Fishing season's first dorado reach the Sea of Cortez's Midriff Islands

Mexico Fishing News, June 10, 2002



SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: The first fish of this year's dorado migration reached the Midriff Islands last week, according to GORDON BYRNE, reporting for the San Felipe panga mothership, Captain Villegas. Byrne said the boat returned from a six-day trip to the Midriff Islands on June 7 with a catch of: 548 cabrilla to 16 pounds, 74 yellowtail to 30 pounds, 52 dorado to over 20 pounds, 19 pargo to 15 pounds, 6 grouper to 60 pounds, many grouper under 25 pounds released, one grouper of 130 pounds, 5 white seabass to 30 pounds, and 201 miscellaneous fish.

The Captain Villegas fished at San Francisquito, Isla San Esteban, and the Enchanted Islands, in water temperatures of 70 to 75 degrees and air temperatures of 85 to 90 degrees, according to Byrne. The bulk of the cabrilla were caught on MirrOlure 111MR deep diving lures in hot pink, fire tiger, orange, and chartreuse, he said.

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Tony Reyes of TONY REYES FISHING TOURS reported on a six-day trip to the Midriff Islands by the panga mothership Jose Andres, returning to San Felipe on June 7 with a catch of: 516 spotted bass, 88 cabrilla to 12 pounds, 83 yellowtail to 25 pounds, 40 red snapper to 12 pounds, 9 sheephead to 10 pounds, 6 white seabass to 28 pounds, 1 broomtail grouper of 12 pounds, and 1 shark of 14 pounds. Four white seabass and 1 grouper of 16 pounds were released. The Jose Andres fished in water temperatures of 70 to 74 degrees, Reyes said.

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Gustavo Velez of BAJA SPORTFISHING, INC. reported on a six-day trip to the Midriff Islands by the panga mothership Erik, returning to San Felipe on June 8 with a catch of: 476 cabrilla to 15 pounds, 92 yellowtail to 35 pounds, 11 red snapper, 5 grouper, 7 white seabass, 5 grouper including a 72-pounder, and 150 squid to 30 pounds. The Erik fished at Isla San Esteban, San Francisquito, Isla San Lorenzo, Refugio, Ensenada Grande, and the Golden Reef, and reported dorado sighted at San Francisquito. The Erik also fished while towing the panga mothership Celia Angelina from location to location, after the Celia Angelina had lost its rudder.

Velez also said that he has assumed all booking responsibility for the Erik, and in the future only bookings made directly through his offices would be honored. Information on current or future reservations for the Erik is available at 800-770-2341.

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Aboard the Celia Angelina on Thursday, Bobby Castellon of SEA OF CORTEZ SPORTFISHING called from the Golden Reef to say that he was encountering "tons" of protected 100 to even 150-pound totuaba that were interfering with fishing, because he was having a hard time avoiding them.

Castellon said he was fishing in 72-degree water and air temperatures of about 84 degrees. Castellon said his boat had lost its rudder after hitting something in the water, possibly a long line, and would be in repair for the following week, after being towed back to San Felipe by the Erik.

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Catalina Meders of San Felipe's TITLE COMPANY BOOKSTORE overlooking the bay said the weather got "hot and steamy" last week, with highs just under 100 degrees, lows about 80 degrees, and relative humidity hovering around 55 percent. "Everybody is sweating, but never mind, sweating is good for you!" San Felipe water temperature was about 83 degrees, Meders said, and everybody was waiting for the spectacular sunset solar eclipse due on Monday evening.

In other mainland Mexico and Baja fishing action this week:



ENSENADA, MEXICO: Local surface and bottom fishing action continued good last week, as albacore moved another notch closer to Punta Banda.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: At LILY FLEET, Sammy Susarrey reported late-week albacore at GPS numbers 31/35 117/11 and 31/31 117/16, with catches up to 29 fish to 20 pounds in water temperatures averaging about 64 degrees.

Locally, Lily Fleet boats were scoring on yellowtail, barracuda, and continued phenomenal lingcod. The bait supply on 3-inch sardines has been excellent, Susarrey said.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Tecate anglers BARNEY and LANCE PHILLIPS fished their boat Mako at midweek. After picking up bait and an accurate fishing report from Mike Richardson at the Ensenada bait barge, they found good albacore action fishing around GPS numbers 31/32 117/08 and 31/36 117/14. "We kept working out toward the 238 where the water turned a nice blue but dropped in temp to 61.8," Phillips said. "We then began to get regular jig stops, and the albacore came to the chum, and we limited out early. The weather was calm. The albies were from 20 to 27 pounds. As always, Mike came through with not just great bait but great information.



SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Gene Allshouse of SAN QUINTIN SPORTFISHING reported that he still had boats out for albacore Sunday afternoon after finding them on Saturday about 15 to 20 miles out on a 210-degree heading. Allshouse said the fish are in the 10 to 15-pound class and were hitting small purple feathers in the morning and lighter colors later in the day. Yellowtail were also hitting on the kelp paddies, he said.

SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: At the OLD MILL HOTEL, Jim Harer said San Quintin weather was pleasant with overcast mornings, sunny afternoons, and very little wind. Harer said local boats, including 2 with El Capitan Sport Fishing were finding limits for everyone on whitefish, lingcod, and red rockfish.

SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Earlier, JOHN GILKERSON of Cypress, STEVE YAMAMOTO of Los Angeles, and JIM BENTLEY and MIKE BAUERKEMPER of Mission Viejo stayed at the Old Mill and reported on 2 days of loading up on some of those 20-pound plus lingcod. "We fished aboard John's boat, A -Salt-Weapon, with Tito as our guide," Gilkerson said. "Tito did a great job of finding bait, showing us the spots, and holding the boat over the concentrations of fish. I highly recommend the oysters and clams at the palapa restaurant on the right side of the road on the way in. The best we ever had."



MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of BAJA ON THE FLYreported conditions around San Carlos as continued unseasonably cool, with air temperatures about 65 to 75 degrees and water temperatures of 60 to 66 degrees. Fishing inshore, offshore, and in the mangroves was "slow...slow, slow, slow."



CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Fishing for all offshore species was slow last week, in cool water temperatures and windy conditions.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At CABO MAGIC, Tommy Garcia said 37 boats chartered during the week had a catch of: 7 striped marlin (all released), 77 yellowfin tuna, 1 mako shark, 10 dorado, and 2 roosterfish.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At PICANTE FLEET, Mario Bojorges reported Cabo San Lucas weather as in the high 90s, with water temperatures from 69 to 75 degrees. Six boats chartered Friday had a combined catch including released fish of: 4 striped marlin, 7 dorado, and 4 yellowfin tuna.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of CORTEZ YACHT CHARTERS reported on 31 GAVIOTA FLEET boats chartered during the week with a combined catch of: 9 striped marlin (7 released), 24 dorado, 23 yellowfin tuna, 1 sailfish (released), and 1 red snapper.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of FLY HOOKER SPORT FISHING said swells to 6 feet on some days made the Pacific side tough going last week, and strong currents kept the water on the Pacific banks cold and green, with water temperatures from the high 60s to about 72 degrees.

"Only a few marlin were caught this week," Landrum said. "Most of the reason was the water color and surface conditions."

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At PISCES FLEET, Tracy Ehrenberg said that although only 17 percent of boats chartered landed billfish last week, the catch included an impressive 544-pound blue marlin landed on the 70-foot Hatteras Salsa, by Capt. Randy, for angler Dean McCarthy of Sugarland, TX. Another blue of 350 pounds was caught aboard the Peleador for Keith Marchand of Mewton, OH, Ehrenberg said.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: SOLMAR FLEET manager Rene Santa Cruz said unfavorable weather reversed the rising fish counts of the past few weeks. "It was a week when boating 3 yellowfin tuna and 1 dorado 40 miles off Chileno Bay was highly reportable."

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Local resident angler JOHN AMBROSE of Maya Roca Real Estate in Todos Santos said "the water's cold and the fishing stinks." Even the lenguado (halibut) were scarce this spring, Ambrose said. Offshore water is still cold, in the mid-60s. But, he said, the local beach fishing has been pretty good lately on pargo to 40 pounds, and snook to 55 pounds, with the pargo hitting cut bait, and the snook on spoons.



SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of GORDO BANKS PANGAS said water conditions off La Playita beach were slowly improving after the passage of distant Hurricane Alma. Local beaches were holding large schools of mullet and sardine bait fish and water temperatures were rising to as high as 76 degrees.

Panga fleets out of San Jose reported very few dorado, Brictson said, as most of the boats were targeting inshore species and various bottom fish.



EAST CAPE, MEXICO: The waters surrounding Bahia de Palmas continued to offer the best action around Baja Sur last week, as striped marlin counts dipped only slightly, blue marlin action improved, and dorado continued to fill the ice chests.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chris Moyers of EAST CAPE SMOKEHOUSE, reported on 466 combined fleet charter boats with a catch including released fish of: 19 blue marlin, 82 striped marlin, 3 sailfish, 793 dorado, 64 yellowfin tuna, 33 pargo, 4 wahoo, 20 amberjack, 2 pompano, 17 cabrilla, and 9 roosterfish. East Cape water temperatures ranged from 79 to 84 degrees, and weather was in the high 90s. Seas were fishable, with some windy afternoons.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At BAJA ON THE FLY, Gary Graham said he had one of the best weeks on the beach in memory. "Twenty-pound jacks were common. Guides Don Sloan and Lance Peterson had fish in that size class. On roosterfish, some catches up into the 40-pound class were recorded at Punta Arena. The only negative for the week was the scarcity of bait, both big and small."

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: John Ireland of RANCHO LEONERO said the blue marlin count rose last week and about 3 per day were landed, along with daily large roosterfish, and continued bull dorado into the 50-pound class. Ireland caught a 60-pound roosterfish on Friday, and said the beaches working south to Los Frailes were providing the best action.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: PAUL O'HEARN reported on his recent stay at EL CARDONAL'S HIDEAWAY north of Punta Pescadero, saying he enjoyed the rustic and private feel of the place, and five days of good fishing for numerous dorado in the 10 to 15-pound class, a 40-pound roosterfish, 3 lost marlin, lots of pargo in the 3 to 5-pound range, and "a ton" of miscellaneous bottom fish. O'Hearn, who hadn't driven Mex 1 in about 8 years, said he was amazed by the road improvements and many Pemex stations. "The changes are nice," he said, "but I sort of miss the charm of the old ways. I guess things have to progress."

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At MARTIN VERDUGO'S BEACH RESORT, Marisol Verdugo George said last week produced good fishing for several multi-day groups of anglers on lots of dorado, striped marlin, and several blue marlin to 220 pounds. "We caught more dorado and blue marlin last week. We had a good week," she said.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Tami Moyeous of RANCHO BUENA VISTA said, "Pretty good fishing!" Moyeous reported RBV boats fished in "pretty calm seas" and had a catch including released fish of: 14 striped marlin, 5 blue marlin, 6 tuna, 8 barrilete, 6 shark, and 67 dorado.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At VISTA SEA SPORT, Mark Rayor said the density of sea life over the Cabo Pulmo coral reef has now reached the "unbelievable" stage, with schools of 80-pound amberjack leading the show. "Grouper, pargo and rays are everywhere. Seas are calm, water is clear and blue."



LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of TAIL HUNTER INTERNATIONAL said the recent spell of sluggish fishing improved somewhat last week. "Still nothing going wide open, but lots of variety in terms of species like yellowtail, cabrilla, pargo, roosterfish, amberjack and a rare tuna or two," he said. "The dorado bite seems like it just wants to bust open with boats on both the La Paz and Las Arenas side getting anywhere from 1 to 6 a day when they find the fish. Most of those fish are a respectable 12 to 35 pounds."



LORETO, MEXICO: Linda Ramirez of ALFREDO'S SPORT FISHING said one of her pangas caught 5 sailfish in one day at midweek. "To tell you the truth, I'm pretty happy with the fishing right now. The fishing is getting a lot better. We had another boat get 3 sailfish in one day." Hugh Cobb of Oceanside's Pacific Coast Bait & Tackle said Alfredo's boats were also landing quality yellowtail and dorado to 45 pounds, although no marlin were being reported yet.

LORETO, MEXICO: At VILLAS DE LORETO, Wendy Wilchynski said while she hosted a successful watercolor course at the hotel, husbands and other non-artists were loading up on dorado, sailfish, and bottom fish. "Our clients could not believe the marine life that they saw when out on the water."

LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of BAJA BIG FISH COMPANY said Loreto weather has been in the high 90s and the summer humidity is starting to get "noticeable." Winds have been calm in the mornings, but strong from the west in the evenings, with calm seas.

Dorado from 12 to about 40 pounds are increasing in number, Bolles said. "Most are in the 25 to 30 pound range but larger ones are not uncommon. The season is just in its infancy."

In line with Loreto's reputation as being Baja's most progressive and versatile tourist area, Bolles said she'll begin offering four new types of fishing trips for connoisseurs in the next few weeks: evening fishing around Isla Coronado, nighttime heavy handline fishing for big groupers, special squid fishing trips, and something she calls "X-Fishing." This involves being taken out to a dorado school in a support panga and being dropped into the water in a personal pontoon boat with a flyrod. Bolles said she's especially looking forward to the X-Fishing as is willing to give "a generous discount" to any client that lets her join in the action.



MULEGE, MEXICO: BRADLEY MARSHALL reported on a recent fish camping trip to Punta Chivato and San Lucas Cove, fishing conventional lures and flies from kayaks for (in order of frequency): ladyfish, spotted cabrilla, triggerfish, uncommonly caught creolefish, sierra, yellowtail snapper, yellowtail, flag cabrilla, and other species. "I ended up with fifteen species," Marshall said, "and my girlfriend, Heather Sandford, ended up with 10."

Marshall and Sandford passed on the fare at the hotel, and loaded up on tacos in Santa Rosalia and at the cantina near the Punta Chivato camp. "Five of us waddled out of there stuffed with tacos for a total of 15 bucks."

MULEGE, MEXICO: Fly-in angler RON GRANT relayed a phone report from the HOTEL SERENIDAD in Mulege saying the weather was in the low-90s, and water temperatures in the high-70s to low-80s. "None of the large dorado I have been hearing about, but still lots of dorado action," Grant said. "Fish are showing in most areas. Location of choice about 60 degrees out from the lighthouse 12 to 15 miles. Lots of large squid off Punta Concepcion."



BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Abraham Vazquez of Bahia de los Angeles' CAMP GECKO said the surface yellowtail action in the bay was "as wide-open as it can get" last week. "The only way you could top it is if the fish were jumping into the boats by themselves," he said.

Vazquez reported big schools of yellowtail throughout the area, working bait balls under thousands of seagulls. "There has been a good bite over at Smith Island, and Cardon Point, also behind Horse Head Island and Piojo Island," Vazquez said. Some boats have been landing up to 30 fish, mostly from 12 to 20 pounds, but with a few as large as 40 pounds, he said. L.A. Bay weather has been pleasant, in the mid-80s, with water temperatures of 65 to 69 degrees in the outer channels and 70 degrees inside the bay.

BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Earlier, CURT COLLIER reported on an excellent 10-day trip to Camp Gecko with his girlfriend, Anita Henning. Fishing just before the recent yellowtail breakout, Collier said they got out on a Sammy Diaz boat and loaded up on cabrilla, corvina, scorpion fish, and bigmouth bastards on their first day.

Next, a 100-degree wind blew so hard, a Camp Gecko 14-foot boat was picked up and cartwheeled into the bay. "The wind literally sucked the sand off the beach in many areas," Collier said. "No fun."

Finally the wind settled down, and they went north in a super panga with Guillermo Galvan and locals Lorenzo, Lorenzo Jr., Marco, and Hector. Collier said he was instantly burned and broken off by something when he dropped his brand-new orange-gold MirrOlure 111MR in the water. "The rod was almost ripped from my hands. I tied on a mackerel MirrOlure, and as soon as it was in the water, I hooked up my first yellowtail ever." After that, Collier fished with blistered fingers, landing 6 more yellows of the 20 fish boated by their group.



MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Nora Alonso Rice of ARIES SPORTFISHING FLEET said all boats are releasing at least 2 to 3 sailfish per day, with the best fishing 15 to 24 miles out of Marina el Cid on a heading of 210 degrees.

MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of CORTEZ YACHT CHARTERS said Aries Fleet boats had a combined fleet count including released fish of: 2 blue marlin, 4 striped marlin, 54 sailfish, and 10 dorado.



IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky of IXTAPA SPORTFISHING CHARTERS said "immense schools of mackerel, bonito, sardines, and anchovies, along with pods of drifting crabs," have moved into the area.

Lushinsky's top boat for the week was the Yellowfin II with Capt. Chiro Barragan and anglers Mike Wickham and Bob Carr of Hudson, OH, who, in three fishing days, scored on an 85-pound sailfish, a 250-pound blue marlin, a 350-pound blue lost, a 500-pound plus black marlin, and 9 roosterfish from 37 to 68 pounds, all within 8 miles of shore.

Capt. Miguel Alvarez' El Soltar also fished with a group lead by Karl Wendt of Syracuse, NY, and landed an 867-pound black marlin for group member, Paul, Lushinsky said.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze of MAR Y TIERRA SPORTFISHING said there are few anglers in town now, and only about 4 to 6 boats are fishing each day. "On the bright side, the yellowfin tuna are here in tonnage quantities, only from 12 to 20 miles out." Kunze said blue and black marlin are still the main attraction, and at least half the boats are getting a shot at a big billfish.

Kunze added, "Luis Marcial, on the panga Gringo Loco, took a day off from chasing tuna with his clients Clark Smith and Kevin Taniguchi, of Taniguchi Fishing, Inc. in San Diego. They had an amazing day with 6 roosters. One of the fish went almost 80 pounds and another was 63 pounds."

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the FINTASTIC TOTAL CATCH & RELEASE TOURNAMENT said sailfish are still coming in at 2 to 4 fish per day, and roosterfish at up to 9 per day. Phillips said the release ethic seems to be taking hold in Zihuatanejo, with the recent Captain's Tournament releasing about 75 percent of fish caught.

Fish Photo 1

Anita Henning with one of 20 yellowtail caught out of L.A. on a panga guided by Guilllermo Galvan. Henning and her friend Curt Collier stayed at Camp Gecko just south of the village.

Fish Photo 1

John Gilkerson shows off a quality lingcod caught last month with guide Tito while panga fishing out of the Old Mill Hotel in San Quintin. Gilkerson said his group of intrepid anglers fished for easy limits in seas up to 10 feet.

Fish Photo 1

Forrest Kontomitras of Beverly Hills, CA, caught this nice 80-pound amberjack off Isla Espiritu Santo while fishng with Tail Hunter International. Kontomitras landed the whopper on 30-pound line, and followed a few minutes later with a 125-pound grouper. Photo courtesy Jonathan Roldan.

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