Fishing picks up in East Cape summer storm swell

Mexico Fishing News, September 2, 2002



EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Distant Hurricane Hernan brought a long storm swell to southern Baja over the weekend, but generally, fishing continued to get better and better last week as water temperatures reached the high-80s in some areas.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham, of Baja On The Fly said, "The amount of sea life is astounding. I have not seen this volume of fish along the beach for a long time. I am sure the local hotel owners' success in eliminating gill nets has helped. Pompano, pargo, roosters, jacks, triggers, needlefish, you name it. The biggest problem for us right now is the needlefish. They have become a nuisance. A school of roosters will come up behind the boat and the needlefish will beat them to the fly."

Graham said East Cape weather was in the high-90s with some wind and whitecaps in the afternoons. Water temperatures ranged from 79 to 86 degrees. The beaches were holding plenty of sardina and mullet bait, and bird action was heavy along shore.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Rancho Leonero, John Ireland said boats were scoring on a broad spectrum of offshore and inshore fish, including blue and striped marlin, sailfish, tuna, wahoo, dorado, roosterfish, jacks, pompano and pargo, in water temperatures of up to 87 degrees, with the best action found north from Punta Pescadero to Isla Cerralvo. A steady billfish bite headed the offshore lineup, supplemented by some catches of yellowfin tuna to 130 pounds and dorado to 50 pounds. Wahoo of 30 to 40 pounds were being taken daily south of the Las Arenas lighthouse. Roosterfish to 70 pounds were found at Los Frailes, and the strong pargo and amberjack bite continued off La Ribera.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of Vista Sea Sport postponed a run to La Reina off Isla Cerralvo, due to the weekend swells and wind, but said water conditions at Cabo Pulmo were "nothing short of spectacular." Rayor said the water was a "toasty 86 degrees and gin clear." The coral reel was loaded with larger grouper, snapper, and big schools of bigeye jacks casting dark shadows over the depths.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Pepe Murrieta of Pepe's Dive Service said the Pulmo reef was even visited by large yellowfin tuna and dorado last week: "The boat captain said 'What's that?' and dropped us right in the middle of a school of yellowfin tuna! Another school of skipjacks comes at about 1,000 miles an hour, and I wonder what's behind them. Seconds after, a couple of big bull dorados come out of the blue! A lot of adrenaline. After that, we just saw big groupers and eels."

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Earlier, Chris Moyers of East Cape Smoke House reported on 355 boats from combined fleets including the Van Wormer resorts of Palmas de Cortez, Playa de Sol, and Punta Colorada, with a catch including released fish of: 18 blue marlin, 230 striped marlin, 28 sailfish, 486 dorado, 417 yellowfin tuna, 4 pargo, 8 wahoo, 1 amberjack, 1 pompano, and 16 roosterfish.

In other mainland Mexico and Baja fishing action this week:



ENSENADA, MEXICO: Offshore albacore and yellowtail action picked up again over the weekend for boats fishing out of Bahia Todos Santos.

On Sunday, Sergio Susarrey of Sergio's Sport Fishing Center reported El Cazador with 10 anglers caught: 65 albacore, 1 bluefin tuna, and 20 yellowtail. The Ensenada Clipper with 33 anglers caught: 66 albacore, 2 bluefin tine, and 24 yellowtail. The Shir Lee with 15 anglers caught: 50 albacore and 1 bluefin tuna.

On Saturday, the Ensenada Clipper with 33 anglers caught: 38 albacore, 1 bluefin tuna, and 1 yellowtail. The Shir Lee with 17 anglers caught 30 albacore, 2 bluefin tuna, and 12 yellowtail. El Cazador with 12 anglers caught: 12 albacore, 3 yellowfin tuna, and 1 yellowtail.

On Friday, the Ensenada Clipper with 15 anglers caught: 34 albacore. The Shir Lee with 5 anglers caught 40 albacore, and 9 yellowtail.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Around Punta Banda, surface fish were absent, but bottom fishing continued excellent. Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet said the panga Vonny I fished all week with Capt. Beto Zamora for limits all around of rockcod to 3 pounds, lingcod to 7 pounds, and whitefish. Water temperatures were about 63 degrees at the point, and 66 degrees inside.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sammy Susarrey of Lily Fleet said on Friday 5 anglers had a catch of 3 bluefin tuna to 20 pounds, and 21 albacore to 20 pounds at the 238 Bank. The water temperature was 66 degrees, and most fish hit live bait.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Earlier, the Tamara with 5 anglers had fished the same area with 5 anglers and caught 35 yellowtail to 10 pounds, and 16 albacore to 15 pounds, in 63.8-degree water. The Lily caught limits of sandbass on plastics around University Point and in front of the Hotel Las Rosas. Punta Banda bank produced an 18-pound cowcod yo-yoed up on chrome.



SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: After a brief lull during midweek, limits of albacore and yellowtail were caught again on Saturday and Sunday by anglers out of Bahia San Quintin. Jim Harer of the Old Mill Hotel said some boats were completing their mornings with catch-and-release on bonita, after limiting on albacore to 25 pounds, yellowtail to 25 pounds, and dorado to 15 pounds. El Capitan Sport Fishing also brought in a 35-pound bluefin tuna, Harer said.

By the weekend, San Quintin weather was sunny all day, with little wind and flat seas. During the week, El Capitan Sport Fishing sent out 14 boats, and Pedro's Pangas 20.

SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Gene Allshouse of San Quintin Sportfishing said there were also reports of marlin and wahoo last week around the 240 Spot, although he didn't see any brought in. "Captain Pato did hook into two marlin earlier in the week," Allshouse said. "But the anglers were not prepared and hooked them on too small of tackle." Water temperatures were 63 degrees off the point, and 69 degrees about 12 miles out.

Allshouse said he felt yellowfin tuna should be showing up, as water temperatures warm up. "Most anglers are wondering if we'll see any yellowfin this year. I think we'll be catching them in another week or so."

SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas was celebrating: "Albacore, Albacore, Albacore!! Wide open! Everyone is bringing in 28 to 35-pounders." Hillis said there are bluefin tuna mixed with them, plus yellowtail and dorado on the paddies. The albacore were being caught 12 to 18 miles off the point on a heading of 240 degrees.

Hillis also said the Old Mill Bar and Restaurant is open again with music and entertainment on some evenings, and he also recommended the El Jardin restaurant, located in a quiet orchard nearby.



MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said very few boats were fishing the esteros, which were producing snook to 10 pounds around Devil's Curve, pargo, grouper, and a few small corvina. Offshore, dorado and marlin were being seen 16 to 18 miles outside the entrada on a heading of 210 to 240 degrees. There were also reports of local gill netters landing 300 to 500 kilos per night of sierra along the east side of the bay at San Carlos.

MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Brian Freitag of Mag Bay Tours said clients were concentrating on the big surf rather than fishing. Water temperatures around Punta Hughes were about 67 degrees at the surf line, and 75 degrees offshore. Due to distant hurricanes passing southern Baja, wave faces recently have been as large as 12 to 20 feet, Freitag said.



CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: An unusually heavy late-season striped marlin bite continued at the tip of Baja California last week, plus a steady pick on dorado to about 75 pounds, blue marlin, and yellowfin tuna into the 150-pound class. Most of the fishing was on the Pacific Side, as distant Hurricane Hernan brought storm surf and swelly conditions, and water temperatures averaging in the low-80s.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Picante Fleet reported on 8 boats fishing Friday with a combined catch including released fish of: 4 striped marlin, 2 blue marlin, 25 dorado, and 3 wahoo.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic had a combined fleet catch including released fish of: 2 blue marlin, 39 striped marlin, 1 sailfish, 2 black tipped shark, 50 dorado, including several in the 60 to 75-pound class, and 13 yellowfin tuna from 60 to 160 pounds.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Solmar Fleet, Rene Santa Cruz reported steady action and a catch including released fish of: 49 striped marlin, 10 blue marlin, 73 dorado, 28 yellowfin tuna, 3 wahoo, and 5 skipjack. Top Solmar angler for the week was Romeo Penalosa on the Solmar I with Capt. Marion, who caught a 105-pound yellowfin tuna, 3 dorado to 40 pounds, and a 50-pound wahoo for the day.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Gaviota Fleet had a combined catch including released fish of: 36 striped marlin, 4 blue marlin, 125 dorado, and 7 yellowfin tuna. Gaviota Fleet boats fished mainly at the Golden Gate and Jaime Banks in water temperatures in the low-80s.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet said only a single boat returned skunked last week, as 81 percent caught billfish, and 99 percent caught all species combined. Over a four-day period, Pisces Fleet had a combined catch including released fish of: 60 striped marlin, 2 blue marlin, and 6 sailfish, plus good counts on dorado, and a few yellowfin tuna. Top boat for the week was the Valerie, which released 6 striped marlin on August 28. Two days, earlier, the Valerie had a 15-strike day, Ehrenberg said.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Fly Hooker Sport Fishing, Capt. George Landrum said Cabo weather has been around 100 degrees with some humidity, overcast, and sprinkles. Water temperatures as high as 89 degrees were found in the area, and the storm swell from Hurricane Hernan began arriving on Saturday. Many boats were getting multiple hookups on striped marlin using an even mix of lures and bait.

Yellowfin tuna were slower, Landrum said, but dorado in the 15 to 25-pound range were thick enough to make the yellow flags look like a "laundry competition" around the marina.

"The fishing just continues to get better and better," Landrum said. "Our only problem has been the lack of fishermen. Seems that it happens every year. As the fishing improves, the weather gets warmer and muggier and fewer anglers visit."

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: About 310 other fleet and private boats had a combined catch including released fish of about: 32 blue marlin, 165 striped marlin, 260 dorado, 52 yellowfin tuna, and 9 wahoo.



SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas was expecting the La Playita panga fleets to be kept ashore again until the swells pass from Hurricane Hernan, about 500 miles to the southwest. "It looks as though we will be spared a direct hit," he said. "But sport fishing fleets, especially the panga fleets will most certainly be shut down for a couple of days." Brictson said 20-foot and larger offshore swells are forecast.

Earlier, boats were finding good action on dorado, although yellowfin tuna continued scarce.

Around the Gordo Banks, the season's first run of impressive blue and black marlin begin hitting on large trolled baits. "Of course, there were many heartbreak stories of long loosing battles," Brictson said. "But one monster black marlin was landed by a group of local pangueros led by Arturo Castillo. The estimated weight was 700 pounds. The fish hit on a trolled skipjack and took 5 hours to bring to gaff. Other marlin were landed that weighed from 300 to 500 pounds. This is encouraging news for prospects of a great tournament season to come." Beach action was slow due to a lack of near shore bait fish.



LA PAZ, MEXICO: Fishing continued to improve last week on dorado to about 40 pounds, school-sized yellowfin tuna, scattered billfish, and some monster giant squids.

LA PAZ, MEXICO: Mino Shiba of Mosquito Fleet said Paul Beachley also landed a 585-pound black marlin with with Capt. Pancho at El Bajo. Shiba said fishing has been up and down, but there was plenty of sardina and caballito bait, plus the giant squid.

LA PAZ, MEXICO: Keith Williams of the King Harbor Yacht Club Fishing Fleet recently caught a really big one, 6 feet 6 inches long and weighing 70 pounds, fishing the northwest side of Isla Espiritu Santo with Francisco Aguilar's Pirate Fleet. "The commercial fisherman indicated they haven't seen one this big in a long time," Williams said. The squid was caught on a chrome-and-blue Iron Man jig. Williams said it took him and hour and half to land the big squirter, and on the same day, he caught dorado of 47, 58, and 60 pounds. "There were plenty of blue and striped marlin around," he said, "but no biters. Our captain indicated the marlin were filled with the giant squid."

LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International said, "Probably our best and most consistent fishing of the year is taking place around Las Arenas and the south side of Cerralvo Island at the moment. Tuna are finally set up and making a home stand. Chunked fresh giant squid are getting 40 to 60-pound fish to chew and they are NOT line shy! In the same area, and in a scattered area from the Arenas light house to the island, we're also picking up a good grade of dorado."



LORETO, MEXICO: The dorado bite continued last week. Resident angler Don Bear fished six days with independent panguero Paulino Martinez and had a catch, including released fish, of 117 dorado and 3 barrilete. Bear's daughter, Inge caught a 42-pounder and he caught a 46-pounder, although early in the week many of the fish were not keepers.

"All of our catch was on sardines, which in the last 4 days have started to flood into the marina well before first light," Bear said. "Judging from other fishermen near us, the sardines work much better than mackerel. Every day we have gone south--at least 23 miles each way, and as much as 35 miles--into the triangle between Punta Baja, Isla Monserrate and Bahia Agua Verde.

"Early in the week there was substantial wind and rough water, but the last two days have been glassy calm. The bad news is that the last two days brought stifling heat and suffocating humidity. Every day of the past week has seen the thermometer go past 100 degrees.

"We haven't seen a single net this week. Last Friday, while seeking sardinas we came across a 150-yard gill net strung along the shoreline just south of Loreto, not too far from the old Flying Sportsmen Lodge. The panguero was happily picking fish out of the net and resetting it as he went along."

LORETO, MEXICO: At Villas de Loreto, Wendy Wilchynski said 2 anglers last week were back by noon, having landed 11 large dorado and released all but their limits: "We all had a great fish feed last night, thanks to Todd and Matt."

LORETO, MEXICO: Earlier, Hugh Cobb of Oceanside's Pacific Coast Bait & Tackle fished with Arturo's Sport Fishing midway between Islas Carmen and Monserrate and did well, after some slow fishing north of town: "On the three previous days, we had gone north. Rarely did we pick up even a second fish on bait. We did spot two sailfish up there, getting one to follow a Storm swim bait to the boat, and hooking and releasing the other after getting it to take dead bait."

LORETO, MEXICO: Arturo Susarrey of Arturo's Sport Fishing said Loreto weather has been in the high-90s, with light breezes and water temperatures averaging 87 degrees. The big change last week, Susarrey said, was that the fish were being caught south of town around Isla Monserrate. There were few dorado around Punta Pulpito or Isla Carmen. Mackerel and squid bait was available for purchase at the marina, or could be caught around the lighthouse on the east side of Isla Coronado.

LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company said she's been collecting information about the local pangueros for listing on her expanded website at She asked that anyone who has good photos of Loreto pangueros email her scans if possible: "Very few have photographs of themselves. If you have something like this, I would love for you to send it to me via email. You won't have to remember the pangueros name, as when we see his photo we'll probably know who it is. You will receive full credit." Bolles' email address is:



MULEGE, MEXICO: Jim Mori reported on an unusual jack that he's been catching around Isla San Marcos, the darkfin amberjack, Seriola peruana. "This jack found in the Cortez has gone misidentified for years," he said. "The fish is usually thought to be a small amberjack. It weighs about 8 to 15 pounds, is a rosy tan color, and is a distinct species. I have taken a number of them over the years off San Marcos Island. I had the fish identified by Dr. Bob Shipp. It's a great scrapper and I think it should have respect by the fishing fraternity recognizing it."



SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Tony Reyes of Tony Reyes Fishing Tours reported on a 6-day Midriff Islands trip by the panga mothership Jose Andres, returning to San Felipe on August 30 with a catch of: 177 yellowtail, 19 to 25.5 pounds; 83 spotted bass; 41 cabrilla; 20 red snapper, 6 to 9 pounds; 7 dorado, 7 to 10 pounds; 4 sheephead, 6 pounds; 3 grouper, 25.5 to 45.5 pounds; 1 shark, 22 pounds; and 1 pinto bass, 19 pounds. Water temperatures averaged 83 degrees.

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Gustavo Velez of Baja Sportfishing, Inc. reported on a 6-day Midriff Islands trip by the panga mothership Erik, returning to San Felipe of August 29 with a catch of: 122 yellowtail, 160 cabrilla, 37 red pargo, 9 white seabass (35-pound average), 32 giant squid, and 14 dorado. The boat had some days of wind, and generally good fishing, with weather not too hot, in the low 90s. Fishing was at San Esteban, Salsipuedes, San Francisquito, Snake Island, and Ensenada Grande. There was too much wind for pangas at the Golden Reef, so anglers fished from the mothership.



MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Aries Fleet boats were still releasing an average of 3 billfish per day, reported Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters. Thirteen boats chartered had a combined catch including released fish of: 7 blue marlin, 16 sailfish, 2 striped marlin, 3 dorado, 4 roosterfish, 18 mojarra, and 15 chochitos. Mazatlan weather was partly cloudy in the mid-90s, with water temperatures in the 80s. The best fishing area was 20 to 25 miles southwest of Marina el Cid on a heading of 210 to 220 degrees.



IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Unfavorable weather last week limited fishing out of Zihuatanejo Bay. Marcos Vargas of Vargas Fleet said he didn't send any boats out at all, and Paul Phillips of the Fintastic Total Tag and Release Tournament said only a few boats snuck out and caught sailfish at 10 miles and roosterfish in the stirred up water along shore.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky of Ixtapa Sportfishing Charters said the Yellowfin II managed to fish one day with Capt. Chiro and landed 2 sailfish for North Carolina angler, Jason Caputo.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Susan Richards of Ixtapa Sportfishing Charters also fished close to shore with Capt. Adolfo Espinosa on Dos Hermanos, and landed 6 roosterfish to 40 pounds. "High surf made it difficult to get to where the fish were feeding but Susan was able to lure a few roosters out of the nest with long casts and Cotton Cordell red-and-white Pencil Poppers," Lushinsky said. There were also some reports of yellowfin tuna far offshore, and an estimated 400-pound blue marlin caught.

Fish Photo 1

Keith Williams' huge 70-pound Humboldt squid was 6 feet 6 inches long and took him and hour and a half to land, while fishing with Pirates Fleet near La Paz. Williams hooked the big squirter with an iron jig off Isla Espiritu Santo.

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Paul Beachley, right, with Capt. Pancho and a 585-pound black marlin they caught last week near La Paz with Mosquito Fleet. Photo courtesy Mino Shiba.

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Jim, Dawn and C.J Pye from College station TX, with two beautiful dorado caught near Cabo San Lucas with Pisces Fleet last week aboard the Adriana. Photo courtesy Tracy Ehrenberg.

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The Ball family from Lake Forest, CA with a 90-pound yellowfin tuna caught near Cabo San Lucas with Pisces Fleet last week aboard the Rebecca. They also released a striped marlin and boated a dorado for the day. Photo courtesy Tracy Ehrenberg.

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Joe Gonzalez' 65-pound fish helped him and partner Dave Canfield take top roosterfish honors in the recent Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Rooster Bills Baja Challenge fishing tournament at Cabo San Lucas. Gonzalez fished with Baja Anglers on Pisces Fleet's boat Tracy Ann and Capt. Hector, and landed his prize off the Old Lighthouse. Tournament proceeds go to benefit research for cystic fibrosis.

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La Playita guide Chame Pino shows off a rarely-seen tripletail, Lobotes surinamensis, caught at La Playita Beach near San Jose del Cabo. The fish is locally called a roncador platiado, or silver croaker, and weighed about 15 pounds. Said Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas, "They are truly one of the best eating fish I have ever tasted. They normally catch these fish during the darkness of night and only during the warmest part of the summer. They sure are tough fighters, not giving up until they hit the sand." Photo courtesy Eric Brictson.

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Snook were being caught again last week at La Playita Beach near San Jose del Cabo. They were hitting on live sardine and mullet from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Photo courtesy Eric Brictson.

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Left to right, firemen, K.J. Miller, Jim La Rue, and Jim's son, Terry, with a few of their Las Arenas tuna taken this past week while fishing with Tail Hunter International. They filled coolers in one day, then rounded things out with dorado and pargo. Photo courtesy Jonathan Roldan.

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John Milton of San Luis Obispo caught and released over 100 dorado on the fly last week while fishing with Baja Big Fish Company at Loret, fishing with Capt. Francisco Muñoz. Said Baja Big Fish's Pam Bolles, "I think I'll have to charge more for his services next season!"

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Baja watchers, David Kier and Dick Van Bree, sent this satellite photo last week that appears to show a large fire near Rancho Meling, southeast of Ensenada.

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Joe Gonzales, left, and Dave Canfield with a 65-pounder that helped them win the roosterfish division of the recent Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Rooster Bills Baja Challenge fishing tournament at Cabo San Lucas. Gonzalez fished with Baja Anglers on Pisces Fleet's boat Tracy Ann and Capt. Hector, and landed his prize off the Old Lighthouse. Tournament proceeds go to benefit research for cystic fibrosis.

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