Winter winds blowing in Baja fishing areas

Mexico Fishing News, November 24, 2003



EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Winter-style winds limited fishing opportunities for most of the Sea of Cortez last week.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Jim Lenthal of Los Frailes described the rough conditions: "Wind, wind, and more wind. Since we fish only from beach-launched boats it was impossible to do anything but enjoy the warm weather.

"We had as many as 32 power and sailboats holed up at Frailes waiting for the wind and seas to subside before they could continue their cruising northward."

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Barnes-Webb of Rancho Leonero said, "Early winter conditions prevail. On calm days, yellowfin tuna to 40 pounds and dorado to 35 pounds were taken, and a number of sailfish were released." Light tackle anglers also scored on sierra in numbers.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Buena Vista Beach Resort reported on 12 boats with a catch including released fish of: 2 striped marlin, 2 sailfish, 2 dorado, 11 tuna, and 7 bonita. Most boats were running upwind to fish from Punta Pescadero north to El Cardonal, about 12 to 15 miles off shore. The tuna were found feeding on small squid and sardina, together with spotted dolphin in that area. Inshore fishing was limited by wind.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chris Moyers of East Cape Smokehouse reported on 86 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: 2 blue marlin, 2 striped marlin, 12 sailfish, 40 dorado, 186 yellowfin tuna, 13 pargo, 1 wahoo, and 1 roosterfish. East Cape weather was in the mid-80s, with water temperatures of 76 to 80 degrees.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said winds chased all but the hardest-core fly anglers off the water. "The ride out in the mornings was bearable but the few tuna and billfish caught were hardly worth the wet ride home," Graham said. On the beaches, some ladyfish and smaller jacks were caught as far south as Punta Colorada, and a few sierra were found at La Ribera.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Baja Beach Capt. Mike Reichner said he used his favorite Luhr Jensen Stingers and Rapala Countdowns from the beach for good catches of sierra, including a couple of 4 pounders, just as it got light enough to see in front of Hotel Punta Colorada. "Also nailed a 6-pound jack and a Mexican lookdown," Reichner said. A couple of 15-pound class pargo were caught by locals in front of the hotel with handlines and cut bait.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of the Vista Sea Sport dive service said winds were making it difficult to get boats down to Cabo Pulmo, but water temperatures at depth on the reef were holding at 79 degrees, with good visibility.

In other mainland Mexico and Baja fishing action this week:



ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet reported continued yellowtail and good bottom fishing for pangas at the tip of Punta Banda. Lester Ellet and George Ambrose of Whittier, CA fished with Capt. Beto on the Vonny I for 3 yellowtail of 25 to 30 pounds, plus bottom fish.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Don Fagan of Ensenada found slow action at the end of the week between the harbor and Islas Todos Santos: "Fished several spots. Trolled back in. Between four of us we boated only about 15 fish. Rockcod, a couple of cabrilla, and one sculpin. Nothing on the troll." Fagan reported wind by 8:30 a.m., and ocean swells "rockin' and rollin'."

ENSENADA, MEXICO: At Lily Fleet, Sammy Susarrey said boats found good fishing for cowcod and big red snapper at Punta Banda Bank, in water temperatures averaging 61 degrees. A guided private boat fished 200 feet deep at Maximino Reef for good results on bass and lingcod.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sergio Susarrey of Sergio's Sportfishing Center reported on 36 anglers with a catch of: 44 yellowtail, 62 bonito, 146 lingcod, 77 whitefish, 73 sheephead, 56 red snapper, and 2 salmon grouper.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Earlier, Steve Ross of Pescadores de Ensenada reported the Bad Dog at Punta Banda Bank with 4 large bocaccio, 4 red rockfish, and 4 lingcod. Ross and Juan Lu Cardenas fished with live sardines from Mike's bait barge.



PUERTO SANTO TOMAS, MEXICO: Sam Saenz of Puerto Santo Tomas Resort said the weather was beautiful on Sunday and the ocean was calm, after a period of wind and "huge rolling waves." One panga fished in rough conditions on Saturday and found bottom fish limits of rockcod, lingcod, and whitefish, plus a 30-pound halibut caught about half-a-mile from the village by Jim Ellis of Palm Springs, CA.



SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas said he had 10 boats out during the week, landing yellowtail to 20 pounds and limits of large lingcod, whitefish, and rockcod, plus a halibut caught at the mouth of the bay.

SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Lorenzo Biedeback of Campo Lorenzo reported San Quintin weather as windy and cold, with some rain, and water temperatures at 59 degrees. Ray Williams of Campo Lorenzo and Don Dickson of Fallbrook, CA landed a 71-pound white seabass, and their catch was witnessed by local white seabass king, John Bakerink. "What a monster!" Biedeback said. "I'll send a photo soon. I'm sure John will want one for his wall! Ha ha! John was fishing next to Ray's boat and had to see the whole thing go down."

SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Julio Meza of San Quintin said he had slow fishing on the maiden launch of his new boat: "We tried for tunas, a long ride to test the boat. We trolled 25 miles out of Cabo San Quintin, hitting the 240 Spot for 6 small skipjacks on feathers and Rapalas. Blue water, nice with flying fish and porpoise everywhere, but no tunas." Meza reported outside water temperatures at 64.5 degrees.

SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Steve Drogin of La Jolla ran his boat Destiny to the north end of Isla Guadalupe on Nov. 18 and his crew member Doug Wagner caught a 35-pound yellowfin tuna wearing a satellite tag with a $500 reward from the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. "Doug caught the tuna with 4 great white sharks circling," Drogin said. "The fish was actually caught from our inflatable, about 200 yards from Destiny." Drogin said he took the tag home, where it was to be picked up this week by a commission representative who was also bringing his $500 check.

SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Earlier, Capt. Kelly Catian of El Capitan Sportfishing said some large bonito and lingcod to over 20 pounds were caught at the 240 Spot. Phil Phillips caught a 32-pound white seabass about one-quarter mile from the boca, using a live mackerel and 2-ounce sliding sinker. Sand bass, rockfish, very large barracuda, and a few yellowtail were caught south of the bay.



MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said offshore boats found slow action: "Few birds and bait. Best single day's catch I have heard of lately was not even double-digits for billfish. Unusual for the area this time of year." Graham said a few striped marlin were caught about 40 miles outside Punta San Lazaro, and the weather was improving by Sunday.

Action in the mangroves was much better on corvina, pompano, grouper, and a few small snook, plus some good catches of small yellowtail under birds at the entrada and outside Bahia Santa Maria. San Carlos weather was hazy in the high-70s with water temperatures down to about 70 degrees at the entrada.

MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of East Cape's Vista Sea Sport dive service fished in the Riviera Boat tournament. "Fishing was really tough. The weather was not very cooperative," Rayor said. Rayor's boat had the most billfish in the tournament, with 5 striped marlin and 1 sailfish in 2 days of fishing, "a far cry from last year when the boat got 16 on the first day, or 2 years ago when we got 11 in one day." Rayor said many offshore boats were fishing the area and he counted more than 30 at anchor in Bahia Santa Maria.



CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing reported on 7 boats with a catch including released fish of: 1 blue marlin, 240 pounds; 3 striped marlin; 1 sailfish; 8 dorado; and 19 yellowfin tuna of 8 to 50 pounds. Cabo weather was windy and swelly on some days, in the high-80s, with water temperatures of 79 to 80 degrees on the Pacific side and 82 degrees on the Cortez.

"There was a good bite on striped marlin just off the lighthouse ledge early in the week," Landrum said. "Dropping live bait halfway to the bottom during the tide change resulted in hookups for a lot of boats. Those that persisted often had two or three." Most yellowfin tuna were under 50 pounds, although Landrum reported another boat with a tuna "well over the 200-pound mark." Most dorado caught were up the Pacific side. The wahoo bite was slower. With water temperatures dropping, gray whales were beginning to arrive.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Jose Luis Sanchez of Solmar Fleet reported on 76 boats with a catch including released fish of: 47 striped marlin, 1 blue marlin, 21 dorado, and 75 yellowfin tuna. The top boat for the week was the San Lucas VI, Capt. Adalberto Agundez, with 2 striped marlin, 13 yellowfin tuna, and 1 dorado.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Gaviota Fleet had a catch including released fish of: 4 blue marlin, all under 300 pounds; 15 striped marlin, 1 wahoo, 62 yellowfin tuna, and 116 dorado. About one out of three Gaviota boats caught billfish. "The billfish action picked up a little, but still, it's abnormally slow for this time of year," Edwards said. Fleet boats had much better dorado counts, fishing mainly up the Pacific side at the Golden Gate and Jaime Banks.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet said fishing was improved, with a billfish count including released fish of: 4 blue marlin, 1 black marlin, 5 sailfish, and 25 striped marlin. The largest blue marlin of the week was a near 600 pounder released by Jeff Friedland of Denver, CO. Several others of 300 to over 400 pounds were released or seen, Ehrenberg said. However, the overall billfish catch rate for the fleet was 37 percent.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Dave Palmer of Fiesta Sportfishing said 8 boats with 30 anglers fished with the Dorados Fleet 2 days for a catch including released fish of: 13 marlin, 17 dorado of 15 to 35 pounds, and 7 yellowfin tuna of 15 to 25 pounds. Palmer's group was fishing in the 10th Annual Fiesta Sportfishing Cabo tournament. All fish were caught on the Pacific side, Palmer said, about 4 to 7 miles off Cabo Falso. Top catches included Jerry Hayden's group from Tempe, AZ, who released 4 striped marlin on the Dorado III.



SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: At Gordo Banks Pangas, Eric Brictson said water clarity at San Jose del Cabo was good, with temperatures averaging 79 to 81 degrees, but locations to the north were cloudy due to wind. Mackerel bait was becoming available, along with sardina along the beaches, and La Playita pangas were coming in with 2 to 10 fish, including some good counts of wahoo and dorado, caught best will trolled chihuil. "Some boats accounted for as many as 4 wahoo and several dorado," Brictson said, "although others felt lucky just to land one wahoo."

Yellowfin tuna became scarce over the weekend, with a few large fish mixed in with mostly footballs. Sierra moved close to shore, and the bottom catch was mostly triggerfish.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Bob Grimes of San Jose del Cabo reported lower wahoo counts following several days of consistently good action. "There are still a few wahoo being taken, as well as dorado and tuna, mostly small, 15 to 25 pounds." Grimes caught a 132-pound yellowfin tuna on a chihuil about 2 kilometers off Punta Gorda. He also reported continued gill netting by commercial pangas at Destiladeras.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Lee Wood, of Oceanside Senior Anglers and a group of club members found sporadic action at San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, with a week's catch of: 15 dorado to 50 pounds, 8 wahoo to 50 pounds, some football tuna, and miscellaneous fish including sheephead, jack crevalle, pompano, and "too many" bonita. Wood's group included Hugh Cobb, Joe Rempe, Mike Mercado, Walt Soper, Jerry Auerbach, John Norman, Rich Miller, Dan Duval, Henry Bradshaw, George Ruble, Ed Dennis, Vern Francis and Don Maquet.

They fished in San Jose del Cabo with Gordo Banks Pangas and Anamar Sportfishing, and at Cabo San Lucas with a panga from Land's End Fishing.

"The wahoo were mostly caught on chihuil," Wood said. "The weather was in the 90s every day and the water was as calm as you could want. The wahoo were caught near the Gordo banks, and the nicer dorado were caught from the lighthouse up, on the Pacific side, using red-and-black Marauders in the 8-inch size."

Wood said his group also had a bad experience with a freelance boat picked up from hawkers at the Cabo marina: "I wish I could remember the name of the outfit so you could tell the readers to stay away, but I was so mad I tore up everything in front of the salesman."

SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Joe Flores of La Mirada, CA fished 3 days with Palmilla Bay Sportfishing's Capt. Domingo: "We were stopped by the Mexican Navy in a big oversized panga with about six guys with AK47s out. The main guy asked for Domingo's paperwork. Thank God he had them. They took some info down and finally let us go.

"We fished the Gordo banks and hooked a few tuna with sardinas. Trolling feathers or lures didn't do a thing. All around us, the bite would turn on then stop. Bonita and skipjack were also in the mix."

Flores said they caught tuna and dorado, and fished with rigged chihuil for wahoo at La Fortuna: "Our guide set up 2 rigs with small diameter wire leader with a double-hook setup for the chihuil baits. They were in the water for no more than 10 minutes when one of the reels screamed. My buddy Joe Saldana grabbed the reel and fought the fish for 45 minutes. At the end, he had an approximately 80-pound wahoo, his first!

Flores recommended being prepared to fish with light line: "On the second and third day we switched to 20-pound line and that seemed to get more fish. It looked like the tuna were line shy. Take 4-pound test and small hooks like a #8 hook for catching the chihuil. Most of the guides have too heavy of a line and they are hard to get."



LA PAZ, MEXICO: Mino Shiba of Mosquito Fleet said water temperatures at Isla Espiritu Santo were 74 to 80 degrees, and some dorado plus lots of sierra were caught tight to the island on live caballito. Good counts of sailfish and a few blue marlin were caught at El Bajo on skipjack baits. Shiba said the road is now open, but a little rough, to San Evaristo, and he was beginning preparations again for his remote fish camp operation. Large tuna were reported at Isla Santa Cruz, Shiba said.

LA PAZ, MEXICO: Dean Mitchell of San Diego fished on the Las Arenas side with Tortuga Sportfishing and caught mixed species and a 50-pound wahoo at the south end of Isla Cerralvo on an orange-black Marauder with Capt. Hugo. With Mitchell was Andrew Lasher, who caught a sailfish at Punta Arena de la Ventana. "We fished 4 days with Tortuga and they set us up pretty well," Mitchell said. "Lots of nice, but small, pargo. I even caught my first rainbow runner."

LA PAZ, MEXICO: Frank Springer of Butte Falls, OR fished 12 days with Fishermen's Fleet: "Water was warm, but north winds kept cropping up. The days that found little or no north wind were appreciated." On the Las Arenas side, Springer said caballito and ladyfish baits were taken into the rocks by dog snapper, but they caught yellow snapper and marlin with bonito in rough seas off Roca Montana at the south end of Isla Cerralvo. Other anglers caught sailfish and marlin, and two anglers caught dorado limits to 20 pounds south of Ensenada de los Muertos.



LORETO, MEXICO: At Villas de Loreto, Wendy Wilchynski said boats were staying in, due to wind.

LORETO, MEXICO: Ty Miller of El Fuerte Sportfishing at Puerto Escondido said, "North winds kept us off the water most of this week. The few days that we could get out produced some good action."

Miller said yellowtail, huachinango, and grouper were caught in about 250 feet of water off the north end of Isla Catalana. No report was available for tuna on the outside. Inshore fishing produced some roosterfish, sierra, and firecracker yellowtail. Caballito bait and some arriving mackerel were available just outside the harbor.

Miller also provided the location of the ship hulk recently sunk off Puerto Escondido: 1.25 miles south of Puerto Escondido, 0.5 miles off shore, in about 80 feet of water. "The wreck is lying on a sandy bed in an upright position," Miller said. "I would have to believe that by summer, this should be loaded with stuff to see." GPS numbers: 25 46.914 111 18.059.

The Millers were headed to La Paz this week, where expectant mom Juanita will be awaiting delivery of their first child. Loreto weather was in the high 70s, with water temperatures averaging 77 degrees.

LORETO, MEXICO: At Baja Big Fish Company, Pam Bolles said, "The only real news has been the wind, if that's news. Every day except Friday has been completely blown out." Bolles said she's been making some major changes to the Baja Big Fish Company website, and will be introducing a subscription-basis fishing report soon, with extra photos and lots of detailed information on local fishing conditions. Yellowtail continued to be caught north of town, winds permitting.

LORETO, MEXICO: Jeff Petersen of Loreto reported, "Sitting in front of my screen. Wind is keeping us in. Guti and I have a plan, but the days pass and I know we are both waiting."



MULEGE, MEXICO: Fly-in angler Ron Grant reported lots of visitors at the Hotel Serenidad over the weekend, but fishing spotty: "Not a lot of sport fishing for a lack of tourists. No problem getting a full bag, with a few small yellowtail, a dorado or two, with rockfish making up the difference. Bait, cut or live, seems to be your best bet. Yoyo jigs working as well." Grant reported the hotel runway in good condition, and Mulege water temperatures at 80 to 85 degrees on the beach, 75 to 78 inshore, and 70 to 74 outside.



SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Detective Joey de los Reyes of the Santa Paula, CA Police Department asked any WON readers involved with last season's panga mothership booking problems with the Capt. Villegas who have not yet been interviewed to call him immediately at 805-525-4474. De los Reyes stressed that people who have already been interviewed should not call again. He said the criminal investigation is proceeding and he will have more information about the case very soon, perhaps within a week.

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At San Felipe, Catalina Meders of the Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said the weather was variable, with one case of sudden desert winds catching commercial pangas off guard last week: "Between 4 and 6 a.m., it appeared we were in for another great day. The Malecon was a beehive of activity. The sea was flat and not even a whisper of a breeze.

"A number of boats headed out to the fishing grounds, out of sight of land. The wind hit them like a bolt of lighting, within a matter of minutes into the 30 m.p.h. range and probably gusts even higher.

"Within a short time you could see the lights of the returning boats. Several pangas were swamped close to shore. As they were pulled out of the water they looked none the worse for wear."



ROCKY POINT (PUERTO PENASCO), MEXICO: Stuart Burnett reported on a trip by Mike Auditore on his boat El Gato Blanco that resulted in a black seabass caught and 2 others lost at 51 Mile Reef. "The third black grabbed onto a medium goldspotted bass one of the guys had caught and took off with it about 50 yards, then let go," Auditore said. "We even had a small school of dorado around the boat with one small bull about 15 pounds. I tried to hook them with Kastmasters and squid, but they only would bump it and flash off." The fish count also included red snapper and whitefish.



MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said water temperatures were down to about 79 degrees. El Vato took first place in the Mazatlan Billfish Classic with a 324-pound black marlin, plus 5 sailfish. Overall, Edwards said 37 boats had a catch including released fish of: 108 sailfish, 12 blue marlin, 40 dorado, and 9 yellowfin tuna. The best fishing area was 25 to 30 miles from Marina el Cid on headings of 195 to 240 degrees.

MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Tadeo Hernandez of Flota Bibi Fleet reported on 6 boats with a catch including released fish of: 1 blue marlin, 1 wahoo, 5 skipjack tuna, and good counts of sierra. "Fishing has been slow for everyone," Hernandez said. "Only the fastest boats have been catching sailfish, heading south, as the waters are getting cold."



IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Local guide Ed Kunze said 82-degree water was 9 miles out of Zihuatanejo Bay, and boats were raising 8 to 15 sailfish per day. The 3 top teams in the recent Fintastic Total Tag and Release Tournament released 18, 15, and 14 sailfish respectively, plus a blue marlin. The tournament was won by the Gitana with Capt. Santiago, and angler John Wilkinson, who had a best day of 10 releases, plus a dorado for dinner, Kunze said. Inshore, Capt. Adolpho averaged 5 to 6 roosterfish releases per day.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said 9 teams in the 3-day event tagged and released more than 100 billfish. Ixtapa weather was in the high-80s with calm seas and water temperatures of 75 to 86 degrees.

Fish Photo 1

CERRALVO WAHOO--Dean Mitchell caught this nice wahoo with Tortuga Sportfishing's Capt. Hugo at the south tip of Isla Cerralvo. Photo courtesy Dean Mitchell.

Fish Photo 1

MORE PUNTA BANDA YELLOWS--Lester Ellet, left, and George Ambrose of Whittier, CA fished on the Vonny's Fleet panga Vonny I with Capt. Beto Zamora for limits of bottom fish and 3 yellowtail to 30 pounds. Photo courtesy Ivan Villarino.

Fish Photo 1

BAD DOG BOCACCIO--Pescadores de Ensenada club member Juan Lu Cardenas with a couple of big bocaccio caught on Steve Ross' boat Bad Dog at Ensenada's Punta Banda Bank. Photo courtesy Steve Ross.

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SENIORS TO LOS CABOS--Lee Wood of Oceanside Senior Anglers traveled to San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas with a group of club members, and caught this nice dorado. Photo courtesy Lee Wood.

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SAN JOSE WAHOO--Joe Saldana, left, and Joe Flores fished with Palmilla Bay Sportfishing at San Jose del Cabo, where Saldana caught this wahoo at La Fortuna with a rigged chihuil bait. Photo courtesy Joe Flores.

Fish Photo 1

PENASCO BLACK SEABASS--Mike Auditore, shown with Nicole and Amber Barinka, missed two black seabass, but caught this one, on his boat El Gato Blanco, out of Puerto Peñasco. Photo courtesy Stuart Burnett.

Fish Photo 1

PANGA AT LAS ARENAS--Dean Mitchell photographed this beautiful moment while fishing on the Las Arenas side south of La Paz with Tortuga Sportfishing. Photo courtesy Dean Mitchell.

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