Two more hurricanes threaten Baja fishing areas

Mexico Fishing News, October 6, 2003



LORETO, MEXICO: Incredibly, two more hurricanes were approaching southern Baja California almost simultaneously on Sunday afternoon, following in the recent wakes of Hurricanes Ignacio and Marty.

Hurricane Olaf was expected to narrowly miss Baja and enter the Sea of Cortez on Tuesday night. However, Olaf's forecasted path also included the possibility of making landfall at Los Cabos.

A second hurricane, Nora, was expected to make landfall near Todos Santos and cross over the Baja peninsula to East Cape about 24 hours later. Never before in recorded history has Baja ever been struck by more than one hurricane during an entire season.

Over the weekend, the predicted paths of both hurricanes shifted eastward, and there was a possibility that continued shifting might cause one or both storms to miss Baja and hit the Mexican mainland between Mazatlan and Guaymas. The National Hurricane Center also posed the possibility of some kind of difficult to predict interaction between the storms--only 500 miles apart on Sunday afternoon--that could affect their intensity or cause their paths to change.

LORETO, MEXICO: At Loreto, Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company was keeping a very sharp and nervous eye on internet hurricane reports over the weekend, as the town continued to clean up heavy damage from Hurricane Marty: "I'm looking at Olaf and Nora, and I may move my inventory and equipment to my house! I'm ready to receive a cappuccino machine in like 20 minutes! La Paz has already taken a beating and this may be disastrous!! I'm actually pretty darned scared right now."

LORETO, MEXICO: Ana Benziger of the Hotel Oasis said boats landed roosterfish to 20 pounds, yellowtail to 18 pounds, and cabrilla to 19 pounds, fishing with mackerel bait mostly north of Isla Coronado. Water temperatures averaged 85 degrees. An international sky diving event was scheduled Oct. 7-10, Benziger said, and her parents, well-known hotel founders Bill and Gloria Benziger were doing fine.

LORETO, MEXICO: Gregorio Segoviano of the Carnaderos baitsellers cooperativa said the night-fishing pangas caught over 200 mackerel on Friday night, during a spell of cooler water. Jurelito were expected again as soon as the water warms up. The bait pangas were leaving the dock nightly at about 8:30 p.m. and Segoviano invited people to come down and visit.

LORETO, MEXICO: Loreto resident Jeff Petersen has been night fishing with the carnaderos for pargos, large eels, and other species. Bait boats were fishing with cut bait for mackerel around Isla Coronado in 60 feet of water. Last week more than 20 sport boats bought bait, Segoviano said, compared to half that number the previous week.

LORETO, MEXICO: Loreto resident Don Bear said the highway was mostly in good shape as far north as San Ignacio, except for some spots with dirt fill requiring very low speed. Some other spots were undermined to a one-lane width, but were passable with caution. Local pangueros reported very few dorado, Bear said.

LORETO, MEXICO: At Villas de Loreto, Wendy Wilchynski said the few anglers at the hotel did well, although business was still slow following Hurricane Marty.

In other mainland Mexico and Baja fishing action this week:



ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sergio Susarrey of Sergio's Sportfishing Center reported on 177 anglers with a catch of: 185 yellowtail, 29 bonito, 84 barracuda, 22 calico bass, 1 white seabass, 628 lingcod, 1,206 rockcod, 143 whitefish, 46 sheephead, 1 salmon grouper, and 417 red snapper.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: At Lily Fleet, Sammy Susarrey said fishing was very good at Punta Banda Bank and Maximino Reef for bottom fish and white seabass to 30 pounds. San Jose Reef produced yellowtail, barracuda, and bonito.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Werner Hradecky reported an excellent day on his boat Scott's Johnny out of San Diego, landing albacore limits for 5 people on Thursday at GPS numbers 31.38 and 117.55, north to 32.07 and 117.48. Hradecky also reported a few yellowfin tuna and catch-and-release yellowtail action on kelp. The albacore were found in 67.2-degree water.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: At Vonny's Fleet, Ivan Villarino reported Punta Banda weather with cloudy mornings in the low-60s, ocean swells of 2 to 3 feet, and water temperatures averaging 64 degrees. On Sunday, Rick Barboza of Costa Mesa, CA caught limits of yellowtail, rockcod, lingcod, barracuda, and a nice 22-pound halibut on the Vonny I. Earlier, limits of bottom fish continued for all pangas, including lingcod and sheephead caught by Ernie Martines of Fontana, CA and Aaron Medina of West Covina, CA on the Vonny III.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Steve Ross of Pescadores de Ensenada at Marina Coral had the results of the recent Mexican Independence Day club tournament: First Place, Judy Ostberg, Melody, albacore, 35.5 pounds; Second Place, Andreas Montes, Melody, albacore 35.0 pounds; Third Place, Juan Lu Cardenas, Bad Dog, albacore, 34 pounds; Fourth Place, Mel Ostberg, Melody, albacore, 33 pounds; Fifth Place, Gail Ross, Bad Dog, albacore, 32 pounds; Sixth Place, Jim Chavez Sr., Los Pangueros, lingcod, 14 pounds; Jackpot Cash Winner, Juan Lu Cardenas, Bad Dog, albacore, 34 pounds. Ross said the albacore were caught at the 213 Spot in 67.5-degree blue water. The awards banquet and raffle were held at El Pelicanos. Several club boats were preparing for a 5-day trip south to Isla San Martin.



SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Capt. Kelly Catian of El Capitan Sportfishing said he was catching some halibut in the bay and yellowtail at Isla San Martín, "if you can get through the seals!" Lots of bonito and barracuda were at Ben's Rock, and very good fishing for calico bass was found south of the boca. A few boats looked offshore for tuna but found only skipjack. Water temperatures averaged 68 degrees 25 miles offshore, and 63 to 64 degrees closer in, and San Quintin weather was basically calm with ocean swells of 4 to 5 feet.

SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas had 15 boats out during the week, for scratchy results on yellowfin tuna 12 to 20 miles off the point on a heading of 240 degrees. Hillis said boats averaged 2 to 4 tuna each. Yellowtail action was good at Isla San Martin and Ben's Rock, and limits continued for anglers fishing the bottom.

SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Earlier, Paul Lopez of El Centro, reported on a so-so tuna trip with Rudy Lopez, John Ryan, and Roy Erlandson: "We arrived at the Old Mill around 10:30 p.m. and found our room number on a note tapped to the office door. Rooms were nice and clean, 4 single beds, and a huge bathroom, $60 a night.

"At 6 a.m., we walked around the hotel to Pedro's pangas to meet Pete. We loaded our gear on the Romey a nice boat with a single diesel engine, $285 plus $35 fuel surcharge if we wanted to chase tuna.

"We made bait very easy, 15 minutes max. We went looking for yellowfin tuna. Unfortunately all we found was skipjack and lots of them. The seas were rough and windy. We decided to fish inside for lings. We caught nice-size lingcod, 8 to 12 pounds. They were eating the mackerel very good.

"Back on the Romey for Day 2. The seas were much better. First we went for lingcod. The lingcod were biting good. We trolled small CD 14 Rapalas near San Martin island for multiple hookups on big bonita. We put the trolling feathers in on the tuna grounds and were almost instantly hooked up with more skipjack. Skipjack after skipjack were caught and released. We did manage to get 2 yellowfin tuna, small ones about 15 pounds."

SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: At Don Eddie's Landing, Amy Ferreira said fishing was steady on yellowtail, bonita, barracuda, and very abundant bottom fish. Ray Hernandez caught yellowtail of 22 and 24 pounds, Jesse Alcantar caught an 18-pound yellowtail and 10 lingcod to 18 pounds, and Bob Inger landed 4 lingcod to 16 pounds, 15 bonita to 8 pounds, and 15 red rockfish. John Baker caught a 41-pound white seabass at El Socorro. Tony Marquez and Tony Harris went out 35 miles looking for new fishing spots and came back with 75 red rockfish to 7 pounds, 20 lingcod to 24 pounds, and 4 sheephead.



MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham said dorado and striped marlin counts were increasing about 7 to 25 miles outside the entrada on headings of 240 to 270 degrees. Yellowtail and skipjack were active under birds at the entrada. San Carlos weather was in the high-80s, with water temperatures of 60 to 78 degrees. Steve Abel of Abel Reels said cancellations created 4 spaces on his early December offshore fly fishing charter for marlin, tuna, wahoo, and dorado, 805-484-8789.



CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Boats at the tip of Baja enjoyed a week of good weather between storms, and fishing action was variable on all species.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Solmar Fleet reported on 89 boats with a catch including released fish of: 18 striped marlin, 2 sailfish, 1 blue marlin, 4 black marlin, 49 dorado, and 119 yellowfin tuna to 140 pounds. Most Solmar boats fished on the Pacific side, and the fleet's top boat was the Solmar II with Capt. Javier Abaroa, with a week's catch of 4 striped marlin, 1 blue marlin, 11 dorado, and 33 yellowfin tuna.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 96 boats with a catch including released fish of: 6 blue marlin, 22 striped marlin, 10 sailfish, 135 yellowfin tuna, 102 dorado, 4 wahoo, and 1 shark.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Picante Fleet reported on 8 boats with a catch including released fish of: 5 striped marlin, 1 blue marlin, 18 yellowfin tuna, 8 dorado, and 3 sailfish.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing reported on 4 boats with a catch including released fish of: 1 striped marlin, and 15 yellowfin tuna to 80 pounds. During the previous week, 5 boats had a catch including released fish of: 2 striped marlin, 3 sailfish, 8 yellowfin tuna to 35 pounds, 1 wahoo, 3 dorado, and 1 mako shark.

Landrum reported Cabo weather as sunny and humid in the mid-90s, with water temperatures of of 85 to 87 degrees.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Gaviota Fleet had a catch including released fish of: 5 blue marlin, 9 sailfish, 17 striped marlin, 1 wahoo, and 147 yellowfin tuna to 85 pounds. Gaviota Fleet fished mainly at the Jaime Bank on the Pacific side, Cabo Falso, and out to the 95 Spot. Edwards said the Fish Cabo had 6 hot outings with a catch including released fish of: 3 blue marlin, 4 striped marlin, 1 sailfish, 2 dorado, 6 yellowfin tuna, and 3 wahoo.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Grant Hartman of Baja Anglers said, "The fishing is inconsistent right now. Some days are better than others. We have plenty of debris floating around from the storm, but the dorado have yet to show up in any numbers."



SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said life at La Playita was returning to normal as the cleanup continued following Hurricane Marty. Offshore results were mixed on all species, and the best available action was at the Outer Gordo Bank, although Brictson said, "the numbers of fish were not significant." Yellowfin tuna to 150 pounds were caught on chunked skipjack, sardina, and bolito, but fishing with hoochies was slow. A lack of bait fish and dirty water near shore continued to reduce the catch.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: San Jose resident Bob Grimes commented on the Mexican government's recent decisions to subsidize fuel and equipment for commercial panga fishermen, in an effort to increase their catches, which are in decline due to overfishing in many areas: "The money goes to buy more gill nets, pangas, gas, etc., so that the few remaining fish, often immature fish who have not had a chance to reproduce, can be caught."



EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of Vista Sea Sport reported excellent diving conditions as Baja Sur braced for yet another hurricane, and possibly two: "Looks like Olaf and Nora are trying to create the perfect storm right on top of Los Cabos. Fasten your seat belts! This could be an E-Ticket ride!" Meanwhile, Rayor said, diving conditions at Cabo Pulmo showed 70-foot visibility, 82 degree water, and continued heavy concentrations of sea life. A large swell arrived on Saturday, possible an early sign of the approach of Hurricane Olaf.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Buena Vista Beach Resort reported on 62 boats with a catch including released fish of: 5 blue marlin, 5 striped marlin, 40 sailfish, 20 dorado, 146 tuna, 1 roosterfish, 1 bonita, 1 pompano, and 10 skipjack. Water temperatures were 81 to 83 degrees, as boats fished 10 to 15 miles out.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Tami Muoyeus of Rancho Buena Vista reported on 50 boats with a catch including released fish of: 4 striped marlin, 5 blue marlin, 41 sailfish, 18 dorado, and 149 tuna. Muoyeus said about Hurricane Marty, "Cleanup is pretty much complete. The beach is all pretty again. Still waiting for replacement windows for a few rooms."

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chris Moyers of East Cape Smoke House reported for 69 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: 5 blue marlin, 6 striped marlin, 58 sailfish, 40 dorado, and 229 yellowfin tuna. Water temperatures as high as 89 degrees were reported as boats fished 10 to 25 miles straight out and south. Yellowfin tuna were mostly 20 to 40 pounds.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Baja On The Fly, Gary Graham said the inshore bite was still hampered by dirty water and continued runoff coming down the arroyos after Hurricane Marty. Fishing near the outflows produced small jacks, roosterfish, lookdowns, and bonefish.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: John Ireland of Rancho Leonero called it, "a decent bite for the week, with quality tuna, lots of sailfish, dorado, and wahoo, with some blue marlin mixed in. The best sailfish bite this year, with all boats catching at least 1 per day."

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Several reports were received by local residents of continued gas and diesel shortages at the Los Barriles Pemex station. Residents questioned why all other stations in the area were pumping normally except for Los Barriles.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Earlier, Rod Albright of Los Barriles returned from a trip to La Paz, and sent a road report: "The road is open with a few precautions. An earthen bridge has been built over the first arroyo north of Los Barriles. Other dirt patches have been constructed. The city looks good. We found no shortage of supplies, although some areas are still in need of road repair. I have some friends that have just driven down Baja with little or no delays. They reported some washouts and potholes but the road passable."



LA PAZ, MEXICO: As La Paz waited yet another big storm, Gerardo Hernadez of Tortuga Sportfishing said pangas did well on the Las Arenas side. There was plenty of sardina bait, and water temperatures were 82 to 84 degrees at Isla Cerralvo. In addition to lots of squid, boats had good catches of yellowfin tuna of 40 to 60 pounds, plus a lot of dorado, pargo, huachinango, sierra, sailfish, and amberjack. "We have a lot of fish, mucho calamar," Herandez said. "Fishing is good. Many surprises."

LA PAZ, MEXICO: Mino Shiba of Mosquito Fleet said dorado numbers on the La Paz side were slightly down, but the average size of the fish was up to 25 or 35 pounds, caught mostly around small weed patches and debris from Hurricane Marty. Humboldt squid of 10 to 25 pounds were caught on heavy jigs, and some larger tuna were caught at La Reina at the north end of Isla Cerralvo. Shiba said he has postponed his winter trips to his San Evaristo camp because of the washed out road.

LA PAZ, MEXICO: At Tail Hunter International, Jonathan Roldan said the outer waters on both sides of the hill were clear and blue, and consistent dorado fishing was found by pangas. "On the Las Arenas side, there has been a debris zone full of tree branches, roots, grass and other flotsam washed out to sea by the storm," Roldan said. "The entire area has scattered dorado as well as some sailfish and striped marlin throughout."

LA PAZ, MEXICO: La Paz resident Betty Hill-Crofoot reported 3 dolphin deaths in the very shallow captive pens adjacent to La Concha Beach Resort: "No official report at this time as to what happened but all kinds of conjecture. Polluted water, infection, or stress, due to not being able to get out to sea and away from Hurricane Marty's wrath."

Hill-Crofoot fished on her boat the WICO, and reported good dorado fishing on feathers and sardina, both in open water and on near shore storm debris. Two storm-wrecked sailboats were seen on the south end of Isla Espiritu Santo, and La Concha Beach Resort was expected to reopen with partial services within a week.

LA PAZ, MEXICO: Joanne Barnes of El Centenario reported sunken boats still being cleared at Marina de la Paz.

LA PAZ, MEXICO: Tim Stemwedel of Fresno and La Paz said the airport recorded winds of 118 m.p.h. during Hurricane Marty. Schools of sardina were seen inside Ensenada de los Muertos, and large jacks and roosterfish were chasing bait near shore at Pichilingue. Stemwedel said one sailboat in Marina de la Paz broke loose during the hurricane and sailed itself out to wreck on Isla Espiritu Santo.



MULEGE, MEXICO: Diana Johnson of the historic Hotel Serenidad said the hotel is back in full operation after the summer vacation, and lots of guests were beginning to arrive, including Baja Bush Pilots, Flying Samaritans, and Flying Doctors. Some dorado, yellowtail, and cabrilla were caught locally, and pangas caught grouper at Isla Tortuga. Mulege weather was improving.



BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Abraham Vazquez of Camp Gecko at Bahía de los Angeles said local water temperatures averaged 82 degrees, and there were mosquitos around. With weather about 90 degrees, and no wind to speak of, fishing for dorado was slowing down. Only a few stragglers were caught, plus some small 12 to 15-pound yellowtail on the backside of Isla Horsehead. Whale sharks have shown up at the south end of the bay.



SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Filiberto "Fili" Espinoza of Tony Reyes Fishing Tours said the panga mothership Jose Andres returned to San Felipe on Oct. 3 with a catch of: 326 yellowtail, 18 to 25 pounds; 1 grouper, 45 pounds; 9 dorado, 18 to 35 pounds; 5 white seabass, 58 to 65 pounds; 56 cabrilla, 8 to 14 pounds; 35 red snapper, 8 to 12 pounds; 7 broomtail grouper, 10 to 12 pounds; 2 sheephead, 6 to 8 pounds, 297 spotted bay bass; and 1 shark, 65 pounds. One grouper of 20 pounds was released, and Midriff water temperatures averaged 80.5 degrees.

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Ralph Strahm of Holtville, CA made a quick trip, flying down to Alfonsina's on Gonzaga Bay, and he fished a couple of hours at Isla San Luis and the reef south of Punta Bufeo for grouper to 7 to 10 pounds, corvina, sierra, and pompano. "I only saw one other sport fishing boat this time," Strahm said. "The locals were talking up Punta Final, but that will have to wait."

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At San Felipe, Catalina Meders of the Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said cooler weather and lots of flying bugs followed the passing of Hurricane Marty.

Meders said some commercial pangueros' wives reported a disastrous beginning to the shrimp season, with boats that normally catch 80 kilos per day lucky to return with 10 kilos. This followed the demonstrations and bitterness over the closure of the Alto Golfo Biosphere Reserve.

Concomitantly, Meders reported a sharp increase in burglaries, with some even occurring while people slept in their houses. "A friend of ours was hit 10 days ago. He was asleep in the bedroom. He didn't hear a thing. Several people on his block were hit. He told us that the army came in, and were searching up and down the street with rifles at the ready."



SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Local resident Bill Molden said fishing picked up last week with yellowfin tuna limits of 20 to 30 pounds and dorado of 30 to 40 pounds, caught in all directions, about 15 to 20 miles out.

SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Vince Radice of the Sonora Sport Center added: "Been catching some tuna up here. Somehow, they escaped the big commercial boats."



MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said the bite was "fantastic" but very few anglers were enjoying it. Aries Fleet at Marina el Cid sent out only 6 boats, but they had a catch including released fish of: 19 sailfish, 1 striped marlin, 1 blue marlin, 4 dorado, 9 yellowfin tuna, and 3 mako shark. "It's better than a 3-billfish per boat day," Edwards said. Mazatlan weather was sunny in the low-90s, and the best fishing was 23 to 35 miles southwest of Marina el Cid.



IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the Fintastic Total Tag & Release Tournament said, "Things are very slow, very few boats fishing at this time. Many of the captains have pulled their boats for the annual painting."

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Local guide Ed Kunze said, nevertheless, that 84-degree blue water was holding bait and game fish in very calm weather. Only 2 or 3 boats per day were fishing, and an "incredible" roosterfish bite was going totally ignored, Kunze said. For offshore boats, about 1 to 2 sailfish per day were being caught, plus some 30 to 35-pound dorado.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: At Ixtapa Sportfishing Charters, Stan Lushinsky said inshore fishing was red hot on big schools of roosterfish and yellowtail jacks all along the coast. Capt. Adolofo also reported dorado, sailfish, and 2 blue marlin close to shore.

Fish Photo 1

YIKES!--The La Playita panga launching beach at San Jose del Cabo was covered with massive debris during Hurricane Marty. Shown here is what was left of the fish fillet station of Gordo Banks Pangas. Photo courtesy Eric Brictson.

Fish Photo 1

PUNTA BANDA FLATTIE--Rick Barboza of Costa Mesa, CA caught limits of yellowtail, rockcods, lingcod, barracuda, and this nice 22-pound halibut, fishing at Ensenada on Vonny Fleet's panga Vonny I. Photo courtesy Ivan Villarino.

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TOURNAMENT PRIZE WINNER--This 34-pound albacore caught by Juan Lu Cardenas aboard Bad Dog was the First Place Cash Jackpot fish in the Pescadores de Ensenada Mexico Independence Day Big Fish Tournament. Photo courtesy Steve Ross.

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HITCHHIKING YACHTS--This big ferryboat, operated by Yacht Path International, has delivered 6 boats to La Paz to participate in the AutoExotica-Bisbee's fishing tournaments. The Bisbee's Express is a round-trip yacht delivery service operating between Ft. Lauderdale, FL and La Paz.

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MARTY'S AFTERMATH--Marina de la Paz was still recovering last week from the damage caused by recent Hurricane Marty. Photo courtesy Tim Stemwedel.

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LAS ARENAS BEACH--Mike and Larry Luberto's group, led by Jonathan Roldan (kneeling), from San Jose, CA had a good day south of La Paz with Tail Hunter International on lots of dorado and giant squid. Photo courtesy Jonathan Roldan.

Fish Photo 1

LORETO NIGHTS--Jeff Petersen has been fishing at night with the Carnaderos baitsellers' cooperativa at Loreto, and they've been catching a lot more than mackerel. Shown here is carnadero Augustine Davis with a pargo mulato caught near Isla Coronado. Photo courtesy Jeff Petersen.

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