CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tropical Storm Iselle hampered fishing around southern Baja with showers and brief winds last week, but nevertheless, the largest marlin of the year was caught just a few miles off Cabo San Lucas, by the Solmar Fleet cruiser, Solmar I, with Capt. Mario Arvallo.
"The big fish was estimated by Cabo locals to have been over 800 pounds when hooked," reported Solmar's Dick Wilkes, but it lost weight in transit to the docks and during hanging on the scales."
When weighed, the monster blue marlin tipped the Cabo scales at 770 pounds. It was caught on 80-pound tackle by long-time Solmar anglers Rose Gobbel, husband Jay Gobbel, and brother George Reese, all from Tampa, FL, after hitting a green-orange artificial and a 6-hour fight during which it took the Solmar I from just south of the marina to 6 miles off Cabeza de Ballena.
"We were cruising at trolling speed a few miles due south of the Cabo marina," Ms. Gobbel said. "It was 7:30 in the morning (Thursday, Sept. 19), and I was thinking only of the beauties of the open ocean, when my fishing line was hit by the most astonishing thing I had ever seen. The water seemed to explode, and the reel on my rod screamed."
"I saw the fish 4 times, head and bill only, during huge splashes that looked like crashing waves, but after 1 hour and 45 minutes, I couldn't fight anymore. At that time the fish sounded and I didn't see it again. I couldn't believe what I saw."
Gobbel's two companions took over the fight, and when the fish was finally landed, she said, "The crew couldn't get the fish onto the transom, even with the help of another Solmar boat standing by. When we arrived at the marina, a huge crowd was waiting to cheer us and our Capt. Mario. The scales at the dock stopped at 700 pounds, and another scale was needed to get the total of 770 pounds. It was a huge event in our fishing lives. We donated the fish to the needy children of Cabo San Lucas."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Solmar Fleet's Rene Santa Cruz reported that Cabo water temperatures dipped briefly to about 75 degrees as the tropical storm passed, and rough sea conditions reduced fishing days. The fleet's overall count including released fish was: 20 striped marlin, 8 blue marlin, 3 sailfish, 18 dorado, and 25 yellowfin tuna.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Cabo Magic, Tommy Garcia reported on more gorilla yellowfin tuna to over 200 pounds last week, but also said that he had an unusual 6 boats out of 46 charters that were completely skunked. Cabo Magic had a combined fish count including released fish of: 12 striped marlin; 5 blue marlin, 300 to 600 pounds; 5 sailfish; 38 dorado, 35 to 40 pounds average, but some to 65 pounds; 32 yellowfin tuna; and 1 blacktipped shark. Garcia also said that of 15 boats requesting representation last week, he has added 5 that have met his standards.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Dr. John Osterberg of Boulder, CO, reported on 2 days fishing just before Iselle arrived last week, with Capt. Ramon Winkler aboard the Halcon, and a catch including released fish of: 7 dorado, 2 wahoo, a 400-pound blue marlin, and 2 sailfish.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Picante Fleet, Fabiola Valdez reported on 9 boats fishing Saturday with a combined catch including released fish of: 2 striped marlin, 2 sailfish, 1 blue marlin, and 32 yellowfin tuna. Cabo water temperatures were back up to 85 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sport Fishing said the port was closed on Monday due to Iselle, and the weather was cooler and drier after the storm, with rapidly improving water conditions. As billfish and dorado slowed down a bit, Landrum said yellowfin tuna were providing much of action. "Thank goodness the tuna are still out there!" he said. "Some nice fish were taken this week, some of them in the 150-pound plus range, a lot of schoolies in the 40 to 50-pound class, and quite a few smaller footballs. Most boats were satisfied to use lures, and the best ones seemed to be the ever popular cedar plugs. The fish ranged from 8 to 28 miles out, both to the south and south-east." Inshore fishing was slow due to rough sea conditions.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Pisces Fleet's Tracy Ehrenberg reported that a second monster blue marlin was landed last week, in addition to Solmar Fleet's 770-pounder. "Just a few days before, Richard Bowman from North Hills, CA fished aboard a small 28-foot boat, Risa Ann, and landed an impressive 750-pound blue marlin that was a little over 13 feet long," Ehrenberg said. Overall, 55 percent of Pisces Fleet boats caught billfish last week, and 83 percent scored on all species combined.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet reported continued excellent bottom fishing for pangas around the tip of Punta Banda last week, in water temperatures averaging 66 degrees. "All week, we've been limiting out," Villarino said. "On Friday, Capt. Beto on the Vonny I saw birds working towards Todos Santos Island. Nine bonito to 10 pounds were caught out of that boil. The water is calm, with a little fog in the mornings."
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sergio Susarrey of Sergio's Sport Fishing Center reported on Sunday that the Ensenada Clipper with 17 anglers caught: 42 albacore and 10 yellowtail. El Cazador with 8 anglers caught: 20 albacore, 18 skipjack, and 23 yellowtail. The Shir Lee with 12 anglers caught: 40 albacore, 1 bluefin tuna, and 17 yellowtail.
On Saturday, the Ensenada Clipper with 25 anglers caught: 22 albacore, and 26 yellowtail. El Cazador with 13 anglers caught: 10 albacore, 7 bluefin tuna, and 45 yellowtail. The Shir Lee with 15 anglers caught: 4 albacore, 3 bluefin tuna, and 10 yellowtail. The Quest with 11 anglers caught: 38 albacore, and 5 bluefin tuna.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: At midweek, Sammy Susarrey of Lily Fleet reported the Tamara fished 16 miles from Marina Coral on a heading of 230 degrees and landed 18 albacore to 20 pounds, and 10 yellowtail to 10 pounds in very clear 66-degree water.
The Amigo had good bottom fishing on lingcod to 14 pounds at Maximino Reef after running into sea lions at Punta Banda. The big lingcod were caught on yo-yo'ed jigs.
PUERTO SANTO TOMAS, MEXICO: Sam Saenz of Puerto Santo Tomas resort said weather conditions were improving at the end of the week after several days of wind. Clients were returning with full limits of bottom fish and some pangueros were catching bonita at Bahia Soledad. Saenz said one panga went outside on Saturday in heavy fog conditions and trolled all day, from San Jose Bank, to Soledad Bank, and back to Puerto Santo Tomas, but did not get a strike. "Visibility was down to several hundred feet and no Ensenada boats were spotted in the area," Saenz said.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Gene Allshouse of San Quintin Sportfishing said, "Fishing has been very, very slow with mostly bottom fish coming in this week. However, yesterday may be an indication of things changing, as we caught our first yellowfin of the year. There was also a report of another boat landing a 45-pounder."
Allshouse said San Quintin water temperatures were over 70 degrees after the passage of tropical storms to the south. Yellowtail and dorado were hard to find, with a few 5 to 8-pound fish coming off of kelp paddies. "This is another good indication that the yellowfin are here," Allshouse said. "It has been the same every year I've been here. Small yellowtail on the paddies and warm water equals yellowfin."
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said boats were kept at anchor for several days last week by high seas and 40-knot winds caused by Tropical Storm Iselle, but conditions were improving by Saturday and "everyone was getting ready to head back out this morning." San Carlos weather was in the mid-80s with water temperatures of 67 to 78 degrees. In the mangroves, fishing was generally slow. Boats anchored near Punta Belcher were reporting sierra under birds, Graham said.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said water conditions were mixed-up in the wake of Tropical Storm Iselle and the bite was generally slower, in water temperatures of about 80 degrees. "The billfish bite that was very good before the storm slowed way down due to the dirty water, but once the full moon phase passes we expect this situation to improve," Brictson said.
At La Playita beach, Brictson said the panga fleets were picking through a mix of dorado to 25 pounds, yellowfin tuna to 10 pounds, plus grouper, amberjack, and pargo on the bottom. "Some of the better action was found off the bottom spots near La Fortuna and Iman," Brictson said. "Grouper to 64 pounds were landed." On the beaches, there were good schools of bait fish, but only scattered catches of smaller croaker and jack crevalle.
Brictson said, "Though there are good sized schools of bait fish off of the San Jose Estuary and La Playita areas, the fishing off the beach did not show much results. Maybe once the estuary opens back up to the ocean, this will get the snook in the feeding mood."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Esaul Valdez of Buena Vista Beach Resort reported on 46 boats chartered during the week with a combined catch including released fish of: 6 blue marlin, 1 striped marlin, 10 sailfish, 28 dorado, 51 yellowfin tuna, 4 wahoo, 3 roosterfish, 22 snapper, 3 jack crevalle, 5 amberjack, 5 bonita, 1 ladyfish, 2 pompano, 8 triggerfish, and 21 black skipjack. East Cape weather was in the low-90s, and water temperatures ranged from 83 to 88 degrees.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chris Moyers of East Cape Smoke House reported on 230 boats from combined fleets including the Van Wormer resorts of Palmas de Cortez, Playa del Sol, and Punta Colorada, with a catch including released fish of 9 blue marlin, 16 striped marlin, 37 sailfish, 110 dorado, 478 yellowfin tuna, 1 pargo, 6 wahoo, 1 cabrilla, and 1 roosterfish. East Cape conditions were generally good, except for the passage of Tropical Storm Iselle early in the week.
Moyers said the blue marlin were being landed mostly to the south, about 10 to 20 miles off Punta Colorada and Punta Arena. Some quality yellowfin tuna over 100 pounds were brought in, with most being found straight out and to the south, and most hitting on cedar plugs and hoochies. Dorado were slower, although they continued to be available in all directions.
Moyers commented on the approach of the big tuna season: "Although the billfish count fell off a bit, we made up for it with a nice tuna count with a number of big yellowfin being landed. I still think we're going to see a wide-open bite in the very near future. Why? Because, the conditions are getting ripe. The big ones are out there a ways and the good water is moving closer by the minute. Iselle stirred things up a bit and may have put it off for the moment, but it'll happen.
"The yellowfin bite was good this week with some nice poundage being brought in, several over 100 pounds. The places to be continue to be to the south for the most part, although some nice fish were brought in from straight out of Los Barriles, 20 to 48 miles, with the area between 38 to 48 miles being hot. La Ribera, 35 miles, Punta Colorada, 10 to 40 miles, Punta Arena, 8 to 22 miles, Las Tachuelas, 35 miles, Cabo Pulmo, 20 to 40 miles, and Los Frailes, 15 to 40 miles, all yielded some nice fish this week."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly reported yellowfin tuna of all sizes were being caught in the widely scattered bite: "They aren't biting full speed yet, but enough to make it very interesting. One local reported that he was trolling a spreader bar with rubber squids and a huge tuna inhaled the whole thing and just kept going." On the beaches, Graham said smaller jacks and roosterfish were hitting well from Rancho Leonero to Punta Colorada in the early mornings and late afternoons.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Rancho Leonero, Gary Barnes-Web reported generally calm conditions and water temperatures to 88 degrees. Lots of larger yellowfin tuna were seen under porpoise, but few were biting. Dorado and roosterfish action continued "exceptional," although billfish were not caught in numbers. The larger roosterfish, to 70 pounds, were being caught to the south near Los Frailes, Barnes-Web said, and hotel web master, Roy Baldwin, caught a 54-pound dorado Saturday, while trolling a Mexican flag jet-head about 6 miles off Las Barracas.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of Vista Sea Sport said that by the weekend conditions "couldn't be better," and huge schools of fish were being seen.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Scattered rain showers and swells slowed the action for several days on both the La Paz and Las Arenas sides last week, and the best catches were on small dorado and some yellowfin tuna, plus steady roosterfish around Punta Arena. Roosterfish specialist Bill Mathias continued to average about 2 larger fish per day while fishing with Fisherman's Fleet around the Punta Arena lighthouse for the week.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: At Mosquito Fleet, Mino Shiba reported water temperatures of 84 to 86 degrees and a lot of bait in the water. Clients were limiting on dorado, and were also doing well on pargo around Isla Espiritu Santo on live sardinas and light tackle. La Paz weather had returned to normal by the weekend, Shiba said, with light winds and excellent sea conditions.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International said dorado were on the bite from the south tip of Isla Espiritu Santo south to Punta Mejia, on fish of 10 to 20 pounds. Some Sierra were mixed in, Roldan said, although water temperatures were up around 80 to 85 degrees. At the southeast corner of Isla Cerralvo, larger yellowfin tuna "rarely under 60 pounds and most in the 70 to 100-pound class" were spooling some clients on fresh dead squid. "Most of the fish took even experienced anglers 1 to 2 hours to boat, and quite a few were lost," Roldan said. "Several rods were busted in the process as well! A few dorado rounded things out, but almost all the action was focused on the tuna."
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company announced the birth of son, Enzl Fredrico Munoz Pelger, on Thursday, at 7:20 a.m. She, father Francisco, and daughter Damiana were all doing well and enjoying the new baby, Bolles said, although his birth happened so suddenly, he arrived before the scheduled midwife could be summoned: "Well, things don't always go as planned, especially where we live..." Enzl weighed 3.350 kilos at birth. Bolles said the fly shop is closed for September, although Baja Big Fish Company is still booking clients for fishing.
LORETO, MEXICO: Resident angler Don Bear said he didn't fish last week, but Kent Baker, son Ted and brother Jerry fished 2 days with independent panguero Salvador "Chava" Romero, and caught 9 dorado, 1 roosterfish, 3 cabrilla, and miscellaneous fish. Bear said the dorado came from near Punta Perico on sardinas, and some fish were also caught at Punta Mercenarios. "Chava said that there were large numbers of roosters and cabrilla near Mercenarios, but that day they had mackerel, which didn't attract many strikes," Bear said. "Early in the week we had a mini-storm here, and 2 days were too rough to fish. But the last 2 days (Saturday and Sunday) have been glassy calm."
LORETO, MEXICO: Arturo Susarrey of Arturo's Sport Fishing said Loreto weather was back to normal, in the mid-80s with water temperatures of about 86 degrees. Fishing was scattered, following several days of bad conditions, and anglers were looking for dorado and yellowtail. "Yesterday Capt. Jesus went to Punta Perico with Luke Dusney from California, without too much luck. They only brought 2 small dorado," Susarrey said.
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 Sept. 20 with a catch of: 34 yellowtail, 12 to 33 pounds; 2 grouper released, 18 to 24.5 pounds; 1 dorado, 28 pounds; 129 cabrilla, 8 to 14 pounds; 1 red snapper, 13.5 pounds; 3 sheephead, 9 to 12.5 pounds; 90 spotted bay bass; and 1 shark, 18 pounds.
Midriff water temperatures averaged 84 degrees, and fishing was hampered by the effects of distant Tropical Storm Iselle, Reyes said.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the Fintastic Total Tag & Release Tournament said it's been rainy at Zihuatanejo and fishing activity has been minimal. Thunderstorms having been moving onshore in the evenings, Phillips, said, with a lot of lightning. "That isn't all bad," Phillips said. "On the days the port captain is allowing the boats out they are finding good flotsam lines and numerous dorado. The sailfish are steady at around 8 miles with boats averaging 1 to 3 a day. But the tuna are out around 40 miles. Inshore is touch-and-go in the surf, but some of the close islands are producing nice roosterfish." Phillips reminded anglers that the Fintastic Total Tag & Release Tournament is rapidly approaching and entry fees should be sent as soon as possible. The tournament, on Nov. 7-9, is a qualifying event for the Rolex/IGFA Offshore Championship to be held in Cabo San Lucas May 11-17, 2003. Last year's event tallied 15.1 billfish per team over 3 days, Phillips said.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky of Ixtapa Sportfishing Charters said boats managing to fish last week did well on the trash line about 8 miles out, with catches of up to 6 dorado per day, plus sailfish and yellowfin tuna. Bait fish were hard to find, Lushinsky said, and "heavy rains have muddied up the waters" causing poor fishing conditions.