Marlin counts higher for boats fishing at the tip of Baja

Mexico Fishing News, April 29, 2002



CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Striped marlin counts jumped several notches at the tip of Baja last week, as warm water moved in on the Cortez side, and some boats scored triple and quadruple releases.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At PICANTE FLEET, Roberto Juarez reported Cabo weather at about 85 degrees on Sunday, with water temperatures ranging from about 70 to 73 degrees. Eight boats chartered on Saturday had a combined catch including released fish of: 26 striped marlin, 12 dorado, 16 yellowfin tuna, and 8 wahoo. The best fishing was found at the Outer Gordo Bank on the Cortez side.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of CABO MAGIC reported on 16 boats chartered during the week, with a combined catch including released fish of: 23 striped marlin, 4 dorado to 50 pounds, 10 yellowfin tuna to 70 pounds, 2 wahoo to 70 pounds, 8 sierra, 22 pompano, and 1 yellowtail.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At PISCES FLEET, Tracy Ehrenberg said that just before the fishing turned around, some boats had been leaving at 4 a.m. and running as far as La Ribera in the East Cape Area. Then, "the word was out and a mass turnabout took place with boats heading off Palmilla and Chileno, up to 30 miles out. Gary and Susan Hall from Snohomish, WA had a quadruple marlin day on April 24, aboard Valerie with Capt. Benito. The next day, his boat had three. Karina also had a triple-header, along with nice wahoo."

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of FLY HOOKER SPORT FISHING said water as warm as 78 degrees has been seen on the Cortez side, and surface conditions were excellent last week. "Almost every boat out this week returned flying at least one marlin flag," Landrum said. "There have been a few blue marlin caught also, so it's time to change those top-shots and put on new line for the big boys."

Landrum said the warm water also brought dorado into the 60-pound range, and there is still hot yellowfin tuna action under porpoise at the Jaime Bank. Most of those fish are school-sized, to about 25 pounds, Landrum said.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: SOLMAR FLEET manager Rene Santa Cruz called last week's turn-around "startling and welcome." Fishing in water temperatures up to 75 degrees, Solmar boat counts included a 6-marlin day, with 5 releases, for Mike Urtoff of Los Angeles. Urtoff had 12 strikes for the day on the Solmar II with veteran Capt. Javier Abaroa.

Almost all billfish caught by Solmar anglers were on live mackerel, according to Santa Cruz. Solmar crews reported sighting many stripers, but only a few dorado and yellowfin tuna.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of CORTEZ YACHT CHARTERS said GAVIOTA FLEET boats were seeing better action every day last week, with the best billfish and dorado counts coming from an area about 20 miles outside the Gordo Banks, and nearly all tuna coming from the Jaime Bank on the Pacific side. Gaviota Fleet boats reported a combined catch including released fish of: 30 striped marlin (26 released), 15 dorado, and 19 yellowfin tuna. Sea conditions were excellent on both the Cortez and Pacific sides, with light breezes and clear water everywhere.

In other mainland Mexico and Baja fishing action this week:



ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ensenada's benchmark lingcod bite continued last week as cool water temperatures persisted into the last days of April. Sammy Susarrey of LILY FLEET said the Tamara fished the north side of Todos Santos island Friday and got limits of lingcod by 10:30 a.m., using medium live sardines. The water temperature at the island was 59 degrees.

At midweek, the Tamara fished in drizzly but flat conditions around the Punta Banda Bank and found good action on salmon grouper and red rockfish using Salas 6X and 10-ounce Bridgeport Diamond Jigs. The Lily fished north at Salsipuedes Point and found a flurry of 5 to 8-pound bonito by trolling CD14 Rapalas in purple-and-black. The Lily also limited on lingcod, and observed red crabs and birds working on schools of small anchovies in the area, Susarrey said.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: STEVE ROSS reported on a trip with his wife, Gail, from Marina Coral last Saturday on his boat Bad Dog. "I decided to try Bajo San Miguel, a spire inside Todos Santos Bay. When we arrived, there was just one panga, and I immediately began catching lingcod on plastics and iron. Same with Gail. Then the water blew up everywhere around us. Something was rushing the bait to the surface. There were no birds. This just started happening and you could hear the bait explode on the water everywhere around us. I grabbed my long sticks with Darts and this other similar iron jig. Gail and I boated some hefty barracuda out of the rushes, but getting connected was not easy. Many throws over the boils, ripping through the middle resulted in nothing. My largest snake went over 5 pounds and Gail's went 5.1 pounds.

"It wasn't long before several more boats, all Mexican charters, showed up to join in the show. At noon, the wind increased to where the fish went down and out, and we returned to the marina running down the swells in a wind-driven, following sea. The water temp dropped a degree from last week to 60 degrees, with no sign of yellowtail."



SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Tony Marquez of DON EDDIE'S LANDING said rockcod returned in numbers last week, after having made themselves scarce for the past couple of months. "This past weekend everything changed for those dedicated enough to go out fishing in windy, cold, overcast, and choppy seas," Marquez said. "Large amounts of rockcod and lingcod were caught. Although only about 7 boats went out, most anglers limited on rockcod and lingcod to about 12 pounds at the 14 Spot, 5 Spot, Isla San Martin, and the 240 Spot, which was particularly good for rockcod."

Marquez said rooms are completely sold out for the Fourth of July Tournament, but some are still available at the Old Pier Hotel and the Old Mill Hotel. He advised anglers to contact them directly to book rooms for the tournament, which is still accepting boats. So far, 30 anglers are signed up, and Marquez said a total of about 50 are expected.

SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Jim Harer said 15 anglers fished out of the OLD MILL HOTEL last week with PEDRO'S PANGAS and EL CAPITAN SPORTFISHING. Although no yellowtail were located, bottom fishing was wide open, according to Harer, on especially large rockcod, limits of sheephead, and plenty of lingcod jumping on live bait. Offshore waters were mildly choppy and water temperatures were about 59 to 60 degrees, slightly higher that the previous week.



SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of GORDO BANKS PANGAS said last week's weather went into summer mode and actually reached the 100-degree mark on Thursday. By the weekend, it was back down to the normal 80s. Water temperatures also jumped up as much as 5 degrees, into the 75-degree range, Brictson said, and the La Playita panga fleets made a quick transition from bottom fish to striped marlin, wahoo, and dorado.

"This was a special treat for the local pangas that had been mainly inshore and bottom fishing since January," Brictson said. "All of a sudden the Gordo Banks came to life with marlin, wahoo, dorado, porpoise, humpback whales, manta rays, whale sharks, pargo, and red crabs. On Friday, schooling wahoo were hitting trolled lures such as Marauders, Rapalas and skirted lead-heads. Many double and triple hookups were reported, and they were also hooked by casting yo-yos. The pangas that arrived early Saturday had as many as 4 wahoo per boat.

"The banks were just littered with red crabs on the surface, and huachinango could be seen feeding on the crabs. If fished with just the right finesse on light line, fly lining or with small split shot, they could be caught using the crabs for bait. The fish were full of squid and red crabs, plenty of food to attract more game fish. Fishing prospects are very encouraging for the coming month."

SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Beach fishing guide Mike Santry of LA PLAYITA TOURS said last week's big rise in water temperature brought a new supply of fish to the beach, including 1 "semi-caught" manta ray. Surf water temperatures were about 73 degrees, with favorable winds, Santry said.



EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of BAJA ON THE FLY said the recent banning of gill nets at East Cape created a temporary bait emergency last week, as officials interpreted the ban to include nets used to catch sardinas. "The bait thing has been resolved," Graham said. "The government issued bait permits for the hotels. The gill net guys are telling everyone that they expect to get their permits back as soon as things settle down. We will see."

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 152 boats chartered last week had a combined catch including released fish of: 82 striped marlin, 81 dorado, 51 pargo, 2 amberjack, 18 cabrilla, 9 roosterfish, and 19 sierra. East Cape weather last week was in the mid-80s, and water temperatures averaged 74 to 76 degrees. Winds were light early in the week, but turned rough on Tuesday.

"Monday night, fisherman noticed the ring of vapor around the moon and this was not a good sign," Moyers said. "The remainder of the week was a blow-out. It was a wind surfer's week. Still, the fishing continued. Fishing to the south was not a good option. The ride into 25 m.p.h. winds was unthinkable. On Tuesday, Capt. Jesus Araiza on Rude Boy led the charge north. Up to Punta Pescadero and 10 to 20 miles offshore found cooler water and fewer fish, but many boats put together a decent day."

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At BUENA VISTA BEACH RESORT, Axel Valdez reported on 36 boats chartered during the week, with a combined catch including released fish of: 13 striped marlin, 19 dorado, 6 roosterfish, 1 shark, 5 snapper, 4 jack crevalle, 1 triggerfish, 18 sierra, 4 cabrilla, and 163 skipjack. East Cape water temperatures decreased at midweek, due to the wind, Valdez said. BVBR boats started the week fishing south, but switched to the area around the 88 Bank near Isla Cerralvo as the winds increased.

Inshore, Valdez said the recent gill net ban has already paid big dividends. "Our bait guys scored huge last week," he said. "Since we won this battle, the fishing for sardine and other inshore bait fish is great. GREAT NEWS! There is plenty of bait for everyone!"

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At RANCHO LEONERO, John Ireland said that despite the wind, striped marlin were still plentiful and close, big dorado were still biting aggressively, and the early roosterfish bite continued too. Lots of squid and red crab are being seen, Ireland said, and many striped marlin tailers are being spotted 3 to 5 miles out, right in front of the hotel, although they are picky on the bite, due to the over-supply of bait in the water.

Dorado are being landed in spectacular numbers, Ireland said, with fish of 30 to 60 pounds located close to shore from La Ribera to Cabo Pulmo. Last week, roosterfish to 40 pounds were very active along all area beaches, and live mullet was working well on them. As the water cleared toward the end of the week, pargo, jacks, sierra, and pompano resumed feeding as well, Ireland said.

Mark Rayor of VISTA SEA SPORT said last week's winds didn't hurt diving conditions. "The wet and bumpy boat rides were well worth it when we found blue clear water with huge pargo, amberjack, and rays," Rayor said. Water temperatures at depth were about 73 degrees, and currents were mild.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At EL CARDONAL'S HIDEAWAY, Eddy Beaulne said the water is warming now and fishing is improving on dorado, marlin, and beach species.

On another note, a resident of Buena Vista recently reported that a turtle poacher has been operating in the area north of Punta Pescadero, and has been selling turtle meat up there to all comers. It was recommended that anyone knowing this individual's name should call the PROFEPA office in La Paz for "immediate satisfaction," 011-52-612-123-0502.



LA PAZ, MEXICO: Mino Shiba of MOSQUITO FLEET said pangas are finding schools of dorado feeding on flying fish. "We caught about 20 dorados one day with 4 pangas," Shiba said. "Not so big, but some around 25 pounds. The yellowtail are still biting around Espiritu Santo Island on sardines, and there are some cabrillas too."

Shiba said north winds blew again last week, but it was still fishable with no problems. With warming water, more dorado are expected soon.

LA PAZ, MEXICO: Linda Glassman-Davis of HOTEL LAS ARENAS said the weather on the south side of the hill has been sunny and warm. The Las Arenas pangas reported a combined catch of: 25 roosterfish to 30 pounds, 21 yellowtail to 18 pounds, 12 cabrilla to 8 pounds, 9 pargo to 6 pounds, and 6 sierra to a reported 25 pounds, Glassman-Davis said.

LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of TAIL HUNTER INTERNATIONAL said things are looking up for La Paz and bookings are heavy for June and July this season. Boats were picking through the wind for yellowtail last week, Roldan said, losing lots of fish and landing some into the 40-pound class. "Still lots of sierra to be had and no shortage of action on bonito and skippies at Punta Perico, the lighthouse, and Muertos Bay," Roldan said.

LA PAZ, MEXICO: At FISHERMEN'S FLEET, David Jones said, "Cabrilla to 18 pounds have come on bait and Rapala's, even a few on yo-yos. Pargo of several species have hit the beach lately. Large sierra, to 10 pounds, are seemingly everywhere, not in large numbers, but consistently. Tuna are around, but not biting on our offerings. Yellowtail are also about. The average size has continued smaller this week, 4 to 12 pounds."



LORETO, MEXICO: HUGH COBB of Pacific Coast Bait & Tackle in Oceanside said Linda Ramirez is reporting terrific yellowtail fishing out of Alfredo's Sportfishing. "Fred Ray of Olympia, WA took his family out on Emilio's center console and really hammered the fish in the El Pulpito-Isla Ildefonso area," Cobb said. "In one day, they caught 16 quality yellows after making the long run north."

LORETO, MEXICO: Ty Miller of El EL FUERTE SPORT FISHING said yellowtail to 30 pounds and larger are being taken on the inside and north side of Isla Catalan. Loreto weather was in the mid-80s, with water temperatures about 70 degrees, and winds light.

LORETO, MEXICO: Many reports continue to be received from Loreto visitors and residents about the heavy gill netting and seining that is going on inside the Marine Park, particularly around Isla Carmen, and the fact that the park office always seems to be closed so there is no way to report violations. One common remark is that "the Loreto Marine Park is a joke." Some Loreto residents said that local pressure is building for a revolt similar to the one that caused the ending of gill nets in East Cape two weeks ago.



MULEGE, MEXICO: Fly-in angler RON GRANTsaid Mulege weather has been in the mid-80s, and water temperatures in the low 70s. Some wind last week hampered fishing for a few days, but conditions improved and "fish could be found in any direction," Grant said. "The spot of choice was just off Conception Point to about a mile out. A good mix of yellowtail, all sizes, and cabrilla. All top fish. Iron worked as good as live bait. In most cases throwing iron into the boils worked best. The live baiters seemed not to have a choice of what hit, and most likely ended up with a barracuda or bonito."

Large yellowtail were being seen by pangueros at Islas Tortuga and San Marcos, Grant said, and the HOTEL SERENIDAD was busy over the weekend, with about 20 planes parked near the runway.



SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Bob Castellon of SEA OF CORTEZ SPORTFISHING reported on a 4-day trip by the panga mothership Celia Angelina in near-perfect weather. Castellon said he fished from Bahia de los Angeles to Snake Island, and back to the Golden Reef, which was found to be slow, even though the weather was like glass. "We learned later that local pangueros are setting nets over the reef," Castellon said. "This breaks my heart. This area has been more or less off-limits to commercial fishing in the past." Midriff weather was about 80 degrees, and water temperatures ranged from 54 to 66 degrees. The Celia Angelia's fish count was: 44 yellowtail to 26 pounds, 218 cabrilla to 15 pounds, 5 white seabass to 23 pounds, 3 grouper to 67 pounds (2 released), 1 released golden grouper, and 289 assorted species.

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Catalina Meders of San Felipe's TITLE COMPANY BOOKSTORE overlooking the bay said the weather has been a near-perfect 74 degrees, with only 54 percent relative humidity, and people have been hitting the beach. "The jet skis and banana boats have been doing a bumper business," Meders said. "Lots of people have been coming into the shop asking for fishing books for all of Baja. Seems like people have started serious fishing expeditions. We also keep running out of maps for San Pedro Martir [the mountain]. I have never seen so many people eager to climb Diablo. They come back subdued, but happy. I found out recently that there are some easy to reach cave paintings up at Rumorosa just off Route 2 between Mexicali and Tijuana. You don't need a guide since the paintings are protected by security."

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: LARRY CORNWALL returned from a good trip to Puertecitos where he found 71-degree water and excellent fishing, although winds broke the tents on their last day in camp. "We caught close to 200 fish, most released," Cornwall said. "The usual spotted bay bass, triggerfish, small grouper, and corvina."

A dedicated catch-and-release advocate, Cornwall also accidentally hooked a totuaba (protected) right in front of Campo la Costilla in about 14 feet of water. Fishing around the Islas Encantadas reefs was slow, he said.



MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Nora Alonzo-Rice of ARIES SPORTFISHING FLEET said fishing is good and boats are finding plenty of striped marlin about 20 to 25 miles from Marina El Cid. Inshore and bottom fishing was also good. For the week, 27 offshore boats reported a total catch including released fish of: 29 marlin and 27 tuna. Nine inshore pangas reported a total catch of: 18 roosterfish, 58 mojarra, 88 corvina, and 51 red snapper. Mazatlan weather was in the low 90s, and water temperatures were in the high 70s, in calm conditions.



IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze of MAR Y TIERRA SPORTFISHING said 78-degree blue water is just a couple of miles off the beach, and 10 blue marlin were landed last week, with at least twice that number lost. "Fishing has been steadily improving for the last two weeks since the cold green water current started moving out of the area," Kunze said.

Big yellowfin tuna were also showing. Kunze said Karl Peters caught a 140-pounder on his boat Aleta Negra while working a school, and commercial pangueros were reporting "areas with tonnage" of big fish. The sailfish bite has leveled off at about 2 or 3 fish a day per boat, Kunze said.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky of IXTAPA SPORTFISHING CHARTERS said boats were finding great action one day, and some were getting skunked on others. "Very little fishing activity was reported last week as the captains and crews are preparing for the upcoming International Billfish Tournament," Luskinsky said. The top boat for the week was the Yellowfin II, which found 2 marlin and 4 sailfish in 2 days of fishing for Ron and Amy Boatright of Belleview, FL.

Fish Photo 1

Daniel Fisher caught 4 striped marlin and released 2 of them recently while fishing with East Cape's Buena Vista Beach Resort. One of his fish was this stranger. BVBR's Axel Valdez said the unusual bill looked more like a birth abnormality than the result of an accident.

Fish Photo 1

Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas caught this 50-pound wahoo on a skirted head with panguero Jesus (shown in photo). "It was one of four landed by 8 a.m.," Brictson said. "We also lost four others, including about $100 worth of equipment. Fun morning, though."

Fish Photo 1

Todd Zalkins with a nice pargo caught on the east side of Isla Cerralvo last week while fishing with Jonathan Roldan's Tail Hunter International.

Fish Photo 1

Ted Reed of Chino Hills, CA caught this 20-pound class pargo recently while fishing with Arturo's Sport Fishing out of Loreto. "I caught the pargo about 30 miles north of Loreto, trolling a live mackerel along the face of a cliff in about 25 feet of water," Reed said. "The pargo was down in a rocky area and came up to hit my bait, taking it right back down in the rocks. The steel leader paid off."

Fish Photo 1

Geronimo Cevallos of Mazatlan's Marina El Cid caught this 24-pound snook while surf casting with a 13-foot rod and spinning reel loaded with 20-pound Power Pro braided line, about 8 miles north of Mazatlan, between Cerritos and Marmol. Cevallos threw a white swim bait with a red head.

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