EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Strong winds, big surf, and torrential rain from Ignacio--Baja's first hurricane of the season--swept into the Sea of Cortez on Sunday morning, causing little damage up to that point, but closing ports and knocking out all fishing around southern Baja.
By Sunday afternoon, the eye of the hurricane was about 20 miles off East Cape, and Mark Rayor of Vista Sea Sport was able to send several dispatches during the peak of the storm.
At 4 p.m., Rayor reported, "Yup, roof tiles are flying. Washing machine just took a dump. We've been using it to spin towels so we can wipe up water being driven through the window and door jambs. I can see the glass doors and windows flex from the force of the wind. Yikes! We're having fun now! I've never seen anything like this!"
At 5:30 p.m., Rayor reported the worst seemed to have passed, and amazingly, his electrical power at Buena Vista had remained on, although other parts of East Cape were down. "Guess the electrical company knows I'm sending critical information to the news media, and they have been able to maintain our service," Rayor reported. "But, my tequila is dangerously low."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Hurricane Ignacio struck East Cape with winds estimated by local residents at 50 to 60 knots. The National Hurricane Center had forecast maximum wind strengths of about 100 m.p.h. On Sunday evening, the predicted storm path was straight up the Sea of Cortez, and the storm was moving north at about 5 knots.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: About noon Sunday, Chip Shapley of Rancho Leonero said winds were still "not much over 50 m.p.h." Shapley sent a number of photos of storm surf and crews putting up hurricane protection at the hotel. John Ireland of Rancho Leonero said, "No report this week, as Hurricane Ignacio passes through."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Earlier, Paul O'Hearn and his group fished 4 days from pangas out of Los Barriles: "Slow week. A couple of football yellowfin, a few 40 to 45-pound yellowfin, a couple 40-pound wahoo, an approximately 200-pound blue marlin released. Lots of skipjack if you wanted them. Not a single dorado. A few 5-pound barred pargo from shore. Slowest week I have ever had in Baja."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Tami Moyeous of Rancho Buena Vista said 15 boats had a catch including released fish of: 2 blue marlin 3 sailfish, 16 dorado, and 43 yellowfin tuna. Bill Osmun and his son Robby of Mission Viejo, CA fished with Capt. Oscar Vargas and deckhand Kiki, and Robby landed his first billfish, a 186-pound blue marlin.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chris Moyers of East Cape Smoke House reported on 196 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: 49 blue marlin, 13 striped marlin, 34 sailfish, 39 dorado, 245 yellowfin tuna, 8 wahoo, and 2 roosterfish. East Cape water temperatures were 84 to 88 degrees, with heavier seas, as Hurricane Ignacio approached. Fishing was generally slow and widely scattered in all directions.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Buena Vista Beach Resort reported on 62 boats with a catch including released fish of: 9 blue marlin, 5 striped marlin, 5 sailfish, 46 dorado, 153 tuna, 3 wahoo, 5 roosterfish, 11 snapper, 8 jack crevalle, 2 amberjack, 55 bonita, 1 yellowtail, 2 ladyfish, 3 pompano, and 3 cabrilla.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said good numbers of football tuna were caught a few miles off La Ribera, but they were deep, so were best fly caught on Clousers and Baja Deep Divers. "Cast as far as you can and let the line sink a long time," Graham said. Prior to the arrival of Hurricane Ignacio, beach fishing was tough in cloudy water.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Pepe Murrieta of Pepe's Dive Service said nurse sharks at Cabo Pulmo were so numerous, up to 10 were seen at a time: "The biggest I saw were about 12 feet from mouth to tail and 2 feet wide. Huge!"
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of Vista Sea Sport also reported continued sightings of at least 1 large tiger shark at the Cabo Pulmo reef.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Local residents reported an increase in near shore long line and gill net pressure between East Cape and La Paz. One visitor to the area said: "They keep adding more and more. On a calm day you can hop from one to another and never be out of sight of a buoy. Closer to shore, they are setting gill nets. They can be found all along the shoreline. Very sad."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: La Ribera resident George Bergin said the winning blue marlin in the recent town tournament weighed 84 kilos, not 48 kilos.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sergio Susarrey of Sergio's Sportfishing Center reported on 38 anglers with a catch of: 108 bonito, 11 yellowfin tuna, 39 bluefin tuna, 10 dorado, and 36 skipjack. Boats continued to fish 20 to 30 miles off Isla Todos Santos, Susarrey said, and local fishing continued good for bottom fish.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: At Vonny's Fleet, Ivan Villarino said pangas fishing the tip of Punta Banda caught limits of bonito, calico bass, and yellowtail. Weather was in the high-70s, with 2 to 4-foot swells and water temperatures averaging 64 degrees.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Louie Prieto and his son Sergio fished in front of the Marina Coral entrance on the Charro, and did well on sandbass. "We were tossing plastics tipped with squid to some boiler rocks and caught quite a few sandbass and a couple of calicos as well," Prieto said. "Started the morning at Punta Banda for a few nice calicos and decided to head across the bay to the University Point area. Weather was overcast and the water was pretty dirty."
ENSENADA, MEXICO: At Pescadores de Ensenada, 6-year-old club junior member Trevor Beard caught his second albacore ever aboard the family boat Blackbeard, in rough seas about 60 miles off Ensenada. Dad, Darryl Beard, said his son's only words were, "Somebody hand me a rod," and "Get the gaff."
Club president Steve Ross had more problems with his Luhrs 32, this time an offshore power failure: "She almost sank in the slip last month. This week, she's down from more issues." Ross also reported a 28-foot Skipjack that blew up, burned, and sank after buying bait and hitting the harbor rock jetty in fog. "Mike Richardson remarked that he could smell the burning fumes over the wall," Ross said.
PUERTO SANTO TOMAS, MEXICO: Paul Montgomery and Carlos Aguilar fished 2 days at Puerto Santo Tomas with Capt. Jorge Kamel and limited on lingcod and quality red rockfish, in cloudy 66-degree water. "Water conditions were not good," Montgomery said. "The trick was to use 5-inch glow white or red Scampis with a piece of squid or fresh mackerel strips. There were huge schools of bait in the water, but no signs of any surface fish."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: At Pedro's Pangas, Pete Hillis said boats fished every day last week and concentrated on yellowfin tuna, which were caught in two size ranges, 18 to 22 pounds, and about 40 pounds. Dorado to 22 pounds, and yellowtail to 25 pounds were also found on paddies. William Leach and sons Jeffrey and Jason of Temple City, CA limited on yellowtail, plus yellowfin tuna. San Quintin weather was in the low-80s with light winds, bright skies, and water temperatures up to 72 degrees.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Tony Marquez of Don Eddie's Landing said Friday was a good tuna day for anglers out of the hotel. On Saturday, wind arrived and knocked the tuna out, but lingcod and rock fish were still caught. A marlin, reported as a black marlin weighing 121 pounds, was caught 14 miles out on a heading of 210 degrees by Paul Grasham of Poway, CA, Marquez said. Grasham fished with Capt. Bear, who made 3 passes with a black-purple feather before the marlin hit. Allen Rice of West Covina, CA caught a 62-pound yellowfin tuna on a Mexican flag feather with Capt. Jorge.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Jim and Nancy Harer at the Old Mill Hotel were packed all week with anglers, motorcycle groups, and other vacationers, and boats were fishing daily for yellowfin tuna, yellowtail, and steady bottom fish.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Ethan Schaffer of Encinitas, CA and friends stayed at Cielito Lindo and had an excellent day with Gene Allshouse and San Quintin Sportfishing on the Pursuit: "The weather was incredibly nice. We ended up with 7 nice yellowfin, 1 dorado, 2 big yellows, and 2 skippies. Courtney Phalen caught her first fish in the ocean, a 25-pound yellowfin. Can't wait to go back again." Schaffer said they also enjoyed the Cielito Lindo's famous crab-paprika dinner.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly reported snook of 30 and 34 pounds, plus some smaller ones, caught in the mangroves. Red snapper, leopard grouper, and corvina were also active. On the Pacific, Graham said warming water temperatures were bringing bait balls, a precursor to the striped marlin pileup he'll be fishing with his Flyrod Marlin 101 trips in November. San Carlos weather was in the mid-80s, with water temperatures of 67 to 73 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: The port was closed by Hurricane Ignacio on Saturday and Sunday.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 56 boats with a catch including released fish of: 8 blue marlin 8 striped marlin, 3 sailfish, 33 dorado, 166 yellowfin tuna, 3 wahoo, 2 hammerhead shark, and 9 Humboldt squid.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Mike Hebert of Reel Easy Sportfishing said Cabo weather Sunday afternoon was rainy with wind gusts. Three boats chartered during the week had a catch including released fish of: 28 yellowfin tuna to 40 pounds and 1 dorado. Most of the fishing was on the Pacific side, from the lighthouse out to about 20 miles.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Picante Fleet, 4 boats had a catch including released fish of: 1 blue marlin, 2 striped marlin, 12 yellowfin tuna, 5 dorado, and 1 wahoo.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing reported on 5 boats with a catch including released fish of: 2 blue marlin to 200 pounds; 2 striped marlin to 120 pounds; 10 yellowfin tuna to 35 pounds; and 1 lost yellowfin tuna estimated at 180 pounds.
Landrum said rain was off and on through the week as Hurricane Ignacio approached from the south. Air temperatures were in the high-90s, with high humidity. Sea conditions prior to the arrival of the storm were flat, with water temperatures in the 80s. Fishing was variable for blue marlin to over 500 pounds, striped marlin, yellowfin tuna, and a few dorado. Inshore, some roosterfish to 40 pounds were caught along Pacific beaches.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Solmar Fleet reported on 87 boats chartered with a catch including released fish of: 19 striped marlin, 9 blue marlin, 5 sailfish, 18 dorado, 96 yellowfin tuna, 48 skipjack, 18 Humboldt squid, and 5 wahoo. Joe Romero of Los Angeles released a 400-pound blue marlin with Capt. Adelberto on the San Lucas VI.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Cortez Yacht Charters, Larry Edwards said Gaviota Fleet had a catch including released fish of: 7 blue marlin, 2 striped marlin, 2 sailfish, 8 dorado, 1 wahoo, and 63 yellowfin tuna. "The yellowfin tuna are still the primary focus of attention, with most of the fish in the 20 to 35-pound range, and an occasional fish to the 100-pound mark." Edwards said. About 50 percent of Gaviota Fleet boats caught billfish. The best action was on the Pacific side near the Jaime Bank.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet said 31 percent of boats caught billfish, and 74 percent landed all species combined. Top catches included James Karuskoph of Livingston, TX, who released 2 blue marlin aboard the Valerie, and kept a 280 pounder that died during the fight. "Notable this week was an absence of striped marlin," Ehrenberg said. "We caught just one. It looks like we have a good blue marlin season ahead of us."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson said on Sunday afternoon that the power was going on and off at La Playita, and the San Jose del Cabo estuary had broken through its shore berm and was flowing into the Cortez, avoiding a flood in the village. Winds were still over 30 knots, with intermittent heavy rain, but the storm surf appeared to be subsiding. Brictson said: "You could have actually launched a panga a couple of hours ago."
Earlier in the day, ocean swells were running to 15 feet or more, but conditions were rapidly improving. All pangas were off the beach.
Fishing earlier in the week produced some action on a variety of species, with water temperatures averaging about 85 degrees, and water clarity good.
"Large schools of bolito and skipjack are congregating offshore and several monster marlin were lost on these larger baits near the Gordo Banks and off Cero Colorado," Brictson said.
Beach anglers caught snook to 51.5 pounds near the estuary, plus several at 30 to 40 pounds, Brictson said. The snook hit mullet, sardina, and croaker baits, and also rubbertails and chrome spoons. "It's funny how, without fail, the snook become more active during times of high surf," Brictson said.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: At Palmilla Bay Sportfishing, Luis Duhart said, "no disasters this time," from Hurricane Ignacio. Earlier fishing with available sardina bait included some small tuna, dorado, and some marlin, mostly around the Gordo Banks. Wahoo were caught closer to shore.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International reported the port of La Paz closed by Hurricane Ignacio on Sunday afternoon.
On Friday, Roldan said, some pangas on the La Paz got into one of the hottest dorado bites of the season: "Working the west side of Espirito Santo, Capt. Chito, with John Benson from New Jersey and Mike Norris from Long Beach, found a floating log with a bird on it. For half-an-hour it was all-out turbo fishing with many releases until Chito called in the rest of our fleet. The log 'saved' the trip for a good number of anglers, who had been scratch fishing for days."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Snappy Zide also had good dorado fishing with Tail Hunter International: "Nonstop action. We got into the fish about 20 miles out, north of the island. It was like we were throwing our bait to only the largest. Total sight fishing, like nothing we have ever experienced."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: At Tortuga Sportfishing, Gerardo Hernandez said fishing was still slow on the Las Arenas side due to a lack of bait, although pangas were landing a couple of dorado per day, averaging 30 pounds. Las Arenas weather prior to the arrival of Hurricane Ignacio was in the low-100s, with thundershowers and afternoon winds from the south, and water temperatures averaging 85 degrees.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Mino Shiba of Mosquito Fleet was looking forward to Hurricane Ignacio bringing better dorado action to the La Paz side. On Saturday, he said, "The pangas did really good. Early limits on dorado. Lots of bait in the water." Shiba said some marlin were also released, and water temperatures were 85 to 87 degrees. At his San Evaristo camp, dorado were caught around Islas San Jose and San Francisco, and tuna of 40 to 80 pounds were caught at Isla Santa Cruz.
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company said on Sunday afternoon that winds from Hurricane Ignacio still had not arrived at Loreto, but she was closing the shop early to batten the hatches on her home: "Lots of folks took their boats out of the marina last night, but others are still fishing. The water is calm right now. I noticed, like Abundio (Rodriguez in King of the Moon) on his final day, that the sky was RED as the sun came up this morning."
LORETO, MEXICO: Earlier, Arturo Susarrey of Arturo's Sportfishing said weather was occasionally rough and rainy, and bait was difficult to find. Yellowtail were caught at Isla Monserrat during calm spells. "We suggest that clients be prepared to deal with very unstable weather, and little bait," Susarrey said. "Be certain that our captains will do their best, but they are not magicians. You need good luck and a lot of patience if you are planning to come these days!"
LORETO, MEXICO: Jeff Petersen said the carnaderos cooperativa had to outrun wind and rain back to the marina on 2 nights last week, and the surface water temperature had cooled to 80.1 degrees at the bait grounds. The main bait available was jurelito.
LORETO, MEXICO: Don Bear of Loreto and Mike Maxwell of Lakeside, CA fished 2 days with Capt. Paulino Martinez, for 15 dorado, of 15 to 35 pounds. "We went to the buoys 22 miles northeast of Loreto on a 018-degree heading," Bear said. "Our bait was primarily sardinas netted at the marina, although Mike had success with caballitos." Water conditions varied from flat to rough. Weather was hot and oppressive, and few pangas were fishing, Bear said.
LORETO, MEXICO: Rick Doepping of Rancho Palos Verdes and Sal Loenzetti of San Pedro had 2 very different days with Arturo's Sportfishing: "The first day was great. We scored limits of dorado. Two were 20 pounds and the other 2 were 27.5 pounds and 32 pounds. I also caught an estimated 80-pound sailfish, which we were able to release.
"The second day, after a 2-hour ride we fished for about 20 minutes and I hooked into a small sailfish, about 50-pounds. Unfortunately we had to keep it because of injuries. We trolled for another 15 minutes and the weather became so rough we had to head back. It took us 2 hours and 45 minutes to get back in."
MULEGE, MEXICO: Fly-in resident Ron Grant of Crestline, CA fished a week out of the Hotel Serenidad in hot weather with rain, lightning, and wind. "Got 3 full days on the water," Grant said. "Dorado hard to find. Only got 3 keepers, all in the same day. Lots of bonita, but little else."
Grant said the hotel runway dried out enough for his takeoff on Friday. Few tourists were in town, and the kitchen and bar of the hotel were closed.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Hugh Cobb of Oceanside, CA's Pacific Coast Bait & Tackle and his son Stephen fished with L.A. Bay guide Igor Galvan: "We decided to pass on the smallish yellows at the north end of Smith Island and instead focused entirely on dorado.
"After Monday night's hellish thunderstorm, the water was still a bit too rough to get out into the channel, so we hugged the shore and trolled live bait, going as far north as Alcatraz. We blanked on dodos, but picked some very nice leopard grouper.
"Wednesday, conditions much improved. We went south to Las Animas Bay and found the dorado along the south edge. Trolling live bait, Steve and I caught 12 dorado of respectable size, keeping none because my freezer is already loaded! We also had fun with a few skipjack and leopards. It was a brief trip, but a good one."
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Abraham Vazquez of L.A. Bay's Camp Gecko said dorado averaged about 2 fish per boat, but some boats did much better when they found weeds or scum lines, generally out in the main channel, or south toward Las Animas. Water clarity was good. Small yellowtail were active at Soldado and Coronadito. Mackerel bait was scarce. L.A. Bay weather was hot in the mid-90s, with some storms bringing rain and 60 m.p.h. winds. Water temperatures were 81 to 86 degrees in the channel and 83 degrees in the bay.
Vazquez said 2 commercial boats with 2 mile-long nets attempted to sell tons of illegal dorado in the village. Several dozen dead dolphin found in the bay were thought to have been killed in the nets, which were being set to a depth of 120 feet.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Local guide Ruben Daggett was recovering from minor injuries sustained in a roll-over truck accident near Colonet, Vazquez said.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Bob Castellon of Sea of Cortez Sportfishing reported on a 6-day Midriff Islands trip by the panga mothership Celia Angelina, returning to San Felipe with 14 anglers on Aug. 21 with a catch of: 115 yellowtail, 73 cabrilla, 9 dorado, 2 grouper to 40 pounds, 32 Humboldt squid, and 400 spotted bay bass and miscellaneous fish.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Filiberto "Fily" Espinoza of Tony Reyes Fishing Tours reported on a 6-day Midriff Islands trip by the panga mothership Jose Andres, returning to San Felipe on Aug. 22 with a catch of: 135 yellowtail, 20 to 33 pounds; 6 grouper, 30 to 38 pounds; 55 dorado, 18 to 21.5 pounds; 4 white seabass, 10 to 12.5 pounds; 17 cabrilla, 8 to 12 pounds; 52 red snapper, 9 to 16 pounds; 6 broomtail grouper, 14 to 20.8 pounds; 4 sheephead, 6 to 8 pounds; limits of spotted bay bass; and 4 shark, 9 to 14 pounds. Four grouper of 20 to 23 pounds were also released. Midriff water temperatures were 75 to 80 degrees.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At Puertecitos, Craige Harvey of El Centro fished with Erik McElvany on McElvany's 22-foot boat, Ronda B, and had quite a day on shark: "The weather was perfect with glassy conditions and clear blue water that was up to 86.2 degrees, but the only thing we could manage were a bunch of skippies in about the 10-pound range on the reefs and a few small ribera and flag cabrilla and some triggers near the islands.
"The highlight of the trip was a pack of either silky or bronze whaler sharks that swarmed under the boat feeding on the skippies we hooked, some going about 10 feet or so.
"After getting the treatment on our 'light' gear we decided to rig up our 60 and 80-pound 2-speeds with some 80-pound wire leader and preceded to get ruined! Got broke off 5 times before Erik finally managed to get one to stick and about 25 minutes later we released about an 80 pounder. I couldn't believe how fast and powerful these fish were! All in all, it was a nice quick trip down old Baja!"
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Tadeo Hernandez of Flota Bibi Fleet said few anglers were in Mazatlan and many had canceled due to the passing of Hurricane Ignacio. Four offshore boats had a catch including released fish of: 12 sailfish and a 42-pound dorado. Two inshore boats caught good numbers of red snapper, flamenco snapper, and triggerfish. Hernandez said few visitors are expected during the peak tropical storm month of September.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Local guide Ed Kunze said 82-degree, blue water is right at the entrance to Zihuatanejo Bay, but the fishing was slightly down, as boats averaged about 1 or 2 sailfish per day. Smaller blue marlin, averaging 160 pounds were still feeding on abundant skipjack tuna, and about 1 per day was being brought in. Very few dorado were caught. Roosterfish were abundant in the 30 to 40-pound range. Boats were averaging about 4 to 5 per day, Kunze said.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky of Ixtapa Sportfishing Charters said Ixtapa weather was hazy and hot, with calm to moderate seas. Warren Powell fished 2 days on the Dos Hermanos for a catch including released fish of: 3 sailfish, 5 yellowtail jack, 6 bonito, and 4 needlefish.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly reported Zihuatanejo weather in the low-90s, with water temperatures of 75 to 90 degrees.