CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: An improving striped marlin bite paced the action at the tip of Baja last week, with some boats scoring multiple releases in good weather and sea conditions and water temperatures averaging about 72 degrees. Solmar Fleet reported 85 boats chartered during the week with a catch including released fish of: 42 striped marlin, 1 blue marlin, 45 dorado, 38 yellowfin tuna, 20 bonita, and 33 sierra.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic had 34 boats chartered with a catch including released fish of: 42 striped marlin, 6 yellowfin tuna, 46 dorado, and 2 wahoo.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Picante Fleet, 5 boats chartered Thursday had a catch including released fish of: 4 striped marlin, 10 dorado, 28 yellowfin tuna, and 1 wahoo.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet said, "Striped marlin was the most widely caught fish this week. Not every single boat had a striped marlin, but many had two or three, as well as dorado and tuna."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Pisces Fleet's top marlin boat for the week was the Karina, with a 7-release day for Stuart Jacobson of Menlo Park and Erik Vaaler of Redwood City. Two other fleet boats, the Tracy Ann and Rebecca, had triple release days. Overall, 56 percent of Pisces boats caught marlin during the week, and 80 percent scored on all species combined.
Ehrenberg said, "After marlin, dorado was our most widely caught species. Yellowfin tuna catches were on the slow side. We had one nice 90-pound wahoo. For the first time in quite a while, we had several sharks. The most impressive was a 200-pound thresher, which was released aboard Adriana by Dean Donaldson of San Francisco. We had a couple of other smaller threshers, as well as a 60-pound hammerhead, also released." Pisces boats reported water temperatures of 69 to 70 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Gaviota Fleet had a catch including released fish of: 18 striped marlin, 1 mako shark, 1 wahoo, 3 yellowfin tuna, and 14 dorado. Edwards said that although Gaviota Fleet averaged about 1 marlin per boat day fished, "the boats are still lacking anglers and the overall numbers of fishing days are down considerably from a year ago."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Fly Hooker Sportfishing, Capt. George Landrum said Cabo weather ranged into the low-90s, and the seas were basically calm during the week with water temperatures of 73 to as high as 76 degrees.
Landrum said a few blue marlin continue to be caught together with the stripers: "There were several hot spots, but there were fish scattered all over. On the San Jaime banks the marlin were deep for the most part and boats soaking live bait at 100 to 150 feet deep were getting bit on a regular basis. There were a few blues caught in the area of the Jaime.
"The area from 5 to 8 miles off the Arch to the lighthouse on the Pacific side produced a lot of fish and these were mostly tailing fish that bait could be cast to.
"As the week wore on, the bite got better. I would guess that most boats had at least three or four shots a day, and many boats were releasing that many. Unfortunately, a lot of fish were killed as well. It is heartbreaking to see marlin after marlin come in on the transom of some of these so-called 'sport fishing' boats, and the same boats time after time."
Landrum said the yellowfin tuna caught were mostly in the 25 to 45-pound range, but one 270 pounder was also landed. Dorado were in the 30 to 50-pound class. Inshore, sierra, bonita, and skipjack were available, as well as smaller roosterfish on the Cortez side. Bottom fishing was reported as only fair.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet said his pangas fishing the tip of Punta Banda have been catching the usual rockcod, lingcod, and bass, plus a few sheephead. "No more yellowtail this week," Villarino said, "but they have been sighted by Beto and some of the local fishermen." Ensenada weather was mostly clear in the high-60s, with water temperatures averaging 61 degrees.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: At Lily Fleet, Sammy Susarrey said his boats fished a couple of days at Punta Banda Bank with good results on bottom fish. Lily Fleet also did well on bottom fish at Maximino Reef, loading up with early limits of red snappers on a rock about 290 feet deep. The Lily also fished at University Point for sandbass, and at Todos Santos Reef for lingcod, Susarrey said. Water temperatures averaged about 59.5 degrees, and nice sardines were available for bait.
ERENDIRA, MEXICO: Mike Steele reported on a good run down Mex 1 to fish the pangas at Castro's Camp, south of Ensenada:
"We rented a clean cabin for 4, with a refrigerator, stove, and restroom for $35 a night. The remaining members of our party rented the cabin that sleeps 9 for $45.
We confirmed 3 boats for the next day. There is no problem fishing 4 to a panga as long as you have the larger ones.
"We launched at about 7 a.m. You get into your panga, and are towed down a tight ramp with a tractor that beach launches you off a sometimes rocky shore.
"The area was full of birds, macks, bait, etc., and we ended up fishing about 7.5 miles offshore.
"Full moon, and all 3 boats did very well. We fished about 200 feet of water for a variety of reds, whitefish, lings, sheepshead, treefish, sculpin, and one yellowtail off the bottom. White Scampi, 2-ounce leadhead with a whole squid was the ticket.
"Excellent conditions on the water. Back to the ramp at fourish. On the road by 5:30. Made good time to the border, about 3.5 hours. One inspection in Maneadero with no issues. Good trip for January!"
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas had 20 boats chartered during the week and the weather was excellent except for a couple of slightly windy days. "More fishermen have been coming down," Hillis said. "The fishing is still good, mostly yellowtail and lingcod at the 15 Spot, and large rockcod and lingcod at the 240 Spot. Fish were brought in on jigs and live bait. Hillis said his winter special package trips deals have proven popular.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said "almost a sure thing" corvina action topped the fish list last week. "There are some quality fish around, a few reaching 10 pounds," he said. Snappers and grouper were also found to the north at Devil's Curve. Graham reported San Carlos weather in the high-70s and water temperatures of 67 to 73 degrees. "Snook seemed to have lockjaw this week," Graham added, and sierra were slower as well.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported "swells practically nonexistent" last week, with water temperatures of 72 to 75 degrees and decent water conditions. "Although deep blue water was hard to find," Brictson said, "the clearness was not bad at all." Plentiful supplies of mackerel, caballito, and sardina bait were available, and Brictson said the dorado fishing picked up a couple of notches over the weekend: "The numbers improved, especially off San Jose and around the Gordo Banks. Pangas were averaging 2 to 4 dorado per morning, with the sizes ranging to 25 pounds. Many dorado were hooked by anglers that were chunk fishing for tuna on the Inner Gordo Bank."
Scattered football yellowfin tuna were caught 10 to 20 miles out, plus a handful of larger fish to over 100 pounds, Brictson said: "The best bet for hooking into one of these tuna was chunk bait fishing, though on some days they decided to strike on sardinas."
Other action included a mix of shallow water bottom species such as cabrilla, pargo, and triggerfish. Only a few amberjack were caught.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Decent fishing for dorado and yellowfin tuna was available for boats taking advantage of some low wind days last week. Tami Moyeous of Rancho Buena Vista said, "Only 5 boats went out, but the results were excellent. Eight dorado and 22 tuna caught. Weather is pretty nice with reasonably warm days, but the wind keeps kicking up."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: On Saturday, Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said, "Nice weather prevailed from Wednesday through today. With the good weather, everyone pounded the tuna from 35 to 70 pounds. Dorado to 25 pounds rounded out the catches made by the few boats venturing outside. The tuna and dorado were only 17 miles from the hotels. Back inshore, the sierra were still chewing anything hitting the water."
Graham reported East Cape weather in the mid-80s, with water temperatures of 69 to 73 degrees. Beach fishing conditions were poor, but inshore, "sierra are everywhere and even if the wind blows you can tuck in close to the slide and find them."
Graham said he'll be leading two groups to Zihuatanejo in February to pound the blue water sailfish, dorado, and roosterfish with guide Ed Kunze, who did a guest appearance with Baja On The Fly at East Cape this past season.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Rancho Leonero, John Ireland said, "A few boats went out during the calm days, with limits of sierra inshore, and some nice dorado from 15 to 30 pounds about 5 to 10 miles straight out. There were reports of yellowfin tuna north, from Punta Pescadero to El Cardonal. More tailing striped marlin spotted near shore, but no biters yet."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of Vista Sea Sport said water visibility at Cabo Pulmo dropped to about 20 to 30 feet, with temperatures of 71 to 73 degrees. "Well, the good news is the wind has let up this week," Rayor said. "There is still loads of sea life. We just need to get a little closer to see it."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Pepe Murrieta of Pepe's Dive Service said, "We had the strongest wind of the season yet, but we're still diving off Los Frailes. There is a lot action on the reefs. We are seeing more whales swimming and the manta rays flying off the ocean all day and night. They don't seem to care much about the wind."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International said it was slightly windier last week, but there was still action available on winter dorado, yellowfin tuna, yellowtail, and mixed species. "Earlier in the week, the chew on the dorado was pretty good with some decent limits taken not too far offshore between Punta Perrico and Las Arenas," Roldan said. "By later in the week, the boats averaged 2 to 4 dorado per day. Still, we have to remember that this is January and we've been on this crazy dorado bite since December!"
Roldan said yellowfin tuna were taken at midweek 8 to 10 miles off Punta Pescadero, and yellowtail were still around the Las Arenas lighthouse and the south end of Isla Cerralvo.
"Additionally, we're seeing more red snapper and sierra in the counts as well as cabrilla," Roldan said. La Paz weather was 80 to 85 degrees, and bait was readily available.
LORETO, MEXICO: Ty Miller of El Fuerte Sportfishing said the winds were calming down toward the end of the week. "The yellowtail are still out there in the solid 35 to 40-pound range in all of our favorite spots," Miller said. "They haven't hit the surface yet, due to the northerlies, but I wouldn't be surprised if we were throwing out the fly lines by the end of the week." Miller said caballito bait is available outside Puerto Escondido, and mackerel anywhere in midchannel between Punta Coyote and Isla Danzante.
LORETO, MEXICO: At Villas de Loreto, Wendy Wilchyski said, "The fishing is great! We had a slow period with the full moon, but we're back catching yellowtail among other things. Everyone is happy."
MULEGE, MEXICO: Fly-in angler Ron Grant returned from a 5-day trip and reported good weather to the low-80s, but slow fishing. "Lots of small yellowtail in the area, but only 3 to 6 pounders," Grant said. "Many are not really keepers. A few larger fish at the north end of San Marcos Island in the deep holes, but it's hit-or-miss for the long boat ride out of Mulege."
Grant reported few visitors in town, with only 2 planes at the Hotel Serenidad. The runway was in good condition, he said.
MULEGE, MEXICO: Earlier, resident Becky Aparicio reported, "Too windy to fish! Yellowtail running, if you're brave enough, at the north end of San Marcos Island, south to Isla Santa Ynez."
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Mike Biedebach has a couple of openings left on his special charter trip aboard the San Felipe panga mothership Erik scheduled during the prime fishing slot of June 28 to July 3 this summer. The light load trip will hit the usual Midriff Islands hot spots, and includes a pre-trip barbecue and "unlimited beer and soda included," Biedebach said. "We run a good trip with a nice bunch of guys who all get along great. I'd be looking for similar mellow types to go on the trip. My dad did this trip for over 30 years, and I've gone on about 10 trips." Biedebach's phone number: 8056443074.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Dennis Spike of Coastal Kayak Fishing hasn't decided yet, but he's been talking to Bob Castellon of the panga mothership Celia Angelina about doing a couple of super special all-kayak trips this year. These trips may be scheduled for June and possibly September, Spike said.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At San Felipe's Title Company Bookstore overlooking the Bay, Catalina Meders reported cloudy and cool weather last week, not too many visitors in town, and an amusing email from someone who had just made her first Baja trip. "She was glad she didn't come here to buy fish, because the 'fishing boats are so dirty' the fish must be polluted," Meders said. "She said, 'There were no tourists in the town. How does anyone make money? There is garbage all over the place. I couldn't believe that the soldiers on Route 5 were living in PUP TENTS! I will never return.'"
"Apparently she didn't notice the beauty of the desert and the blue, sparkling bay and the colors on the mountains and the endless sky," Meders said. "It seems she wanted a false, sanitized third world paradise where she could buy cheap shrimp and she wanted it all cleaned up and Disneylandesque. But I live here, and though I don't have any illusions about it, I can honestly say that after nine years, I love it."
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Aries Fleet boats out of Marina el Cid were averaging better than a billfish per day, about 14 miles out. Inshore and bottom fishing were also good. Aries Fleet reported a catch including released fish of: 15 sailfish, 23 striped marlin, 34 dorado, 5 mako shark, 44 red snapper, 3 pargo, and 80 triggerfish. Mazatlan weather was near perfect in the mid-80s, with calm seas and water temperatures holding at about 75 degrees, Edwards said.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Local guide Ed Kunze said the winter bite reached the "incredible" stage last week. Tuna, dorado, roosterfish, marlin, and especially sailfish were all being caught.
"Several boats have been averaging between 5 and 7 sailfish a day, plus another 3 or 4 dorado in the 20 to 25-pound class," Kunze said. "We had a lot of boats with double-digit sailfish. In the 5 years I have lived here, I have only seen the fishing like this a couple of times before."
Kunze said fly anglers have been enjoying a bonanza of opportunities. P.J. Cunningham of Idaho, fished 2 days, had 12 shots, and hooked 6, plus dorado.
Kunze said on the first day of this year's inaugural International Billfish Tournament, with 129 boats signed up, a 735-pound black marlin was caught. Also, Paul Phillips was fighting a dorado on Capt. Santiago's panga Gitana when a 160-pound yellowfin tuna took a cut bait dead in the water, 7 miles off the beach, Kunze said. Zihuatanejo weather was in the high-80s with water temperatures of about 82 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky of Ixtapa Sportfishing Charters said New York angler Doc Jarrow reported 44 sailfish and 5 dorado caught in 5 days of fishing. French angler Alain Cavard, fishing aboard the Janeth, landed 9 sailfish and 3 dorado in 2 days. Lushinsky said, "We are definitely in the middle of our winter run of sailfish."