SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: A flurry of San Quintin yellowtail, caught between winter winds, paced the action on Baja's Pacific coast last week. Julio Meza of San Quintin fished with Curt "Chato" Ljungquist and his brother Leif, and scored 22 yellowtail of 16 to 25 pounds, doing best on blue-white iron, about 170 to 180 feet down.
In 3 days, the trio caught a little more than 100 yellowtail, Meza said, in clear blue water averaging about 62.5 degrees. "The seals kept us moving from spot to spot," Meza said. "We also caught a few nice lingcod on live bait, lots of bonitas, and some huge 'cudas."
Meza described one day of the hot bite, with several friends aboard Ljungquist's boat: "We had a light rain, with strong northwest winds. Made bait in the choppy bay and headed 270 degrees from La Punta. The 62-degree water invited us to try for yellows. The swells were breaking over the boat, forcing us to use raincoats.
"In 180 feet of water, Curt spotted some meter action. We dropped jigs. Multiple hookups kept us busy for the next few hours. Landed 55 yellowtail, released 14 under 10 pounds, and kept 41 between 15 and 28 pounds."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Kelly Catian of El Capitan Sportfishing said he's been on vacation, but was heading out to the 240 and 15 spots where the word was wide-open yellowtail on Sunday afternoon.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas said few boats fished during the week, as weather conditions were off-and-on choppy. Boats reaching the 240 and 6 spots found an excellent bite on yellowtail of 18 to 22 pounds. "Everyone brought in limits," Hillis said.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: At Don Eddie's Landing, Tony Marquez said San Quintin weather was beautiful and calm on Sunday afternoon. Two pangas fishing the 15 spot at noon called in with limits on yellowtail and bottom fish, and were headed in. Other pangas in the same location also did well, Marquez said.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Radio calls were monitored on Saturday, relaying reports of a boat that capsized and sank at the 240 spot when it was struck by an unusually large swell. Four U.S. anglers were reported rescued.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet said pangas fishing the tip of Punta Banda continued to limit on bottom fish and occasional yellowtail. Eileen Kennedy and her husband fished on a clear day at midweek with Capt. Beto Zamora on the Vonny I for limits of lingcod and rockfish, plus 1 yellowtail. Other days were windy and rainy.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Earlier, Steve Ross of Pescadores de Ensenada at Marina Coral ran south to the Santo Tomas area for slow fishing on his boat Bad Dog: "We started off with a load of fresh squid courtesy of club member Donald Smith of Shanna Marie.
"We ran for the Maximino Reef for some shallow water rockcodding. I found fish on my meter on top of rocks, but they wouldn't bite. We were fishing right next to Shanna Marie. He caught a few.
"I spoke to Mel on Melody, and he said they were catching rockcod on the Banda Bank, so we picked up our lines and ran.
"We had Frank Richardson on board who managed to reel up 2 red vermilion which were the only fish we caught all day. We iced them down with 200 pounds of ice. The water was 58 degrees, but green everywhere. There was no wind. At one point I shut off my engines and we sat there in a lake without a ripple. I found lots of fish everywhere, clouds on the meter, but no biters."
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said San Carlos weather was partly cloudy in the low-70s, with water temperatures of 66 to 73 degrees. Yellowtail were biting actively under birds at the entrada and off Bahia Santa Maria. In the mangroves, snook, corvina, pompano, and a few grouper were caught at Devil's Curve. Halibut were still hitting on the sandy beaches, and sierra were under birds at Punta Belcher.
Jeff Petersen of Loreto said friends crossed the peninsula to Lopez Mateos and did well on red pargo and snook.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Benjamin Ortega Rodriguez of Solmar Fleet reported on 39 boats with a catch including released fish of: 1 blue marlin, 16 striped marlin, 117 yellowfin tuna, 28 dorado, and 10 wahoo. The blue marlin weighed 290 pounds and was caught by Michael Scott of Phoenix, AZ on the Galeon with Capt. Fabian. Brian Elder of Sammash, WA released a striped marlin and boated 13 yellowfin tuna of 15 to 40 pounds, plus 4 dorado, on the San Lucas VII.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 40 boats with a catch including released fish of: 16 striped marlin, 27 yellowfin tuna, 21 dorado, 3 roosterfish, "bunches" of sierra, and 9 skunks.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said there were unusually few anglers in town last week, and Gaviota Fleet only sent out 12 boats, for a catch including released fish of: 8 striped marlin, 1 dorado, and 35 yellowfin tuna in the 15 to 30-pound range. Gaviota Fleet fished mostly from Los Arcos out toward the Golden Gate and Jaime Banks, in water temperatures of 74 to 76 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet said fishing was variable, with some boats making good catches, and others skunked. Billfish were caught by 64 percent of boats, including a 500-pound blue marlin caught by the Jansen family of Visalia, CA aboard La Brisa. The blue hit a petrolero lure 21 miles off El Arco. Ni Modo released 4 striped marlin for the Hathaway party of Darien, CT, and Adriana and Valerie each scored triples.
In an unusual incident, a porpoise hit a guacamaya lure trolled by La Brisa, and was released by cutting the line as close to the lure as possible after it could not be brought close enough to the boat to be unhooked. Pisces boats fished mostly from the Old Lighthouse to the Golden Gate Bank, in water temperatures averaging 73 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Picante Fleet reported on 4 late-week boats with a catch of 27 tuna and 15 dorado, fishing mostly at the 95 spot, and the Golden Gate and Jaime Banks.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing said Cabo weather was in the high-80s with some clouds, some afternoon light wind, and water temperatures to about 77 degrees on both the Pacific and Cortez sides. Landrum reported billfish scattered and variable, yellowfin tuna scarce, and dorado rolling up the best numbers, on fish of 10 to about 25 pounds. Very few wahoo were caught: "This week most of the wahoo flags were really for sierra, but a few boats actually caught wahoo. The fish were on the Pacific side in 300 feet of water and the average size seemed to be around 40 pounds. Not a lot of fish, but they were there."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said north winds limited fishing toward the end of the week, as inshore waters at San Jose del Cabo dropped to about 70 to 72 degrees. At the Gordo Banks, water temperatures held at 74 to 76 degrees. Brictson said yellowfin tuna action nearly stopped, but striped marlin were close in, 3 to 8 miles from shore, and some boats landed up to 5 fish at midweek. About 2 to 5 small dorado to about 10 pounds were also caught per boat, on drifted or trolled live sardina. Only a few wahoo were found.
Sierra mackerel of 2 to 5 pounds were caught in front of the Hilton Hotel, hitting just about anything from live bait to trolled plugs, hoochies, and flies, as the commercial gill netting in the area slacked off.
"Hopefully it isn't just for the holidays" Brictson said. "This inshore fishery is very valuable, especially during the wintertime, when offshore conditions can become nasty. Sierra are scrappy fighters and make very tasty fish tacos."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: John Snow of San Diego found generally slow action during 4 days of catch-and-release surf fishing between about Km 16 and Km 20 along Mex 1. Species fishing expert Snow, said water temperatures averaged 77 degrees, as he fished with small hooks and peeled shrimp or cut squid for Cortez rainbow wrasse, yellow striped grunt, large mouth blenny, orangeside triggerfish, and sunset wrasse.
Snow also fished flylined sardina, iron, and bottom baits for 4 days with Capt. Pata on the La Playita panga Salome for a release catch of: 9 dorado to 25 pounds, 2 leopard grouper to 10 pounds, 70 orangeside triggerfish to 1.5 pounds, 5 flag cabrilla to 2 pounds, 1 agujon of 5 pounds, 3 finescale triggerfish of 5 pounds, 5 Mexican needlefish of 3 pounds, 9 California needlefish of 5 pounds, 2 Panama graysby of 2 pounds, 1 rainbow runner of 5 pounds, 20 Pacific creolefish to 2 pounds, and 2 yellow snapper to 15 pounds.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said he's been sending clients to fish at Cabo San Lucas, due to persistent north winds at East Cape that finally slacked off for a brief period around Christmas. East Cape weather was in the low-70s, with water temperatures of 67 to 72 degrees, and virtually no boats were fishing offshore. Inshore, sierra and a few small jacks were caught, and beach fishing was "pretty good" on jacks, ladyfish, and sierra in the lee of Punta Arena. As for the billfish, Graham said, "There are more fish than anglers."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Jorge Bergin of La Ribera said, "Sorry! Still windy here. When it dies down, I'll be back out there."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Rancho Leonero, John Ireland reported spectacular weather right at Christmas, but very few boat departures. Only 2 boats fished during the week, but they found limits of large dorado at the Punta Pescadero-Punta Perico shark buoys "for those anglers braving the iffy conditions." Ireland said water temperatures averaged 71 to 73 degrees, and the dorado hit live mackerel only. Sierra were active on the beaches.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Species expert Peter Langstraat of Holland fished inshore for several weeks out of Hotel Punta Colorada:
"My first 10 days were dominated by ladyfish, with 11 sierra (and no ladyfish) on one day.
"I got lucky twice on big roosters, the first one from my boat on a small Rapala. It took me 2 hours and 45 minutes on 8-pound line. At 4 feet 1 inch, it must have been 30 pounds.
"Two days later, while fishing from the beach, I hooked my first ladyfish of the day, which was nailed within 3 seconds by a rooster. I landed it just within an hour. The calculation came to 33 pounds. It was probably to my advantage that the fish jumped 7 times completely clear out of the water and that must have tired him pretty much.
"During the last 5 days, there was an illegal netting operation taking place within 80 yards of the beach at the lighthouse.
"Though Eddy, the manager, was not at the hotel, I managed to find a middleman with connections to the authorities. The whole operation of 5 boats was kicked out 2 days after we left."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of the Vista Sea Sport dive service said the 3-day respite from winds over Christmas allowed some spectacular diving at Cabo Pulmo, with 71-degree bottom temperatures and sea life sightings of monster jewfish, schooling cownose rays, schooling manta rays, and schools of bigeye jacks chased by sea lions.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Karen Kennedy of Spa Delfin said she visited gravely ill Baja legend Jimmy Smith at his home in Los Barriles on Friday. "He will not be around much longer. It will be anytime...a day or a minute more, that's all," Kennedy said. "He will be missed by us all, and the core of the East Cape for many will be ripped out from under us. We will miss him so."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Gerardo Hernandez of Tortuga Sportfishing said he actually had panga clients fishing, despite the very few visitors in La Paz over the holidays, and the catch was steady pargo, cabrilla, and sierra on the Las Arenas side. "We have a lot of small sardina baits," Hernandez said, "a lot of them." After a brief midweek lull in the wind, the nortes started to blow again on Saturday, as air temperatures remained in the mid-80s. Water temperatures on the Las Arenas side were 70 to 74 degrees.
LORETO, MEXICO: Jeff Petersen said on Sunday that Los Nortes ruled the seas and winds were keeping boats pinned on shore. "Even a small developed wave form along the north face of the marina is indicative of rough water outside," Petersen said. "Here, three days after Christmas, not a boat out, not a car in the marina."
LORETO, MEXICO: Gregorio Segoviano of the Carnaderos baitsellers' cooperativa said, "Same as every year. The bait fish have left for deeper water to lay their eggs. Jurelito, macarela, and sardina have all moved outside. We expect their return toward the end of February, when their young have hatched."
Segoviano said catching bait for the next three months will be farther out and more subject to winds. Yellowtail fishing was good, with boats returning on calm days with fish to about 28 pounds.
MULEGE, MEXICO: Fly-in angler Ron Grant returned from the Hotel Serenidad, reporting cooler weather in the high-70s, down to the high-40s at night. Strong north winds kept boats off the water on some days, but Grant said he managed a couple of mornings of good variety bottom fishing and about 1 to 2 yellowtail per rod. "The yellows are deep, and live bait is your best bet," Grant said. Some yellowtail were also caught on jigs. "The fish are ranging between 10 to 20 pounds. I did not see anything larger," Grant said. Yellowtail were caught at the deeper holes in all directions, south to Punta Concepcion, and north to Isla San Marcos. Live bait was easy to catch just off the Mulege lighthouse. The Hotel Serenidad runway was in good condition.
SANTA ROSALIA, MEXICO: Brenda Goodson of the Hotel las Casitas (011-52-615-152-3023) in Santa Rosalia said there were 3 days of flat seas at midweek, but winds after that, plus the holidays "have pretty much everyone shut down." Even the Humboldt squid commercials were not fishing since the end of the season in November. At Isla San Marcos during the week, a 66-pound grouper was caught, plus yellowtail to 38 pounds, sierra of 2 to 6 pounds, and cabrilla to 15 pounds.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: At Bahia de los Angeles, Abraham Vazquez of Camp Gecko said, "Cold down here now, only 62 degrees today." L.A. Bay weather was windy from the north, and down to 50 degrees at night, but Vazquez reported very good winter fishing for yellowtail of 15 to 20 pounds at both Smith Island and Punta Don Juan, on both jigs and live bait. Water temperatures were a cool 60 to 63 degrees in the bay. Bottom fishing was steady. Over the weekend, winds were keeping boats in. The road was in good condition, and in the village the paving had been extended as far north as Larry and Raquel's Beach Motel.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At San Felipe, Catalina Meders of the Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said San Felipe weather was cold, in the high-50s, with clear blue skies and water temperatures in the low-60s. "The bay is steel grey with small white caps, more like the Atlantic than the Pacific this morning," Meders said on Sunday. "People are wearing winter gear. Lots and lots of people in town. We are almost out of maps and tour guides."
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Bill Molden of San Carlos said water temperatures were holding at a steady 64 degrees. Fishing was fairly slow, at 2 to 6 yellowtail per day from Isla San Pedro Nolasco. Molden said he caught 9 larger yellowtail to about 20 pounds on Tuesday, "but the bite for the most part has been slow." Trolled lures were doing about as well as iron, he said.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Aries Fleet boats out of Marina el Cid saw fewer sailfish but more striped marlin last week, as water temperatures cooled to the low-70s. A few yellowfin tuna of 30 to 45 pounds, and dorado of 40 to 55 pounds were also in the offshore mix, and some broadbill swordfish were seen, but not hooked. Inshore fishing for sierra was "as good as it gets" at Marmol, about 15 miles north of the marina, and the fish were averaging 6 to 7 pounds. Mazatlan weather was in the low-80s, with good sea conditions, and the best offshore fishing was 25 to 35 miles southwest of Marina el Cid.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Kim Moore of Charter Dreams Sportfishing said good sailfish action was found at Cabo Corrientes, Chimo, and Yelapa, on fish of 80 to 120 pounds, caught with live and dead goggle eye (caballito) baits. Roosterfish were abundant at Punta Mita, and dorado of 20 to 50 pounds were caught about 14 miles off the point. Puerto Vallarta weather was calm, with water temperatures of about 78 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Local guide Ed Kunze said 80-degree clear water was about 6 miles out, and fishing was good on sailfish, with boats raising about 10 to 15 per day. Dorado to about 30 pounds were caught by about 1 boat out of 3, and a 200-pound yellowfin tuna was caught 10 miles out by Dave Weed of Canada, with Capt. Margarito on the Gaby. The fish hit a slow-trolled live bonito under porpoise. Inshore, Kunze reported roosterfish and jack crevalle steady on light tackle.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said angler Brian Smith landed 13 sailfish in 2 days of fishing on the Vamanos II, which Edwards said also won first place in the marlin division of the Lazaro Cardenas Billfish Classic, with a 160-pound blue marlin. Capt. Adolfo Espinoza of the Dos Hermanos reported a 105-pound roosterfish caught on 50-pound line, which Edwards said was being submitted for a record.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the Fintastic Total Tag & Release Tournament said the big roosterfish was weighed at 47.7 kilos, just a hair over 105 pounds. Another large tuna, about 180 pounds, was caught two weeks ago by the Liberdad after a 3 hour fight, Phillips said.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly reported Zihuatanejo weather as clear in the high-80s, with light winds, and water temperatures of 79 to 86 degrees.