ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet reported an excellent four-day surface bite of yellowtail from 18 to 28 pounds at Punta Banda last week, in localized areas of warm water with temperatures as high as 64 degrees.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Pat and Gary Griffin of San Diego limited on yellowtail, Villarino said, and other pangas caught yellowtail and limits of rockcod and lingcod to 12 pounds. Chuck Ferrero and Scott Ponciano of Van Nuys also caught 7 yellowtail of 18 to 28 pounds. All of the yellowtail were caught on the surface with lightweight aluminum jigs, Villarino said, and the bite was over by Sunday. Ensenada weather was cool in the mornings, but sunny to about 75 degrees in the afternoons, with good sea conditions. Water temperatures at other locations around Punta Banda averaged about 58 degrees.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sammy Susarrey of Lily Fleet reported on two days of good bottom fishing at the Punta Banda Bank, with limits by 10 a.m. in about 325 feet of water on cowcod, lingcod, and red rockfish. Most fish were caught on live bait, Susarrey said.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Jim Harer of the Old Mill Hotel said the weather was gorgeous, sea conditions were excellent, water temperatures were as high as 68 degrees, and a hot yellowtail bite was going on at the 6 Spot, the 15 Spot, and Ben's Rock last week but hardly anybody went fishing.
"The hotel's been full since Christmas," Harer said, "but not with fishermen. The weather was fantastic. It's chilly at night, but you can't keep a jacket on during the day."
Only about 6 boats went out last week, but Harer said Kelly Catian of El Capitan Sportfishing reported wide open bottom fishing, yellowtail on the surface at Ben's Rock, and yellowtail on jigs at the other locations. San Martin Island was good on bottom fish, but slow on yellows. Harer said there are still questions about the supply of hunting permits, and some visitors were thought to be hunting without them. "I don't know what's going on," he said. "I don't know if anybody is checking permits, as far as any regulatory body goes."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Earlier, Joe Martin reported on a good trip to San Quintin with his wife Beverly, fishing with local guide, Bear: "Cold mornings and nights. Beautiful days down to tee-shirts. Lots of brant and gorgeous sunrises, with the birds taking wing. We had a low-key relaxing trip with our good friend, Bear, in his super panga the Fanny 2. The outstanding catch was giant whitefish, 12 to 15 pounds, the size of small yellowtail. We caught a lot of nice size lings, reds, and a 7.5-pound barracuda. A group in one of Don Eddie's boats caught 5 yellowtail and 2 bonito, all on the yo-yo. They said they were so tired of yo-yoing they could hardly hold a fork at dinner. Bear treated us to fresh on-the-boat sashimi made with lingcod. I don't care for raw fish normally, but this stuff was fantastic! We all just chowed!"
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Enrique Achoy of Malarrimo Ecotours said the gray whales have arrived at Scammon's Lagoon and the whale watching tours are running. "We saw the first baby yesterday," Achoy said. "People can see 10 to 15 whales per tour. We hope with the big tides, many other whales will come into the lagoon."
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly was arriving at San Carlos for his first mangrove trip of the season: "We arrived Friday afternoon and it seemed like half the town was painting, cleaning, and putting on the finishing touches to get ready for the much anticipated arrival of the gray whales in the bay. There have already been a few reported and everyone is hoping for a long and prosperous season.
"Offshore, a few dorado, wahoo and tuna are to be had for the hardcore. There were even a few marlin spotted traveling through the area."
Graham said the mangroves are producing corvina, palometa, grouper, lots of small halibut, and a few snook to about 10 pounds up near Devil's Curve. San Carlos weather was "picture perfect" in the high-70s, with water temperatures of 67 to 69 degrees, and sierra were working under birds in the main bay.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: The post-holiday crowds returned to the tip of Baja California last week and were greeted by a rebound in striped marlin action, as some boats reported multiple-release days.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 95 boats chartered during the week with a catch including released fish of: 46 striped marlin, 172 dorado, 56 yellowfin tuna, 6 wahoo, 14 skipjack, 10 sierra, and 3 mako shark to 180 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Picante Fleet reported on 6 boats fishing at the Golden Gate Bank and 95 Spot at midweek with a catch including released fish of: 10 striped marlin, 14 dorado, 3 yellowfin tuna, and 1 wahoo.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Solmar Fleet reported a catch including released fish of: 58 striped marlin, 78 dorado, 43 yellowfin tuna, 64 sierra, and 4 wahoo.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Pisces Fleet, Tracy Ehrenberg said, "The striped marlin have at last started to show up in good numbers. We had plenty of feeding frenzies at the Golden Gate. We are finally seeing the results we are used to for this time of year."
Pisces Fleet's top boat for the week, the Valerie, had a six-release day for Thomas and Tommy Devlin, and followed up the next day with five releases plus a dorado. Two other boats had four-release days. Overall, 67 percent of Pisces Fleet boats caught marlin, Ehrenberg said, and 92 percent scored on all species combined. All fishing was on the Pacific side between the arch and the Golden Gate Bank, using live bait on the surface or dropped deep with sinkers.
Other notable Pisces Fleet catches for the week included yellowfin tuna of 210 and 260 pounds, a steady bite of 20 to 30-pound dorado, and one 44-pound wahoo.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Gaviota Fleet had a catch including released fish of: 42 striped marlin, 3 wahoo, 5 yellowfin tuna, 1 skipjack, and 58 dorado. Edwards said, "With the passing of the full moon, it appeared that a serious influx of stripers had filtered down from the Mag Bay area and taken up residence at the Golden Gate Bank, feeding on the mackerel. For the first time in quite a while, the boats were returning with an average of more than a billfish per boat day."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Fly Hooker Sportfishing, Capt. George Landrum said Cabo San Lucas weather was bright and sunny at the end of the week, in the mid-80s, with water temperatures of 72 to 76 degrees and excellent sea conditions.
"We finally had a good week with the striped marlin," Landrum said. "A few were caught scattered around the cape, but the concentration was found at the Golden Gate Bank. The fish were thick enough that some of the boats that arrived early caught and released 5 or 6 fish in a trip. The place looked like a parking lot at times, with upwards of 85 boats on top of the bank, all dropping down live mackerel. Once the bait reached 150 feet, it was time to wait, and if you were in the right spot it didn't take long."
Landrum said that larger yellowfin tuna were also caught at the Golden Gate Bank by dropping live mackerel below the marlin, as deep as 350 feet, and some were also caught on the surface south of the arch. Dorado were steady for most boats, sierra were abundant inshore, and the gray whale migration was putting on a good show.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported calm seas and water temperatures of 74 to 75 degrees, as yellowfin tuna made their first significant appearance at the Gordo Banks in several months. "The Inner Bank was the place where tuna from 40 to 100 pounds were found over the weekend," Brictson said. "Pangas trolling for dorado initially noticed these larger tuna feeding on the bank, not in huge numbers, but enough where several were landed each day by the handful of pangas working the spot, and other hooked fish were lost. The yellowfin tuna were seen coming up on chummed skipjack and sardinas. Most of the reported strikes came on chunk bait, though others did hit on sardinas. This has everyone excited about the possibilities of a consistent yellowfin tuna bite returning to the Gordo Banks."
Brictson said good counts of dorado have been coming from the Gordo Bank area and from near shore waters from Palmilla to La Playita, with boats averaging 1 to 4 fish per day, plus pargo, cabrilla, triggerfish, and a declining population of sierra that is being heavily gill netted.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said the north winds continued to pound East Cape last week, as air temperatures ranged to 81 degrees, and water temperatures averaged 71 to 75 degrees. Very few boats fished, but two boats did get out and reported 5 and 6 dorado respectively, even though they were blown off the water by 10 a.m. Inshore, Graham said sierra were the main catch for boats "managing to squeeze in a few hours of fishing before the wind pushed them back to the beach."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: John Ireland of Rancho Leonero said no hotel boats fished offshore last week, but beach anglers were catching sierra, pargo, and cabrilla, and some inshore boats were catching limits of sierra, with the best action found right in front of the hotel.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Vista Sea Sport's Mark Rayor said the north winds haven't hurt Cabo Pulmo diving conditions at all, as water temperatures held at about 73 degrees, and visibility at over 50 feet. "Sea life is abundant," Rayor said. "Manta and golden cownose rays have invaded Cabo Pulmo by the thousands. We haven't had a winter this good in years."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Pepe Murrieta of Pepe's Dive Service added, "Whale watching at its best. Humpbacks and calves swimming along the coral reefs, and manta rays all over."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Expert light tackle Dutch angler Peter Langstraat reported on an extended inshore fishing trip to East Cape this fall: "In general, the fishing was great. October was dominated by ladyfish, with a few sierra, a few nice palometa pompano, and some needlefish and small jacks mixed in.
"The first week of November was not good at all when it came to quantity, but that was made up by some big jacks of 37 and 38 inches long.
"I caught the 38-inch jack from the beach with a 10-foot rod, 14-pound line, sliding sinker system, and a live mojarra for bait on a circle hook.
"The rest of my catch was done with a light 7-foot rod, 8-pound line, and 2.5 to 4.5-inch Rapala and Yozuri plugs. The color of the plug didn't seem to matter much. Because of the wind, I couldn't go out with my aluminum boat very often, so of 29 days, I fished about 22 days from the beach. You could say that 90 percent of my catch was done casting from the beach with 8-pound tackle and Rapalas or Yozuris of 2.5 to 4.5 inches.
"On one occasion, I caught what I consider the highlight of my vacation: a sierra 42.5 inches long and with a girth of 19.9 inches. It comes down to a weight of 18 pounds. That is the same as the official world record. Having asked the locals about sierra, nobody remembered having seen one that would have been close to mine.
"Other memorable fish were two needlefish of 51 and 57 inches long and a golden trevally of 23.5 inches, which was only the second one I ever caught. These fish are extremely strong, like a 20 to 25-pound jack. It took me half-an-hour to beach it."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International said north winds have been keeping boats hunkering on the Las Arenas side of the hill, but that's okay since the action there has been pretty decent.
"The fishing around Las Arenas, specifically around Punta Perrico, Muertos Bay and Las Arenas Lighthouse continue to kick out the fish for us," Roldan said. For those of you not familiar with the area, this is literally only a few hundred yards offshore or closer, and only 5 to 10 minutes from the beach where we launch the pangas.
"Some of my skippers are saying this is the best bite they can remember for a winter. Some big dorado as well as yellowtail continue to roll. Not unusual to hammer a few 15 pounders, then round it out with a 30 or 40-pound mahi, and add some feisty attitude yellowtail into the box running 10 to 12 pounds."
Roldan said three boats fishing over the weekend averaged 2 to 6 dorado each, plus 2 to 6 yellowtail, and plenty of sierra. "Earlier in the week," Roldan said, "Paul Friedman, brother of 976-Tuna's Phil Friedman, fished with us a day with his two youngsters and got 6 dorado. We'll just enjoy it while we can!"
LORETO, MEXICO: Winter winds ripped the area from Monday through Friday, but eased up for the weekend, Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company reported. "No telling how long this break will last," she said. "The air feels cold when it is windy, but if you can duck away from it you'll find that it's quite balmy during the day with highs into the 80s. The main fishing action was again at nearby Isla Coronado for easy limits on smaller yellowtail of 10 to 20 pounds, mostly feeding on the surface. "The yellowtail are easy to find as they're giving us quite a show chasing down bait," Bolles said. "There are also larger fish in the same location swimming more deeply. The bigger fish definitely want mackerel. Best bet is for you to head out early and catch your own macks as the bait guys seem to be sleeping in these days. The ideal combo would be to have some of both, macks and sardinas, as we're never exactly sure how they'll be biting on any given day.
"Expect a mixed bag of other species along with the yellowtail. Fish the reefs surrounding the island and between port and the island for sierra mackerel, cabrilla, spotted rose snapper, and flag cabrilla."
LORETO, MEXICO: Ty Miller of El Fuerte Sportfishing reported Puerto Escondido water temperatures at 75 degrees.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Abraham Vazquez of Camp Gecko at Bahia de los Angeles had good news on excellent yellowtail action: "The fishing is great. There are lots of yellowtail. Most of them are in the 16 to 25-pound range. They have been hitting jigs of all colors and shapes. Most of them have been on the iron, and the hot spot is El Bajo de Guadalupe. Believe me, it is as hot as it can get.
"There have been some yellows also at Los Machos, and some at Punta Remedios, and a few north of Smith Island. There is also a good bite on grouper.
"As usual for this time of the year the major problem is to get nice weather so you can make it out to where the fish are. We have had some nice days and some windy ones. There is endless sandbass and goldspotted bass at the local islands"
Vazquez said L.A. Bay weather has been about 74 degrees during the day and 55 degrees at night, with water temperatures of about 62 degrees outside the bay, and 63 degrees inside. The road from Mex 1 was in good to excellent condition.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At San Felipe, Catalina Meders of the Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said the weather last week was warm, but cold at night, and the crowds were thinning out after two weeks of noise and holiday celebrations: "The noise level has calmed down. At midnight on New Year's Eve, for about ten minutes, it was like standing directly inside the original 'BIG BANG' itself. The next big bash in town is Carnival, which we will start bracing ourselves for now."
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Aries Fleet boats had an offshore catch including released fish of: 19 sailfish, 21 striped marlin, 8 yellowfin tuna, 73 dorado, 13 mako shark, and 1 hammerhead shark. Five inshore pangas had a catch of 21 corvina, 36 red snapper, 3 African pompano, and 77 triggerfish. Edwards commented on the improved bite from the previous week: "What a difference a week makes! With the change of the moon phase, more anglers, and a settled water condition, the fish were being considerably more cooperative, with improvements in all areas." Mazatlan weather was in the low-80s with clear skies, calm seas, and water temperatures in the high-70s. The best fishing area was 20 to 25 miles from Marina el Cid on headings from 180 to 240 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Local guide Ed Kunze reported "slower" sailfish action at only about 2 per boat, but dorado catches up. Blue, 78-degree water was "on the beach and even inside Zihuatanejo Bay," Kunze said, and one panga, the Dos Hermanos with Capt. Adolpho had a great day on roosterfish, with catches of 45, 50, and 75 pounds. Outside, Kunze reported that Capt. Luis Maciel on the Gringo Loco fished with Don, Zack, and Adam Mcisacc of Vancouver, WA and released a sea turtle that had become caught in an abandoned longline. During the release, they also landed 5 dorado that had been attracted to the floating object, and lost a 200-pound yellowfin tuna after a 2-hour fight.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinski of Ixtapa Sportfishing Charters reported weather in the high 80s, with gentle breezes. Ralph Caswell landed 4 sailfish and 2 dorado, while fishing aboard the Yellowfin II with Capt. Chiro, and Texas angler, Steve Lamantia, landed 4 sailfish and 12 dorado in 2 days of fishing on the same boat.