LORETO, MEXICO: Some gorgeous midwinter weather and good to excellent yellowtail fishing came to town last week for local pangueros, but relatively few visitors were present to take advantage of it.
LORETO, MEXICO: Wendy Wilchynski of Villas de Loreto said, "Our fisher persons are happy catchers! Big yellowtail off Punta Pulpito, and one of them caught a 15-pound pargo too."
LORETO, MEXICO: Loreto resident Don Bear said daytime weather was reaching the low-80s on most days, and the fishing has been outstanding: "By 9 a.m. each morning at San Bruno I was peeling off outer garments. There was no wind. Seas were calm.
"It seems that all the stars were correctly aligned. The yellowtail were big and were hungry. On Tuesday we caught 10 yellows, none under 20 pounds, and a couple ran 30 and 33 pounds.
"It's incredible how hard they pull, and if you don't get them off the bottom in the first 30 seconds, it's almost a certainty they'll rock you. I lost at least 6 to the rocks.
"Our only problem was making bait. It was 8 o'clock before we had 18 to 20 mackerel in the bait tank. But it was the best day of yellowtail fishing I've had in long time. Never being more than 15 minutes between strikes.
"Wednesday we caught only 4 yellows and 2 large pintos. However, we were just 'salados.' Much of the rest of the 25 pangas seemed to be having only slightly less action than the day before. For example, Joselino Murillo from San Francisco and his fisherman caught 10 yellowtail both days.
"Dario Leon and his brother, fishing commercially with hand lines, caught 30 yellows and 2 cabrilla on Tuesday, and they had 15 yellows and 4 cabrilla on Wednesday.
"I was surprised that on both days at least two-thirds of the pangas were locals fishing for their own table. Gringo fishermen are scarce, and the town's economy is suffering. Everyone is saying they are especially slow this year. The locals are hurting."
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company said the winds are still from the north but were "more like breezes, relatively warm. They're not blowing at night, so they're not true northers."
On the yellowtail bite, Bolles said, "Smaller ones off Isla Coronado (under 20 pounds), larger ones off San Bruno (over 40 pounds). Mackerel are working best in both locations.
Closer to town, Bolles said a variety of mixed species are available around Isla Coronado including more yellowtail, roosterfish, jacks, pargo, cabrilla, sierra, and others.
A labor strike was reported at the Hotel Oasis which closed the hotel last week for at least several days.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet reported water temperatures holding at about 61 degrees and continued action on larger yellowtail in the 20 to 28-pound class around the kelp beds between the tip of Punta Banda and Isla Todos Santos. Villarino said Juan Garcia of Baldwin Park and Walter Korbler of Newport scored on limits of lingcod, rockcod, and two good yellowtail in the area, in sunny weather, with patchy fog in the morning. Winds were light and variable, with ocean swells at 2 to 3 feet. Other yellowtail in the 20 to 25-pound class were caught by guide Beto Zamora during the week, Villarino said.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sammy Susarrey of Lily Fleet said Punta Santo Tomas has been very productive on red rockfish and continued big lingcod in water temperatures averaging 60 degrees. Water conditions were blue and clean, and the sea has been mostly flat and calm, Susarrey said.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Steve and Gail Ross caught a cowcod weighed at 11.5 pounds while fishing aboard the 45-foot Marisosa with owners Mike and Linda.
"I had a bag of custom made rock cod 'ganians' and grabbed the wrong one out of my bag, but decided to go with it," Steve Ross said. "WHAM!I went bendo and began winding up the toad. I noticed that while I was cranking, the spool wasn't moving, so I hammered 'em down and began to pull and wind as opposed to just winding. It wasn't long before we all saw the deep color as white and a monster came to gaff. Yeah, gaff.
"We decked the whopper and we all gaped at it for a few seconds and weights were thrown about as high as 30 pounds. It was a huge cow cod. I haven't caught a cow cod since 1973.
"Then the day went on a roll as Mike put us on the fish and we kept reeling up nice size reds and lings with a few boccacio. As noon rolled around and we had enough fillets for the Super Bowl party to come, we turned her for home and ran for Marina Coral."
PUERTO SANTO TOMAS, MEXICO: Sam Saenz of Puerto Santo Tomas Resort said he's been out of touch lately due to a broken modem, but reported from Ensenada that weather and fishing were excellent at the resort, although sea conditions have been variable.
"The bite has been excellent for bottom fishing," Saenz said. "Wednesday, Procopio Uribe from Tijuana took full limits on lingcod and calico bass right on top of Soledad Reef. I joined him on the trip, and the anchovy-type lure was dynamite. Some of the lingcods were up in the 12-pound category."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas said he had 12 boats out during the week, scoring on continued yellowtail and the endless lingcod bite that was "still going strong."
"Live bait and jigs are working," Hillis said. "Pretty much everything brought in was from the 240 Spot and 15 Spot. The weather remains beautiful."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: At the Old Mill Hotel, Jim Harer said a big crowd of 35 hunters got limits on black brant and ducks last week. Most guests were limiting on yellowtail and assorted bottom fish in excellent conditions and water temperatures of 60 to 63 degrees.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Increasing gray whale arrivals in water temperatures of 67 to 73 degrees were reported by Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly, plus good fishing in the esteros and at Santa Maria Bay for corvina, pompano, palometa, and plenty of spotted bay bass. "While fog hampered the pangas getting out in the mornings, it was worth the effort," Graham said. Yellowtail were found in deeper water at Santa Maria Bay, but snook action in the mangroves continued relatively slow, Graham said.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Marlin catches took a big jump last week at the tip of Baja California. At Pisces Fleet, Tracy Ehrenberg said, "Wow! What a fabulous week. Not one of our boats was skunked." Ninety-five percent of all boats chartered landed marlin, Ehrenberg said, and the action was lead by the Felina, which had a 5-marlin release day. Also in the mix were a 180-pound yellowfin tuna caught on the Karina by Allan Hammack of Riverton, VT. However, school-sized tuna and dorado were not found in appreciable numbers. Most boats fished with live bait at the Jaime Bank and the Old Lighthouse, Ehrenberg said, and water temperatures averaged 70 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Cabo Magic, Tommy Garcia reported on 54 boats chartered with a catch including released fish of: 65 striped marlin, 68 dorado, 59 yellowfin tuna (including a 210 pounder caught Sunday aboard Cabo Magic), and 2 wahoo.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Gaviota Fleet had a catch including released fish of: 19 striped marlin, 21 dorado, and 24 school-sized yellowfin tuna.
"The fishing has really been pretty good this past week," Edwards said, "with the boats averaging a billfish per boat day fished." Edwards said another deep winter blue marlin was also caught, a 350 pounder, by Capt. Robert Ross on the Options. Gaviota Fleet fished in a large area from the Golden Gate and Jaime Banks to southeast of El Arco with both live mackerel and lures.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Fly Hooker Sportfishing, Capt. George Landrum said Cabo weather was partly cloudy with nights in the low-60s and days in the mid-80s. Sea conditions were mostly favorable with some slow swells and little if any wind, on the Pacific side, and the Cortez side basically dead flat.
"There have been marlin everywhere this week and in no particular concentrations," Landrum said. "Both the Pacific side and the Cortez side were delivering at least one or two shots a day and most boats were coming in flying multiple flags. Live baits, either slow trolled or dropped deep, have been steady producers, and when tossed at fish sighted on the surface have gotten good responses as well. Lures have also worked well, but not quite as well as the live bait." Landrum added that although dorado numbers were down, yellowfin tuna over 100 pounds made a good showing, and several broke the 200-pound mark.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Near perfect conditions prevailed, with calm winds, days in the 80s, and water temperatures of 70 to 73 degrees, reported Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas. Striped marlin were caught off Chileno, the 95 Spot, and Red Hill, as well as on the Pacific Side, Brictson said, and the counts included good numbers of dorado averaging 10 to 20 pounds, plus bigger fish to a high of 56 pounds in the mix. "Most boats accounted for 3, 4, or 5 dorado each day," Brictson said. "Live bait was preferred. Punta Gorda and in front of the San Jose Estuary area were two spots that proved to be especially productive, within a half mile of shore."
Some larger yellowfin tuna to about 100 pounds were also landed on the Inner Gordo Bank, and other pangas were scoring on the bottom with live mackerel or chihuil for yellowtail, grouper, pargo, and leopard grouper to over 30 pounds. Resident Bob Grimes reported seeing tuna of 50 to 80 pounds toward the end of the week, and pangas trolling for dorado.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Tami Moyeous of Rancho Buena Vista said few anglers visited last week, but two boats chartered caught 10 dorado and 6 yellowfin tuna.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Baja On The Fly, Gary Graham said the weather wasn't at all bad last week, as wind alternated with calmer days and air temperatures held at about 80 degrees. Water temperatures ranged from 69 to 72 degrees, and offshore dorado and yellowfin tuna continued to be caught, Graham said. Beach conditions were still difficult due to wind waves, and the inshore sierra bite was still happening just before sunup.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: John Ireland of Rancho Leonero said a few boats did go out during calm spells, with limits of sierra inshore and some nice dorado of 15 to 30 pounds caught about 2 to 8 miles straight out from the hotel. "Lots of tailing and jumping striped marlin were spotted near shore, but no biters yet," Ireland said.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of Vista Sea Sport said few divers were in the area last week, and at Pepe's Dive Service, Pepe Murrieta said Cabo Pulmo water temperatures were still in the upper 70s, and visibility was 35 feet, in calm conditions. Top species on the reef were dorado, yellowfin tuna, sierra, amberjack, and manta rays "just flying all over the bay," Murrieta said.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Resident George Bergin said dorado were caught as big as 60 pounds, and the small skipjack in the water were full of 2-inch squid. Bergin added that Clarence Moyers of the East Cape Smokehouse has agreed to freeze the next specimen caught of the strange cut-fin marlin that some locals think might be white marlin. The specimen, if caught, will be examined to see exactly what species it is, Bergin said.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: A winter reality check hit local waters last week, reported Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International. Roldan said the week started pretty well with a good mix of dorado, yellowtail, cabrilla, small snappers, and sierra, but then the winds came up and put a damper on things. "The changes in the weather and water were pretty significant," Roldan said. "For the first time in weeks, we didn't get any dorado, and bait got extremely scarce. We'll have to keep an eye on it. Hope the dorado come back, but a lot of this depends on the winds."
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Abraham Vazquez of Camp Gecko at Bahia de los Angeles said the excellent yellowtail bite at Guadalupe Reef, seven miles north of Isla Smith, continued on fish of 15 to 25 pounds. "Most of the fish seem to be at midwater depth (about 150 feet) and are still wide open," Vazquez said, "mostly on iron, blue-white or just plain white. There have been a few larger yellows over by Coronadito, but most of the pangas have not been stopping there."
Vazquez said L.A. Bay weather has been good, with occasional moderate north wind, but most days very calm. Air temperatures at the end of the week were about 85 degrees and rising, with no wind, and very few anglers in town.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Also at Bahia de los Angeles, Raquel Fife of Raquel and Larry's Beach Motel said mild summer-like days and gentle north breezes accompanied last week's "great yellowtail fishing, which actually should be called 'catching' when 10 or more fish can be brought up in a couple of hours." Fife said there wasn't any news last week on the Escalera Nautica: "Everything and everybody quiet and relaxed, enjoying spectacular sunrises, sunsets and the wonderful just-come-alive yellows, whites, purples and a myriad of other colors of the desert flowers." Direct email to Raquel and Larry's Beach Motel is Bahiatours@yahoo.com, or call 6194223454.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At San Felipe, Catalina Meders of the Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said the weather was pretty windy last week, and the big news was that a new flea market seems to be developing. "The wind started to kick up yesterday late afternoon and it felt really good," Meders said. "It had been hot and humid, almost like a summer day, and stayed windy on and off all night. This morning the sky is overcast and the wind is forceful enough that things are blowing around.
"There has been a kind of permanent flea market slowly developing on the corner in the middle of town. It started out as just one guy with a couple of pieces of furniture, and has grown and grown. It has become a really interesting place to scout for good used furniture, toys, clothing, miscellaneous kitchen items, tools, etc. A friend of mine picked up a solid wood desk yesterday for about $30. One never quite knows what will be there. We wish perfect peace and Godspeed to the souls of the departed Astronauts who left us so suddenly yesterday. Hasta la vista y vaya con Dios."
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Aries Fleet at Marina el Cid had a catch including released fish of: 40 yellowfin tuna, 56 dorado, 1 mako shark, 22 sierra, and full limits of red snapper and triggerfish. "Another very good fishing week in Mazatlan for both inshore and offshore action," Edwards said. Mazatlan weather was in the mid-80s, with calm seas and water temperatures of about 75 degrees. The best offshore fishing area was 14 miles from Marina el Cid.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Local guide Ed Kunze the super-hot sailfish action slowed a bit last week, with 80-degree blue water still on the beach, but boats "only" averaging about 3 to 4 sailfish per day. A local tournament at the beginning of the week resulted in over 850 sailfish landed, although 80 percent of them were released, Kunze said. Roosterfish action was also good. The panga Gringo Loco with Capt. Luis got 6 for its client, and Capt. Martin on the Isamar landed 5. Zihuatanejo weather was in the low-80s, with water temperatures about 82 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky of Ixtapa Sportfishing Charters said the tournament's biggest sailfish weighed was just under 120 pounds, the largest marlin was 737 pounds, and the largest dorado just over 53 pounds.
"Unfortunately this was a kill tournament and there were many fish brought to the dock," Lushinsky said. "The days after the tournament saw a steep decline in the fishing. While some boats found small pods of fish, they were scattered and sometimes reluctant to feed." Lushinsky said Capt. Adolpho Espinoza fished the tournament and landed 23 sailfish, releasing all but 3 qualifying fish.