the coming weeks. Soon, it will be time to get the kayaks out."
Santry said lots of jacks have been caught around Punta Gorda in the early mornings, followed by sierra and needlefish a little later. Roosterfish were being seen, but were still out of casting range.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: At GORDO BANKS PANGAS, Eric Brictson said near-perfect conditions prevailed last week, with just enough of a breeze for comfort, and temperatures in the 80s. Water temperatures averaged about 70 degrees, and live baits available included mackerel, sardina, caballito, and mullet.
Offshore, cruiser fleets were making their best catches about 8 to 20 miles straight off San Jose del Cabo, Brictson said, but the highest concentrations of fish were located farther north, about 40 miles off East Cape.
The La Playita panga fleets enjoyed a wide-open bite on pompano for most of the week, Brictson said, but then the lobos moved in, and most pangueros went back to bottom fishing, with yo-yo jigs and live sardinas, for a mixed catch of amberjack, cabrilla, pargo, skipjack, bonita, and triggerfish, with an occasional fish to about 15 pounds.
There was also a run of colorado snapper to about 15 pounds off Red Hill, hitting mostly on trolled mullet. "This was supposed to be a secret spot," Brictson said, "but word is now leaking out. Schooling close to shore, these pargo are powerful fighters and very capable of cutting off tackle in the nearby rocks. A secret has been to use a double hook set-up for the bait, because with only one hook these fish are tricky."
Brictson said smaller sierra are numerous, despite the recent gill netting around San Jose del Cabo, and with plenty of mullet activity along the beaches, the roosterfish and jack crevalle should not be far behind.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Marisol Verdugo George of MARTIN VERDUGO'S BEACH RESORTsaid 7 cruisers are in the water now, and they have been getting charters as the season picks up. "We have some groups coming this weekend," Verdugo George said. "I had a boat out for half a day on Friday, the Marisol, and they got bottom fish. That's what they wanted.
"On Saturday, we had 6 boats go out. The Deborah Lee, with skipper Jesus, caught a striped marlin with Mr. O'Neil and his 2 boys from Boston. The Ricky, with skipper Martin, went out for half a day and caught a marlin with Mr. Ben Everson. The rest of the fleet, Marisol, Adelaida, Ronny, and Pescadory Too, took the fishing group of Mr. Guy Barker from Long Beach. They caught marlin on each boat, and a few dorado. The Adelaida released 2 marlin.
"Marlin is what's biting now. They are fishing today [Sunday] too."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: BUENA VISTA BEACH RESORT'S Axel Valdez reported on 32 boats chartered during the week, with a combined catch, including released fish, of: 22 striped marlin, 52 dorado, 27 roosterfish, 62 snapper, 1 jack crevalle, 5 triggerfish, 32 sierra, 18 cabrilla, and 14 skipjack.
Weather was in the mid-90s, and water temperatures averaged about 72 to 76 degrees. Valdez said BVBR boats were still going south, up to about 30 miles off Los Frailes, and even the super pangas were going out to about 20 miles east of Punta Arena. Inshore, Valez used the "quality" word to describe the action, and he added, "Don't forget your spinning rod so you can cast from the beach. You may be surprised [big roosters]." Offshore, Valdez said the hot lure continues to be petrolero.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At VISTA SEA SPORT, Mark Rayor said, "We would love to have these conditions all the time. Beautiful, warm, comfortable weather with calm seas. Every tour this week saw humpback whales breaching and putting on a show. At Cabo Pulmo more hammerheads were sighted. Huge schools of bat rays, big eye jacks, dog tooth snapper and large grouper are on all the reefs."
Rayor said the first seahorse of the season was spotted on Friday, and water temperatures at diving depth were averaging about 72 to 73 degrees. Visibility ranged from 30 to 60 feet, depending on current.
On Saturday, Rayor said, "Just received a report that a whale shark was sighted at Cabo Pulmo yesterday afternoon. Last year we saw many through the entire month of May. It is encouraging that they are appearing even earlier this year."
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 92 boats chartered during the week checked in with a combined catch, including released fish, of: 60 striped marlin, 114 dorado, 101 snapper, 2 yellowtail, 25 cabrilla, 46 roosterfish, and 25 sierra. Water temperatures reported by fleet boats ranged from 69 to 75 degrees, Moyers said, and seas were generally calm last week, with a light chop developing in the afternoons.
Boats were fishing generally south, off Punta Arena, Los Frailes, Cabo Pulmo, and Punta Colorada, from 15 to as much as a super-long 50 miles off shore, with the best success about 20 miles out. "All in all, not a bad week of fishing," Moyers said, "but better days are on their way."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: RANCHO LEONERO'S John Ireland said the billfish are a long ride away, but definitely worth the trip, with some boats releasing as many as 7 fish a day. "All anglers are taking at least one striper," Ireland said.
On dorado, Ireland called it some of the best fishing he could recall. "I took 3 in one day over 50 pounds. All anglers are limiting on fish from 20 to 60 pounds, with fish from Las Arenas to Cabo Pulmo taking mostly squid-colored lures, live sardina, and chunk bait."
The Rancho Leonero fleet was also averaging a combined catch of 3 or 4 wahoo per day, Ireland said, on darker-colored Rapalas and Marauders with wire leader. Offshore boats were running about 35 miles southeast from the hotel.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of BAJA ON THE FLY was wild about the beach bite, which he called "wide-open for roosters, jacks, and ladyfish from gray light at about 6:30 a.m. to about 8 a.m."
Graham said sierra have been hitting anything thrown at the water just before sunrise, and panga clients have been scoring on small to 20-pound roosterfish. The best action was in front of La Ribera, Graham said, which "can't be much better."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of TAIL HUNTER INTERNATIONAL said he's back in La Paz and into the action, and Linda Glassman-Davis of the HOTEL LAS ARENAS had a first-hand report of a trip to the hotel. "I have to say the fishing, weather and the experience was the best I have had in over 20 years in April," she said. "My husband and I each caught and released two, 20 to 35-pound roosters in 20 minutes, along with 3 jack crevalles, not more than a few yards off the beach right in front of the hotel! Our friends, Randy and Mary Goins of San Diego also caught 5 roosters and lost several yellowtail on the super panga right next to us."
Other hotel guest were scoring on sierra, cabrilla, dorado, yellowfin tuna, and pompano at the south end of Isla Cerralvo, Glassman-Davis said. Live bait supplies were good.
LORETO, MEXICO: Part-time resident angler DON BEAR called the recent yellowtail action around Loreto "good, but not outstanding," with some boats getting skunked and others landing up to about 8 fish, in all directions from town.
"The yellows are everywhere," Bear said, "Pulpito, Puerto Almeja, Punta Diablo, San Bruno, Isla Coronado, Punta Cholla, Punta Lobos, Ensenadas Amarilla and Perro, Punta Perico, and Isla Catalana, both on the east side and south end."
Bear said the yellowtail are on the surface, associated with birds, and are being caught on jurelito baits available at the marina for $1.25 each. "They can be caught on the usual bait rigs by slow-trolling north of the marina, but at such a slow rate that it's more efficient just to buy them. Mackerel are much more easily caught in large numbers off the southeast corner of Isla Coronado, but the yellowtail show a definite preference for the jurelitos," Bear said.
Loreto weather was generally good, with only a few days of strong wind over the past 3 weeks. Besides the yellowtail, anglers were scoring on yellow snapper, sierra, and cabrilla, best caught on live mackerel.
LORETO, MEXICO: EL FUERTE SPORT FISHING'S Ty Miller said there are "acres of bait swarming" now around Loreto, pointing to a possible banner season this year. "This reminds me of the yellowfin tuna bite off Isla Catalan we had last year that started near the end of July and lasted until the first of the year," he said. "Only a handful of us out of Puerto Escondido enjoyed the action."
LORETO, MEXICO: Fly fishing guide Pam Bolles, of BAJA BIG FISH COMPANY, said spring temperatures have brought cabrilla, pinto bass, and pargo, from 1 to about 15 pounds, to the surface within reach of fly rodders. "The cabrilla are now chasing bait and flies at the surface," she said. "They act like freshwater bass and jump out of the water for baitfish and flies. Jack crevalle and roosterfish are feeding along the sandy beaches and the breakwater. They can be caught during mid-morning hours. Sierra are becoming more scarce as the water is warming up."
LORETO, MEXICO: DAN RAFAEL of Capistrano Beach reported that on April 9 his son, Sean, caught what is thought to be the first dorado of the season, a few days before his seventeenth birthday. Fishing with guide Andreas Cortace off Isla Catalan, Rafael hooked the fish in 72-degree water. "I hooked up and caught the second of the season immediately thereafter," father Dan said. "Ten to 12 pounds. These weren't the biggest ones that we saw that day, but were the first of the season." Rafael said Cotarce can be reached in Loreto at 011-52-613-135-1479.
LORETO, MEXICO: Wendy Wilchynski of VILLAS DE LORETO said the fishermen had a great time last week, landing plenty of yellowtail, pargo, and cabrilla. "No wind, and nice and warm!" she said. "It's a great time to be here!"
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At San Felipe, the first panga mothership to begin the new season was Bobby Castellon's Celia Angelina, which began a series of 3-day trips, before the regular 6-day Midriff Island runs begin in a couple of weeks. Also ready to go was Tony Reyes' Jose Andres, which begins its season of 6-day trips next Sunday.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Catalina Meders of the TITLE COMPANY BOOKSTORE overlooking Bahia de San Felipe said the winds after Semana Santa just about blew the street vendors off the streets. "I do mean WINDY!" she said. "But the temperature has been wonderful, about 78 degrees. It has been humid, but that has not stopped anyone from having a good time.
"The end of Semana Santa has come, and also the end of spring break. There has been a mass exodus from town. After three weeks of commotion and non-stop activity, it's a strange feeling. There were an awful lot of nearly-naked female hard-bodies running around on the beaches, and I am really happy to report that many of them (AND their muscular male counterparts) came up to the store and bought BOOKS! This gives me HOPE about the youth of the world!"
Meders said the recent gossip in San Felipe is about a new golf course and a widening of the road to Mexicali.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Heading south from San Felipe, PATTI HAYNES said the road to Puertecitos is "no worse" than usual. "About an hour and fifteen minutes," she said. Fishing was generally slow in windy conditions, with Gonzaga Bay about the same.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky of IXTAPA SPORTFISHING CHARTERS said blue water moved from 40 miles out, to within about 10 miles last week, and sailfish counts jumped accordingly. "Ample schools of bait have turned the bite on, and double-digit sailfish shots per day are returning to the area," Lushinsky said.
The top sailfish count for the week was 6 landed and 5 lost, by Don McClure and Victor Bowman aboard the Dos Hermanos with Capt. Adolpho, Lushinsky said, and on another day, the Dos Hermanos scored on 2 roosterfish and 27 large yellowtail jacks.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the FINTASTIC TOTAL CATCH & RELEASE TOURNAMENT said 8 blue marlin were also landed during the week, and several others were lost. Yellowfin tuna to about 80 pounds were being reported within about 40 miles of shore, Phillips said.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze of MAR Y TIERRA SPORTFISHING said water temperatures were about 78 degrees within 6 miles of shore. About 20 boats per day were fishing out of the bay, and they were finding a combined total of about 3 blue marlin per day. "More would be caught," Kunze said, "but the majority are hitting smaller trolled baits and rods set up for sailfish."