LA PAZ, MEXICO: Mosquito Fleet boats threading their way north through the winds to El Bajo last week discovered another nice pod of quality yellowtail, in what has become one of the better winter seasons lately for many areas of Baja.
Mosquito Fleet's Mino Shiba said, "This report is the hottest of the season. We had fantastic fishing yesterday (Saturday) at El Bajo, limits on yellowtail over 15 pounds to 25 pounds. They were on live sardines or caballitos, but we recommend people who like jigs to bring them in different colors, because they are hitting jigs.
"The only reason we sometimes don't fish that area is the wind, but if the weather is nice, we recommend it. We also got a lot of pargos around the island on sardines and light tackle. We got some dorado too."
Shiba said his boats also worked the Las Arenas side of the hill and found some tuna of 24 to over 60 pounds on porpoise. Large schools of pargo to about 50 pounds were found at Isla Cerralvo.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: At Tail Hunter International, Jonathan Roldan reported that the hit-and-run schools of yellowfin tuna discovered a week ago to the south around Punta Pescadero were found again over the weekend: "As the winds died, the school was relocated further outside near the shark buoys between Muertos and Cardonal. Nice fatties bent rods and broke hearts as the fast moving ahi charged and chewed live bait, dead chunk, jigs and feathers! The bad part is that the school is pretty far outside and requires some searching to find.
"There are some even larger grade fish running with the juveniles that could be 60 to 100-pound toads! No one hooked any of them, but skippers and clients have told me about rolling Volkswagen-sized yellowfin that left a big fat footprint on the water when they came up in the chum lines!"
Closer to Punta Perrico, Ensenada de los Muertos, and the Las Arenas light, Roldan said pangas were scoring on a nice mixed bag of species including sierra, cabrilla, snappers, and dorado.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sammy Susarrey of Lily Fleet said his boats found surface yellowtail of 13 to 15 pounds from Punta San Miguel to Isla Todos Santos, in water temperatures of 59 to 61 degrees.
"Maximino Reef has also been great on lingcod," Susarrey said. "Also many bass showed, in water about 120 feet deep. The Amigo and Tamara got limits by noon."
ENSENADA, MEXICO: At Vonny's Fleet, Ivan Villarino said pangas fishing the tip of Punta Banda found rockcod, lingcod, and a few sheephead last week, in 60-degree water, light breezes, and ocean swells of about 3 feet.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Robert Funk reported on a productive kayak outing at Tidelands on San Diego Bay, where he decided to troll 5.5-inch blue-silver Jointed Rebel Spoonbills while moving from one place to another, and scored on a 14-inch sandbass, a short halibut, and 2 spotted bay bass, including a 14 incher that "spun my kayak around."
"I will bring those jointed Rebels from now on when I go kayak fishing," Funk said. "I think when the water warms up the Jointed Surface Rebel should catch those bass as well."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas fished with his son Pete Jr., friend Brian Bunting, and Gene Kira, with Capt. Hector Villarino, landing a big pile of eating fish, between jokes, drinks, and ice-cold burritos brought down from the States. The morning's full-limit catch in 62-degree water included 10 large whitefish, including a huge 26 incher, 14 lingcod, 3 red rockfish, 1 sheephead, 2 bonita, 1 olive rockfish, 1 sculpin, 5 rockcod, 9 salmon grouper, 2 log barracuda, and 1 blacksmith.
For the week, Hillis said, "We had only 9 boats out this time, but everyone brought in limits of large ling and rockcod, and whitefish to 12 pounds. The yellowtail seem to have gone on hiatus for a while, but we are hoping they return soon. The 15 Spot and 240 Spot are the hotspots.
"We had rain on Friday night and Saturday morning, but some guys put on the rain gear and went out anyway. There was no wind. The rain stopped around 10 a.m. The air temps have been around 60 in the morning, warming up to mid-70s by 10 or 11."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: At the historic Old Mill Hotel, Jim and Nancy Harer were busy with travelers heading farther south, some motorcycling tourists, and a couple of kayakers, in addition to black brant hunters and a few anglers. Jim mentioned that the motel kayaks are available at no charge for guests who wish to explore the bay's quiet waters.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said the gray whales are stacking up at the entrada and are expected to move into the bay soon. "There has been a fair yellowtail bite a mile or so outside the entrada with a few fish reaching the mid-teens," Graham said. "All the rock structure on Magdalena Island from the entrada to Punta Belcher is holding tonnage of spotted bay bass with an occasional leopard grouper to keep it interesting."
Graham said Punta Belcher also has a consistent halibut bite on the north side of the point, and sierra are showing early in the mornings. San Carlos water temperatures were 67 to 71 degrees. In the mangroves, the snook were still making themselves scarce, and the corvina bite was tapering off as well.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Sonny de la Torre flew down and drove a rented pickup to San Carlos where he fished several days with his friend Ed Rice and local guide Enrique Soto.
"Fished 2-1/2 days in the mangroves and 2 days at the entrada," De la Torre said. "We didn't catch the exotics but we caught so many cabrilla to 5 pounds. After they would chew off the tails of the swim baits, you could still catch fish on the remaining plastic. We got halibut to 8 pounds, pompano, nice grouper, biggest maybe 12 pounds. I got a palometa that was 25 pounds. Ed managed to farm a snook to the mangroves. Gets your heart going.
"Yellowtail were real slow for us. We got one each. The barracuda were on the edge of being pesky. Ed caught the only corvina. We were on fish consistently for the entire time we were fishing."
De la Torre also reported on the heavy gill netting that is going on in the bay, and said he had no problems flying home while taking his reels as carryon luggage."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Striped marlin action climbed into the "hot" zone at the tip of Baja, as many boats averaged considerably better than one marlin released per day.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Gaviota Fleet averaged about 1.3 marlin per day. The Gaviota VII was the hot boat, with 7 stripers, 6 dorado, 1 wahoo, and 2 yellowfin tuna for 3 fishing days. Edwards said he felt the overall bite still had a way to go: "So far, Cabo has not seen the influx of stripers that typically filter down from the Mag Bay region by late December. One can only wonder if the El Nino may have changed some pattern for this year." Gaviota Fleet fished mostly on the Pacific side at the Golden Gate and Jaime Banks, and had a combined count including released fish of: 33 striped marlin, 1 wahoo, 19 dorado, and 16 yellowfin tuna.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Solmar Fleet, 67 boats had a catch including released fish of: 56 striped marlin, 58 dorado, 63 yellowfin tuna, and 35 sierra.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Picante Fleet reported on 5 late-week boats with a catch including released fish of: 11 striped marlin, 5 dorado, and 11 yellowfin tuna.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia said Cabo Magic had a catch including released fish of: 44 striped marlin, 98 yellowfin tuna, 68 dorado, and 1 wahoo.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Pisces Fleet, Tracy Ehrenberg said, "Fishing really couldn't be much better than it is right now. Once again the San Jaime to Golden Gate area was tops, with multiple hookups on marlin most days."
Eight-seven percent of Pisces' boats released marlin, and 100 percent landed all species combined, Ehrenberg said. The top catch for the week was by Ruthless, which released 6 striped marlin in one day for Scott and Ray Millman of California. Overall, Pisces Fleet landed 103 striped marlin for the week, almost all released.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing said Cabo weather was mostly cloudy but with moderate breezes and swells for most of the week. Air temperatures ranged from the low-60s at night to the high-70s during the daytime, and water temperatures were about 71 to 72 degrees locally, and a degree or two higher about 30 miles out.
Landrum said in addition to marlin there was a steady pick on yellowfin tuna to about 40 pounds, and most boats landed at least one dorado to over 50 pounds. Inshore fishing was mixed on sierra, roosterfish, groupers, and snappers.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks pangas said San Jose del Cabo water temperatures were as high as 74 or 75 degrees, and mackerel and sardina bait was plentiful. Large yellowfin tuna continued to be seen regularly on the Gordo Banks, but were not in a cooperative mood. "Yellowfin over 100 pounds were seen," Brictson said, "but they proved very shy. Every morning tuna would be seen on the surface, creating large boils and occasionally jumping completely out of the water. With chihuil, skipjack, mackerel, red crabs, and shrimp all in the vicinity, the fish shied away from any offerings from anglers."
Closer to shore, some dorado were landed to about 30 pounds, with boats averaging 2 to 4 per day, plus sierra and mixed fish from the rocks, including jack crevalle, pompano, cabrilla, and pargos. Several yellowtail to 30 pounds were also caught at the Gordo Banks, Brictson said.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Luis Duhart of Victor's Fleet at Punta Palmilla said very few anglers were present last week, and the fishing was generally slow, except for the abundant sierra. "The sierra is everywhere," Duhart said. About ten percent of the boats were landing large tuna to about 90 pounds at the Gordo Banks, and a very few were also found about a mile off Cabeza de Ballena and Chileno.
Another angler scored on nice yellowfin tuna to about 60 pounds: "I fished with Jose out of La Playita the day after the Super Bowl," he said. "Wow, what a hangover! The fish bit, and we were four for four, two on sardine, 2 on chunk. Fluorocarbon made the difference. We tag teamed the fish and they all hit the deck in less than 10 minutes apiece. A great trip, as we hit the plane at 5 that day, and the fish were vacuum sealed that evening and in the freeze."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Yvonne Graham of Baja On The Fly was named an IGFA representative for Baja California, joining her husband, Gary, Luis Bulnes and Minerva Smith in that capacity. The Graham's are the first husband-wife couple to be named as IGFA representatives.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Buena Vista, Baja On The Fly reported East Cape weather as occasionally windy in the high-70s with water temperatures of 69 to 73 degrees. The winter bite on yellowfin tuna and dorado continued, and inshore action on sierra was keeping anglers busy.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: John Ireland of Rancho Leonero said striped marlin have finally started taking bait, and the yellowfin tuna bite was centered north of Punta Pescadero on fish to about 40 pounds. All boats were taking limits on dorado to 40 pounds, spread out, from 1 to 5 miles offshore.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chuck Meredith reported more hotel cruisers being put back in the water and many flags flying for tuna, dorado, and striped marlin.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chugey Sepulveda test fished a new 19-foot Bayrunner with Juan Sanders of Los Barriles and had an excellent trip. "Limits of dorado everyday," Sepulveda said. "Didn't matter what you did, trolled, or bait, or both. In addition, we had some fantastic tuna fishing with fish ranging from 40 to 80 pounds. All four days we fished 6 to 10 miles outside of Pescadero and around the bend in front of Cardonal. On the marlin front, we had two hookups, releasing one and losing another. The Bayrunner handled great and did the job."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of Vista Sea Sport said the appearance of seiners in the area didn't seem to affect the hot tuna bite. "The volume of fish is so big the boats filled up and took off," Rayor said. "There is still solid fish from Pescadero to Perico. We went out today and got more tuna, along with 5 dorado."
Rayor also said he's been sending satisfied guests to the new open-air seafood restaurant, Baja Cactus, located about a mile north of Los Barriles on the east side of Mex 1. Baja Cactus' dining area is only a few yards off the road, and the owner, Jose, serves an excellent range of fresh seafood and traditional Mexican dishes at very competitive prices, Rayor said.
LORETO, MEXICO: Arturo Susarrey of Arturo's Sportfishing said the first group to San Nicolas Camp, 30 miles to the north, found some wind but still caught fish. "Last week we had Mark Higashi's group," Susarrey said. "They had one excellent day and two very windy. They caught enough yellowtail and cabrilla, practicing catch and release, and enjoyed delicious food served at our camp. Even better than last year!"
Susarrey said Loreto weather was in the low-70s, with water temperatures between 60 and 70s degrees.
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company said good-sized yellowtail to over 37 pounds were found at San Bruno and Punta Perico. "There are nice quality fish to be had," Bolles said. "They're taking mackerel off the bottom. Experience will determine how many of the larger ones you will be able to take. We're seeing a lot of 40 pounders and we know there are larger ones. Quality is high."
At the Loreto Marina, the new office of the local independent pangueros' cooperativa opened last week, with telephone service, reservations, fishing reports, and email, right next to the ramp. Contact: Rommel Lubiate; Tel 011-52-613-135-1664; email@example.com, http://www.loretopangeros.com. For its first week of operation, the cooperativa reported 9 pangas fishing with a count of: 23 yellowtail, 15 cabrilla, 8 pargo, and 34 sierra.
LORETO, MEXICO: Dennis Eaton and Joe Parra of Fresno and Charlie Williams of Hesperia fished 2 days with Manuel Torres, of Jose Torres Sport Fishing at Juncalito and boated 12 yellowtail, while losing at least 15 others, including two that straightened out 6/0 bait hooks. "There are some real bad boys down there," Eaton said. They fished south of Isla Carmen on the bottom in about 200 feet of water.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: At Bahia de los Angeles, Raquel Fife of Raquel and Larry's Beach Motel said few boats went out, due to a cold front that moved through the area, bringing light rain and dropping temperatures to about 64 degrees, but the yellowtail bite was still on at Guadalupe Reef, waiting for anglers to return. "Not a lot of fishing has been done in the last few days," Fife said, "mainly because most of the tourists in town are Canadians making a stop in Bahia before venturing down the peninsula."
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Totoaba (a prohibited species) were reported congregating south of San Felipe at Laguna Percebu. One reporter said, "Guys with electronics are metering lots of fish and there are reports of people catching some of significant size. One person landed one of over 80 pounds." Any totoaba caught should be released, since it is a protected species.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At San Felipe, Catalina Meders of the Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said the weather was cold last week, as the town celebrated its 78th anniversary. "We huddle together over our propane heaters and clutch our down ski-parkas around our goose-pimpled shoulders," Meders said. "On Wednesday it was El Dia de San Felipe, the 78th anniversary of the founding of the Port of San Felipe.
"It was celebrated with a parade and amusement park rides. There was also rather a strange act involving two young women dressed in silver outfits which resembled the god Mercury (winged helmets and all), and somebody in a mouse-costume. I couldn't quite get the gist, although the audience seemed to love it.
"Then there was the crowning of the Queen of San Felipe and her two maids of honor, three enormously pretty young ladies who stood and shivered and gamely clutched at their dresses and crowns in the breeze."
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Aries Fleet out of Marina el Cid had a catch including released fish of: 13 sailfish, 32 striped marlin, 19 yellowfin tuna, 97 dorado, and 2 mako shark, plus inshore limits of red snapper and triggerfish. Some sierra, barracuda, and yellowtail were also beginning to show up. Mazatlan weather was in the low-80s, with water temperatures at about 75 degrees, some clouds and showers, and flat sea conditions. The best fishing area was 14 to 25 miles from Marina el Cid on headings of 190 to 240 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Local guide Ed Kunze reported weather in the mid-80s, and 80-degree blue water still on the beach. Sailfish action continued to average 2 to 3 fish per day, and 100-pound yellowfin tuna were 15 miles out of Zihuatanejo Bay. A couple of dorado to about 20 pounds were also being caught by most boats, and roosterfish to 35 pounds were providing good inshore action as well.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the Fintastic Total Tag & Release Tournament said the sailfish bite has been variable, with up to 10 fish released on some days, and only 1 or 2 the next. Two boats, the Esturion II and Dos Hermanos both caught 7 tuna less than 10 miles out.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky of Ixtapa Sportfishing Charters said 52 boats had a catch including released fish of: 181 sailfish, 19 dorado, 23 yellowfin tuna, 1 shark, 27 yellowtail jacks, and 2 roosterfish.