Striped marlin numbers jump again for Cabo charter boats

Mexico Fishing News, May 6, 2002



CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Fishing numbers for striped marlin jumped again last week in warming waters off the tip of Baja California, and an unusually good shot of big wahoo added excitement for local anglers.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At PICANTE FLEET, Mario Bojorges reported Cabo weather in the high 90s and water temperatures from 71 to 74 degrees. Seven boats chartered on Friday had a combined catch including released fish of: 7 wahoo, 6 striped marlin, 9 dorado, and 2 yellowfin tuna.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of CORTEZ YACHT CHARTERS said GAVIOTA FLEET boats found their best billfish action in an area about 15 miles south of the arch, and the best numbers on wahoo came from San Cristobal and the Jaime Bank on the Pacific side. The wahoo were found in very nice sizes from about 40 to about 70 pounds, Edwards said. Most Gaviota Fleet boats averaged a couple of marlin per day, and the overall fleet count including released fish was: 45 striped marlin (35 released), 24 dorado, 14 yellowfin tuna, and 8 wahoo.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: SOLMAR FLEET'S Rene Santa Cruz said, "We hope this week's fishing at Cabo represents the true turnaround for the new season." Santa Cruz celebrated the week's warming temperatures and calming seas which let sensitive anglers put away the sea sick pills. For the week, Solmar Fleet boats released 58 marlin of 67 landed, plus 46 dorado, and 16 wahoo.

The top Solmar angler for the week was Clark Engel of Los Angeles who boated 3 striped marlin and 2 wahoo on the 28-foot San Lucas VIII with Capt. Hector. Engel fished off Punta Gorda with 40-pound test line and released all 3 marlin, plus 1 of his wahoo.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of CABO MAGIC reported on 11 boats chartered during the week with a combined catch including released fish of: 15 striped marlin, 4 dorado, 7 yellowfin tuna to 130 pounds, and 4 wahoo.

Other combined fleet reports for about 200 boats chartered during the week showed a total catch including released fish of about: 180 striped marlin, 90 dorado, 55 sierra, 51 wahoo, and 21 assorted species.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At PISCES FLEET, Tracy Ehrenberg said excellent fishing during the week resulted in a 75 percent catch rate for striped marlin, and a 93 percent rate for all species combined, with some boats turning in four-marlin days. "We had many boats with three-marlin days," Ehrenberg said. "Most boats, though, averaged 1 to 2 marlin plus a table fish."

"Fishing was pretty much all on the Cortez side, ranging from Land's End up to Red Hill, with the area around the 95 Spot being the most productive. The captains reported a lot of squid in the water, making it a little difficult to find hungry fish. However the numbers tell the story. This week we had a total of 60 striped marlin of which 56 were released."

Pisces Fleet boats had a great week on wahoo, Ehrenberg said. Some had quadruple strikes, and a lot of tackle was lost, but up to 3 wahoo per day were landed in larger sizes up to 90 pounds.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At FLY HOOKER SPORT FISHING, Capt. George Landry said the striped marlin stayed closed to home last week, and the best action was found only 18 miles off the arch, with other fish found within 5 miles of Punta Ballena and others about 5 miles outside the 95 Spot.

The week's best yellowfin tuna action was uphill at the Jaime Bank, Landry said. "Fish ranging from 35 to 120 pounds were supplying all the action anyone could want, as long as you could stand up to the pounding!"

In other mainland Mexico and Baja fishing action this week:



ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sammy Susarrey of LILY FLEET said the Amigo and Lily fished at Punta Banda on Saturday for good catches of red rockfish and lingcod. On Friday, the Tamara fished 25 miles outside Punta Banda on a 245-degree heading and found 18 yellowtail to 15 pounds on kelp paddies. The water was still a cool 61 degrees, Susarrey said, but it was very clean and lots of breezing fish were spotted.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Earlier, STEVE ROSS reported on a "weird" day aboard his boat Mad Dog with fishing companion Steve Johnson.

"We left the Marina Coral harbor at daybreak and headed for Estero Beach. We set out 2 lines with 2-pound lead balls with trailing flashers and whole squid. We ball bounced up and down Estero all over the place for hours and no bites.

"The wind was up, so I headed to the green cans and began drifting in between them throwing plastics and drifting squid. It wasn't long before Johnson got hooked up and reeled up a 'sarcastic fringe head.' Oh yeah, check that one out. All mouth. He released this awful thing and proceeded to reel up a mantis shrimp with 2 front paws with razor blades for fingers. Then he reeled up a small jack mackerel while I kept trying to catch anything at all.

"Then I got hooked up and fought a new world record whopper starfish to the boat. He was the size of a hub cap, pure white, and must have weighed over 5 pounds. We released him.

"Then I came tight with a big one inside of the green cans off Estero Beach. I was convinced that I hooked something on the bottom. But, Steve Johnson said, "Hey, you probably have a black seabass." I handed over the rod to him, and he pulled and pulled until a rope with oysters on it was at deep color. We released that too."



SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Jim Harer of the OLD MILL HOTEL said last week was a carbon copy of the week before, limits on great big lingcod to 20 pounds, rockcod, and plenty of bass. "The weather has been windy with sea swells to around 4 or 5 feet early in the week, laying down on Friday and Saturday," Harer said.



MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of BAJA ON THE FLY said it was still plenty windy for most of last week, with weather about 75 degrees, and water temperatures ranging from 60 to about 68 degrees. The entrada was the best bet last week, for yellowtail, and there were scattered corvina around the bay, some snook at Devil's Curve, and halibut in the shallows "if you can't find anything else." Fishing for sierra was slow, Graham said.



SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of GORDO BANKS PANGAS said last week's hot bite on wahoo picked up steam again on Sunday on the Inner Gordo Bank. "Especially for the first hour in the morning, boats averaged 3 or 4 fish," Brictson said. "One 92-pounder was landed."

Brictson said the waters around San Jose del Cabo appear to be shaking off the effects of a late spring. "The water temperatures are finally warming up to the 73 to 75-degree range. The has been encouraging, and has also attracted migrating striped marlin, dorado, and wahoo into range of the fishing fleets."

The La Playita panga fleets had front row seats for last week's hot wahoo bite because of their close proximity to the Gordo Banks, and boats averaged 1 to 3 fish in sizes from about 35 to about 60 pounds, Brictson said. Trolling with Rapalas, Marauders and skirted lead-heads proved to be most successful techniques on wahoo, although some fish were also hooked on live mackerel.

In addition to the Gordo Bank, wahoo were also being hooked off Chileno and Gray Rock, from 3 to 7 miles out.

Brictson said the spring pelagic red crab surface bloom has faded away, although large schools of pargo are being seen. "It has been a different story trying to hook them," he said. "A handful were taken on yo-yo jigs, sardinas, and red crabs. Fishing with light tackle was the key to hooking them, especially when they were seen near the surface."



EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of VISTA SEA SPORT said strong north winds made it difficult to get out for part of last week, but for people who did make it diving conditions were excellent. "A little area at Cabo Pulmo has been holding several sea horses. We have been lucky enough to find them every time we dive the spot," he said. "Reefs are loaded with huge schools of jacks and reef fish. It is easy to swim into a school where the only thing in your field of vision is fish."

Rayor said East Cape water temperatures were 73 to 74 degrees at diving depth, and visibility was 30 to 50 feet.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Tami Moyeous of RANCHO BUENA VISTA wished to remind everyone that she's moved into the new reservations office: 801 South Broadway, Suite 3, Santa Maria, CA 93454, Telephone 800-258-8200.

At The Ranch, Moyeous said conditions were pretty windy last week, with fair fishing. Thirty-seven boats chartered checked in with a combined catch including released fish of 21 striped marlin and 16 dorado, and most boats were only staying out for half a day.

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 253 boats chartered during the week had a combined catch including released fish of: 78 striped marlin, 4 sailfish, 226 dorado, 16 yellowfin tuna, 7 pargo, 1 wahoo, 2 pompano, 8 cabrilla, 14 roosterfish, and 5 sierra. East Cape weather was in the high 90s, and water temperatures averaged 70 t 74 degrees.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At RANCHO LEONERO, John Ireland said that despite 2 days of tough winds, the striped marlin were plentiful and close, dorado were biting aggressively, and the season's first yellowfin tuna was taken last week.

The "best dorado year ever" continued full force last week, with fish from 30 to 60 pounds, Ireland said, and they were located mostly from La Ribera to Cabo Pulmo, taking mostly live sardina and chunk bait. Lots of tailing marlin were 3 to 20 miles in front of the hotel, but they are still picky on the bite.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of BAJA ON THE FLY said the near gale that blew for a couple of days went flat calm on Sunday and boats went out. Graham said he tested the recent East Cape ban on gill nets by driving an ATV all the way south to Rincon on Thursday and he found no gill nets, even at the Rincon fish camp. "This is dramatically different from last year at the same time," Graham said.

On the beach, Graham said conditions can't get much better, and La Ribera south to Punta Colorada is the place to be. "Look for pelicans diving on schools of sardina."



LA PAZ, MEXICO: Mino Shiba of MOSQUITO FLEET said he was getting some dorado to 30 pounds, mixed with yellowtail, at El Bajo and the sea lion rock, plus cabrilla to about 15 pounds on live sardina and caballitos. Water temperatures were about 75 degrees. "We also got a lot of roosterfish, more than 10 of them to 50 pounds, on sardinas. Pargo are biting good along Espiritu Santo Island on light tackle. The weather is hot, 90-plus. We had some wind from the north, but we can reach the fishing areas okay."

LA PAZ, MEXICO: At HOTEL LAS ARENAS on the south side of the hill, Linda Glassman-Davis said the pangas had a combined catch including released fish of: 16 roosterfish to 35 pounds, 28 cabrilla to 20 pounds, 26 yellowtail to 10 pounds, 6 dorado to 30 pounds, 29 sierra to 9 pounds, and 15 pargo to 18 pounds.

LA PAZ, MEXICO: David Jones of FISHERMEN'S FLEET said, "Fishing has continued along at a just okay level, but there's something in the wind. We've begun to see what I think are the signs of improving fishing, and I'll go out on a limb and say that during the next 2 to 3 weeks, we will enter the 'wide-open' range.

"Why the heck do you say that? Well, call it a hunch, but it seems as though things are waking up. There have been some tuna up at the south point. Cayo caught an 80-pounder the other day.

"Dorado are just starting to show inside with one of our boats getting 5 in front of the lighthouse the other day. To keep all in context, they were the only ones all week, but "the journey to your limit begins with but a single fish."

"Paul Kannitz and friend Ken were over at Punta Perico and had 5 amberjack to 40 pounds, a nice yellowtail, and a dorado, all on squid. Lalo, one of our captains, had fished the day before and had taken 20 amberjack in the 20 to 40-pound range with squid. The water is more alive this week than last, and I just think that things are getting ready to begin in earnest."

LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of TAIL HUNTER INTERNATIONAL said the weather has been on and off lately. "It's windy one day and then summer rolls in the next! Who knows? We're having some pretty good days on the pangas right now with the usual mix of cabrilla, pargo, roosters, lots of sierra, occasional tuna and dorado, and little jags of decent yellowtail. A few of my skippers spotted some finning marlin this week and I know that just to the south on the East Cape a few more dorado are biting, so I think it's just a matter of time!"

Roldan said his summer schedule at La Concha Beach Resort will be May 29-June 3; June 9-13; June 22-July 16; August 2-12; and August 21-25.



LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of BAJA BIG FISH COMPANY said last week's weather was very pleasant, in the high 80s, with calm morning seas and some days with afternoon winds.

Bolles said there are still yellowtail in all sizes, from 5 to over 40 pounds, feeding on the surface at several locations, including Isla Ildefonso and Isla Catalan for big fish, and smaller ones to the north around Punta Pulpito and San Nicolas. "They are taking fly-lines, bait, and lures from the cover of floating sargasso," Bolles said. "Over the Bajo de San Bruno there are lots of larger fish, at the surface and just below. Giant boils and schools swimming right under the boat. The moon phase is darkening and yellowtail fishing is very good, especially when the seas are calm."

There was no report of dorado in the Loreto area, Bolles said, but sargassum weed is piling up around the marina and malecon, and it's only a matter of time before things start to pop. Loreto water temperatures are now in the low 70s, she said.

LORETO, MEXICO: At VILLAS DE LORETO, Ron Bellerive said Wendy is away visiting an ill uncle in Canada, but visitors were making good catches of yellowtail around Punta Lobo, plus good catches of cabrilla and pargo.

LORETO, MEXICO: Ty Miller of EL FUERTE SPORT FISHING was in transit from San Diego to Juncalito, where he'll be back in operation for the season in a couple of days.



MULEGE, MEXICO: Becky Aparicio, who until recently ran the Galeria Sirena at ECOMUNDO, said "Hello!" She's back in Mulege and thinking about opening a new bookstore. "I'm back in Mulege after a few months up north giving serious thought to living and working in 'America' again," she said. "I couldn't cut the mustard! After living in Mulege for nearly 13 years, I found my longing for the quieter life and the neighbors in Mulege was calling like a siren."

Aparicio said no dorado have been spotted yet, but the water is warming up, and she's out there looking three times a week on average with John Dinning, with reports to come when the fish show up.

MULEGE, MEXICO: DYLAN PALMER, dedicated reader of THE BAJA CATCH, asked where the "giant 10-penny nail tent stakes" described in the book might be found for a friend about to make his first Baja trip. Directed to Home Depot, Palmer found them, for 39 cents each, and said, "Thanks! My buddy is off to San Lucas Cove. We're off to East Cape in June."



SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Tony Reyes of TONY REYES FISHING TOURS reported on a six-day Midriff Islands trip by the panga mothership Jose Andres ending May 3. Reyes said the combined catch for the trip was: 1,005 spotted bay bass; 90 cabrilla; 65 squid, 18 to 40 pounds; 50 yellowtail, 14 to 25 pounds; 10 red snapper, 8 to 12 pounds; 9 sierra, 4 to 6 pounds; 11 sheephead, 6 to 8 pounds; 5 broomtail grouper, 8 to 10 pounds; and 2 white seabass, 14 to 31 pounds.

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Bob Castellon of SEA OF CORTEZ SPORTFISHING reported on a four-day Midriff Islands trip by the panga mothership Celia Angelina ending on May 2. Castellon said everyone had a great time on a trip lead by Bob Johnson of San Felipe. Weather was in the low-80s, and water temperatures were warming to about 63 degrees. Jackpot winners were Randy Welsh with a 34-pound grouper, Larry Brown with a 31-pound yellowtail, and Shirley Sherrill with a 28-pound yellowtail. Castellon said all the winning fish were caught on orange MirrOlures. The fish count for the trip was: 142 yellowtail to 31 pounds; 121 cabrilla to 18 pounds; 10 grouper to 34 pounds, including 9 released under 25 pounds; 13 pargo; and 131 assorted species, including the year's first giant squid.

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: PATTI HAYNES of Puertecitos reported on recent road conditions south of San Felipe. "The road to Puertecitos is fine up to Percebu. There are some radical pot holes along the way so be careful and go slow. The road south from Puertecitos is rough and washboard. A comment from Bill of Huerfanito: The road south from Puertecitos to 'El Hue' is about 1.25 hours. Gonzaga was not any better. The fishing was slow. The annual local fisherman were just arriving."



MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of CORTEZ YACHT CHARTERS said ARIES SPORTFISHING FLEET boats reported a combined catch including released fish of: 11 striped marlin, 2 sailfish, 20 dorado in the 20 to 40-pound class, and 21 yellowfin tuna. Inshore, pangas reported 25 corvina and 18 mojarra out of Marina El Cid. Mazatlan weather was in the low 90s, and water temperatures were nearing 80 degrees.



IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze of MAR Y TIERRA SPORTFISHING said although blue water is only 6 miles off the beach, the sailfish bite slowed a little last week. Kunze had some comments on the 18th Annual International Sailfish Tournament (a kill tournament) which was held this week.

"One of the most pleasant surprises is the break from the traditional 'kill everything' attitude of the Mexican captains. So far, at least another 100 sailfish [in addition to about 100 killed] have been released when it was obvious they were too small to be in the money. In fact, for a complete role reversal, when the captain of the Queen Arantxa released a small sailfish, the client got upset because he wanted to use it for ceviche!"

Kunze said one highlight with the cooler water has been a large area of big tuna moving in. The week produced yellowfin tuna from 140 to 250 pounds. Few charter boats are going after tuna, and most of them were being taken by commercial pangueros.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Alfredo Vargas of VARGAS SPORTFISHING confirmed the big tuna are moving close. "The Mako caught a 160-pound yellowfin within 12 miles, and the Aletra Negra had a 140-pounder, he said.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky of IXTAPA SPORTFISHING CHARTERS said the Yellowfin II with Capt. Chiro Barrigan posted a 4-sailfish day last week, and Capt. Chico Garcia reported tuna schools at the 16-mile mark, with most fish in the 30 to 60-pound class. Inshore, conditions are improving daily, Lushinski said.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the FINTASTIC TOTAL CATCH & RELEASE TOURNAMENT said 2 blue marlin were reported at 200 and 300 pounds, a good number of dorado were landed to over 40 pounds, and inshore, more than a dozen roosterfish were landed over 40 pounds.

Fish Photo 1

WHOPPER WAHOO--A 92-pound wahoo caught off San Jose del Cabo last week. Photo courtesy Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks Pangas.

Fish Photo 1

LOOKS LIKE CABO--That's the cruise ship MS Ryndam in the background behind Capt. Francisco Muñoz of Loreto's Baja Big Fish Company. Muñoz is holding a 37-pound yellowtail caught May 1 at San Bruno. Photo courtesy Pam Bolles, Baja Big Fish Company.

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