MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Boats fishing the annual Thetis Bank fall fish pile-up were raising about 20 striped marlin per day to the patterns last week, in addition to a mixed bag of offshore yellowfin tuna, dorado, and good counts of wahoo. Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said the Mary Lee's anglers based in Bahia Santa Maria, out of San Carlos, were hooking up about 5 to 6 stripers per day, and the dorado were "thick" from Punta Tosca up to the Thetis Bank itself.
Wahoo were showing frequently in what Graham called "the best wahoo year in recent memory." Inshore, corvina were making a strong showing in the mangroves, according to Graham, in addition to snook and leopard grouper, and Punta Hughes was still pumping out good catches of small yellowtail. Sierra were seen inside the bay under birds from town to the entrada, and pompano, halibut, and spotted bay bass were also hitting. Graham had two spots available on the Dec. 5-13 trip, 800-919-2252. San Carlos weather was in the mid-60s, with water temperatures of 72 to 79 degrees.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino reported very few anglers visiting Punta Banda last week, although bottom fishing continued good, in 62 to 75-degree weather, and surf water temperatures of about 61 degrees.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: At Lily Fleet, Sammy Susarrey said small anchovies weren't producing on the bottom, but over the weekend the Tamara did well on frozen squid and yo-yo jigs around Punta Banda for large lingcod and limits of salmon grouper, hitting best in the afternoon.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Trailer boater Barney Phillips reported on a trip out of Marina Coral earlier in the week:
"We picked up bait at Mike's and headed for the lower 500 on calm seas, only to find off color water. We turned out, looking for blue water and temp brakes. At 31:27 117:18 we spotted a nice paddy loaded with yellows. We kept a few and released most. They were eager and took bait or iron.
"Trolling north, we hit a temp break that jumped from 62.1 to 63.7, and the purple cedar plug went off, but no bait fish. We put the lines out and had a double jig stop within 100 yards.
"This must be the place." But after boxing the area with the video plotter for 30 minutes with no success, we headed for the 295. No more jig stops, no paddies, nada.
"Score, all the yellows you want and three 35-pound albies. Not great fishing but fantastic weather with the coastline clearly visible under warm sunny skies from 40 miles out. A Cabo day."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas reported excellent weather in the high-70s, with clear skies and light breezes over the weekend. San Quintin anglers were few, but those that fished found excellent action on yellowtail. "We've had a great yellowtail bite," Hillis said. "During the week, all boats that went out brought in limits of yellowtail, along with huge rockcod and lingcod. Nice white seabass were also being caught at our regular spots, such as the 240 and 15 Fathom Spots, as well as Ben's Rock. We still have boats available for Thanksgiving."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Tony Marquez of Don Eddie's Landing said the hotel has only one room still available for Thanksgiving. San Quintin sea conditions were "the calmest it's been in weeks, and the water is clean and perfect for fishing."
Marquez said surface action was scattered, but bottom fishing was still excellent, especially for white seabass, which were caught to as large as 34 to 52 pounds, in addition to rockcod, whitefish, lingcod, and calicos. The white seabass were hitting live bait and Krocodiles, and the lingcod and rockcod were caught on live bait and squid. Frozen squid is available at the tackle shop, Marquez said.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Good numbers of dorado and a continued excellent bite on wahoo paced the action at the tip of Baja last week.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 106 boats chartered last week, with a catch including released fish of: 64 striped marlin, 7 blue marlin, 3 sailfish, 111 dorado, 90 yellowfin tuna, 25 wahoo, and 1 mako shark released.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet said, "Wahoo catches continue to be very good. This is the best wahoo season in a decade or so. Martin Pola and his party caught 8 wahoo from 25 to 45 pounds aboard Andrea. Nobody matched this, but boats continued to catch one and sometimes two in this same weight category, with the odd fish here and there going as large as 75 pounds.
"Not very good for billfish this week. In fact, the catch rate for marlin was a low 39 percent. That might be okay for other parts of the world, but not for Cabo. Our overall catch success rate was 80 percent for all species combined, which means quite a few boats were skunked."
"Towards the end of the week, we saw a definite improvement. Cameron Heimbigner caught a blue marlin, a striped marlin and 6 dorado aboard Rebecca, and Jay Dekovic from Winterpark, CO released a striped marlin and boated 4 dorado, a wahoo, and a yellowfin tuna, aboard Ruthless.
"Dorado catches improved slightly this week, with the majority of boats still catching just one or two and the lucky ones up to a half-dozen. Yellowfin tuna catches were on the slow side with an average weight of 25 pounds, most being picked up trolling for billfish." Ehrenberg said Cabo San Lucas weather was in the low 90s, with water temperatures averaging 79 to 82 degrees, and the best fishing found at the Golden Gate Bank, Old Lighthouse, 95 Spot, and off Chileno. For the week, Pisces anglers had a combined catch including released fish of: 19 striped marlin, 2 blue marlin, and 7 sailfish.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Dave and Linda Palmer of Fiesta Sportfishing reported on 33 anglers fishing for 16 boat-days earlier in the week, with a combined catch including released fish of 5 striped marlin, 1 sailfish, 1 black marlin, 9 dorado, 1 wahoo, 1 yellowfin tuna, 1 shark released, 2 grouper, and 12 mixed fish including bonita, skipjack, and needlefish. Palmer reported relatively slow conditions, with dorado and tuna on porpoise seen, but not hitting.
On Thursday, Palmer said his group observed an early season pod of several gray whales. "We spotted them traveling only about one-half mile from shore, and followed them from the lighthouse to in front of the Finisterra," Palmer said.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Picante Fleet, Mario Bojorges reported 6 boats chartered at midweek, with a combined catch including released fish of 2 striped marlin, 4 sailfish, 6 dorado, and 12 yellowfin tuna.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Solmar Fleet reported a combined catch including released fish of: 30 striped marlin, 10 blue marlin, 76 dorado, 38 yellowfin tuna, 3 sailfish, and 5 wahoo. Fleet manager Rene Santa Cruz called Cabo conditions "good but not spectacular." Most boats were fishing from the Golden Gate, around the arch to Chileno Bay. Blair Bliss of Deerfield, FL, lost an estimated 150 to 180-pound yellowfin tuna at leader, about 25 miles south of the arch after a 3-hour fight on 40-pound line. Bliss fished aboard the Solmar I with Capt. Federico, and had also caught a striped marlin, 4 dorado, and 3 other tuna during the day.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Gaviota Fleet had a combined catch including released fish of: 1 black marlin, 3 blue marlin, 1 sailfish, 20 striped marlin, 55 dorado, 10 wahoo, and 101 yellowfin tuna. The tuna were caught from football size to over 100 pounds, and the wahoo were landed early by the first few boats on the banks on black-purple Marauders.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing said Cabo weather was mostly in the high-80s, with lows in the mid-60s on some nights. Sea conditions were generally calm, with 1 to 4-foot seas, and water temperatures averaging 80 to 83 degrees, out to about 30 miles from the arch. Bait supplies of caballito, mackerel, and sardina were good.
Landrum said billfish were sluggish, and dorado were providing the best action last week: "Many of the fish are in the 20 to 30-pound class, perfect for filleting, but there have been larger fish caught as well.
"As is normal for dorado, finding the first fish is the key to getting the school. Most of the fish have first been spotted under working frigate birds on the Pacific side, fairly near the beach. Bright colored lures from 6 to 8 inches have attracted the first fish, and live bait has gotten the larger ones. Most boats focusing on dorado have been able to get the 2 fish per person limit for their clients, then releasing the rest."
On wahoo, Landrum said, "The wahoo bite this week did not occur very far out. A lot of fish were caught off Gray Rock and Cabo Falso. Almost any point held a fish or two, and most of them were in the 40-pound class."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said inshore water at San Jose del Cabo was stirred up and greenish due to a spell of swells, but that conditions were returning to normal by the weekend, with water temperatures averaging 78 to 82 degrees. Persistent northeasterly winds coming down from East Cape kept pangas fishing close to shore on some days.
"The inshore waters from Palmilla to Cabo San Lucas provided shelter from the north winds, and this is where the majority of the fleet was going," Brictson said. "On the days when the wind laid down, there was also some great wahoo action around the Gordo Banks and further into the Sea of Cortez."
Brictson said wahoo averaging 30 to 40 pounds were active in all directions and the fish were striking trolled lures as well as live baits. "This was the first week where the wahoo really started to hit the rigged live baits with consistency," Brictson said. "Gray Rock or Whale's Head, was one of the best places to troll with live skipjack and hook into a sizable wahoo. Many fish to over 60 pounds were caught from this area recently. Anglers should realize that when you do land one nice wahoo, that makes for a successful morning. Anything after that is a bonus.
"Some pangas had as many as 8 wahoo in a few hours of fishing time. That's some fast action, particularly when you know they had other strikes that they did not connect on."
Good supplies of sardinas were available from the cast net pangas at Punta Palmilla and Santa Maria, and there was an abundance of small black skipjack baits also available, Brictson said, but, "of course chihuil were not easy to come by, due to winds creating a fast drift on the Gordo Banks." Some pangas found good action for smaller yellowfin tuna, in the 10 to 20-pound class, with live sardinas as the preferred bait. Light line was the key, Brictson said, with plenty of chum and a little luck to stay away from all of the skipjack and needlefish. At times some anglers had more success using dead sardinas and having them slowly drift down in the same chum line, he said. Some boats were landing as many as 12 tuna, although others had only one or two.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chris Moyers of East Cape Smoke House said 164 boats chartered from combined fleets including the Van Wormer resorts of Palmas de Cortez, Playa del Sol, and Punta Colorada, had a combined catch including released fish of: 3 blue marlin, 12 striped marlin, 1 black marlin, 21 sailfish, 386 dorado, 310 yellowfin tuna, 1 pargo, 1 wahoo, and 7 roosterfish.
East Cape weather was in the high-80s, with occasional stiff afternoon winds from the north, and water temperatures of 78 to 84 degrees.
Yellowfin tuna were coming mainly from southern areas or straight out from Los Barriles, from about 25 to about 40 miles out. Sizes ranged from footballs up to about 150 pounds, and most fish were being caught on sardinas and lures.
Dorado were caught mostly to the north, off the buoys at Punta Pescadero, and up the line off El Cardonal, Punta Perico, and around Isla Cerralvo. Some fish were also caught south, and most were hitting sardinas.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Tami Moyeous of Rancho Buena Vista reported on 9 boats chartered, with a combined catch including released fish of: 2 striped marlin, 3 blue marlin, 4 sailfish, 28 dorado, and 16 yellowfin tuna.
Earlier, 25 boats chartered had a combined catch including released fish of: 7 striped marlin, 5 blue marlin, 3 sailfish, 38 dorado, 74 yellowfin tuna, 1 wahoo, and 4 pargo.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said inshore fishing was settling down on skipjack, mixed jacks, and roosterfish, after a period of wind and mixed up water conditions. Beach action was keyed to finding sardinas close to shore, and looking for jacks and roosterfish near them. Some quality roosterfish were found at the lighthouse, and good numbers of sierra were around the bait receivers at La Ribera.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Rancho Leonero, John Ireland said few boats fished, but everyone that did go out caught fish. "With the choppy conditions, many anglers concentrated on the inshore bite," Ireland said, "with lots of jacks to 30 pounds taken right from the beach. Sailfish, dorado, wahoo, and pargo all were active."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Vista Sea Sport's Mark Rayor said visiting underwater photographer Ken Knezick got some spectacular shots of the extraordinary concentrations of sea life now on the Cabo Pulmo coral reefs. "I have never seen anybody this good with a camera," Rayor said. "Friggin' north wind is howling. Winter is upon us and strong north wind is making it difficult to get our dive tours off. We were able to dive today. Conditions are still excellent. At depth, water is 78 degrees with great visibility. Huge schools of bigeye jacks and clouds of reef fish."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Becky Aparicio of Mulege reported on three weeks at Martin Verdugo's Beach Resort in Los Barriles with John, Patti, and Tom Higginbothom that resulted in dorado, pargo, sailfish, and a nice 140-pound yellowfin tuna caught after a 2.5-hour fight on 60-pound line. "We used a small reel and barbless hook," Aparicio said. "Patience and muscles won."
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company reported Loreto weather in the low-90s, with plenty of winter winds from the north. "We had winds for most of the week, which can happen in November," Bolles said. "We only had two fishable days this week and they weren't very productive. Some folks had luck on yellowtail off Punta Perico and off the east side of Isla Catalan.
"We went north and east and had no luck. This is not because there are no fish, but because they're on a feeding strike due to the change in weather. Either it's the pressure change and the effect that it has on the levels of oxygen in the water, or the water temps are changing drastically. Very windy again today."
Inshore, Bolles said wind was also slowing the action: "There are large roosterfish, to 40 pounds and up, off San Basilio and Punta Mangles, but for the most part the smaller ones, 5 to 10 pounds will be more consistent. You can find the smaller roosterfish in many locations, to the north from La Ballenita, through San Bruno, San Basilio, Mercenarios, Punta Pulpito to Isla San Ildefonso, to the east off Punta Lobos, Tintorera and La Cholla, and to the south off Punta Baja."
LORETO, MEXICO: At Villas de Loreto, Wendy Wilchyski reported "no fisher persons!" at the hotel.
MULEGE, MEXICO: Fly-in angler Ron Grant returned from the Hotel Serenidad at Mulege reporting comfortable temperatures in the low to mid-80s, dropping to the high-60s at night, with water temperatures holding in the high-70s, and plenty of north wind.
"Spent three days on the water but got blown off two days due to high north winds and rough water," Grant said. "No yellowtail as yet. Still dorado in the area. The location of choice would be on a heading of 65 degrees from the lighthouse, 12 to 14 miles out, which puts you 4 to 6 miles off Punta Conception on the deep ridge.
"Best to pick up a squid or two. The water is alive with them. Cut them up for chum, shut the boat down, and drift, throwing out chum and flylining chunk bait. Should get your limit in short time. Pulling feathers doesn't seem to produce as many fish. Good crowd over the holiday weekend, but slow before and after."
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Marv Sherrill, the Dana Hills High School biology teacher who has for many years taken groups of students and parents to camp and do research at a remote beach at Bahia de las Animas in a spring ritual mythically (and incorrectly) known by local pangueros as "the naked girls of Las Animas," is once again selling his annual fund raising color wall calendar, this year titled "Solitude." Sherrill can be reached at email@example.com.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Catalina Meders of San Felipe's Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said last week had 4 straight days of very strong winds, but things were calming down over the weekend. San Felipe weather was cool in the evenings, with white caps in the bay. Early Saturday morning, a pod of at least 50 dolphins came into the center of the bay and remained for about half an hour, but was seen by few. Last week's Snow Bird Weekend was a big success, Meders said, with free food, beer on the malecon, flamenco dancing, and lots of "welcome back" prizes for returning winter residents from the north. "Then the young ones came out and did a Hawaiian spectacular. The children were adorable and enthusiastic, if not exactly Rockette-like as far as coordination, and as always, all the costumes were hand-made and very colorful and charming."
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said it was "another week of very good sailfish action, along with a fair mix of dorado" for Aries Fleet boats out of Marina el Cid last week. Fleet boats had a catch including released fish of: 51 sailfish, 1 blue marlin, 39 dorado, 36 jack crevalle, 6 roosterfish, 6 permit, 12 snapper, and 15 triggerfish. Mazatlan weather was clear in the 80s, with calm seas and water temperatures in the low-80s.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Guide Ed Kunze said the fishing has been "decent" for 20 to 25-pound dorado in the weed lines left over from the last two storms. Sailfish and yellowfin tuna action was slow, and most boats were averaging about 4 dorado and 1 sailfish per day. Roosterfish action was red hot, with about four 25 to 40-pound fish per day being average, Kunze said. Zihuatanejo weather was mostly calm, in the low-90s, with water temperatures of 72 to 79 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips reported on the results of the recent fourth annual Fintastic Total Tag & Release Tournament, with 6 teams fishing for 3 days, and collecting tackle prizes and cash awards to $600. "Due to recent rains, the blue water was out past 35 miles, but fish were caught. Winning boat was Whisky II for the third year in a row, and second was the Marlin Azul, for the third year in a row also. The Bacalao II placed third.
"This tournament is for the captains and crews. They want a shot at the Rolex/IGFA, the main prize for them. Ken Ellis and Roland Ramirez finally succeeded and the first thing they did was invite their captain, Jose Luis 'Pepino' Servin to the Rolex/IGFA as a team member, all expenses paid."