Billfish turn on in fishing at the tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula

Mexico Fishing News, August 5, 2002



CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Billfish action turned on at the tip of Baja last week, as some fleets averaged better than a fish per day on striped marlin, good-sized blue marlin, and sailfish. Cabo weather was in the 90s, with excellent sea conditions and water temperatures reaching the mid-80s.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 37 boats chartered during the week with a combined catch including released fish of: 51 striped marlin; 9 blue marlin; 3 sailfish; 25 dorado, mostly 40 to 45 pounds; 19 yellowfin tuna, small to 35 pounds; 1 wahoo; 1 roosterfish; and 1 yellowtail.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Picante Fleet, 4 boats chartered on Saturday had a combined count including released fish of: 4 striped marlin, 1 blue marlin, 5 dorado, and 1 wahoo.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Gaviota Fleet's top boat was the Gaviota I with Capt. Roberto Estrada, who scored on 9 striped marlin in 4 outings. The largest fish of the week was a 400-pound blue marlin taken by the Gaviota II with Capt. Arnulfo Garcia. Overall, Gaviota Fleet had a combined count including released fish of: 29 striped marlin, 1 sailfish, 2 blue marlin, 7 yellowfin tuna, and 18 dorado.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Fly Hooker Sport Fishing, Capt. George Landrum said water temperatures at week's end ranged from about 74 degrees close to the arch, to about 84 degrees at the 95 Spot and around the Gordo Banks. Yellowfin tuna, mostly footballs, were also showing to over 200 pounds under porpoise, Landrum said, and dorado were being landed to over 50 pounds. Although there were few around, most boats were pulling at least one line with a dark-colored Marauder or jet-head, hoping for a stray wahoo.

Landrum described Cabo's improving water conditions last week: "Surface conditions on both the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez were excellent, 1 to 3 feet, with just a very light breeze. The surface temperatures were in the mid-80s almost everywhere until Thursday night when we had a current change.

"Blue marlin, striped marlin and sailfish are all here, and almost every trip out is successful in hooking up at least one. Many of the boats were releasing multiple fish each day, and often the anglers tired out before they ran out of fish! Most of the striped marlin were between 90 and 130 pounds, the blues around 300 pounds, and the sailfish around 90 pounds. Early in the week they were just 5 miles out, and now they are a bit further, around 20 miles.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Nancy Woods of Pisces Fleet reported some boats with double and triple hookups, and an overall catch rate on all species of 86 percent. Pisces anglers caught a total of 42 striped marlin, 6 blue marlin, and 7 sailfish for the week. Yellowfin tuna to 35 pounds were caught off San Jose del Cabo, and dorado to 60 pounds were found on the Pacific side.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Solmar Fleet manager Rene Santa Cruz reported 20 striped marlin and 18 blues caught for the week, with 13 blues released and a 100 percent release rate on the stripers. Most Solmar boats were fishing on the Cortez side in excellent conditions off Palmilla and Chileno. However, the week's largest fish, a 400-pound blue, was taken at the Golden Gate Bank on the Pacific side.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Several visitors to Los Cabos airport said they had no problems taking fishing reels with line spooled on them as carry-on luggage. Bill Owens had a typical report, saying that he carried 5 large reels, spooled with line, aboard his Alaska Airlines flights from San Francisco to Los Cabos and back.

In other mainland Mexico and Baja fishing action this week:



ENSENADA, MEXICO: Boats were fishing as far as 35 miles outside Punta Banda over the weekend, but were finding only scattered albacore and yellowtail.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Inside the bay, Ivan Villarino of Vonny Fleet said his 3 pangas have been busy taking clients out for local yellowtail, continued lingcod, calicos, and plenty of rockfish in about 100 feet of water off Punta Banda. Villarino's pangas, Vonny I with Capt. Beto, Vonny II with Capt. Chandy, and Vonny III with Capt. Cruz, cost $120, including bait, and he has rooms for up to 6 persons available for only $40. Vonny Fleet's number is 011-52-646-154-2046, and Ivan also has a brand new email account monitored daily by his wife, Marta: On Saturday, the Vonny III scored on 4 yellowtail to 30 pounds on iron, Villarino said.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Rudy Lopez, Paul Lopez, and Victor Montano of Crestline and Imperial Valley fished on the Shir-Lee out of Sergio's Sport Fishing Center at the end of the week and landed 18 combined fish, 11 of which were lingcod of 4 to 6 pounds. Paul Lopez commented: "The ticket price was $45, which included your Mexican fishing license. It was a 3/4 day trip. We fished out in front of Santo Tomas for good catches of reds and lingcod. The bite was consistent using live sardines for bait and a 2-hook rig with dropper loops, and a 6 to 8-ounce torpedo sinker. Everybody caught fish this trip and the deckhands were outstanding. One thing we like about fishing on Mexican party boats is the pleasure of bringing your own food and adult beverages."

ENSENADA, MEXICO: At midweek, Sammy Susarrey of Lily Fleet reported yellowtail to 25 pounds and some albacore to 15 pounds at GPS numbers 31:50 117:15.



ERENDIRA, MEXICO: Jim Harer of the Old Mill Hotel said the winds picked up and the fishing slowed down last week, although a good number of boats were still fishing out of San Quintin Bay. "It wasn't a great week here," Harer said. "We had winds on Monday and Tuesday. Pedro's Pangas fished on Monday and got 2 albacore and large reds. The winds scattered the tuna."

Harer said by the end of the week there was good yellowtail fishing on kelp paddies around Isla San Martin. San Quintin water temperatures were about 60 to 62 degrees. Overall, El Capitan sent out 10 boats for the week, Pedro's 17, and there were 5 private boats fishing, Harer said.

ERENDIRA, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas said the albacore landed early in the week were nice 25-pounders, about 20 miles off the point. Hillis said the rockfish caught last week were very nice. "In my years in San Quintin, these were some of the biggest I have seen," he said. Lingcod were also caught to 18 pounds.



MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said the fishing was tough around San Carlos last week. "I guess it shouldn't surprise anyone, since almost any of the stock spots you go to have fences of gill nets," he said. Graham also commented on the large increase in sardine fishing inside the bay recently, with boats working around the clock to wipe out sardines to be used for low-quality animal feed. "This could be one of the most pristine and productive bays in Baja if the Mexican government would wake up and smell the coffee," Graham said. San Carlos weather was sunny and hot, with water temperatures ranging from 69 to 82 degrees.



SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said overall fishing was improved last week and water temperatures averaged 80 degrees or better. Yellowfin tuna appeared to be returning to the Gordo Banks area, and some fish over 100 pounds were caught. Dorado to about 30 pounds were being landed on trolled bolito baits. "The water and the weather conditions appear to have finally stabilized, so now we are all excited at the prospects of having some incredible late summer fishing," Brictson said. "Daily catches included dorado, sailfish, striped and blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, red snapper, jack crevalle, roosterfish, grouper, amberjack and a few wahoo. Action was spread out over a wide area, with Chileno to Destiladera being perhaps the most consistent region. Anglers found a mix of live baits available, including mullet, sardinas, caballito, mackerel, and bolito."

About the panga that was burned last week, Brictson said: "We do have the proof needed to convict the arsonist, but the court system in Mexico works differently and at this point we are better off just saving our funds to go towards a new replacement panga."



EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Overall fishing action was slightly scattered, but still good on billfish, dorado, and ample numbers of yellowfin tuna last week.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Buena Vista Beach Resort, Axel Valdez reported on 65 boats chartered with a combined catch including released fish of: 6 blue marlin, 47 striped marlin, 16 sailfish, 72 dorado, 185 yellowfin tuna, 1 wahoo, 20 roosterfish, 28 snapper, 5 jack crevalle, 9 amberjack, 3 yellowtail, 1 pompano, 2 triggerfish, 14 squid, and 27 skipjack. Water temperatures were measured from 81 to 87 degrees. Fish were feeding on abundant squid, some of which were washing up on shore, Valdez reported, and Bob Mehrer landed a 51-pound dorado solo to win the dorado jackpot in a tournament last week.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chris Moyers of East Cape Smoke House reported on 315 boats chartered last week from combined fleets including the Van Wormer resorts of Palmas de Cortez, Playa del Sol, and Punta Colorada, with a combined count including released fish of: 34 blue marlin, 106 striped marlin, 34 sailfish, 247 dorado, 660 yellowfin tuna, 41 pargo, 3 wahoo, 8 amberjack, and 7 roosterfish. East Cape weather was generally calm with afternoon breezes and temperatures in the high 90s. Moyers reported most of the blue marlin coming from around Punta Pescadero, and good numbers of larger dorado to about 60 pounds, also coming from the north. Most of the tuna were footballs, but one fish weighed in at 154 pounds and several were caught around 100 pounds, Moyers said.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Rancho Leonero, John Ireland said 65 boats chartered had a combined count including released fish of: 104 dorado, 91 pargo, 27 amberjack, 13 cabrilla, 67 yellowfin tuna, 4 wahoo, 25 striped marlin released, 11 blue marlin, and 23 sailfish. Ireland said striped marlin numbers are on the decline, but that blues and sailfish are taking up the slack as the water continues to warm. Anglers of the week were Jennifer Ireland and Carolyn Lattimore who released 3 sailfish and landed 2 dorado to 45 pounds during one day in a super panga.

Inshore, Ireland reported limits of pargo and amberjack to 60 pounds being caught on squid.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: East Cape resident Chip Shapley reported on a couple of outings in his super panga, Buena Fortuna, in good conditions and water temperatures to 84 degrees. Shapley said he had good action on red snapper and amberjack near shore, and good marlin and dorado action while fishing 5 to 10 miles off shore. Many fish feeding on squid, flying fish, red crabs--and for one dorado--seahorses, Shapley said, after examining its stomach contents.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Rancho Buena Vista, Tami Moyeous reported on 38 boats chartered with a catch including released fish of: 7 striped marlin, 7 blue marlin, 1 sailfish, and 24 dorado.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said beach fishing continued very productive on quality roosterfish to 35 pounds, pompano, jacks, and ladyfish, with good action near Rancho Leonero, Punta Colorada, and in between.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Vista Sea Sport's Mark Rayor said water temperatures at diving depth were still slightly cooler than normal, but sea life was abundant at Cabo Pulmo, with large schools of jacks, grouper, snapper, cabrilla and free-swimming moral eels.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Pepe Murrieta of Pepe's Dive Service reported a drop from 86 degrees to about 76 degrees at the thermocline, about 25 feet down, with visibility at least 60 feet. Murrieta said he's seeing lots of eels, octopus, and many tiny fish almost like krill being chased by grouper and cornetfish. Sea turtles were also showing up on the beaches. Last season 365 nests were recorded, Murrieta said.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: East Cape resident, George Bergin said he's seeing some smaller billfish that look almost like eastern white marlin. "They are about 40 kilos," Bergin said. "The dorsal and anal fins are nothing like stripers."



LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International said the dorado fishing finally turned on during some days last week: "It was so good on both the La Paz and Las Arenas sides of the peninsula that boats were sometimes getting limits early then going to catch-and-release and still getting back to the beaches by 11 a.m.!"

Roldan said many of the dorado were smaller fish, but some were caught from 20 to a high of about 50 pounds. "Best areas were the current and weed lines off Punta Coyote northeast of La Paz, and then just outside of Punta Perrico near Bahia Suenos where a bunch of wood debris had blown into a huge junk patty about 4 miles long that had dorado breezing under it," Roldan reported. Plenty of squid were also being caught, both for bait and for the ice chest. "I saw one commercial panga get a squid that had to be 50 pounds if not larger!" Roldan said. "This thing exploded with ink and a water jet that must have shot 15 feet in the air showering the pangueros and all the boats in the area like a water hose." La Paz weather was generally good, with some spells of late afternoon wind.

LA PAZ, MEXICO: Mino Shiba of Mosquito Fleet reported "fantastic" action on dorado from 10 to 45 pounds for Bob MacLennan of Ohio and Jeff Keop of Las Vegas who also caught pargo and cabrilla on plastics and generally had a great time. "Today we caught at least 5 (dorado) of more than 35 pounds," they reported. "Much thanks to Mino, and Lamberto, one of the best captains of Mosquito Fleet."

LA PAZ, MEXICO: David Jones of Fishermen's Fleet reported generally warming water temperatures of about 82 to 84 degrees and improving fishing. "Fishing remains mostly a dorado thing, with large fish being very common. We have had fish into the mid-40s every day and at least a half-dozen bonafide 50s a week. We are taking these fish on a variety of baits. Small bonito, 'zebrafish,' mullet, and flying fish have all worked this week. Marlin have been becoming more common. While tuna have not shown in any concentrated fashion, there have been flurries of activity on small ones at the buoys."



LORETO, MEXICO: Good weather in the mid-90s and steady dorado action were enjoyed last week in waters surrounding Loreto. Arturo Susarrey of Arturo's Sport Fishing said the dorado averaged slightly smaller last week, but were still going to as large as 20 to 35 pounds, and one 50-pounder was also landed by Curt Mackay of Cypress, CA after a 45-minute fight. "It seems like dorado season is going to last until September, or even October," Susarrey said of the still-building season. Mackerel and squid baits were being caught near the lighthouse on the east side of Isla Coronado, and were also for sale at the marina.

LORETO, MEXICO: Ty Miller of El Fuerte Sport Fishing talked about the delayed fishing season that has plagued all of southern Baja this spring and summer: "Water conditions are perfect, but we are still a few degrees colder this year than typical years in the past. I would guess we are about a solid month behind, from the looks of things, which means the dorado should hold here solid through the summer."



SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Gustavo Velez of Baja Sportfishing, Inc. reported on a six-day Midriff Islands trip by the panga mothership Erik, returning to San Felipe on August 1 with a catch of: 130 yellowtail, 180 cabrilla, 14 dorado, 8 white sea bass, 28 red snapper, 80 squid, and 2 grouper of 45 and 50 pounds. Velez reported windy conditions for 2 days, as the Erik fished at Isla San Esteban, Ensenada Grande, Isla San Lorenzo, and Refugio. Due to winds, the Erik did not attempt to fish at the Golden Reef.

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Tony Reyes of Tony Reyes Fishing Tours reported on a six-day Midriff Islands trip by the panga mothership Jose Andres, returning to San Felipe on August 2 with a catch of: 41 yellowtail, to 22 pounds; 2 grouper, 88 to 94 pounds; 1 black seabass, 80 pounds; 61 cabrilla, 10 to 16 pounds; 15 squid, 20 to 46 pounds; 28 red snapper, 8 to 14 pounds; 8 broomtail grouper, 6 to 9 pounds; 7 sheephead, 7 pounds; and 84 spotted bass.

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Earlier, Bob Castellon of Sea of Cortez Sport Fishing reported on a trip by the panga mothership Celia Angelina with a fish count of: 70 cabrilla, 127 yellowtail, 3 grouper, 1 black seabass, 20 pargo, 6 white sea bass, 65 giant squid, 15 sheephead, 1 roosterfish, and 256 miscellaneous fish.



MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said good sailfish action continued out of Marina el Cid last week, plus a scattering of striped and blue marlin, and a few dorado landed in trophy sizes. The fleet reported a combined week's catch of: 48 sailfish (44 released), 3 blue marlin, 4 striped marlin, 3 yellowfin tuna, and 10 dorado to 65 pounds, for 21 boats chartered.

Mazatlan weather was warm and humid in the 90s, with scattered clouds and occasional thunderstorms. Seas were generally calm, and water temperatures averaged 85 degrees. The best fishing area was 20 miles from Marina el Cid on a heading of 210 degrees.



IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the Fintastic Total Tag & Release Tournament said wind and rain hampered fishing for parts of last week, but boats that did get out averaged 1 to 2 sailfish per day. Yellowfin tuna were moving in and out, as close as 15 to 20 miles off the coast on some days. Blue water was 8 miles from the bay, and that was the best area for sailfish, Phillips said. Capt. Alfredo on the Esturion II had the best run of the week out of Zihuatanejo, releasing 6 sailfish in one day. Phillips said larger roosterfish to near 70 pounds were also reported on the beaches.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Marcos Vargas of Vargas Fleet said seas were generally moderate, except for periods of thunderstorms. Zihuatanejo weather was in the mid-90s, and water temperatures averaged 78 degrees, with the best fishing on a heading of 220 degrees from the bay.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky of Ixtapa Sport Fishing Charters said roosterfish and yellowtail jacks were being caught near shore and large schools of sardines have entered the bay. The best areas for yellowfin tuna were reported at about 30 to 40 miles off shore.

Fish Photo 1

Elegantly-hatted Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International helps 10-year-old Michael Harkin of Westminster CA show off his dorado caught recently near La Paz. Said Roldan, "Mike spent about 20 minutes on this fish like a pro and won a jackpot between 13 of his cousins, uncles and dad. Don't make fun of my hat. It was given to me as a 'roosterfish' hat!"

Fish Photo 1

Rudy Lopez caught this nice roosterfish with super panga Capt. Juan Carlos out of East Cape's Hotel Playa del Sol. Lopez slow-trolled a live mullet to make the catch, and the roosterfish was released. Photo courtesy Paul Lopez.

Fish Photo 1

Bob MacLennan of Ohio and Jeff Keop of Las Vegas had a good day of dorado action with Mino Shiba's Mosquito Fleet out of La Paz last week. The pair caught dorado to 45 pounds, including at least 5 over 35 pounds while fishing with Capt. Lamberto. Photo courtesy Mino Shiba.

Fish Photo 1

DORADO FEVER--John Ames of Pomona, CA, on his first fishing trip, got this nice dorado near La Paz with Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International, who said, "He got this most excellent bull, slow trolling some squid tentacles off Punta Perrico. He says he's got the 'FEVER' now. Have no idea what he means about that....hahahahahahaha...."

Fish Photo 1

Fish Photo 1

Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company sent these photos of the big squid jig being used around Loreto. The foot-long jigs are sold for about $10 at the Deportes Blazer store downtown and work best with medium to heavy tackle for giant squid running to nearly 50 pounds. In the boat is Capt. Francisco with Clifton Lemon on a squid. Bolles said she took the photo from her personal pontoon boat floating nearby.

Fish Photo 1

Curt Mackey of Cypress, CA and a nice 50-pound dorado caught with Arturo's Sport Fishing of Loreto. Said Mackey, "When this one hit, I knew it was not like the other, small to medium ones from the past few days. This dorado took me for a ride over a dozen times around the boat and took over 45 minutes to land!" Photo courtesy Arturo Susarrey.

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