LA PAZ, MEXICO: WON staffer Kit McNear and Mino Shiba of La Paz' Mosquito Fleet made a long run north past Punta Mechudo last week to test fish the bajos between San Evaristo and Isla San Jose, and they found "huge, huge" volume on yellowtail of 18 to 24 pounds at Bajo Seco and other locations in water temperatures averaging 72 degrees.
Shiba and McNear fished from a Mosquito Fleet cruiser around both ends of Isla San Jose, metering carefully at the old commercial high spots, and releasing virtually unlimited yellowtail in water depths of about 60 feet and deeper. McNear said, "In all the years I've known Mino, this might be the most excited I've ever seen him!" The yellowtail were hitting throughout the water column, McNear said, boiling on surface sardina, at mid-depth, and on the bottom with iron.
After the trip, Shiba said he was working on plans to set up a semi-remote base camp at San Evaristo this winter to fish the area with clients. Preliminary plans call for a deluxe safari-camp environment that will be accessed by van from La Paz via the road that branches off Mex 1 at El Centenario and goes north along the coast past San Juan de la Costa, Punta Coyote, and Punta Mechudo. The Mosquito Fleet pangas will be based in the very sheltered small bay of San Evaristo for short runs to the fishing grounds. "We think this place is really nice," Shiba said. "I'm working on it."
Meanwhile, Shiba reported local La Paz fishing last week as holding steady on yellowtail in mixed sizes around Isla Espiritu Santo and Canal de San Lorenzo, hitting live sardina and caballito. Some dorado were also caught close to Isla Partida.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International also reported yellowtail and dorado around the islands and continued up-and-down results on the Las Arenas side where there was scattered and mixed action on dorado, pargo, cabrilla, and sierra, plus a sporadic showing of wahoo and yellowfin tuna.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sammy Susarrey of Lily Fleet said local action rebounded after several days of rough weather, and by Saturday the fishing was back to normal. The Tamara returned from Punta Banda Bank with Capt. Oscar reporting good weather and good results on red rockfish caught about 300 feet deep on pure white iron, in water temperatures averaging 60 degrees. The Amigo fished at Salsipuedes for calico bass and lingcod close to the kelp beds.
Earlier, Susarrey reported very cold water temperatures of 51.7 degrees and very slow fishing, mainly on sculpin.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: At Sergio's Sportfishing, Sergio Susarrey said boats were finding good action around Todos Santos Island on lingcod and rockcod. Susarrey said some yellowtail were reported around the island.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Steve Ross of the boat Bad Dog out of Marina Coral, reported very poor conditions during the rough weather period. "I stepped out my door to take out the trash, and lost my hat. There's a clue," Ross said. "No report. No club boats out. Weather sucks. Water temp sucks. Winds up. This weekend, most members are going to see their mommies."
Ross said the Pescadores de Ensenada fishing club at Marina Coral now has its own logo and a lively new theme song that was specially composed and recorded. Club members received a 3-minute mp3 file of the song via email.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: San Quintin weather was generally windy, but a few boats were fishing the 240 Spot for lingcod and other bottom fish. Local angler Julio Meza reported that he launched at the Old Mill ramp and ran out during a calm spell, but "as soon as my boat touched the water, the wind showed up, very strong, to make it an ugly day. Everybody got a free shower of salty water, and the bilge pumps worked very hard."
Meza reported San Quntin water temperatures at 54.8 degrees, and said he expects the first tuna of the year to be caught within 3 weeks. Last year, Meza's boat caught San Quintin's first albacore of the season on May 17, in 61.5-degree water.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said mangrove fishing around San Carlos warmed up last week on pompano, cabrilla, and some leopard grouper and snook. Local weather was in the high-70s, and water temperatures ranged from 60 to 66 degrees. Several snook to about 15 pounds were caught, Graham said.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Striped marlin action was slightly improved at the tip of Baja last week, with most boats fishing on the Cortez side in water temperatures in the upper 70s. The Pacific side was generally windy, rough, and cold, with some water temperatures as low as the high-60s.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 49 boats chartered, with a catch including released fish of: 32 striped marlin, 92 yellowfin tuna, 48 dorado, 6 wahoo, 1 shark, and 1 cabrilla. The wahoo included a 110 pounder that hit an orange-black Marauder trolled by the Mañana with Capt. Roberto Olascoaga Jr., about 17 miles off the Westin Regina.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Pisces Fleet, Tracy Ehrenberg reported 55 percent of boats releasing striped marlin, including a quadruple release day for the Ni Modo. Yellowfin tuna of 20 to 50 pounds provided the most action during the week, Ehrenberg said, and dorado counts dropped to about 1 to 2 per boat. Fishing mostly between the arches and San Jose del Cabo, Pisces Fleet found water temperatures of 75 to 78 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Solmar Fleet reported a catch including released fish of: 20 striped marlin, 56 dorado, 107 yellowfin tuna, 14 sierra, 9 jack crevalle, and 12 roosterfish. Fleet manager Rene Santa Cruz said the best action on dorado and yellowfin tuna was 3 to 10 miles off the Old Lighthouse.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Gaviota Fleet had a catch including released fish of: 18 striped marlin, 2 sailfish, 8 wahoo, 15 dorado, and 82 yellowfin tuna. About half of Gaviota Fleet's boats caught marlin, Edwards said.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said the weather was warm and sunny, and local water temperatures ranged from 73 to 77 degrees. Sea conditions at San Jose del Cabo were generally good except for a day of wind and swells that pushed local surf to six feet and required extra care when launching the La Playita pangas.
Brictson said the wind clouded the water somewhat, and the overall bite dropped off, but the wahoo bite picked up and, "many were found off La Fortuna, Iman, Chileno and Cabo." Brictson said anglers targeting wahoo averaged several jig strikes per morning, and some boats landed as many as 5 fish of 30 to 70 pounds.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Luis Duhart of Victor's Fleet at Punta Palmilla said very few anglers fished last week, but they scored on about 3 to 5 dorado per boat, ranging from 20 pounds up to a high of 48 pounds. Bait was scarce at Punta Palmilla, and Victor's was going to Cabo San Lucas to buy it, Duhart said. Sierra were scarce, but there were still a few around.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Overall action was generally improved, and beach fishing for roosterfish exploded last week, according to Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly. Graham said his guide Lance Peterson reported events "too numerous to go into" except for highlights, but those included a 35 or 40-pound roosterfish for Amy Potter that "may well have been the biggest rooster ever hooked by a woman on the fly," according to Peterson. "It was 45 minutes-plus on a 10-weight rod. She did awesome. Ken Potter hooked a big jack too, but his backing birdsnested on him and it broke off. Lots of shots had by all. I can hardly contain my enthusiasm to get out there and catch a bubba for myself! Today was a very rewarding experience to say the least."
Later, Peterson reported his own personal best on roosterfish, a 30 pounder that ripped off 300 yards of line on its first run and required almost an hour to land.
East Cape weather was in the mid-80s in good conditions, and water temperatures were 72 to 77 degrees.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chris Moyers of East Cape Smoke House reported on 199 boats chartered 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: 80 striped marlin, 10 sailfish, 168 dorado, 610 yellowfin tuna, 48 pargo, 5 wahoo, 4 cabrilla, 4 roosterfish, and 9 sierra.
Moyers also relayed an unconfirmed earlier report of 3 albacore by a local boat during the same week last March when Mark Rayor of Vista Sea Sport photographed his probable Sea of Cortez first known catch of the species.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Rancho Buena Vista, Tami Moyeous said 32 boats had a catch including released fish of: 16 striped marlin, 3 sailfish, 8 roosterfish, 48 dorado (mostly about 40 pounds), 112 yellowfin tuna, 4 wahoo, and 6 pargo.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: John Ireland of Rancho Leonero reported limits of yellowfin tuna to 30 pounds for all anglers, taking cedar plugs and live sardina. The main mass of tuna was centered about 15 miles off Cabo Pulmo, Ireland said.
Inshore, Ireland said the hot roosterfish bite was on 30 to 65-pound fish hitting slow-trolled live baits near the beaches between Punta Colorada and Cabo Pulmo.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: East Cape resident George Bergin was still catching bonefish on the beach in front of his house at La Ribera, and said he had to eat his own words last week after telling some friends about how Pacific bonefish have no fight compared to their Atlantic cousins. While fishing with his friend Mike Ditomaso, Bergin put his rod with a hooked one-foot bonefish down momentarily so he could take a photo of Ditomaso's fish. After getting the shot, Bergin discovered that his bonefish had taken off with his rod and reel.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of Vista Sea Sport said the current at Cabo Pulmo was the strongest he's ever seen and it was making drift diving fun for his clients. "It has been easy to get close to all the sea life as we fly by in the current," Rayor said. Judging by his GPS readings, Rayor's numbers seemed to indicate a current speed in excess of 2 knots, going north. Cabo Pulmo water temperatures were 75 degrees at depth.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Bill Sumner of Newport Beach fished with a party of 12 at Hotel Punta Colorada and didn't get a chance to give his custom-made swivel circle hooks a fair test on billfish. Sumner did get a marlin with his speical Owner hooks, but only one. "My marlin was caught with one of my custom swiveled Owner 9/0 Super Mutu circle hooks. I cast a nose-hooked mackerel to a tailer. There was no hook set and, in particular, no gunning of the boat engine, at my request.
"The marlin was caught in the corner of the mouth, but not very deep. When we went to release the fish, the hook came out very easily. My guess is that if it had jumped a bit more, it probably could have thrown the hook. This suggests that even ultra sharp Owner Super Mutu circle hooks will need something of a hookset to work reliably with marlin."
Sumner's group found wide-open action on schoolie yellowfin tuna, but not enough marlin opportunities to do more testing. "However," he said, "I guess I can say that, so far, my swiveled circle hooks are batting 1000 with marlin, one for one."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: East Cape visitors and residents continued to report blatant poaching by commercial fishermen in the area. Last week's violations included wholesale commercial gathering of live conchs and lobster being openly sold to local restaurants by poachers.
LORETO, MEXICO: Jeff Chiate returned from an excellent trip with Arturo's Sportfishing. "Fishing was awesome, with limits of yellowtail for all 6 of us in the group," Chiate said. "We fished Pulpito the first day and Coronado Island the next 2 days.
"The yellowtail were 15 to 25 pounds and were caught on flylined mackerel and surface iron jigs. We also caught amberjack to 25 pounds, and many cabrilla, pargo and sierra. At Coronado Island there were boils from sunup until we left at 1 p.m." Chiate's group enjoyed good sea conditions and water temperatures of 75 to 78 degrees. He said dorado were also reported caught by other boats.
LORETO, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International relayed a report of a bewildering incident at the airport when a local official demanded that a group of departing anglers return to their hotel because their luggage had arrived in a separate vehicle. They were required to return to their hotel and come back to the airport in the same vehicle as their luggage, almost missing their plane due to the delay.
MULEGE, MEXICO: This summer, on Saturday, July 12, a very special pig roast will be held at Mulege's Hotel Serenidad to celebrate Don Johnson's "Forty Years in Mulege."
The well-known Johnson was a pioneer of Baja California's Golden Age during the 1950s and 1960s when remote fly-in resorts first opened up the peninsula to tourism.
Johnson bought a minor share in Mulege's old Loma Linda Hotel in 1961. In 1968, he acquired his first partnership interest in his family's legendary Hotel Serenidad, where he started the tradition of the famous "Saturday Night Pig Roast" that had planes arriving from all over the western United States.
At this July's special pig roast, Johnson will be feted by a large group of fly-in well wishers organized by Larry Hahn of El Paso, who has himself been flying to Baja for 52 years.
"The pig roast is going to be a lot of fun," Hahn said. "Just a good bunch of pilots and fishermen, getting together and telling old stories. It looks like we'll have at least 50 in our group, plus whoever else shows up.
"I have been wanting to do this for several years. I'm not going to be around forever, and I think most of my old flying buddies have gone to Baja heaven.
"I have been asked by many pilots how I lasted so long, and my answer is I'm the biggest chicken that ever flew an airplane. Many flights didn't happen, because of bad weather. That's the main reason.
"The real truth about Baja is that general aviation blazed the way for many hotels to stay open. As Colonel Gene Walters did at Rancho Buena Vista, Don Johnson built the Serenidad for small aircraft, and that was the way he was able to make it.
"The Flying Sportmen Lodge in Loreto with Ed Tabor was the same way. But Papa Diaz at L.A. Bay was the only reason most of us started to fly to Baja. I don't think he has ever been given enough credit for his part of early Baja."
MULEGE, MEXICO: Diana Johnson of the Hotel Serenidad said local pangas were catching 5 to 10 dorado per day, and the water temperature was 76 degrees. Some early sailfish were also caught, Johnson said.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Matt Quilter fished 5 days from his camp at San Francisquito and found slow action except on big numbers of shore caught spotted bay bass. "Had the place virtually to ourselves," Quilter said. "Bad news was so-so fishing, cool air and water temps, not much tidal movement.
"No surface action, and the bottom fishing was just not going off like usual. The resort's panga did score some yellowtail to about 18 pounds, but they were out of range of our tiny inflatable.
"I did stumble on some fabulous shore fishing. Late in the afternoons, I would slog up to the north point and cast the ultralight stuff over the rock and sand bottom in the corner. The action would turn on like a light switch just before dusk, and it was nonstop until you had to drag yourself away. Six-pound line with plastic was absolutely inhaled until I ran out. I then fished with a single 5/8-ounce Kroc for the rest of the trip. Mostly BIG spotties, as nice as I've ever caught. These were beautiful fish, very dark with brilliant orange and yellow bellies, not like when you pull them out of deep water.
"The last night was a real smorgasboard, 1 nice cabrilla, many sculpin, more great bass, a hogfish, a grunt and a barracuda. Hugely entertaining. Despite the slow fishing, this was a great trip."
Quilter also reported seeing thousands of possible small bonefish while shore casting at Playa San Rafael. Water temperatures averaged 64 degrees.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Fily "Ice Man" Espinoza of Tony Reyes Fishing Tours reported on a 6-day Midriff Islands trip by the San Felipe panga mothership Jose Andres, returning on May 9 with a catch of: 119 yellowtail, 18 to 28 pounds; 4 grouper, 35 to 65 pounds; 11 white seabass, 15 to 45 pounds; 109 cabrilla, 8 to 11 pounds; 100 squid, 20 to 35 pounds; 8 broomtail grouper, 8 to 11 pounds; 4 sheephead, 8 pounds; 2 shark, 9 to 10 pounds; and limits of spotted bay bass. Midriff water temperatures averaged 70 degrees.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: An earlier trip by the Jose Andres, returning to San Felipe on May 2, had a catch of: 85 yellowtail, 27 to 31 pounds; 1 grouper, 33 pounds; 31 cabrilla, 8 to 16.5 pounds; 1 squid, 35 pounds; 2 broomtail grouper, 12 pounds; 2 sheephead, 9 pounds; 71 spotted bay bass; and 1 mantaray, 40 pounds. Midriff water temperatures averaged 60 degrees.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: The results of the San Felipe local corvina tournament held May 2-3 were: First Place, Emilio Cotero Jr., 3.10 pounds; Second Place, Lorenzo Cotero, 3.90 pounds; Third Place, Emilio Cotero, 3.03 pounds; Fourth Place, Joaquin Madueña, 3.02 pounds; Fifth Place, Roberto Rocha, 3.00 pounds. Sixty-five anglers fished in pangas during the tournament.
The leading fish in the season-long panga mothership yellowtail/cabrilla tournament were: Yellowtail: First Place, Patric Turner 31.10 pounds; Second Place, Jeff Lessley, 20.3 pounds. Cabrilla: First Place, Russ Pfaff, 16.00 pounds; Second Place, Mike Colville, 14.00 pounds. The running tournament will award cash prizes for the largest fish brought in during the season by the four panga motherships.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Gustavo Velez of Baja Sportfishing, Inc. reported on a short Midriff Islands trip by the San Felipe panga mothership Erik, returning to San Felipe on May 8 with a curtailed catch of: 78 yellowtail, 12 to 30 pounds; 97 cabrilla, 12 to 20 pounds; 3 grouper, 20 to 46 pounds; 6 baqueta, averaging 40 pounds; 3 white seabass; and 130 miscellaneous species. The Erik's trip was shortened to tow the mothership Celia Angelina back to San Felipe after its prop was lost near Isla San Esteban, Velez said. The Erik fished at San Francisquito, Isla San Esteban, Isla Partida, Snake Island, and the Baja coastline.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Catalina Meders of San Felipe's Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said the weather was exemplary last week, and there was "some kind of marathon race going on, which I only know about because a whole bunch of extremely athletic, sweaty people just dashed around the corner with a Red Cross ambulance trailing them." There were lots of visitors in town, Meders said, and desert trees and flowers were laden with blossoms in the quickly warming air.
ROCKY POINT (PUERTO PENASCO), MEXICO: Dale Donaldson of Santiago's Ocean Services said fishing was very good in 120 feet of water, 18 to 20 miles west of town. Water temperatures averaged in the high-60s, and the catch was mainly grouper and white seabass.
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Local resident Bill Molden said some small dorado of 5 to 10 pounds were caught, but the water temperature was still only 70 to 72 degrees. Numerous striped marlin were sighted.
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Local visitors to San Carlos said about 15 to 25 marlin were being killed per day by small boats carrying no licensed anglers, and smoked marlin was being openly sold on the streets of Guaymas.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Aries Fleet out of Marina el Cid had an offshore catch including released fish of: 22 sailfish, 9 striped marlin, 9 yellowfin tuna, and 68 dorado. Inshore fishing was focused on red snapper and triggerfish. Mazatlan weather was in the high-80s, with water temperatures in the high-70s.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky of Ixtapa Sportfishing Charters said continued cooler water temperatures have brought "some incredible" yellowfin tuna action, but sailfish were still below par for the area. Lushinsky reported that more than 100 boats fishing in last week's International Billfish Tournament landed 36 sailfish, 3 marlin, and 4 dorado.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Local guide Ed Kunze said, "The yellowfin tuna are here in incredible quantities and the boats are getting some fantastic counts. Most of the action is only 3 to 8 miles out of Zihuatanejo Bay." One trip by Capt. Santiago on the panga Gitana landed 30 yellowfin and 1 sailfish, Kunze said, and several blue marlin were also landed within 5 miles of the beach. The blue marlin were coming close to shore, Kunze said, because of the abundance of black skipjack in the area.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the Fintastic Total Tag & Release Tournament added that the 30 yellowfin tuna reported by the Gitana averaged about 40 pounds each. Zihuatanejo weather was calm in the high-80s, with water temperatures of 75 to 80 degrees.