Rare albacore catches reported by Cabo San Lucas fishing boats

Mexico Fishing News, March 24, 2003



CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Local fishing reports at the tip of Baja included a scattering of rarely caught albacore last week, as water temperatures dipped into the mid-60s on the Pacific side.

Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing said albacore were caught to sizes of about 20 to 30 pounds on both sides of the arch. On Wednesday, Capt. Tony Nunguray of the Felina ran into an active bite of albacore, mixed with yellowfin tuna, about 30 miles out, on a heading of 100 degrees, Landrum said. Nancy Chaloner of Pisces Fleet said the Felina also caught about 6 albacore for clients including Ron Effary on the Pacific side on Tuesday. Other boats reported albacore catches, tapering off by Friday, on fish of about 15 to 30 pounds.

Landrum said, "It appears that the current down the Pacific coast has forced cooler water into the area. There were numerous reports of the albacore being caught both off the lighthouse and in the Sea of Cortez. There were also lots of boats reporting catches of 60 to 80-pound yellowfin in the schools."

Landrum said a temperature break around the Jaime Bank was showing water in the 64 to 67-degree range, climbing to about 71 degrees at the Gordo Banks, and into the lower-70s farther northeast toward East Cape. Dorado and billfish were widely scattered, Landrum said, and inshore fishing from the beaches out to about a mile provided good action on larger sierra to about 8 pounds on the Pacific side. Around the arch, fishing action was lead by amberjack, pargo, yellowtail, small hammerhead sharks, and good numbers of small roosterfish.

But offshore fishing around the tip of Baja was generally sluggish last week.

Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said the offshore catch "seemed to keep on moving farther up and out into the Sea of Cortez. It was generally a difficult fishing week and easy to get skunked. There simply isn't a best fishing area, with the billfish being scattered about and the boats looking far and wide for new fish." Edwards said about 25 percent of Gaviota Fleet boats landed billfish, dorado, or tuna last week, with an overall catch including released fish of: 6 striped marlin, 8 yellowfin tuna, 21 skipjack tuna, and 9 dorado.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Picante Fleet reported on 9 boats chartered Thursday with a catch including released fish of: 28 yellowfin tuna to 125 pounds, and 12 dorado.

About 144 other private and fleet boats reported a catch including released fish of about: 16 striped marlin, 220 yellowfin tuna, 410 sierra, 39 dorado, 6 amberjack, 5 roosterfish, and 22 skipjack tuna.

In other mainland Mexico and Baja fishing action this week:



ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sammy Susarrey of Lily Fleet said the Tamara fished at Punta Banda bank over the weekend in excellent conditions for cowcod to 15 pounds, plus good catches of lingcod and red rockfish. The Amigo fished in about 120 feet of water at Maximino Reef for excellent catches of lingcod, calico bass, and mixed species. The Lily fished at Punta San Miguel for medium sandbass and two nice halibut of 25 and 28 pounds.

Ensenada water temperatures dipped to about 52 degrees during the last storm, Susarrey said, but were back up to about 60 degrees by the weekend.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Steve Ross, whose boat Bad Dog is based at Marina Coral, announced the formation of a new fishing club, Pescadores de Ensenada, for boats fishing out of the marina. "Ensenada has never had a communications center for us avid saltwater anglers," Ross said of the club. "Its main thrust is sharing 'hot' fish reports from the boats who are on the water." Ross said interested anglers can contact him at 800-355-1635 or steve@baddogcorp.com.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Earlier, Louie Prieto fished on the Lucky 1 with Capt. Jose Luis Fischer, Angelica Garcia and her daughter Jessica, his sons Randy, 13, and Sergio, 8, and friend Ed Shubin. "The Lucky 1 is a 30 footer with plenty of fishing room," Prieto said. "We did manage a pretty decent catch until the rains finally showed about 4 p.m.. The barracuda are on the bite at Todos Santos Island and we caught 7 real nice ones on the iron and also live bait. I also caught a nice calico on the iron and we scratched a few rockfish and a couple of lingcod as well. Jose Luis took real good care of us."



SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Jim Harer of the Old Mill Hotel reported on-and-off winds that kicked up swells of 4 to 6 feet last week. Harer said most anglers limited on mixed bottom fish including lingcod to 18 pounds. "The water is stirred up, so yellowtail were not part of the mix," Harer said. San Quintin water temperatures were in the low-60s.

Local angler Julio Meza fished at midweek for large numbers of lingcod, sandbass, rockcod, whitefish, and barracuda, and said another black seabass, this one an 80 pounder, was caught in shallow water at the mouth of the bay by Lilo of Pedro's Pangas.

The bayside community was saddened by the death of local guide Rogelio Vanlo Luna, 40, of Cielito Lindo, who drowned on March 15 after his boat capsized near shore as he was fishing with clients. Local residents Stan Vath and Julio Meza, and Gene Allshouse of San Quintin Sportfishing, said the boat lost power just outside high surf and rocks, about 3 miles north of the boca, and the guide and 3 American clients were thrown into the water before help could arrive. The Americans made it to shore safely, but Vanlo reportedly could not swim and was lost. Despite a search, his body was not recovered.



MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said San Carlos weather was in the low-70s with water temperatures of 65 to 70 degrees and windy afternoon conditions that hampered fishing. "Most of the fleet stayed in, waiting for things to warm up," Graham said. "A few halibut were caught out near Punta Belcher and there was a fair corvina bite near the pier." Graham also said a 10-kilo snook was caught by Zack Thomas in the mangroves.



SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Luis Duhart of Victor's Fleet said his pangas were fishing mostly around Punta Gorda for scattered dorado on sardinas, including a 37 pounder caught by John Capovilla on the Kaleena with Capt. Gustavo. Other dorado were about 25 pounds or larger, and many sierra were also caught, Duhart said.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said fishing action slowed down during the week, due to cold currents with temperatures as low as 67 degrees.

"Pangueros out of San Jose had more difficulty locating sardinas," Brictson said. "The most consistent fishing was coming from closer to shore, where the water was slightly warmer. The most common inshore species were sierra, pargo and dorado. Average catches were about 10 fish per boat, the majority being sierra."

"There continued to be large concentrations of red crabs in the area of the Gordo Banks," Brictson said. "The yellowfin tuna are now gorged on these small crustaceans. They could be seen rolling on the surface, but were not interested in anglers offerings."



EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Fishing was generally slower for boats out of Bahia de Palmas last week, with daytime highs in the low-80s and warm water temperatures of about 74 to 78 degrees.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chris Moyers of East Cape Smoke House, reported on 49 boats from combined fleets including the Van Wormer resorts of Palmas de Cortez, Playa del Sol, and Punta Colorada, with a catch including released fish of: 23 striped marlin, 2 sailfish, 139 dorado, and 38 yellowfin tuna.

Moyers said the scattered striped marlin were found mostly north off Punta Pescadero, straight out about 25 to 30 miles off Los Barriles, and 20 to 30 miles of Punta Arena and Punta Colorada to the south.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: John Ireland of Rancho Leonero said boats were going out 20 miles to find blue water, and "billfish action remains hot for those willing to make the run. Giant squid have moved into the area, chasing out the green mackerel. Our first yellowtail of the season was taken, an impressive 65 pounder, about 2 miles south of Leonero."

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said guide Jeff Solis had a hot morning on roosterfish right in front of his house at La Capilla: "Jeff was finishing his last cup of coffee about 7:30. Looking up, he spotted the pelicans diving on trapped schools of bait pinned against the beach. He grabbed his 10-weight and charged down to the action. Cast, strip, strip, strip and he was tight to a rooster. Landing that one, he was off at a dead run and managed to get his second fish out of the same school."

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Vista Sea Sport, Mark Rayor said strong winds cooled the water to about 71 degrees and turned it "a little green." Nevertheless, "Sea life on the reefs is abundant," Rayor said.



LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International said spring-like conditions slipped back a notch last week: "Just when I've been raving that winter is officially over, the winds came up again and the temperatures dropped," Roldan said. "But for the most part, it had no impact on the fishing.

"The 'fish zone' continues to be the Las Arenas-Muertos Bay side, where both yellowtail and dorado mixed it up, affirming that we still have both cold and warm water fingers running through the area.

"Pargo, cabrilla and sierra are also being taken easily. We did have one day of teaser tuna move through, a nice change of pace."



LORETO, MEXICO: The Loreto Pangeros Co-op reported on 5 boats chartered, with a catch including released fish of: 23 yellowtail, 30 cabrilla, 14 pargo, 2 roosterfish, and 4 sierra.

LORETO, MEXICO: Arturo Susarrey of Arturo's Sportfishing said Loreto weather was in the low-70s, with some west winds of 15 to 23 m.p.h., and water temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees. Yellowtail were caught from Pulpito to Isla Ildefonso. At the San Nicolas Camp, 35 miles north of town, Susarrey said the fishing was variable, with some boats catching 10 fish to as large as 28 pounds on some days, and slow action on other days.

Closer to town, medium yellowtail were reported at San Bruno and Bajo Alfonso, between Islas Carmen and Coronado, with fish to 35 pounds. "We think fishing is unstable because we had a full moon and currents," Susarrey said. "Besides, we had west wind most of the week, some days really rough. With luck, we will report better fishing next week."

LORETO, MEXICO: At Baja Big Fish Company, Pam Bolles said, "We're still thick into the yellowtail, but the winds have been the limiting factor. La Cholla and San Bruno are both giving us nice yellowtail. At La Cholla you'll get smaller fish in the 10 to 15-pound range, but you'll get the occasional 25-plus pounder as well. At San Bruno expect 20 to 40-plus pounders."

LORETO, MEXICO: At Villas de Loreto, Wendy Wilchynski said, "We did have a few fishermen this week, and they had fun. The moon did mess things up a bit, but all in all we caught fish."

LORETO, MEXICO: Ty Miller of El Fuerte Sportfishing said yellowtail to 40 pounds were caught out of Puerto Escondido to the south, and more yellowfin tuna were also reported. "Once again, most of the fish are right at 80 to 120 pounds and are now being found working under the porpoise," Miller said. "It's still a long run, but it seems to be getting better. Warm water currents continue to work into our areas along with more billfish and small dorado being seen and or taken."

LORETO, MEXICO: John Mestrin of Blue Water Tours had a report on this season's yellowfin tuna and yellowtail sizes and locations:

"The sea mound where tuna were caught is 72 miles south of Loreto and located between Isla Catalan and Isla Santa Cruz. We did hear of a couple tuna in the 100 to 150-pound class that were caught by some private boaters some weeks ago. The sea mound is often fished by commercial handliners out of Agua Verde, but is too shallow to attempt to seine or wrap fish on."

On this season's yellowtail sizes, Mestrin said, "The best yellowtail that Arturo's has weighed all year long have been an honest 33 to 35 pounds, and there have only been a few in that range. The truth of the matter is that this year's yellowtail have been smaller than usual, 8 to 15 pounds, as opposed to the 20 to 25 pounds we would like to have year in and year out. I just returned from 3 hard days of fishing in the Punta Pulpito-Isla Ildephonso area, and the best yellowtail was only 29.8 pounds. Several of Arturo's clients that fished 3 days at La Cholla and San Bruno said their best fish may have pushed 30 pounds."

LORETO, MEXICO: At Alfredo's Sportfishing, Linda Ramirez said yellowtail caught by clients last week included fish of 18 and 25.5 pounds.



MULEGE, MEXICO: Fly-in angler Ron Grant said Mulege weather was in the low-80s, with water temperatures in the low-70s.

"Few yellowtail are showing, but lots of other fish are filling the bags," Grant said. "Larger yellowtail are north to San Marcos Island or south to Ildefonso Island or Punta Teresa." The runway at the Hotel Serenidad was in good condition, and there were quite a few planes last week, but more visitors were interested in whale watching or cave paintings than fishing.



BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Russ Gale reported on an excellent yellowtail run to Bahia de los Angeles to fish with local guide, Igor Galvan, earlier this month:

"My friends and I arrived in Bahia de Los Angeles and fished all week with Igor. Conditions couldn't have been better.

"Recent rains turned the desert into many bright colors. Nights were a little chilly, but as soon as the sun came up, the days were tee-shirt warm. Almost no wind.

"Large, 30 to 45-pound yellowtail were near Isla Ventana. They were a little shy and would boil on the surface briefly and go down. If you were quick to spot them and threw iron near them, you could harvest one or two each time.

"Igor demonstrated the correct technique repeatedly with those incredible 100-yard casts of his.

"I surprised myself and landed several 20 pounders on 12 and 15-pound line.

"After chasing boiling yellowtail until about 10 a.m., we would run up to Seven Mile Reef and drop iron (6X Jr. Salas, color didn't matter) and limit each day on 15 to 22 pounders.

"A couple of days, we went south to Punta Pescador and threw iron over the reef, got rocked often when using light gear. Caught nice yellowtail and leopard grouper when we upgraded to 50-pound gear. We drove up to Igor's house and marveled at his 28-foot super panga. He is about six weeks from finishing it. Great trip."

Farther north, Craige Harvey of El Centro had a good trip fishing the Gonzaga Bay area from his 16-foot Klamath aluminum boat, the Baja Critic:

"We trailered down to Gonzaga. It took about 10 hours, as the road from Puertecitos was in its usual shape, not too bad but not too good. You had to go about 10 to 15 m.p.h.

"We had a blast casting Yozuri-type plugs up in the shallows for a steady pick of leopard grouper to about 15 pounds and 1 nice yellow on 10-pound test in about 3 or 4 feet of crystal clear water.

"Needless to say, we quickly switched to heavier gear when we started getting the treatment on 25-pound line. Never even stopped a few of them!

"We decided to give one of those reefs off Punta Final a try, and it paid off. We landed 7 nice white seabass to 22 pounds on Megabaits and Salas 6X Jrs..

"Erik's group had a great day trolling MirrOlures and caught 25 nice leopard grouper to about 15 pounds, all released. We already had plenty of nice fillets on ice. We caught about 60 leopards (most of which were released), those 7 whites, 1 yellow and too many goldspotted, spotties, hogfish, triggers, and a few 'cudas. The water was 64.7 to 67.8 degrees."

At San Felipe, Catalina Meders of the Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said brief winds to a clocked 60 m.p.h. hit the town last week, but otherwise the weather was excellent, with spring break crowds arriving and the traditional children's parades.

"Right now, San Felipe is at its springtime best," Meders said. "The desert is erupting with its annual display of incredibly delicate flowers, and the sun is shining on the bay.

"The first day of spring parade, in which the kids dress up like flowers and woodland animals and lady bugs and butterflies and bumble bees, is so heart-breakingly cute. And this year it was particularly poignant, since I couldn't help wondering what the world situation will be like when these little ones reach their teens."



MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Aries Fleet offshore boats had a catch including released fish of: 5 striped marlin, 1 hammerhead shark, 13 dorado, and 218 yellowfin tuna. Inshore boats were finding limits of red snapper and corvina. Mazatlan weather was clear in the low-80s, with water temperatures in the low-70s, and the best fishing was scattered, 18 to 20 miles southwest of Marina el Cid.



IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Generally slow fishing conditions prevailed last week. Paul Phillips of the Fintastic Total Tag & Release Tournament said, "The 'April Current' is in full effect. This is a 76 to 78-degree green water current, now in place from 1 mile out to about 35 miles. Running past this will get you 2 to 3 sailfish, maybe a 100-pound tuna. Inshore, plenty of bonita, sierra, jack crevalle, and several others, but the roosterfish are on vacation."

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Local guide Ed Kunze said, "There are a lot of black skipjack inshore, and this has drawn the marlin close. A 600-pound blue was weighed, but most of them have been averaging about 250 pounds. Huge tuna are still at the 45-mile mark. Captains like Santiago on the Gitana have been going after them. We did get 3 days of wind, which made a 4 or 5-hour run home. Santiago told me he only did that one day, and he is waiting for calm seas again."

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Luskinsky of Ixtapa Sportfishing Charters said, "It has been a very long time since we can remember such a downturn in the fishing for such a prolonged period of time. Cold green inshore water with temperatures in the low-70s extends all the way out to the 10-mile mark. This band of water is rich with schools of mackerel and bonito, but the cold temperatures have really slowed down the feeding activity of the predators. Although some nice fish have been caught, it has been far and few between strikes, with many boats posting fishless days."

Lushinsky said his top boat for the week was the super panga Janeth, which landed 1 sailfish and 5 dorado, and lost 1 big black marlin, in 5 days of fishing.

Fish Photo 1

RARE CATCH--Rob McElvany fished with Craige Harvey's group at Gonzaga Bay and caught this golden grouper, an uncommon color phase of leopard grouper.

Fish Photo 1 Fish Photo 1

GOOD YELLOWTAIL ACTION--Top guide, Igor Galvan, with some nice yellowtail caught during Russ Gale's trip to L.A. Bay.

TRIGGERFISH NETTING--Right, Igor Galvan nets a triggerfish at L.A. Bay for Russ Gale, who said, "I got tired of throwing iron at Punta Pescador and fished with a black bass outfit (10-pound line) using squid for bait. Igor was making fun of me and used the bait well net to bring this triggerfish into the boat. After a while he was using the light gear to catch cabrilla. We all had fun."

Fish Photo 1

GOOD TRIP TO L.A. BAY--Russ Gale shows off a yellowtail caught with Igor Galvan during a recent trip to L.A. Bay. They limited daily inside the bay and at Seven Mile Reef north of Isla Coronado.

Fish Photo 1

LA PAZ PARGO--Cacer Chang of Tady Lures fished for pargo with Jonathan Roldan's Tail Hunter International and Capt. Yofo in the shallow, rocky waters off La Paz' Punta Perrico. Said Roldan, "This was Cacer's first trip to Baja and on several days he got so frustrated with losing so many pargo in the rocks that he donned mask, snorkel and wet suit and went after them with a spear gun! Something many of us have wanted to do on these frustrating fish!" Photo courtesy Jonathan Roldan.

Fish Photo 1 Fish Photo 1

GONZAGA BAY TRIP--Craige Harvey's group had an excellent trip to the Gonzaga Bay area, going to catch-and-release on leopard grouper, white seabass and many other species. AT CALAMAJUE--Right, Craige Harvey with a catch and release leopard grouper, at rarely-visited Calamajue, south of Punta Final.

Fish Photo 1

ENSENADA BARRACUDA FUN--Eight-year-old Sergio Prieto shows off a nice barracuda he hooked and landed himself while fishing with dad, Louie Prieto, at Ensenada, aboard the Lucky 1 with Capt. Jose Luis Fischer. Photo courtesy Louie Prieto.

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