CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: WON's Tuna Jackpot Tournament Gold-Plated! "I have personally tasted everything on that menu (a couple of times), and I can tell you it's gonna be a great dinner!" said Kit McNear. McNear is Western Outdoor News' co-director for the upcoming Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Tournament, Nov. 6-9, and he was talking about the blow-out dinner he's got planned for the tournament award's banquet Saturday night at Cabo's posh Hotel Plaza las Glorias.
"I'm not going to reveal exactly what's on the menu," McNear said, "but I can tell you it's a quality buffet with all the trimmings and a lot more. All I can say is it's got dishes from 'air, land, and sea' and it's fantastic."
McNear added that the free banquet will feature a lot more than good food. If anyone in the tournament catches a tuna of 220 pounds or more, all entrants will draw for a new Ford F-150 Super Cab pickup. You don't have to catch the big fish yourself, just hope somebody catches it, and you're in.
With this year's sign-up rate ahead of last year's 154 teams, McNear said there are still top-quality boats and crews available, "and if we have to, we can draw on some good boats we've got lined up at East Cape." Tournament sign-up information is available by telephone from Kit McNear at 949-240-5921.
For this year's event, the limit is 200 teams, McNear said, about the maximum that Cabo San Lucas can handle easily, since most teams are fishing in locally chartered boats rather than private yachts.
"This tournament generates more boat charters than any tournament in Mexican history," McNear said. "The Tuna Jackpot Tournament has had a phenomenal growth rate."
But rather than emphasizing a huge Bisbee's-style cash investment, the focus of the WON Tuna Jackpot is on affordable entrance fees, mountains of premiums, parties, and prizes, and lots of fun, plus a still very attention-grabbing $350,000 in cash awards and $150,000 in prizes, for a total of at least half-a-million dollars this year.
"People really like this yellowfin tuna format," McNear said, "It's different from the usual marlin tournament."
A total of at least $150,000 in sponsored prizes will be given away during three nights of drawings, McNear said. In fact, there's so much quality stuff being given away, special customs permission was obtained from the Mexican government and a special truck had to be hired to drive it all south from the border.
There will be at least $50,000 worth of tackle and prizes given away on each of three party nights: registration on Wednesday, the big Mama Roma Shrimp Bucket party on Friday (650 people attended last year's event), and finally, the free awards banquet on Saturday night. In addition to the drawing prizes, McNear said each team member also receives a surprise gift bag of over $70 worth of top-quality signature logo products.
And as a super-special award, McNear said he's also giving away a couple of hundred embroidered, "WON Tournament Staff" polo shirts, but he refused to reveal exactly how the lucky winners of these special prizes would be chosen.
"This is a fun event, paying good money, and with great prizes, all at a modest entry fee," McNear said. "The idea is for anyone to be able to enter and have a lot of fun." At $600, this year's basic entry fee had to be raised slightly to cover tournament operational expenses, but up to 7 people are allowed on a boat, 4 designated as the fishing team members, and up to 3 more designated as crew members.
At the request of many entrants from last year, there will be an "off night" this year, Thursday, so contestants can get a break before the big final fishing day on Friday.
McNear emphasized that there are still good boats and close-by accommodations readily available for the tournament. Direct air connections are available through Los Angeles, San Diego, and Tijuana, and hotel rooms are available in all price ranges very close to the Cabo marina; call him for details.
Yellowfin tuna have been in a temporary lull for the past couple of weeks, but big fish are being landed, and the timing looks good for the tournament fishing days of Nov. 7-8, McNear said. "My guess is that there will be quality fish caught. Most Cabo boats are targeting marlin, but when you put 150 boats-plus into the water, all of them fishing for yellowfin, chunking on the banks, using chihuil live baits, and running to porpoise, something's going to happen."
November is a traditional "big fish month" at the tip of Baja California, and with half-a-million dollars in premiums and cash prizes on the line, there are still spaces available in this tournament, McNear said. The first day's massive shotgun start is at the arch, at 7 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 7. For information, call Tournament Co-director, Kit McNear at 949-240-5921, or for full tournament history and details, and a printable sign-up form, visit the tournament website at www.loscabostunajackpot.com.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Fish counts for marlin, sailfish, swarms of dorado, and wahoo picked up a couple of notches at the tip of Baja California last week, as a flotilla of power boats arrived for the "big tournament season," and security personnel began operations for next week's international APEC conference.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing reported that during APEC--Oct. 21-27--boats must remain at least 3 miles from shore in a zone stretching from Cabo San Lucas to San Jose del Cabo. "We will be all right," Landrum said. "Most of the fishing action has been on the Pacific side anyway! This coming week is the Bisbee's Black & Blue Tournament. The marina is full of big boats and the pressure is on. Cabo is a happening place this weekend."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Landrum said Cabo weather has been warmer, up to 100 degrees, with water temperatures of about 84 to 85 degrees on the Pacific side, and about 87 to 88 degrees on the Cortez side. Billfish action was hot, Landrum said, with blue marlin sometimes outnumbering stripers, and many boats scoring on multiple fish.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Cabo Magic, Tommy Garcia said just about every boat saw at least one billfish during the week, and "many boats brought in fish that would be weighed in at the upcoming Western Outdoor News Tuna Jackpot Tournament," including yellowfin of 150, 140, and 100 pounds. Garcia reported on 115 boats chartered during the week with a combined catch including released fish of: 14 blue marlin, 55 striped marlin, 1 sailfish, 12 yellowfin tuna, 344 dorado, and 16 wahoo.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Picante Fleet had 6 boats out Saturday with a combined catch including released fish of: 6 striped marlin, 42 dorado, 3 wahoo, and 3 yellowfin tuna.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet said 92 percent of boats chartered scored on all species combined, and 65 percent landed billfish. The catch included blue and black marlin to 400 pounds, a quadruple on striped marlin, yellowfin tuna to 80 pounds, scads of dorado, and wahoo. "We had a good run on wahoo," Ehrenberg said, "with fish up to 80 pounds being caught."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Pisces angler Merle Erickson had a good week aboard La Brisa and Tracy Ann with a catch of 1 striped marlin released, 1 sailfish released, 2 wahoo to 80 pounds, and 51 dorado to 40 pounds, mostly released. "Incredible amounts of life in both the Sea of Cortez and on the Pacific," Erickson said. "Flying fish everywhere, with many, many dorado chasing the flying fish."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Gaviota Fleet had terrific action on dorado, and a catch on other species including released fish of: 8 blue marlin, 2 sailfish, 45 striped marlin, 5 wahoo, and 5 yellowfin tuna. Gaviota Fleet boats fished mostly from the Golden Gate Bank to Cabo Falso on the Pacific Side.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sammy Susarrey of Lily Fleet reported on weekend trips by the Tamara and Amigo, finding albacore at GPS numbers 31:35 117:03 in 65-degree water and calm conditions. Fishing about 30 miles outside Todos Santos Island, the boats also found kelp paddies loaded with small yellowtail. The Lily fished at Punta Banda for a few calico bass to about 6 pounds, and other local boats were reporting big bonitos to 10 pounds inside Punta San Miguel.
Susarrey said he has been having problems with his phone service lately, and asked readers to note his numbers of 011-52-646-186-7485 and 011-52-646-174-6747, and his new email address of firstname.lastname@example.org.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet said his pangas were into "wide open bonito and barracuda" action plus a few yellowtail late last week around the tip of Punta Banda, in good weather conditions. Bottom fishing also continued excellent for rockfish and lingcod.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Trailer boater Barney Phillips called his recent trip out of Marina Coral a "12" on a scale of 10. "After picking up bait at Mike's we headed out in light fog to the numbers he said produced the day before, 31:25 by 117:20.
"On the way we stopped at a nice paddy that was loaded with yellowtail. Fifteen minutes later we spotted the biggest kelp I've seen in 4 or 5 years. The yellows were boiling on small bait and didn't hesitate to chew the iron we threw at them.
"My son pinned on a large sardine and was rewarded with a nice bull dorado. We released more yellows and landed another dodo, but decided if we wanted any albacore we better head on out.
"We put the jigs out and started trolling at 31:26 by 117:04. At 117:09 we had a jig stop that developed into a great bite show after the albacore charged the chum. We picked up 5 more nice tuna to 25-plus pounds. We boxed the area from 31:26 by 117:10 to 31:28 by 117:13 for consistent jig stops followed by bait fish. Ocean flat, glassed out. Water deep blue, temp 66 to 65 degrees. Fishing great."
ENSENADA, MEXICO: At midweek, Sergio Susarrey of Sergio's Sport Fishing Center reported the Ensenada Clipper with 10 anglers caught: 4 albacore, 2 skipjack, and 150 yellowtail.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Earlier, Louie Prieto landed a 30-pound albacore aboard the Ensenada Clipper, even though he said he lost fishing time when they ran short of fuel. "Final count for 17 people was 7 albacore and 2 small yellowtail. I was lucky enough to catch one in the 30-pound class while we were dead in the water transferring diesel."
PUERTO SANTO TOMAS, MEXICO: Sam Saenz Puerto Santo Tomas Resort said the October weather has been good, with calm seas and minimum winds, and the bottom fishing has been excellent. "Saturday, Procopio Uribe from Tijuana and myself went out on a panga to the Maximino area. The fish bite was red-hot for bottom fishing. We loaded up on full limits. We had good quality lingcod, calico bass, chilipepper, and lots of whitefish and mackerel. I tried that shiny silver sardine jig you recommended. It was dynamite." Saenz said surface action remains slow, despite a huge population of mackerel and anchovies "all over the place."
PUERTO SANTO TOMAS, MEXICO: Jack Quinlan had a great trip to Puerto Santo Tomas fishing with his father and a local panguero named Juan.
"We camped in the front yard of the father of Juan, our guide," Quinlan said. "In the morning Juan came and got us, and we rode with him to the coast where his boat was anchored.
"The weather was absolutely perfect. We drove for a mere 10 minutes and started fishing. Using single-tail, red 6-inch grubs and small diamond jigs, both tipped with squid, we proceeded to load up on NICE size lingcod, sculpin, reds, and various other rockfish. I've never encountered so many big lingcod and sculpin. Anyone who wants to catch quality rockfish should check out Santo Tomas."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: The albacore took a vacation last week, but lots of boats still fished for swarms of firecracker yellowtail, a few dorado, and the usual limits of quality bottom fish.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Gene Allshouse of San Quintin Sportfishing said there were actually a few albacore caught, about 30 miles off the point on a heading of about 200 degrees.
"Every kelp patty is still holding lots of firecracker-size yellowtail and dorado which is making for a great mixed bag of fish," Allshouse said.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Jim Harer of the Old Mill Hotel called it "another great week for San Quintin. El Capitan Sportfishing and Pedro's Pangas had a busy week." Harer said the fishing has been good for white seabass of 30 to 50 pounds, 1 black sea bass of 50 pounds, a few dorado to 16 pounds, and wide-open yellowtail and bonito, plus bottom fish. Water temperatures averaged 65 degrees, with perfect fall weather, sunny, light winds, and "no sea swells to speak of."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: John Gilkerson and Jim Bentley fished on Gilkerson's boat A-SALT-WEAPON, for big lingcod, nice yellowtail, log barracuda, big sandbass, and "my lifetime biggest calico bass (released), estimated at about 8 pounds." Gilkerson said, "Bait was easy to make outside Bahia Falsa on Saturday, and on Sunday we loaded up on sardines and mackerel right in front of the Old Mill Hotel. Fishing was fantastic for big lingcod (limits to 15 pounds) at the 240 Spot, Ben's Rock, and just about anywhere you dropped a bait."
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said things are looking up for the Thetis Bank fall fish pile-up. "Right on time, here come the 'stripeys,' Graham said. "Some yachts reported multiples on a straight line below the Thetis and above Cabo Lazaro. Some of the locals fishing five miles outside of the entrada found a pretty good wad of dorado."
In the mangroves, Graham said there's been decent snook fishing near Devil's Curve, with several larger fish cut off on the roots, and corvina were hitting well in all areas. San Carlos weather was calm in the morning, with afternoon winds, and temperatures to the low 80s. Water temperatures were 72 to 79 degrees.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said San Jose weather has been around 90 degrees, with cool evenings and water temperatures of 85 to 90-degrees. "The week started off with anglers catching good numbers of yellowfin tuna and dorado, with most fish weighing in the 8 to 15 pound class," Brictson said. "The best bite was found when the boats congregated close together and utilized the maximum amount of chum to entice the tuna into a feeding frenzy.
"For the panga fleets the big talk was the wahoo action off of Red Hill, as well as the Gordo Banks. Boats accounted for an average of 1 to 2 wahoo, with others landing as many as 5. The main area was off of Red Hill, within a mile of shore."
Brictson added that a large black marlin was intentionally broken off on 100-pound line after a team of anglers led by Julio Zumaya could not make headway on the fish. Beach action was generally slow.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Luis Duhart of Victor's Fleet said his regular Wahoo Tournament group showed up last week and head a great time. "They have been fishing with us since 1984," Duhart said. "There were 12 this year, and they caught 6 marlin, lots of 10-pound tunas, a couple of 19-pound dorado, and several wahoo. The winner was Garth Small, who caught a 40-pound wahoo."
Victor's boats also released 8 marlin and 3 sailfish, fishing mainly at the Gordo Banks for tuna, and Cabeza de Ballena for dorado and wahoo.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Local resident Bob Grimes said he's been seeing bag limit violations in the heavy dorado action, with some boats bringing in excess small fish and marlin that are being sold illegally.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Big numbers of school-sized and some larger yellowfin tuna set the pace for boats out of Bahia de Palmas last week. Chris Moyers of East Cape Smoke House reported on 337 boats chartered 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: 28 blue marlin, 28 striped marlin, 52 sailfish, 489 dorado, 701 yellowfin tuna, 1 pargo, 3 wahoo, 8 yellowtail, 1 pompano, and 2 roosterfish.
East Cape water temperatures averaged 87 to 90 degrees, and weather was in the low-90s, with generally calm sea conditions.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Tammy Moyeous of Rancho Buena Vista said 36 boats chartered had a catch including released fish of: 6 striped marlin, 4 blue marlin, 8 sailfish, 68 dorado, and 110 yellowfin tuna. "Lots of the tuna approached or exceeded 100 pounds," Moyeous said.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Baja On The Fly, Gary Graham said clients broke five flylines on tuna during the week but still managed to land enough for sushi at the hotel. Near shore, only a few roosterfish were caught, and the mainstay bite along the beaches was on wide-open ladyfish.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Furness returned from a trip to Playa del Sol, where he fished three days and landed some football tuna, sailfish and dorado, before running south and landing a couple of jackpot fish at the last minute: "Soak last live bait between 2 groups of porpoise. Hookup at 11:30. One o'clock and the gaff goes into a 170-pound yellowfin! Drink water. Put out lures. On the way in, the short corner is nailed by an awesome blue marlin, and we end up releasing a nice 225-pound fish."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Pepe's Dive Service, Pepe Murrieta reported seeing groupers on the Cabo Pulmo Reef, in continued excellent conditions with water temperatures both at the surface and at depth of 86 degrees.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Vista Sea Sport's Mark Rayor called the underwater scenery "National Geographic images," with visibility at a crystal clear 100 feet. "All along the reef, you can spot beefy dogtoothed snapper, grouper, lobster, 3 kinds of eels, and an endless parade of colorful fish and invertebrates."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan said the best action around La Paz is still on the Las Arenas side. "Normally, we're getting tuna, dorado and billfish with an occasional wahoo this time of year, but true to form, we're also seeing pargo, huachinango, amberjack, sierra and roosters!" he said. "It's a real 'chop suey' kind of bite. The La Paz side has been a bit more of a pick. One day it's up and the next day it's a hard scratch."
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles' two-week-old son, Enzl still hasn't caught a fish, she reports, although he was scheduled for his first boat ride out to Isla Coronado. Bolles said fishing was slow for dorado last week: "I've been hearing consistent reports of guys trolling for hours just to get one. Once in a while we'll pull one in."
This winter, Bolles said her Baja Big Fish Company will again offer short fishing trips to take quick advantage of the calm mornings. Information on the economical, short-day runs is now posted on the website, www.bajabigfish.com.
LORETO, MEXICO: Arturo Susarrey of Arturo's Sport Fishing said Loreto weather has been mostly sunny and nice in the mid-80s, with water temperatures of about 74 degrees. Fishing improved last week, with several boats returning from the north with decent catches of dorado to 20 pounds, some roosterfish and snappers, and a 130-pound sailfish.
LORETO, MEXICO: Loreto resident Kristian Pallesen reported his panga La Tijereta ran north and found medium roosterfish at Punta Mangles and yellowtail on the San Bruno reef. Water temperatures were dropping fast, Pallesen said, averaging 78 to 80 degrees at various locations.
LORETO, MEXICO: Wendy Wilchyski of Villas de Loreto said there weren't many anglers around last week, but those guests who did fish nailed dorado, yellowtail, and roosterfish.
LORETO, MEXICO: Aeromexico has announced new non-stop service between San Diego and Loreto beginning on Nov. 14, and from San Diego to Mazatlan beginning on Nov. 12.
The San Diego-Loreto flights will be on Thursdays and Sundays, and the San Diego-Mazatlan flights will be on Tuesdays and Saturdays, Aeromexico said.
Flight information is available at 800-237-6639 or www.aeromexico.com.
MULEGE, MEXICO: Fly-in angler Ron Grant had good weather during his recent 5-day trip to the Hotel Serenidad, with weather to the low-90s, and water temperatures hanging in the 80s. Dorado were still running in the 15 to 25-pound range, with the best location 4 to 6 miles off Punta Concepcion. There were few visitors in town, and the runway at the Serenidad was in good condition.
MULEGE, MEXICO: Resident Becky Aparicio said the cool weather seemed early and she was catching dorado and a few yellowfin tuna. She was headed to East Cape for a few weeks of wahoo-chasing with friends.
MULEGE, MEXICO: Mark Jackson had a great fishing and snorkeling trip at a small resort called Pure Baja, run by Bob Carey. "Bob is a native Californian," Jackson said, "but you wouldn't know it by his fantastic knowledge of the local fishing and snorkeling spots in Mulege." Jackson and his brother Jeff stayed at Pure Baja and caught plenty of eating fish including dorado to 30 pounds. "The best part of the trip was staying at Bob's vacation villa right on the arroyo near town. His girlfriend Zulema made us feel like kings our entire trip. Her meals utilized the fresh caught fish, clams, and other delicacies of the sea and was some of the best food I've ever had in Mexico!"
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Abraham Vazquez of Bahia de los Angeles' Camp Gecko said fishing was good for yellowtail of 8 to 25 pounds at the northeast side of Isla Smith, Soldado Reef, and Punta los Machos. Also available were grouper, sierra, lots of barracuda, some bonita, goldspotted bass, and even a few dorado. L.A. Bay weather was in the low-90s, with water temperatures of about 80 degrees inside the bay and in the channels.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Joe Morse, Gene Chaffin and a group of friends trailered a newly-rigged 23-foot panga with a Yamaha 115 to L. A. Bay and two of them made the long run south to San Francisquito while the rest of the group drove overland. "Lots of yellowtail at La Raza and Punta Santa Teresa," Morse reported. "The fishing for the next few days was gorgeous with up to 83-degree water and no wind. We fished the remainder of the trip at the east point, Santa Teresa during the tide surges for huge yellows which out of 10 hookups you would be lucky to land 3 before they rocked you, even with 50-pound test line."
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Fly-in angler Stan Woodward also found the Santa Teresa area teeming with yellowtail during a trip last week. "Most were caught when the current rip at the north point was raging. Water temp about 80 degrees but a small drop sent the fish to a frenzy Friday morning. A good time to be in Baja."
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Catalina Meders of San Felipe's Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said the weather last week warmed up to the high-90s and the town was coming to life with the arrival of winter snowbirds. "San Felipe now begins to swell, like a rising loaf of dough, with masses of white faces yearning to become tanned."
Meders said the airport is scheduled for an overhaul soon, and the local school children were marching through town with a police escort last week as part of an anti-drug program. "Lately the police department has been solidly cracking down on various 'rings' of bad guys in town....and it would be nice to think that this is part of a general clean-up."
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Bob Castellon of the San Felipe panga mothership Celia Angelina called in a partial report by cell phone from somewhere in the Midriff Islands, reporting excellent weather conditions and good fishing. Castellon said the boat had also observed a large hatch of sea turtles while anchored at Bahia Santa Teresa.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Aries Fleet boats had a catch including released fish of: 37 sailfish, 1 blue marlin, 6 yellowfin tuna, 14 roosterfish, 10 red snapper, 5 permit, and 74 dorado, mostly in the 35 to 40-pound range. Mazatlan weather was excellent in the 80s, with water temperatures also in the 80s, and the best fishing area was 12 to 25 miles southwest of Marina el Cid.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Rod Halperin of Western Outdoor News cruised from Cabo San Lucas to Puerto Vallarta with George Woodly on his 50-foot Bertram Janice O and did very well: "Overall, we fished El Banco 3 days, landing 6 blue marlin, all in the 300 to 400-pound range. Each day we had 7 to 8 strikes on the large billfish.
"The weather was fantastic, but hot. The seas were calm, with water temp 87 to 89 degrees. P.V. has great fishing and is not so crowded (as Cabo), but be prepared for a 40 to 50-mile run to get to the fish. I am planning another trip down there."
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the Fintastic Tag & Release Tournament said fishing is basically wide-open for sailfish about 8 miles out of Zihuatanejo Bay. Capt. Pepino of the Whisky II tagged 8 fish in a day and Capt. Santiago of the Gitana had 3 sailfish tagged in one morning. Up to 6 dorado per day were also reported, and roosterfish to 25 pounds were being caught along the beaches.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze of Mar y Tierra Sportfishing said the Gitana had another day with 6 sailfish tagged, and one client caught two roosterfish and a jack crevalle, all in the 20 to 25-pound class.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky of Ixtapa Sportfishing Charters said the storms have finally moved off, and conditions were improving, as clients made good catches of sailfish and dorado. "October 15th has traditionally been the end of the rainy season, and sea and weather patterns should continue to get more favorable," Lushinsky said.