IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Local guide Ed Kunze reported 80-degree blue water 10 miles off the beach and about 10 shots per day on sailfish, 14 to 18 miles out of Zihuatanejo Bay. In addition to sailfish and better action on dorado, the inshore bite on roosterfish was also very good.
"Capt. Adolpho on the panga Dos Hermanos is fishing 21 days straight for roosterfish with his client from France," Kunze said. "Using surface poppers and live bait they have been experiencing some incredible action all week. They caught several fish in the 40 to 50-pound class and a huge rooster of 80 pounds. The roosters and jacks are crashing on bait just off the surf line about 26 miles south of Zihuatanejo Bay. Adolpho also reports a lot of smaller sierras rounding out the day for his exhausted client."
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the Fintastic Total Tag & Release Tournament said plans were underway in Zihuatanejo for the tagging of 10 sailfish with expensive satellite tags to be brought by Dave Holts of NMFS in January. "This is maybe the biggest thing to happen since we tagged the first fish here!" Phillips said. "It is a major thing from the killing ground of 5 years ago. To be recognized now as a tag and release fishery versus what it was then is of major importance."
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Doc Jarrow of Merrick, NY landed 26 sailfish and 4 dorado in 6 days with Capt. Chico on the Llamarada and Capt. Pieo on the Cobra. Bob and Vickie Higgins landed 6 sailfish in a day aboard the Vamonos III, and Brian Smith landed 4 sailfish with Capt. Calle on the Vamonos II.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet reported pangas at the tip of Punta Banda with no yellowtail, but continued limits of rockcod, lingcod, and bottom fish. Jay Johnson of Fontana, CA had limits and also landed a nice 12-pound halibut with Capt. Beto on the Vonny I. Ensenada weather was mostly sunny in the high-60s, with water temperatures of 56 to 60 degrees, 2 to 3-foot swells, and light breezes.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Lee Wood of Oceanside Senior Anglers said 15 club members ran south on the Pacific Voyager: "Left around 10:30 p.m. and baited up with some nice size sardines. We were a little worried about the weather, but that evening it was perfect.
"We cruised down to the Coronado Islands and parked there for a good night's sleep. At dawn, we were again moving south, but when we got away from the islands, we were getting beat up by the winds and the waves. It was bad.
"The skipper decided to fish the lee of the islands until the weather laid down. We did not do too good in the morning as it was blowing so bad each drop was over with in less than 5 minutes.
"Around 11:30 a.m. the weather changed and it turned out to be a nice afternoon. We never had a great drop all day long where we would hang a bunch of fish, just a few each drop to make us want to drop again. We did catch 65 rockfish, mostly reds and salmon grouper, and 4 lingcod."
The jackpot fish for the trip was a 6-pound salmon grouper caught by Wood.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Baja reporter John Carroll of Bonita, CA was leaving for a trip to Bahía de los Angeles and Punta Rosarito, and also organizing a June fun cruise south to the central Baja coast aboard the Islander. "We have no true agenda except head down to Bahia Tortugas and just kayak fish, snorkel, surf and generally fish as if we were on a panga," Carroll said. "The idea is to cover ground as if we were in our trucks, except having live bait and ability to fish all over the place. The boat is a great platform." Carroll said anyone interested in going on this trip can call him at 619-454-4271.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Stan Vath of Oxnard, CA returned from Campo Lorenzo and reported limits of calico bass of 2 to 6 pounds, while fishing tight to the kelp at Isla San Martin. "We also picked up limits of sandbass, 3 to 8 pounds, and a few nice reds on the way in," Vath said. San Quintin water temperature was 61 degrees and the weather was very cold at night, but sunny and nice in the daytime. Vath said he fished in calm seas during midweek, but it was windy again toward the end of the week. He was headed back down to Campo Lorenzo for New Year's.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas said very few visitors were in San Quintin due to the approaching holidays. "Not much to report," he said. "Everyone is out holiday shopping. We had only 3 boats all week."
Hillis said all boats limited on red rockfish and lingcod, mixed with a few large ocean whitefish, and one very large calico bass. All limits were taken at Isla San Martin.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said that with the larger yachts having departed the area, most reports were from local pangas fishing in the mangroves, where corvina and snook were caught at Devil's Curve. The snook were found on the northwest side of the channel, Graham said. At the entrada, sierra and yellowtail were active under birds. Halibut continued on the sandy beaches around Punta Belcher. San Carlos weather was partly cloudy in the high-70s, with water temperatures of 66 to 73 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said mackerel bait was moving close to Cabo San Lucas, but fishing was still unseasonably slow, with only about 25 percent of boats landing billfish. "The herds of big game fish haven't yet arrived, but I do think it is about to happen," Edwards said.
Eight fishing days reported by the Fish Cabo and Juanita VIII resulted in a catch including released fish of: 4 striped marlin and 26 dorado.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Gaviota Fleet had a catch including released fish of: 1 small blue marlin, 6 striped marlin, 15 dorado, and 7 yellowfin tuna. Fleet boats fished mostly between the Golden Gate Bank and the beach. Cabo weather was mostly calm in the low-80s at the end of the week, with most boats on the Pacific side, and water temperatures of 74 to 76 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Pisces Fleet, Tracy Ehrenberg said 39 percent of boats landed billfish, mostly striped marlin with a few blue marlin mixed in, and 91 percent landed all species combined, mostly dorado. Teddy Baier scored a triple marlin release, plus a couple of dorado, on the Valerie. Scott Rickert of Bradenton, FL won the World Billfish Series Grand Championship aboard Ni Modo with a 3-day catch of 6 striped marlin released. "The crew were a key part to Scott's success," Ehrenberg said, "Capt. Jobe Villavicencio and Tony Nungaray, also a captain, but working the deck during the competition." Second place went to Scott Bowers aboard Baja Raiders and third place was taken by John Harper aboard Seamint.
Ehrenberg said few anglers were in Cabo last week, in anticipation of the approaching holidays, and the top fish was dorado, with 63 percent of boats landing them in the 18 to 30-pound range. Only 17 percent of Pisces boats caught yellowfin tuna. Inshore, some sierra and pargo were landed. Water temperatures averaged 73 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Mary Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing said Capt. George was fishing on Sunday afternoon. Fishing was generally slow, but some boats found striped marlin, wahoo, and dorado on the Pacific side, plus schools of small yellowfin tuna of 10 to 25 pounds. One fishing day resulted in 4 yellowfin tuna caught.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Benjamin Ortega Rodriguez of Solmar Fleet reported a fleet catch including released fish of: 7 striped marlin, 47 dorado, and 31 yellowfin tuna. "Striped marlin in Cabo waters seem to have come down with a case of lockjaw the past two weeks," Ortega Rodriguez said. The fleet's top captain for the week was Javier Abaroa of the Solmar II with a 5-trip catch including released fish of: 2 striped marlin, 6 yellowfin tuna, and 3 dorado.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said persistent north winds subsided at the end of the week and San Jose del Cabo sea conditions were good on Sunday, in dropping water temperatures of 72 to 75 degrees. Fishing was slower than the previous period, but a few wahoo were still caught, as dorado accounted for most of the numbers. Some lucky anglers caught as many as 2 or 3 wahoo in a morning. "Wahoo could be seen free swimming under the pangas on the Gordo Banks, but with the cooling water temperatures they could just not be enticed into striking," Brictson said.
Most boats caught about 2 to 6 dorado in the 5 to 15-pound class, spread out in small schools a couple of miles from shore. Many of the dorado were juvenile females, Brictson said, recommending that they be released.
Yellowfin tuna counts were down. Although the Inner Gordo Bank was holding fish to over 100 pounds, they were reluctant to bite. Most of the fish were in the 12 to 25-pound range, caught on a mix of sardina and chunk bait, with fluorocarbon leaders. Some fish of 40 to 150 pounds were caught this way. Brictson said the fishing area experienced a plague of sea lions, making it difficult to land fish, and some captains were arming themselves with rocks in an effort to chase the lobos away.
On the bottom, anglers caught cabrilla and pargo to 12 pounds in cooling water, with bait and yoyo jigs. "This bite is just starting up and we will most certainly be practicing more of this style of fishing during the coming months," Brictson said. The season's first whale sightings were also reported.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Jack Simpson of Mission Viejo, CA has been fishing for species with Gordo Banks Pangas and sent a photo of a rarely captured purple or yellowfin surgeonfish, Acanthurus xanthopterus, caught with Capt. Tony in the rocks about 10 miles north of La Playita. Simpson caught the surgeonfish with 2 or 3 small dead sardina on a 2/0 hook fished near the bottom
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said East Cape conditions continued windy and cool, "Seems like the needle is stuck on the record." Few guests were present at local hotels, and most boats stayed home, Graham said, although some tin boats managed to get out early for a few sierra close to shore. A very few home guard marlin and some dorado were caught. Yellowfin tuna were not present. East Cape water temperatures were 67 to 72 degrees.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Baja Beach Captain Mike Reichner said he got a "poquito" window of opportunity to fish the beach between windy periods on Friday and caught several ladyfish, 1 jack, and a sierra. On Saturday, he caught a couple of jacks. "The water is still stained, but mucho sardina and the fish are on the munch, if they can find ones offering," Reichner said.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Rancho Leonero, John Ireland said East Cape weather was intermittently windy, about 80 degrees, with cooling water temperatures of 71 to 73 degrees. Very few visitors were at East Cape, and the hotel sent out only 1 boat during the week, but limits of dorado were caught at the Punta Pescadero buoys. Sierra were active off the beaches. Robert Crawford of Emmott, ID released 7 dorado to 45 pounds while fishing on a super panga.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of the Vista Sea Sport dive service said, "If it gets any colder I'll be ice skating on our swimming pool." With relentless north winds making it difficult to run south to Cabo Pulmo, Rayor said he's been launching pangas at Ensenada de los Muertos south of La Paz, and diving at relatively sheltered Punta Perico. "That location is protected and we have found calm seas, easy boat rides, and good winter diving," Rayor said. Bottom temperatures at Punta Perico averaged 73 degrees, with 30 to 40 feet of visibility.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Local legend, Jimmy Smith of Los Barriles was home again after a second visit to the V.A. hospital in San Diego.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Los Frailes, a commercial panguero from La Paz, sneaking down to net in the prohibited zone, was told to leave by a local enforcement official. One reporter said, "He was there about a week, and said the inspector gave him so much s____, he returned home."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Several East Cape residents reported problems when the local Pemex station being closed for 5 days.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Gerardo Hernandez of Tortuga Sportfishing said winds were calm over the weekend and the water temperature at Ensenada de los Muertos was 72 to 74 degrees. "We had good fishing the last 3 days," Hernandez said, "not windy like last week." Pangas on the Las Arenas side caught sierra and pargo, fishing mostly between the bay and Punta Perico.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: At Tailhunter International, Jonathan Roldan said he had problems getting a read on fishing conditions because there were so few boats on the water last week, even though conditions were improved, with diminished winds and comfortable air temperatures in the high-70s.
"We've had the usual inshore stuff, with cabrilla and snapper, plus sometimes all the sierra you want," Roldan said. "Great fun on light tackle. We also had one wahoo caught south of Cerralvo, and 2 other hookups, all trolled up on Rapalas.'
Roldan said 2 dorado were caught at Isla Espiritu Santo, and some commercial pangas caught yellowtail, but "without many sport anglers on the water, it's hard to really blanket the area and get a true measure of what's out there."
LORETO, MEXICO: Gregorio Segoviano of the Carnaderos baitsellers cooperativa said it's been cold and windy at night, with very few anglers buying bait in the mornings. So, with business slow, the carnaderos have been busy with the season's celebration," Segoviano said. "A fine joyous holiday to all!"
LORETO, MEXICO: Ty Miller of El Fuerte Sportfishing said practically no boats were launching out of Puerto Escondido, as night air temperatures dropped to about 58 degrees. Roosterfish, sierra, and jack crevalle were active at the entrance and along the backwaters of the way, and were caught on cast Krocodiles and surface poppers, at first light and about an hour before sunset. Puerto Escondido water temperatures averaged 71 degrees.
LORETO, MEXICO: At Baja Big Fish Company, Pam Bolles said she's seen night temperatures as low as 49 degrees, but conditions were improving at the end of the week: "We are in a north wind pattern again, but it is very mild so we may get a few nice calm days." With the regular nortes beginning daily at about 11 a.m., boats were getting in about 4 hours of fishing in the mornings.
Smaller yellowtail were caught at Isla Coronado, but conditions prevented running far out for larger fish. "If the weather improves we may be able to venture out farther this weekend," Bolles said.
Bolles also reported a 50% off deal offered by Aero California, with tickets good until Dec. 15, 2004. The tickets, with full-fare, open-ended privileges, must be bought by Dec. 23 of this year, she said.
MULEGE, MEXICO: Diana Johnson of the Hotel Serenidad said fishing improved last week and some yellowfin tuna were caught, in addition to yellowtail and cabrilla. Mulege weather was generally cold and windy.
MULEGE, MEXICO: Dick Van Bree, a moderator of the Fred Metcalf message board, reported the death of Baja veteran Jens Kolbowski, known as El Aleman, or "the German." Kolbowski, originally from Germany, settled in Mulege and Ensenada, where he became well-known as an electrical engineer and helped early internet promotions with his popular baja-web.com website. Said Van Bree about the gruff-seeming but generous and friendly Kolbowski: "Jens established and maintained one of the original Baja websites, Mulege.com.mx. Many remember the sign to his shop when entering Mulege, "El Aleman". Those of you who knew him as I did will truly miss him."
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: At Bahia de los Angeles, Capt. Igor Galvan reported good winter yellowtail catches at Punta Remedios, on jigs and on the surface, but only when the winds allowed a run that far north. Earlier, Galvan also reported good yellowtail at Punta Quemado, and also at Soldado, where he also caught 5 red snapper of 8 to 12 pounds.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Abraham Vazquez of L.A. Bay's Camp Gecko said the weather was in winter mode, cold at night, with some days of strong north winds. Local water temperatures were still at 63 to 69 degrees, and the road was in good condition.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: From Japan, word was received from Zimran Lucero of Caleta San Francisquito, whose mother, the well known Debra Ellen Lucero-Wayne was killed in a tragic plane crash in Ensenada three years ago. Lucero, who lived at the caleta with his parents and sister, Shoshanna, reported that he is now serving as an Interior Communications Electrician in the U.S. Navy, and his father, Alberto Lucero Walfors, still lives at the caleta.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At San Felipe, all four motherships were idled for winter maintenance. Tony Reyes of Tony Reyes Fishing Tours said he and his U.S. agent Tom Ward had still not decided on a platform for their new boat, which is expected to be put into service next year. Two hulls in the U.S. and another large shrimp boat in Mexico were under consideration, Reyes said.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Catalina Meders of the Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said San Felipe weather was "paradisiacal" last week, with temperatures about 75 degrees and a fluffy layer of clouds on the mountains, "making them resemble of island of Bali Hai in the movie South Pacific."
The golf course at the large El Dorado real estate development was nearly completion, Meders said, work continued on the new water system, and the town was abustle with growth: "There are so many new tiendas de abarotes and loncherias out in the ejido on Route 5 and all the way into town that Triple A is going to have to make major changes in next year's forthcoming edition of the Baja Tour Guide. San Felipe is definitely growing, which many of us have mixed feelings about.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Baja reporter Ralph Strahm of Holtville, CA said he consulted with Larry Cooper of Baja Enterprises at Los Barriles about putting some wheels on his boat at Gonzaga Bay: "After explaining our situation with the Baja Bayrunner at Alfonsinas, he suggested a new solution using our trailer with an ATV tire free-swiveling under a jack in the front of the tongue. We will be shoving the whole mess into the back bay by hand, and retrieval will be with a long strap and the lovely green Baja Bug from the equally lovely Casa Verde."
ROCKY POINT (PUERTO PENASCO), MEXICO: Stuart Burnett of Tempe, AZ forwarded a fishing report out of Puerto Peñasco by Ric Felder of Glendale, AZ: "Left Saturday for an overnight trip to 51 mile reef. Stopped at 16 mile for bait and loaded up on greenback mackerel and sardines, as well as a few rock bass.
"Got to the 51 at about 4 in the afternoon and anchored up on the deepest spot. Put down a couple of rock bass baits for black sea bass, and live mackerel on lighter rods. Two black sea bass of 50 and 60 pounds were landed on the lighter rigs immediately. For the next hour and a half, we had a wide-open bite on red snapper from 8 to 13 pounds and white seabass from 10 to 15 pounds.
"My fishing buddy and I had double hookups the entire time. Just before dark, we got a bite on the larger rig and landed a 150-pound black sea bass. The bite on red snapper continued for an hour after dark and then quit.
"Woke up the next morning, and at sunrise the bite was on for 2 to 6-pound goldspotted bass. We then re-anchored on a different spot on the reef and were back into red snapper and white seabass of the same size as Saturday. Also picked up 2 small broomtail grouper of about 6 pounds each, 2 leopard grouper about 11 pounds each, and one 15-pound flounder. The weather was excellent both days with only slight breezes."
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Bill Molden of San Carlos said the bite was fairly slow in sloppy seas. Boats were returning from Isla San Pedro Nolasco with 2 to 4 yellowtail per day, in water temperatures of 60 to 62 degrees. "Near shore has produced a few yellowtail, but the bite has been early and not too long, 2 to 3 hours. Not much bottom fishing going on, as the seas have not been cooperating."
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said sailfish led the action again, but more striped marlin were showing up as water temperatures cooled. Aries Fleet at Marina el Cid reported 18 boats with a catch including released fish of: 41 sailfish, 14 striped marlin, and 2 dorado. Inshore action produced good catches of sierra and jack crevalle, and limits of snappers were caught on the bottom. Mazatlan weather was sunny in the mid-80s, but in the 50s at night, with light winds, and water temperatures in the mid-70s. The best fishing was 24 to 30 miles southwest of Marina el Cid on headings of 220 to 245 degrees.