EAST CAPE, MEXICO: An excellent winter dorado bite surfaced at East Cape last week, with limits on fish to over 50 pounds caught off La Ribera to the south and Punta Pescadero to the north. Marisol Verdugo of Verdugo's Beach Resort said that although few people went fishing, those that did caught "a lot of dorado" plus some striped marlin. "Seems like the dorado are biting pretty good now," Verdugo said, "and hopefully it will be like that through the winter!"
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Rancho Leonero, John Ireland said only about five fleet boats a day were fishing, but the dorado bite was "wide open, with real quality fish of 20 to 60 pounds taking mackerel." Ireland said the dorado were being found in schools, mixed with 20 to 35-pound yellowfin tuna, and the best areas were four miles off La Ribera and about 5 miles off Punta Pescadero. All anglers were scoring limits at the end of the week, Ireland said, after an earlier period of wind. East Cape weather was clear and mild over the weekend, with water temperatures averaging 74 degrees. Early winter sierra were also plentiful, Ireland said, and anglers were catching as many as they wanted.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Early in the week, Don Anderson reported on a trip that yielded "all the dorado you could want, all day," with most fish over 25 pounds, three over 50 pounds, and a trip-topper of 57 pounds, caught with a needlefish in its mouth. Anderson also reported excellent numbers of 15 to 25-pound yellowfin tuna under porpoise, and one marlin released. East Cape weather early in the week was windy but fishable, although only a few boats per day were going out.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said inshore activity was good from Rancho Buena Vista to Hotel Palmas de Cortez. "We spotted two or three big roosters, plus smaller ones chasing mullet yesterday," Graham said. "The hotels are very slow, not many boats out. The few that were out had lots of dorado flags and some tuna flags flying." On the beaches, Graham reported a few jacks, pargo, and Mexican lookdowns, and water temperatures of about 79 degrees. Offshore billfish action was decent, but was too slow for fly rods. Graham also said there were local reports of a massive pargo bite somewhere below Los Frailes that was being pounded by the commercial pangas.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: John Peelman of Fresno fished out of Buena Vista with his family over Thanksgiving week and landed 17 yellowfin tuna to 40 pounds the first day, after losing a striped marlin and blue marlin, and his son caught a 50-pound dorado on the second day. "It was a great fish that took every bit of 30 minutes to land," Peelman said. "It was 66 inches long and had a girth of 32 inches." On the third day, Peelman's boat ran into a dorado frenzy, "hooking several fish in a short time, until we ran out of live bait. We ended up landing 10 beautiful fish and loosing about 8."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Vista Sea Sport, Mark Rayor said, "So far, this has been the mildest fall and winter in years. This is the way I remember it when we moved here." Rayor relayed a Cabo Pulmo report from Alon Altman, who called conditions "fantastic," with 85-foot visibility and 77-degree surface water temperatures.
"Drifting effortlessly above the outer reef, we found ourselves just passing through school after school of massive fishes," Altman reported. "Between the cracks we found eels, lobsters, stonefish, stingrays, and a baby octopus. We spent our surface interval watching the mobula doing belly flops in midair around the boat. Our grand finale was hovering above a magic carpet of thousands of mobula and cownose rays. It was truly a mesmerizing sight."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Pepe Murrieta of Pepe's Dive Service said bottom water temperatures were holding at 72 degrees, with dead calm conditions and lots of jumping mantas and pelagics coming in over the reef. "Lots of schools of fish, and the coral heads look very healthy and bright," Murrieta said.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sammy Susarrey of Lily Fleet reported a slow trip to Punta Santo Tomas at the end of the week, with no live bait, calm but green water, and only a few fish caught. Susarrey said plastics in bright colors got more action than frozen squid. Earlier in the week, Susarrey fished on a private boat out of Marina Coral that caught halibut at Maximino Reef and good-sized sheephead and lots of lingcod at Punta Santo Tomas, using medium live sardines. The fish were about 120 feet deep, and limits were caught by noon, Susarrey said.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino said Vonny's Fleet pangas were still finding great bottom action on plastics around the tip of Punta Banda, in partly-cloudy weather in the mid-60s, and water temperatures in the 60s. "There were very few anglers this week," Villarino said, "but they had great catches on plastics and anchovies, with lots of lingcod, sheephead, and rockcod, also a nice, 12-pound live squid caught on shore after putting the boat in the water."
PUERTO SANTO TOMAS, MEXICO: Sam Saenz of Puerto Santo Tomas Resort said there were few visitors due to high surf and recent rains, but the weather was beautiful at the end of the week, except for still-turbulent ocean conditions.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Jim Harer of the Old Mill Hotel said, "Those that weren't in San Quintin this week missed out." Local conditions were good, with calm seas and excellent fishing, Harer said, including limits on lingcod, red rockfish, whitefish, and bass "jumping into the boat."
The biggest white seabass of the week was a 62 pounder, and there was also a 20-pound sheephead caught. Harer said the brant hunting season has begun, but early results were hampered by unfavorable tides.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Tony Marquez of Don Eddie's Landing said the hotel's Thanksgiving Tournament ended had 15 anglers, despite the threatening weather on the first day. "We started out with everybody in rain gear, and turned out with everybody in shorts and tee shirts," Marquez said. On the second day, "The sun was out all day, the sea was calm, and bait was caught in front of Don Eddie's."
Marquez said rockcod were strong at the 240 Spot, there were lots of barracudas off the north side of Isla San Martin, Ben's Rock was very slow, and the 15 Spot produced lots of lingcod.
First place in the tournament went to Vicente Delgado of Vista, CA, who won with a 17.7-pound lingcod and took home $325 and the First Place trophy.
Second place went to Perfecto Luna of Carlsbad CA, with a 11.4-pound yellowtail, who won $162. Both First and Second Place were won on the same boat skippered by Jaime Garcia, who also took two trophies home.
Third Place went to Art Close from Long Beach, CA, with a 9.8-pound lingcod, that won $97 and the Third Place trophy. Top local guide, Bear, was the captain of Art's private boat and also took home a trophy. "Although the turnout was small, we all had a good time," Marquez said. Next year's tournament dates have already been set: Easter, April 18-19; Fourth of July, July 4-5; Labor Day, Aug. 30-31; and Thanksgiving, Nov. 28-29.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Frequent visiting anglers, Joe and Bev Martin said they were headed down to Don Eddie's for four days of fishing with Bear and their old friend Jaime Garcia.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly called in a satellite phone report Saturday from a position south of the Thetis Bank. "We're on our second day of the final Marlin 101 trip of the season," Graham said. "The weather is beautiful, seas flat, and there's little wind to speak of. We ran all day yesterday. We saw a great deal of sea life. The annual whale migration has begun in earnest. We had lots of dorado and raised one marlin. We are currently heading for the Thetis Bank and tomorrow will be our first full day of fishing."
Inside Bahia Magdalena, Graham said few boats were fishing, although pompano, corvina, and grouper were being caught at Devil's Curve to the north. Graham's first mangrove trip of the year was scheduled for Jan. 3-7.
San Carlos weather was in the mid-70s with local water temperatures of 72 to 79 degrees. Corvina action was "consistent throughout the bay," according to Graham, and halibut to about 10 pounds were holding on the barrier island beaches straight across the main channel from San Carlos.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Except for consistent action on school-sized dorado, fishing was generally slower at the tip of Baja California last week, as water temperatures dipped to about 78 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 66 boats chartered during the week, with a combined catch including released fish of: 30 striped marlin, 199 dorado, and 8 wahoo.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Pisces Fleet, Tracy Ehrenberg said, "On certain days, boats saw up to 20 marlin, but getting them to eat was a different issue. Our marlin catch success rate was quite low at 48 percent. However, the catch rate for all species combined was 91 percent, so small game did take up the slack for most people." Ehrenberg said more than 200 dorado were caught by Pisces Fleet boats, and, "dorado was king this week. No tuna for us, even though on some days boats ranged as far as 30 miles." Wahoo were also caught daily, Ehrenberg said, but inshore pangas were finding generally slow action, mostly on sierra.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At midweek, Picante Fleet reported on 5 boats chartered, with a catch including released fish of: 3 striped marlin, 1 blue marlin, 10 dorado, 2 wahoo, and 5 yellowfin tuna. The best fishing action was on the Pacific side.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Other combined reports of about 255 fleet and private boats showed a catch including released fish of about: 95 striped marlin, 144 dorado, 13 yellowfin tuna, and 6 wahoo.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing said morning lows at Cabo San Lucas were in the low 60s, and water over 80 degrees was at least 35 miles out from the arch. "The fishing has been just average. Within a 15-mile radius of Cabo, it is an even 78 degrees," Landrum said. "Not too surprisingly, with the lowering surface temperatures the number of blue marlin being found has dropped considerably. The main billfish for the week was striped marlin, a situation likely to continue until next summer.
"Most of the fish were being found on the Pacific side, with about half coming from south of the Jaime Banks and the other half coming out of the area between the lighthouse and Los Arcos, out between 3 and 10 miles. Very few yellowfin were caught this week."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Earlier, Merle Erickson reported on four days of good action on dorado and some striped marlin with Pisces Fleet boats. "Doug Hanna and I fished mostly on the Tracy Ann," Erickson reported. "Grand total for the trip was 6 striped marlin (all released), 35 dorado (many released) and 1 yellowfin tuna. Overall, great fishing for quantity with some quality. There weren't many anglers in town at the end of our trip." On his third day of fishing, Erickson said his boat landed 12 good sized dorado, with many released, before 8:45 a.m., while fishing about 2 miles offshore and 15 miles north of Cabo.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Darrel Smith of Redondo Beach also reported on an earlier trip, fishing on the Mucho Loco II with Raphael's Fleet: "We got an early start in hopes for 'hoo. We dropped in hundreds of dollars worth of the best wahoo jigs money can buy. In minutes we had a hook up. Damned if it wasn't a big dodo that took a black and purple marauder (the big one). We tried to hunt down the wahoo all day to no avail. We did however land 17 dorado up to 40 pounds. My buddy Steve Lawrence caught and released a fairly rare white marlin that went about 50 pounds! Did speak with a gringo that was a real landlubber. He and his two small boys landed two wahoo about 5 feet in length. He asked me if they were good to eat! I asked him if he knew where they had hooked up, and his reply was, 'Oh, just out there about 30 minutes from the harbor.'"
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said the biggest fish of the week was a 450-pound blue marlin caught by Gene Minikel of Redway, CA aboard the El Loco II with Capt. Julian. Edwards reported Gaviota Fleet with a combined catch including released fish of: 16 striped marlin, 2 wahoo, and 84 dorado.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported water temperatures of 76 to 78 degrees and scattered action on a variety of species including sierra, pargo, skipjack, dorado, triggerfish, needlefish, and cabrilla. "There was no particular hot spot, though there was good variety available," Brictson said. Offshore, dorado were also caught throughout the area, and the top inshore quarry were sierra of 2 to 5 pounds. Only limited catches of yellowfin tuna were made, mostly on footballs. "The big problem was dealing with all the needlefish found in all directions," Brictson said. "Hard to get through them to catch the other fish."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International said wind alternated with good weather last week, and the fish were biting throughout. "Clearly, we're in transition, although the fish don't seem to know it," Roldan said. "There were a few days of seasonal winds, more characteristic of this time of year, but on other days, it was flat calm. Either way, the fish continued to bite. There was still good variety with most of the fishing focused on the Las Arenas side. A few medium grade tuna were picked up southeast of Isla Cerralvo, from the tuna hole that has kicked out so many good fish lately. Additionally, we still had a few wahoo biters although only one fish made it into the pangas, and two sailfish were also hooked and released."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: David Jones of Fishermen's Fleet said dorado to about 35 pounds were still coming off the buoys in front of Los Muertos, and pargo lisa and cabrilla were starting to show at Punta Perico. There was also a flurry of wahoo to 70 pounds at Isla Cerralvo, Jones said.
LORETO, MEXICO: Resident angler Don Bear said local guide Paulino Martinez took two anglers to Isla Coronado last week and they caught 28 yellowtail to about 13 pounds, trolling live sardina that they had netted at the marina. They used long leaders and 6-ounce torpedo sinkers to locate the deep yellowtail, Bear said, and the weather has been "windy."
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company said afternoon highs have been in the high-80s, and "the winds blew us off the water until Friday. Boats have been going to Isla Coronado since. There are a lot of yellowtail in the 10 to 15-pound range off Isla Coronado. They're taking bait at the surface, then diving well below and eating again deep down. There are also yellowtail off La Cholla on Isla Carmen in the same size range."
Bolles added that there are sierra, pargo, and barracuda around Punta Coyote, and some roosterfish were found off Punta Baja and areas south, and also off San Nicolas and San Bruno to the north, Isla Coronado, and out on Isla Carmen. "They're still pretty much all over the place," she said. Two dorado were also reported caught from the beach, one estimated at 35 pounds, just north of the Hotel La Pinta.
MULEGE, MEXICO: Part-time resident Jim Mori said last week's rains turned the San Lucas Cove parking lot into a temporary lake, but that bait was becoming locally available and yellowtail were taking fly-lined mackerel on the surface at the north end of Isla San Marcos.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Tony Reyes of Tony Reyes Fishing Tours announced a San Felipe panga mothership fishing tournament next year sponsored by all four local boats that will be free to all passengers fishing on the Capt. Villegas, Celia Angelina, Erik, and Jose Andres, any time from April 30, 2003 to Sept. 30, 2003. In addition to tackle prizes and trophies, cash prizes for the season's largest yellowtail and cabrilla were announced at $2,000, $1,000, $750, and $500 for the top four fish in each category, plus cash prizes for winning captains and guides.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Catalina Meders of San Felipe's Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said last week's weather was relatively "brisk" in the low-80s, and locals were seen wearing jackets: "My big excitement this week was that Gene Kira was able to come to my bookstore and give a really fascinating talk with slides. Quite a few people showed up, and it was amazingly informative (as well as pretty funny...Gene's an entertaining speaker). Not many of us realized how MANY fish used to live and breed in the Sea of Cortez."
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported Aries Fleet boats had a combined catch including released fish of: 63 sailfish, 1 blue marlin, 1 striped marlin, 65 dorado, 72 roosterfish, 79 red snapper, 22 jack crevalle, 6 corvina, 2 bonito, and 34 triggerfish. Mazatlan weather was sunny and clear, in the low-80s, with water temperatures of 80 to 82 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky of Ixtapa Sportfishing Tours said fly angler Buddy Wright landed 2 sailfish in a day fishing offshore, and in 3 days inshore panga fishing on the Dos Hermanos and Leydy, caught 41 yellowtail jacks and 12 roosterfish.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the Fintastic Total Tag & Release Tournament said boats were targeting sailfish 8 to 10 miles out of Zihuatanejo Bay and were averaging about 3 per day, plus "a dorado or two for dinner."
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Local guide Ed Kunze fished with Baja On The Fly clients Clarke Knauss and Ron Sanders of Reno, NV. "Eighty-two-degree water remains only about a mile off the beach," Kunze said. "We fished with Capt. Margarito on the Gaby for 2 days. On the second day, we raised 3 sailfish and got one to come to the boat. The sail ate a pink-and-white fly, with the fight lasting 20 minutes on Clark's 13WT outfit. The water temperature is cooling down a little, and this should bring in the big tuna and blue marlin."