LORETO, MEXICO: Both coasts of Baja enjoyed good fishing, excellent spring weather, and beautiful water conditions last week, and red-hot summer action seemed just around the corner for most areas.
LORETO, MEXICO: In Loreto, Ty Miller of EL FUERTE SPORT FISHING reported on a season-opener exploratory run to the southern islands with W.O.N. staffer Bill Karr: "Never have I seen such clear water and warm temperatures, both inside and out, this early in the year!" Miller said. "Conditions looked awesome at every stop. Outside water temp was right at 77 degrees, along with that cobalt blue color we love to see."
Miller said the dorado haven't arrived as yet, but there are "literally acres of bait" and "huge schools of porpoise working the channel between Isla Monserate and Isla Catalan. I'm talking 3 to 5 square miles of porpoise!"
One porpoise school held tuna to about 200 pounds, Miller said, although none could be hooked, and the bottom fishing was productive for huachinango off the north end of Isla Catalan and huge cabrilla at Punta Baja. Caballito and mackerel baits were easily available just outside Puerto Escondido and water temperatures were about 77 degrees, with some north winds and air temperatures in the mid-80s.
LORETO, MEXICO: At BAJA BIG FISH COMPANY on Saturday, Pam Bolles was wrapping up her first Fly Fishing 101 session at Ensenada Blanca 30 miles south of town, saying, "It was sort of a vacation for Francisco and me. We had instruction and then put that knowledge to use finding fish. We hauled enough fuel to keep us based there for a week and focused on the southern area.
"We found dorado off Punta Perico, but only caught one. They were schooling all around the boat, but not interested. Unfortunately, we didn't have any sardinas to hold their attention.
"The good news is that they're around now. The school was in the 5 to 12-pound range, clearly the beginnings of the seasonal migration. If we had been trolling live bait or feathers, we would have definitely taken out limits and beyond of these dorado, but this was a fly fishing class after all.
"Another promising note were the juvenile sailfish that we found consistently between Isla Monserate and Isla Catalan. These where sunning themselves in small groups and were in the 30 to 40-pound range. I won't be surprised if we see a gradual influx of larger fish into our area soon."
Bolles--who is expecting "baby numero dos" this fall--said Loreto weather was in the mid-90s with some wind alternating with periods of calm. Baja Big Fish Company will be conducting weekly fly-tying classes through the summer in its air-conditioned downtown shop, Bolles said. Locally, yellowtail to 30 pounds were still being caught deep by commercials off the east side of Isla Monserate, and smaller fish were reported under weeds off Isla Coronado to the north and Isla Danzante to the south.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Yellowtail action firmed up nicely last week around Bahia de Todos Santos in gradually warming water temperatures. Sammy Susarrey of LILY FLEET said 4 anglers fished around San Miguel over the weekend and ran into hungry yellowtail that "hit everything." Nine yellowtail were landed, and another 8 yellowtail plus numerous lingcod were accounted for by 5 anglers aboard the Amigo.
At midweek, the Tamara fished in 62-degree water at Todos Santos reef and scored on 11 jig fish to 20 pounds on various colors, and earlier, the Amigo found more yellowtail to 15 pounds at Todos Santos reef, including a 13-fish day for 4 anglers trolling plugs and weighted live mackerel over structure about 80 feet deep.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Jim Harer of the OLD MILL HOTEL said the winds were calm and the seas were flat last week, with water temperatures staying stubbornly in the 58 to 59-degree range. Nine boats chartered during the week found early limits of red rockfish, whitefish, and lingcod to 20 pounds, Harer said, although yellowtail were absent. The best fishing was at the 15 Spot on live bait.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Gene Allshouse of SAN QUINTIN SPORTFISHING said he hadn't seen any albacore, even though he ran out 30 miles looking for them during the week. "I am going to search again this week no later than Wednesday," Allshouse said. "I believe they will be between 20 and 30 miles out to start with, and as the warmer water gets closer to shore, so will the albacore."
Allshouse reported continued excellent bottom fishing around the 240 Spot and 15 Spot with daily limits of large red rockfish and lingcod. "The largest red I weighed was 8.6 pounds," he said. "That's a big rockcod. There were many in the same class. We're still marking yellowtail, but they continue to ignore the bait. There were a few halibut caught in the bay and at the island this week, but the water in close is still a little cool."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Tony Marquez of DON EDDIE'S LANDING said 12 boats were chartered over the weekend with about 30 anglers, who saw plenty of action on rockcod from 2 to 8 pounds at the 240 Spot, plus lingcod to 18 pounds at the 15 Spot, 6 Spot and Isla San Martin. There were also some whitefish and sandbass caught, Marquez said, but no yellowtail or tuna.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of PEDRO'S PANGAS said some boats are limiting out so easily on bottom fish, they've elected to fish only for yellowtail on their second day, even though none have been caught yet. "All anglers had a great time, even though no yellows were landed. The 240 Spot and 25 Spot continue to be the best areas," Hillis said.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of BAJA ON THE FLYsaid hardly anybody went fishing out of San Carlos last week, even though conditions continue to improve. Last week's weather was partly cloudy with some wind in the afternoons, air temperatures of 62 to 75 degrees, and water temperatures of 60 to 68 degrees. A few schools of corvina were spotted near the commercial pier, and there is good volume on small halibut at the sandy beaches around Magdalena City, Graham said.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Striped marlin action went into a slight lull last week, with boats still averaging about one per day as some occasional blue marlin also began to show up in fleet counts.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At PICANTE FLEET, Roberto Juarez reported Cabo San Lucas weather in the high 80s, water temperatures in the low 70s, and humidity at 42 percent. Five boats chartered on Friday had a combined catch including released fish of: 6 striped marlin, 8 dorado, and 5 yellowfin tuna. The best fishing was around the Gordo Banks on the Cortez side, and around the Golden Gate Bank on the Pacific.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At CABO MAGIC, Tommy Garcia reported on 8 boats chartered during the week with a combined catch including released fish of: 11 striped marlin, 16 dorado, and 1 bonito.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of CORTEZ YACHT CHARTERS said GAVIOTA FLEET boats found windy conditions on the Pacific side toward the end of the week and switched to the Cortez side, ending up with a combined catch of: 15 striped marlin (13 released), 2 wahoo, 4 yellowfin tuna, and 53 dorado.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At FLY HOOKER SPORT FISHING, Capt. George Landrum said he's seeing water temperatures still in the 60s on the Pacific side, warming to the mid-70s on the banks themselves, and temperatures on the Cortez side of about 75 to 80 degrees.
"I have good reports of some nice-sized blue marlin being hooked up this week, a few in the 400 to 500-pound range," Landrum said. "I think the blue marlin action is going to heat up soon so keep your fingers crossed. There were plenty of striped marlin around also, if you were in the right place, south of the cape and a bit to the east."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Rene Santa Cruz of SOLMAR FLEETsaid striped marlin numbers dropped by 50 percent last week, but boats were still busy. In addition to a mixed bag of dorado, yellowfin tuna, skipjack, yellowtail, and 1 roosterfish, 2 Solmar boats scored doubles on marlin, including the San Lucas III with Capt. Jose, fishing 25 miles off the Old Lighthouse with Henry Bloensky of Las Vegas, and the San Lucas VII with Capt. Frederico, fishing 15 miles off the arch with Sandy Arlington, of Houston.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tracy Ehrenberg of PISCES FLEET said boats had a 68 percent success rate on marlin last week, and a 90 percent success rate for all species combined, with some boats reporting up to triple-marlin days. A total of 62 striped marlin landed during the week were all released, Ehrenberg said, with most of the fish found on the Cortez side between Chileno and Palmilla, and also off the Old Lighthouse.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Pisces Fleet boats did especially well on wahoo, with Valerie landing 6 in the 40 to 60-pound range on one day, and Felina accounting for 4 wahoo on another day, plus 24 dorado, a released striped marlin, and a lost blue marlin.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Surf fishing expert Jeff Klassen OF JEFF KLASSEN SPORT FISHING said the beaches around the tip of Baja are coming alive now with large jack crevalle to 32 pounds, large cubera snapper, sierra to 15 pounds, and roosterfish to over 60 pounds being reported.
"The waves have been typically large on the Pacific side and the roosters have been out past the breaking waves, but they will come in closer as the schools of now arriving mullet get larger," Klassen said. "I've heard from several surf fishermen that they've sat and watched massive roosterfish chasing bait, just out of casting range. It looks like we're in for a barn burner." Klassen recommended big Ranger lures in the 3 and 4-ounce sizes for the roosterfish, and his own Klassic Poppers for the pargo and assorted jacks near the points. Klassen's regular guided surf fishing trips begin on May 29.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of GORDO BANKS PANGAS said water temperatures cooled off a bit in variable weather last week, and the fishing was mostly for bottom species including grouper to 30 pounds, amberjack to 25 pounds, a few pargo, and smaller yellowtail, bonita, and black skipjack. The wahoo bite has slowed to a standstill, Brictson said. On dorado, some boats were finding good action on fish to about 30 pounds, but the fish were spread out, as were the yellowfin tuna, with "just a handful" of fish found far offshore, mostly with porpoise.
Along shore, Brictson said the water has come to life with jack crevalle, sierra, croakers, pargo, and smaller roosterfish attracted to schools of mullet. "Surf fishermen are starting to finally get some decent action," Brictson said, "with La Playita beach having major bait activity and being one of the hot spots.".
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: John Ireland of RANCHO LEONERO said water temperatures were 76 to 80 degrees last week, with warm weather in the low 90s, and clear, calm seas. The excellent striped marlin action continued, and 4 blue marlin were also taken on Friday, Ireland said. Many striped marlin tailers and jumpers were being spotted 2 to 15 miles off shore, and boats were averaging more than a fish per day. The dorado bite also rebounded last week after a short break, and boats were averaging 2 to 3 fish per day, including quality bulls to over 45 pounds. Inshore, Ireland said the roosterfish bite is wide open on fish to 40 pounds feeding on mullet at all area beaches.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At BUENA VISTA BEACH RESORT, Axel Valdez said 70 boats chartered during the week had a combined catch including released fish of: 64 striped marlin, 3 sailfish, 73 dorado, 2 yellowfin tuna, 13 wahoo, 137 roosterfish, 1 grouper, 1 shark, 17 snapper, 6 jack crevalle, 2 yellowtail, 2 ladyfish, 2 pompano, 2 triggerfish, 18 sierra, 1 cabrilla, and 11 skipjack. Valdez reminded everybody to bring light tackle and have a blast of fun on the abundant roosterfish going wild from La Ribera all the way to the lighthouse.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chris Moyers of EAST CAPE SMOKEHOUSE checked in with a survey of 302 boats chartered during the week with a combined catch including released fish of: 272 striped marlin, 17 sailfish, 252 dorado, 17 yellowfin tuna, 47 pargo, 2 wahoo, 1 amberjack, 13 cabrilla, and 42 roosterfish.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: BAJA ON THE FLY'S Gary Graham noted the good numbers of visitors at East Cape last week: "This weekend, I think every hotel is full with tournaments going on at all of them. This is the busiest weekend by far for 2002."
Graham said the biggest beach roosterfish are coming from Punta Colorada to the lighthouse, and the best action for jack crevalle has been around the bait receiver at Punta Colorada.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Eddy Beaulne of EL CARDONAL'S HIDEAWAY said marlin and dorado hookups are being made right in front of the hotel, and big roosterfish are being caught along shore.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At VISTA SEA SPORT, Mark Rayor said the flat seas have turned that beautiful "Tidy Bowl" blue again. Rising water temperatures have caused some divers to pass on the wet suits, and the reefs are loaded with grouper, pargo, rays, amberjack, and clouds of grunts, Rayor said. Visibility at diving depth was 40 to 60 feet.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Mino Shiba of MOSQUITO FLEET said there are lots of yellowtail to 25 pounds, cabrilla to 15 pounds, amberjack to 30 pounds, and some dorado and big tuna around El Bajo, in variable water temperatures of 68 to 75 degrees. "We are using live caballitos, sardines, and sometimes, live squid, for bait," Shiba said. "This has been one of the best fishing weeks of the season."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: At HOTEL LAS ARENAS, Linda Glassman-Davis said the hotel is booked to capacity and conditions have been beautiful on the south side of the hill. Las Arenas pangas had a combined catch last week of: 29 dorado to 32 pounds, 24 yellowfin tuna to 45 pounds, 15 yellowtail to 10 pounds, 3 wahoo to 30 pounds, 4 roosterfish to 35 pounds, 40 pargo to 30 pounds, 8 cabrilla to 10 pounds, and 1 grouper of 39 pounds.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of TAIL HUNTER INTERNATIONAL said warming La Paz waters seemed poised for explosive action in the next few weeks: "...a few more tuna off the islands, a few more dorado, more big roosters, more sightings of striped marlin...WOW...I just can't wait for the hammer to drop! Looking at reports to the south of us from Cabo and East Cape, I just have to believe that we're gonna go ballistic!"
MULEGE, MEXICO: ROSS WHITE, loading for a run south, relayed a report from San Lucas Cove, saying multiple dorado were being caught in flat sea conditions between Isla San Marcos and Isla Tortuga. "I'm headed down at 4 a.m. Friday morning and will give you a full first-hand report when I get back in about a week-and-a-half. In the meantime, just know they're back!"
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: At Bahia de los Angeles' CAMP GECKO, Abraham Vazquez reported variable winds and weather to about 94 degrees. Fishing has been slow recently, Vazquez said, with few yellowtail being caught, and the main catch being bottom fish, lots of bass, jawfish, and "a few good leopard groupers" showing up. The town yellowtail tournament is scheduled May 25-26, and reservations can be made by calling 011-52-664-650-3209 (Guillermo's Restaurant) Vazquez said.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Several Baja Catch-style anglers returned from spring trips to the Gonzaga Bay area recently, including Wayne Pinkerton of Blythe, California's B&B BAIT & TACKLE, who ran into some "very gnarly and vicious" eels that burrow into the sand backwards and mess you up when trying to fish from shore. "We had an excellent trigger bite going right out from our camp at Rancho Grande when these things started showing up," Pinkerton said. "It really discourages you to get in the water with these critters around!"
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: And CRAIGE HARVEY reported on a super trip in comfortable weather conditions to Gonzaga Bay and the Enchanted Islands area with Eric McElvany and Damien Rodiles. "We had excellent fishing at the Enchanted Islands on firecracker yellowtail and very large sierra followed up by nonstop action on a mixed bag of nicer yellows, leopard grouper, sierra, triggers, spotties, goldspotted, hogfish, ribera cabrilla and a few of those 'damn it!' fish that couldn't be stopped (grouper?) at Punta Final," Harvey said.
Harvey said they also caught and released a rare albino ribera cabrilla and a four-and-a-half foot long totuaba, but forgot the camera!
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Bob Castellon of SEA OF CORTEZ SPORTFISHING reported on a 6-day trip by the panga mothership Celia Angelina, returning to San Felipe on May 16. Castellon said 18 anglers led by John Borger and Mike Cross of Orange County fished at Refugio, Devil's Point, Snake Island, Isla San Lorenzo, Bahia de los Angeles, and the Enchanted Islands, and found excellent fishing overall, but with yellowtail still relatively slow on larger fish to about 25 pounds, including a 30-pounder caught by Castellon. Over 50 smaller grouper were released, including a 24-pound fish released by Mike Cross, Castellon said.
The overall fish count for the trip was: 113 yellowtail, limits on cabrilla, 2 pargo, 12 giant squid, 5 grouper, and 193 assorted fish. Weather was about 88 degrees, and water temperatures were 59 to 67 degrees.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Tony Reyes of TONY REYES FISHING TOURS reported on a 6-day trip to the Midriff Islands by the panga mothership Jose Andres returning to San Felipe on May 17 with a catch of: 554 spotted bay bass, 360 cabrilla to 14 pounds, 108 squid to 45 pounds, 53 yellowtail to 25 pounds, 13 red snapper to 12 pounds, 10 broomtail grouper to 8 pounds, 8 sheephead to 12 pounds, 3 pinto bass to 32 pounds, 3 white seabass to 15 pounds, and 3 grouper released to 15 pounds. Water temperatures averaged 62 degrees.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Andrea Velez of BAJA SPORTFISHING, INC., reported on a 6-day trip to the Midriff Islands by the panga mothership Erik returning to San Felipe on May 3 with a catch of: 436 cabrilla to 15 pounds, 176 yellowtail to 30 pounds, 2 grouper to 35 pounds, and 3 white seabass to 27 pounds. Areas fished included Refugio, Punta Remedios, Ensenada Grande, and Islas Encantadas.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: ARIES SPORTFISHING FLEETcatch numbers were low last week due to a fly-fishing tournament out of Marina el Cid, but there were good numbers of fish around, including the season's first blue marlin, which ranged from 300 to about 370 pounds, according to Larry Edwards of CORTEZ YACHT CHARTERS. Nora Alonzo Rice of Marina el Cid also reported a 233-pound striped marlin landed by the Aries IV with Capt. Rene Raygoza and mate Carlos. The overall fish count for Aries Fleet including released fish was: 4 blue marlin, 3 striped marlin, 2 sailfish, 23 yellowfin tuna, 34 dorado, 9 red snapper, and 18 cochitos. Best fishing was 34 miles from Marina el Cid on a heading of 220 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze of MAR Y TIERRA SPORTFISHING said the sailfish and yellowfin tuna action tapered off last week, and the blue marlin bite was good, although few have actually been landed. Eighteen anglers from the King Harbor Fishing Club fished on 8 boats during a 2-day tournament and landed 25 sailfish and 2 marlin.
The inshore roosterfish bite has been outstanding, Kunze said. "Captain Adolpho on the panga Dos Hermanos, in one day, took 5 large roosters. Four of them were about 40 to 45 pounds, and one monster was a little over 80 pounds."
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky of IXTAPA SPORTFISHING CHARTERS said the inshore bite is wide-open and the best of the season so far, on an "incredible number" of jacks and schools of bonita just outside Zihuatanejo Bay. "The inshore action is red-hot at this time and the next few months should post some incredible numbers," Lushinsky said.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the FINTASTIC TOTAL CATCH & RELEASE TOURNAMENT said peak season for tourists is passing now, but fishing conditions will be excellent. "Best news is the tuna are within 10 to 15 miles, but the bite is hot and cold. Santiago on the Gitana had a 7-tuna day with the largest at 80 pounds. Several over 100-pounds and at least one 250-pound fish have been brought to the dock since the sailfish tournament."