MULEGE, MEXICO: John Dinning of Mulege said yellowtail sportfishing was very good during the past 10 days. He, Becky Aparicio, and Tom Higgenbotham caught fish averaging 30 pounds, "everywhere they should be," from San Nicolas in the south, up to Isla San Marcos in the north.
"Live bait has been easy to catch at the mouth of the river," Dinning said. "The 3/0 circle hooks and 3-ounce egg sinkers used to send down a nose-hooked mackerel have been very successful." Dinning said other anglers reported limits of yellowtail on the reefs around the Islas Santa Inez, using trolled MirrOlures. One boat had 7 yellowtail over 30 pounds on MirrOlures. "Hopefully the seiners will stay away from Mulege this winter and this last week is the sign of a great winter fishery ahead," Dinning said.
Water temperatures at the mouth of the river averaged 66 degrees at 6 a.m., and at Punta Chivato the water was 69 degrees.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Fishing pressure was light last week in most areas of Baja, as the pre-holiday lull kept many travelers close to home. At Vonny's Fleet, no anglers were present at the end of the week, and Ivan and Martha Villarino were planning a trip to San Diego to do some Christmas shopping. "Happy Holidays," Ivan said.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Bud Neilson of Yorba Linda, CA and Bob Lindsay of Huntington Beach, CA ran down to Castro's Camp south of Ensenada and had a good trip with flat seas mixed with some wind, plentiful bottom fish, and "the best shower I ever had in Baja," according to Neilson. "Bob caught a 16-pound white seabass on the first drop," he said. "We ended with limits of red rockcod and 13 lingcod, also some johnny bass, sculpin, whitefish, etc."
The next day, they fished the surf from the rocks and caught cabezon and barred surf perch, including one that weighed 3 pounds 7 ounces. On the third day, they went out in a panga again for limits of lingcod to 13 pounds, red rockcod, and large barracuda released. The lingcod and most of reds were caught with plastics topped off with mackerel strips, or jigs when the water was a little rougher, Neilson said.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Earlier, Sergio Susarrey of Sergio's Sportfishing Center reported on 21 anglers with a catch of: 18 bonito, 90 lingcod, 70 rockfish, and 30 red snapper.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Julio Berdegué of Mazatlán released further information about the Ensenada commercial fishing fleet indicating that the number of offshore gillnet and longline ships now fishing Mexico's Pacific coast is undoubtedly even greater than the 49 admitted by the federal government. According to Berdegué, Ensenada is now the principle port of refuge for foreign boats expelled by other countries, including an unknown number of ships not listed by the Mexican department of fisheries. Berdegué cited the example of 3 of these undocumented ships, each over 300 feet long, recently photographed in Ensenada: Arnarnes, the Aventurero Long-Sen I and the Faloma III. He called on the Mexican government to provide truthful information about the number of ships now fishing.
PUERTO SANTO TOMAS, MEXICO: Sam Saenz of Puerto Santo Tomas Resort said no visiting anglers were present at the end of the week, but one local resident had super-good perch fishing on the sandy beach south of the resort. Local commercial pangas caught the usual bottom fish, including lingcod to 12 pounds, but the surface bite was over. Weather at the end of the week was clear and beautiful, but with crashing surf arriving ahead of an approaching front. Earlier, bottom fishing was especially good, and one commercial panga brought in over 100 fish, Saenz said.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Louie Prieto of Hacienda Heights, CA and Gilbert Zambrano of Fontana, CA stayed at the Cielito Lindo and fished on the panga Alma out of El Pabellon with Capt. Armando: "These guys have beach launching down to a science and within minutes we were trolling Rapalas and catching small mackerel to use for bait, south of San Quintin bay in the Soccorro area within a 20-minute run off the beach.
"In 2 days of fishing we caught all the sand bass you could ever want, ranging in weight from 2 to 6 pounds, sheephead, rockfish, and sculpin. We ran into the largest school of log barracuda I have ever seen. We had them under our panga most of the morning.
"Along with the 5 to 9-pound barries was a mix of bonito running the same size. They also were willing biters but I think were just out-numbered by the barracuda as we managed maybe 5 on the first day and 4 the second.
"Day 2 found us heading further out, looking for some of the bigger bottom fish, but it was more of the same, and some sculpin. All the fish were taken on iron and plastics tipped with mackerel strips. Color was not much of a factor although the bigger plastics produced the largest fish. Weather was cold at night and warm in the afternoon."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Julio Meza of San Quintin said he fished south of the bay in his new boat with his father, Julio, and brothers Daniel and Elias, for excellent action on calico bass, sandbass, sugar bass, lingcod, red rockcod, and a "scary" number of barracuda, but no white seabass or yellowtail. Meza said they ran south to get away from the seals that have been hassling anglers, especially around Isla San Martin. "The seals are not as aggressive to the south," he said. "North, everyone had a bad time bringing fish heads on board." Meza also reported bonita at the point, barracuda everywhere, and bait easy to make in the bay. Water temperatures to the south averaged 60 degrees.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Don Dickson said the location where he and Ray Williams caught the 71-pound white seabass recently was Tranquillo Beach.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said the offshore yellowfin tuna bite was wide-open, but billfish were still few and far between. In the mangroves, Devil's Curve produced 8 snook over 10 pounds, including a 25 pounder, leopard grouper to about 15 pounds, corvina, and pompano. San Carlos weather was hazy in the high-70s, with the water temperatures of 67 to 73 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Jose Luis Sanchez of Solmar Fleet reported on 70 boats with a catch including released fish of: 41 striped marlin, 20 dorado, 53 tuna, 2 blue marlin, and 2 wahoo. The top catch of the week was a quadruple marlin release by Luciano Prolose of Silver Springs, MD, who fished on the Solmar IX, with live mackerel at the lighthouse.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing reported on 6 boats with a catch including released fish of: 3 striped marlin, 9 dorado to 30 pounds, 14 yellowfin tuna to 22 pounds, and lots of released bonita.
Cabo weather was occasionally cloudy in the high-80s, with mostly flat seas and water temperatures on both sides of the arch at about 78 to 80 degrees. Most of the week's marlin were caught on deep bait close to the lighthouse, Landrum said, and some were caught by trolling up the Pacific side. The best tuna action was on a temperature break about 30 miles west. Dorado were small and scattered on debris or under birds. "The fishing was a bit off this week," Landrum said. "You either got marlin close to home while soaking bait, or made a long journey offshore for a chance at small tuna."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 58 boats with a catch including released fish of: 2 blue marlin, 47 striped marlin, 1 mako shark, 25 yellowfin tuna, 14 dorado, 1 wahoo, and 3 skunks. Russell Lockhart and his team fished 3 days on the Cabo Magic in the World Billfish Series Grand Championship Invitational Tournament and released 5 striped marlin, 1 blue marlin, and 1 dorado in the all-release event.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said 3 combined fishing days by the Fish Cabo and Juanita VIII resulted in a catch including released fish of: 3 striped marlin, 10 yellowfin tuna, and 3 dorado.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Pisces Fleet, Tracy Ehrenberg said 71 percent of boats caught striped marlin, 10 percent caught yellowfin tuna, and only a couple of boats caught dorado. Also in the mix were a few blue marlin and sailfish, and a shortbill spearfish caught by Helen Long's group on La Brisa. The best action on marlin was off the lighthouse, and at the Golden Gate Bank on the Pacific side. Pisces boats found water temperatures averaging 76 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Earlier, Chris Johnson and his group fished on the Reel Time, and had a scattered catch, but one that included an estimated 220-pound broadbill swordfish: "About noon I spotted a billfish jumping about 200 yards off the port bow. I pointed it out to the skipper, Octavio. The fish jumped again and he went nuts, screaming at the crew, and increased speed to intercept the fish. The skipper told me it was a swordfish.
"One mate tossed out a live mackerel and the skipper made a wide arc in front of the swordie. The mate was pulling line off the reel and after about 10 pulls the line started peeling off. The mate let it take line for about 10 seconds, put the reel in gear, hit the fish and the skipper jammed the throttles forward. Fish on!!
"We took turns on the fish for almost two-and-a-half hours. The fish did not jump at all but pulled like the devil. We left it up to the skipper whether to keep it or not, and he said they would like it for food."
Johnson's group also fished on the Anamar II for school-sized yellowfin tuna, and a few dorado on debris and birds.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said few anglers were in the area last week: "There is typically a slack time during this period. Many people have just finished travel over Thanksgiving, and there comes preparation for the Christmas Holiday."
San Jose del Cabo weather was mostly sunny in the 80s, with water temperatures of 77 to 80 degrees. La Playita pangas reported seeing larger yellowfin tuna at the Gordo Banks, but only a couple of hookups were made, Brictson said, "It was not until January and February last season when the larger tuna on the Gordo Banks started hitting on chunk bait." Pangas averaged about 2 dorado per day, to about 20 pounds, and the wahoo bite continued to wane, although some were caught to 50 pounds at the Inner Gordo Bank, Iman Bank, and El Cardon. The preferred chihuil baits were harder to catch, and more wahoo were caught on trolled plugs.
Along shore, larger schools of sierra were active on sardina bait, and commercial pangas began their gill netting operations. "It will take heavy pressure from sportfishing interests to hopefully put an end to this destructive form of fishing," Brictson said. Surf anglers landed sierra, and a 25-pound snook was caught at the San Jose estuary.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Luis Duhart of Palmilla Bay Sportfishing reported very few anglers present.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Rancho Leonero, John Ireland said East Cape weather was mostly clear and warm in the low-80s with north winds diminishing by the weekend, and water temperatures of 76 to 78 degrees. Very few boats were fishing, but some line-shy tuna to about 30 pounds were caught under porpoise, 10 to 15 miles out, and sierra were hitting lures and hoochies off the beaches.
At midweek, Rancho Leonero resident Chip Shapley snuck out for some Jointed Rebel action: "A friend and I launched at the Punta Arena lighthouse with a small aluminum boat. It turned out to be a calm day, so we also fished our way up to Punta Colorada. We ended up with 3 sierra, up to 30 inches, 1 yellow snapper, 23 inches, and a skipjack and ladyfish that we released. We caught all our fish on jointed deep swimming Rebels. The water was warm with a fair amount of bait at both points, but no luck in between."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Baja On The Fly, Gary Graham said residual wind waves hampered beach fishing, except for a few early mornings: "A few sierra, ladyfish, and an occasional jack was considered a banner day." As for roosterfish, Graham said, "They don't like the wind any more than we do."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Jorge Bergin of La Ribera said good numbers of sardina were present, and sierra were biting in 79-degree water. Bergin said he launched his tin boat when the wind died on Saturday for jack crevalle, small roosterfish, and some sierra. A friend caught a 180-pound blue marlin on Saturday, 8 miles north of the lighthouse.
Bergin said he's having his panga re-glassed by local expert, Jose Marcos Aispuro Acosta: "Does excellent work just 2 blocks from my house. He re-glassed my keel last year for $60. He is doing the whole boat this time with lots of new marine plywood where needed, gallon after gallon of resin, lots of gelcoat, changing seats, bait tank." Aispuro Acosta's contact information: Carpenteria San Jose, 011-52-624-130-0012.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of the Vista Sea Sport dive service said calmer conditions prevailed at Cabo Pulmo over the weekend, with water temperatures of 77 degrees on the surface and 75 degrees at depth. Sea life sightings included 2 giant jewfish of 600 to 800 pounds that have taken up residence on the reef, plus jumping manta rays and schools of jacks.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Jim Sammons of La Jolla Kayak Fishing announced his 2004 guided trip schedule to Hotel Punta Colorada: May 14-17 and 18-21; July 16-19 and 20-23; and Oct. 7-12.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International said it was hard to judge the fishing on either side of the hill because there were so few boats on the water: "There are some dorado and billfish still cruising both the La Paz and the Las Arenas sides, but I'd be hard pressed to tell someone which side is best to fish on," Roldan said. "It really all depends on the winds, which are definitely in their northerly pattern right now and can sweep down the coast and keep boats inside. If the winds were not blowing, I'd say to fish the La Paz side. If they do blow, the shelters of Muertos Bay and those areas would be the place to fish. The problem is knowing which day the winds are going to blow."
Roldan said inshore fishing produced some fun light tackle action on pargo, cabrilla, and sierra.
LORETO, MEXICO: At Baja Big Fish Company, Pam Bolles reported continued yellowtail at San Bruno and the various points north of town and on the local islands. Winds early in the week partially abated on Thursday, but then returned again. Very few anglers were in town, but shoreline fishing produced some pargo and cabrilla with trolled Rapalas, about 100 yards out, plus roosterfish of 5 to 10 pounds along the beaches in all directions, some to 25 pounds at San Basilio and San Bruno, and a few to over 50 pounds at Isla Carmen, Bolles said. At the marina, sierra were arriving in bigger numbers, in addition to jack crevalle and barracuda. The carnaderos baitsellers had both mackerel and caballito at $20 for 15 baits, or a tank of sardina for $15.
LORETO, MEXICO: Congratulations were due for a new arrival, baby Rachel, born to Ty and Juanita Miller of El Fuerte Sportfishing, Dec. 1, in La Paz. "Captain Juanita is recovering well and settling in with the new one. I, myself, am still floating around with this awesome feeling of being a new father," Ty said.
Miller reported north winds most of the week, but a few boats still finding 30 to 40-pound yellowtail at Isla Catalan, plus huachinango and cabrilla. Inshore action included continued roosterfish, and some sierra moving into the area. Water temperatures averaged 74 degrees.
LORETO, MEXICO: Wendy Wilchynski of Villas de Loreto said few anglers were at the hotel, but one brought back a good catch of yellowtail, cabrilla, and triggerfish.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: At Bahía de los Angeles, Guillermo's Sportfishing reported continued good action on yellowtail at the local islands. Boats scored early limits in water temperatures holding in the 70s. L.A. Bay weather was mild in the mid-70s with some wind, and the road was in good condition.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Erik McElvany reported a trip to Gongaza Bay: "We went out in 3 to 4-foot swells and 15 m.p.h. winds to catch a nice 25 to 30-pound white seabass. My six year old daughter got seasick as the fish was being reeled in, so we had to head in before we could try to catch more.
"Sunday was very calm. Went out to the 'croaker numbers,' but they were gone. Headed south of Punta Final and found 3 to 5-pound yellowtail everywhere. We weren't trying to catch them, but we couldn't keep them off our Diamond Jigs. Trolled inshore back towards Isla Snoopy and caught 5 leopard grouper to 5 pounds, all released."
McElvany also reported several triggerfish, 2 hogfish, and a 15-pound spotted cabrilla, plus a 35 m.p.h. headwind back to the ramp at Puertecitos. Water temperatures were 70.4 degrees at the Puertecitos ramp, and 68.9 to 69.1 degrees at Punta Final. The large white seabass was caught in 80 feet of water on a reef at Punta Final. "It was very difficult getting an iron to the bottom without catching a yellowtail or barracuda," McElvany said. "We eventually went to 8 and 10-ounce Diamond Jigs."
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At San Felipe, Catalina Meders of the Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said the weather was in the high-70s and many visitors were in town. Street conditions were normalizing after recent work on the water system. "Hopefully, this will be a permanent end to the perpetual flooding and 'black water' problem at the north end of the malecon," Meders said. Popular Baja author Graham Macintosh was at the store to give a talk on his new book, Nearer My Dog to Thee.
ROCKY POINT (PUERTO PENASCO), MEXICO: Reports came from Bahía de las Angeles of a body recovered near Punta las Animas, about Nov. 20, thought to be possibly related to the boating accident that occurred out of Puerto Peñasco about three weeks earlier. No futher details were available.
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Bill Molden of San Carlos said the yellowtail bite at Isla San Pedro Nolasco slowed down. Boats reported 4 to 6 fish per day in falling water temperatures, either jigging or trolling.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said boats averaged better than 2 billfish per day. The Aries II out of Marina el Cid released 7 of 8 fish landed on one day, with 1 fish not in condition to be released. Nora Alonso Rice said Aries Fleet boats also did well on inshore roosterfish just outside the marina entrance, plus good counts on pompano and sierra at the island, and red snapper and triggerfish at El Marmol, 14 miles north. Aries Fleet reported on 30 boats with an offshore catch including released fish of: 65 sailfish, 1 small blue marlin, and 9 dorado. Mazatlan weather was sunny in the mid-80s, with water temperatures in the high-70s.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Local guide Ed Kunze said the hot sailfish bite continued, with 80-degree clear water less than half a mile from the beach. Leon and Kyle Stiffarm fished with Kunze and Capt. Martin on the Islamar and raised 17 sailfish, brought 10 to the teasers, and hooked 5. The Dos Hermanos with Capt. Adolpho released 7 sailfish. Kunze said a number of very small blue marlin were caught, including several fish of about 20 pounds or less. The smallest was tagged and released, according to Paul Phillips of the Fintastic Total Tag & Release Tournament.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Phillips also reported a Sunday morning catch of 3 sailfish, and said some yellowfin tuna were showing up, including a 160 pounder reported on Friday.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said 7 combined fishing days by the Dos Hermanos, Dos Hermanos II, and Leydy resulted in a catch of 31 sailfish, 8 dorado, 61 bonito, 2 rainbow runner, 7 yellowtail, 1 trevally, 7 snapper, and 7 tiger grouper.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly, fishing in Zihuatanejo with Ed Kunze, reported the weather as hazy and humid in the high-80s, with water temperatures of 78 to 84 degrees.