BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: At Bahia de los Angeles, Abraham Vazquez of Camp Gecko said yellowtail fishing was good last week on the back side of Isla Smith. "Most of the yellowtail are in the 15 to 20-pound range, but there is an occasional 25 pounder around," Vazquez said.
Yellowtail also hit at Los Machos, and north at Punta Remedios, and the action was very good at Roca Bernabe and Punta Pescador.
L.A. Bay weather was cold in the high-50s, with some rain on New Year's Eve, but glassy smooth over the weekend, with water temperatures of 59 to 63 degrees. The access road was in good condition, and the desert was green from the rains.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet said pangas at the tip of Punta Banda scored continued limits of lingcod and bottom fish over the weekend, plus 1 yellowtail caught by Ron Stanko of Reseda, CA and his daughter, and a surprise Humboldt squid. Ensenada weather was clear in the low-60s, but windy in the afternoons, with water temperatures of 55 to 59 degrees.
Earlier, Jay L. Johnson of Fontana, CA limited on yellowtail of 18 to 28 pounds, and also limited on rockcod and lingcod, fishing with aluminum jigs with Capt. Beto Zamora on the Vonny I.
Val Aparicio of Redlands, CA, Israel Aparicio, Israel Aparicio II, and Frank Lozano fished right after New Year's Day with Capt. Cruz Zamora on a Vonny's Fleet panga in good conditions: "We were hanging out near the Bufadora where we caught numerous bottom fish, including 6 lingcod up to 14 pounds, various rockcod, and a few sandbass.
"We were using nothing but frozen anchovies for bait. The water was ideal and the sun was out all day. We were having a blast, while the rest of Ensenada was nursing their New Year's hangover."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas said San Quintin water temperatures averaged 59 degrees, as 6 boats fished during the week, mostly for limits on yellowtail of 18 to 22 pounds. Some boats chose to fish the bottom, and limited on rockcod, whitefish, and lingcod.
"Most of the yellowtail were at the 6 and 240 spots," Hillis said. "The hot jig was blue-white, and live bait was bringing them to the surface as well."
San Quintin weather was very cool in the mornings, and "sweatshirts" in the afternoons, with some wind.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Capt. Kelly Catain of El Capitan Sportfishing said he found medium yellowtail at the 15 spot, and larger ones at the 240. The larger yellowtail hit on 6-ounce blue-white and chrome-blue iron, about 150 to 200 feet down. Catain said he got the best results on Action lures, and some fish on live bait with 1 to 2-ounce egg sinkers.
Catain also said local officials were checking for Mexican fishing licenses, and advised that everyone should get one ahead of time.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Julio Meza of San Quintin fished on his boat the Santa Monica, with his sister Monica. "We had a beautiful day, calm south winds, 78 degrees, and blue waters at 59.5 degrees," Meza said. Five yellowtail out of many strikes were landed, but seals did "an excellent job." Meza said, "After feeding the seals, we moved south to El Socorro where Norm from Campo Lorenzo landed a nice 20-plus white seabass. We fished around his boat, but too late."
Earlier, Meza fished with Conrrado Gonzalez and did not bother to stop for bait, but still loaded the boat at the 15 spot, in choppy 61.5-degree water. "We fished the northwest and southwest edges, looking for 160 to 180 feet of depth," Meza said. "As soon as we metered the fish, we dropped jigs and the hookups began."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Stan Vath of Campo Lorenzo fished in 60-degree water with friends Jim and Paige Coffey of Newhall, CA and their sons Travis and Blake, for limits of sandbass, bottom fish, and wide-open barracuda and bonito, plus a 17-pound white seabass for Jim.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: On New Year's Day, Norm Gehrke and Lanny Boddy of Campo Lorenzo limited on sandbass and bottom fish, plus a 20-pound white seabass. There were thousands of winter black brant on the bay, Vath said, but few hunters, if any, were present: "The fees are so high nobody I know hunts them anymore. This is unfortunate for the local guides."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Multiple sources confirmed details of the boating accident first reported on VHF Channel 6 on Saturday, Dec. 27, 2003. The boat was the Cucajuan chartered out of Tiburon's Pangas by four U.S. anglers. The boat, operated by Capt. Salvador "Chava" Vidaurrazaga, capsized after being hit by a surprise wave, in rough conditions, at the 240 spot, in 62.5-degree water. All hands were saved without injury when the nearby Fanny operated by Capt. Bartolo "Bear" Garcia picked them up, but the Cucajuan sank.
A 35-foot sailboat was also reported lost at Isla San Martin, in high winds on Christmas Day.
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: John Carroll of Bonita, CA ran down to Punta Rosarito for some excellent action on calico bass, in water temperatures averaging 63 degrees: "Had a blast catching as many calicos as we wanted. Fished from my kayak with my friend and his wife, both first timers and now hooked. Scott brought an 8-WT flyrod and caught a few bass with it from the kayak.
"The fish all seemed to be 3 to 4 pounds, with a few bigger mixed in, and all swallowing the Fish Traps.
"Outside of the surf in this spot there is no greater attraction than the halibut and there were plenty this year. The biggest was about 3 inches thick and fed all of us for 4 days. My buddy shot one that was close to 20 pounds.
"We left a bit ahead of schedule because of the rain early Wednesday. It was nasty in there. So much water collected in a short period of time I did not think we would get my buddy's two-wheel-drive Explorer out.
"The Catavina vados, both before and after, were dry for the first time ever. No gas yet in Jesus Maria."
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said San Carlos weather was partly cloudy in the high-70s with water temperatures of 66 to 74 degrees. Fly anglers Peter Chan and Susan Rosen of New York caught corvina, pompano, and grouper in the mangroves, and halibut were steady on the sandy beaches. At the entrada, yellowtail were present under birds, but not hitting reliably.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said about 75 percent of boats landed billfish, and dorado counts were also up on fish of about 15 to 25 pounds. The Fish Cabo reported on 3 outings, with a catch including released fish of: 9 yellowfin tuna, 1 dorado, and 2 striped marlin. In 4 fishing days, the Juanita VIII reported 28 yellowfin tuna, 2 marlin, and 11 dorado.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 76 boats with a catch including released fish of: 4 blue marlin, including an estimated 500 pounder released by Cabo Magic, 48 striped marlin, 1 sailfish, 64 dorado, 28 yellowfin tuna, 10 skipjack tuna, 8 wahoo, 1 mako shark estimated at 200 pounds released, 15 roosterfish, and 6 skunks.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Picante Fleet reported on 7 weekend boats with a catch including released fish of: 2 striped marlin, 26 yellowfin tuna to 100 pounds, and 18 dorado.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Nancy Chaloner of Pisces Fleet said fishing was hot and cold last week. Striped marlin were numerous just a few miles off the arch, but would not always bite. In addition to striped marlin, 3 blue marlin to over 300 pounds were landed. In all, 50 yellowfin tuna, 30 dorado, 1 wahoo, 26 striped marlin, and the 3 blues were landed, as 72 percent of Pisces boats landed all species combined. Inshore action was good on snappers and sierra. Water temperatures averaged 72 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing reported on 5 boats with a catch including released fish of: 1 striped marlin, 12 tuna to 54 pounds, and 4 dorado to 30 pounds.
Landrum said Cabo weather was occasionally showery and choppy, in the high-80s, with water temperatures of 75 to 77 degrees on the Pacific side, and 74 degrees to as low as 71 degrees on the Cortez side.
Earlier, the Fly Hooker fished 4 days, with a catch including released fished of: 1 striped marlin, 2 dorado of 12 and 25 pounds, 1 bonita, and 2 amberjack.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: At Gordo Banks Pangas, Eric Brictson said water temperatures ranged from 76 degrees to a low of 72 degrees at Los Frailes, with persistent north winds, and highly variable water clarity. Yellowfin tuna of 60 to 150 were present on the Gordo Banks, Brictson said, and a few were hooked to about 100 pounds on chunk bait and sardinas. Mackerel, sardina, and caballito live bait was plentiful. Only a few dorado, mostly under 10 pounds, were caught, although there were several bulls to about 30 pounds.
Inshore, pangas caught sierra, pargo, pompano, croaker, cabrilla, and triggerfish on light tackle and live sardina, and in the surf, sierra were active in the early morning hours before sunrise. No snook were reported.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Stan Woodward of Manhattan Beach, CA had a slow trip out of Punta Palmilla with Capt. Hugo Pino: "A bumpy run to Playita for sardinas, then off toward Cabo where Hugo fished all the usual spots, in front of the old Hyatt, Grey Rock, Shipwreck, Chileno, Cabo Real, and in front of Palmilla, for 2 sierra.
"Next day we headed to the Inner Gordo where we found swell, white caps, green water and obnoxious birds. After an hour, we ran inside to fish off Cardon and La Fortuna for 2 sierra on trolled Rapalas. The trophy of the trip was a volleyball-sized puffer caught trolling a deep diver Mirrolure along the beach.
"Day 3, the run to Playita was bone chilling cold. After buying bait we decided to try the Gordo again. We had it all to ourselves and conditions were much improved, but still no fish other than skipjack. We tried jigs, sardinas, chunk bait and slow-trolling skippies but nobody was home."
"I had a long talk with my panguero about the longline situation and he was pretty disturbed. He says they catch very few dorado anymore. He said pangueros found an abandoned longline 22 miles offshore with thousands of hooks. On one of the hooks was the shark chewed-carcass of a 100-pound dorado. What a shame!"
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Bob Grimes of San Jose del Cabo said most boats brought in a few small bottom fish or sierra last week, plus some huachinango to about 2 pounds, and a few chicken dorado to about 12 pounds.
Grimes reported that local officials forced the La Playita gillnetters to cease operations, although the Destiladeras commercials were still working. "Local Mexicans dedicated to sportfishing are encouraged that after years of corruption and apathy by officials, there have been some changes," Grimes said.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Baja On The Fly, Gary Graham said north winds and rough seas persisted last week: "On the days that the wind did back off, it was still tough." A few boats scored on dorado north toward the Punta Pescadero buoys, but they were returning by midmorning, due to wind. East Cape weather was in the low-70s, with water temperatures of 67 to 73 degrees.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chip Shapley of Rancho Leonero said he was able to get out in his boat, the Buena Fortuna, during a lull in the winds right at Christmas: "Some friends and I set out in search of dorado. We started at the shark buoys off Punta Pescadero, but despite getting there first we had no action.
"We tried outside, and then back north of the buoys, where we picked up 3 dorado to 25 pounds next to a sea turtle. We caught 2 on small marlin lures, and the largest on a live mackerel.
"We saw mackerel, skipjack, ballyhoo, a couple of small flying fish, and a large area of jellyfish.
"One dorado had eaten a lot of what we guessed to be skipjack or tuna eggs. They looked like a pile of small eyeballs, some connected together."
Shapley reported water temperatures of 69.7 to 72.3 degrees.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Rancho Leonero, John Ireland said the Punta Pescadero shark buoys produced limits of dorado to 40 pounds for those anglers getting out on calmer days. All the dorado were caught on live mackerel, Ireland said. Sierra were active on most area beaches.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Rod Albright of Los Barriles reported the first and second striped marlin of the year caught during a lull in the wind on New Year's Day by Togo Hazard and his grandson Dereck, both of San Diego, while fishing out of Buena Vista Beach Resort. Albright said some dorado, mostly 8 to 10 pounds, were also caught, plus sierra on green-yellow hoochies.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Martin Verdugo's Beach Resort, Marisol Verdugo said pangas and cruisers caught sierra, dorado, and some striped marlin.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Cabo Pulmo, Mark Rayor reported heavy concentrations of sea life, with schooling manta rays and jacks, bottom temperatures averaging 71 degrees, and visibility of 30 to 40 feet.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: East Cape legend, Jimmy Smith passed away on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 3, at his home in Los Barriles. A memorial mass was celebrated Sunday morning. "I just spoke with a friend who's wife was with him," said Mark Rayor of Vista Sea Sport. "She said his entire family was with him and he 'went out with style.'"
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Gerardo Hernandez of Tortuga Sportfishing said action was good on the Las Arenas side last week, even though only a few anglers were present. "We have 30 to 35-pound dorado, sierra, lots of pargo, and bait everywhere," Hernandez said. "The boats are fishing at the buoys and coming back with 5 or 6." Las Arenas weather was in the low-70s, with water temperatures of 70 to 72 degrees at Ensenada de los Muertos.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International said sport and commercial anglers on the La Paz side caught cabrilla, sierra, red snapper, and pargos. "The usual rocky areas are kicking out the pargo, cabrilla and snapper. Rapalas or broken-backed Rebels are doing the trick on the sierra," Roldan said.
LORETO, MEXICO: At Baja Big Fish Company, Pam Bolles said winds were strong and unpredictable, with mostly rough seas. "Yellowtail are way up north off Punta Pulpito," Bolles said. "We got into them thick on New Year's Eve, but the seas got big very quickly in the late morning. It took three and a half hours to return." The yellowtail were 25 to 30 pounds, and mostly caught on live mackerel, 200 feet deep.
LORETO, MEXICO: Gregorio Segoviano of the Carnaderos baitsellers cooperativa said they only caught a few mackerel last week, far outside, deep, and scarce. "Although sardinas have been absent, we expect their appearance nearer shore with the full moon this week," Segoviano said.
LORETO, MEXICO: Jeff Petersen of Loreto said he released a marlin at Cabo San Lucas on New Year's Day, and locally, winds picked up again at the end of the week, and the baitsellers' pangas fished mostly huachinango.
LORETO, MEXICO: Ty Miller of El Fuerte Sportfishing said yellowtail of 25 to 35 pounds were showing up at Punta Baja and Six Mile Reef, on heavy iron. "Fish are gradually moving up the column into shallower water, and within the next few months will be chewing up the flylined baits on top," Miller said. "The outside of Isla Catalan is producing some very solid 35 to 40-pound plus yellowtail, suspending in around 200 feet off old reliable Smorgasbord Reef." The yellowtail were mixed with broomtail grouper and huachinango to 15 pounds, holding just off the bottom. Loreto weather was mostly windy, in the mid-60s, with water temperatures averaging 65 degrees.
LORETO, MEXICO: Wendy Wilchynski of Villas de Loreto said no anglers were present at the hotel.
MULEGE, MEXICO: At the Hotel Serenidad, Diana Johnson reported conditions improving, but weather still cold, and fishing still mostly knocked out by wind.
SANTA ROSALIA, MEXICO: Brenda Goodson of the Hotel las Casitas in Santa Rosalia said weather and sea conditions improved during a rainy period in the north. Water temperatures averaged 62 to 63 degrees. Yellowtail of 25 to 35 pounds were caught on surface bait and iron, about 2 to 5 fish per rod, plus some cabrilla and pargo, along the west side of Isla San Marcos and also north of San Lucas Cove.
Goodson said sportfishing trips may be booked through the hotel, 011-52-615-152-3023.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: John Tillander of Las Vegas made a light-tackle run to Punta Bufeo: "Windy, but then things quieted down and the fishing was great. Our fishing is from small boats, launched across the beach. So far we have caught over 38 species including eels and octopus. We usually use 12-pound line and we have lost more tackle than I can count." Tillander reported a catch for the trip including "golden-eye," spotted bay bass, triggerfish, barracuda, and a couple of 3 to 5-pound yellowtail.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Randy Morishita of Carlsbad, CA reported on totoaba (a prohibited species) in the Puertecitos area: "People are still netting totoaba from San Felipe to Puertecitos and one can purchase steaks, filets, or whole fish without much effort.
"A friend of mine was really excited to report huge fish that broke him off numerous times.
"I took one look at his 'corvina' and said, 'Machorro! Juvenile totoaba!' Even though it was cleaned with the head removed, there was no mistaking the reddish skin with the larger than average scales.
"He let out an 'Oh sh_t!' Around Percebu the totoaba hang out with the smaller orangemouth and one hears of people hooking up more frequently these days. Don't hear too much of people practicing catch-and-release though."
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At San Felipe, Catalina Meders of the Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said local weather was the coldest of the year, in the low-50s, with steel gray water, and skies varying rapidly from bright sun to dense fog. "Got to plug in my electric serape," Meders said.
Many visitors were in town, and the new animal shelter was in operation with a neutering program and several planned fund raisers.
ROCKY POINT (PUERTO PENASCO), MEXICO: Esther Donaldson of Santiago's Ocean Services said fishing was generally slow last week, "mostly triggerfish and a few pintos." Some private boats went out 52 miles in search of black sea bass, and others were searching closer in.
ROCKY POINT (PUERTO PENASCO), MEXICO: Jim Davis of Yuma used his saltwater aquarium to confirm that dorado were feeding offshore on juvenile sergeant majors last July: "I started looking more closely at what type of prey these fish were seeking.
"After scooping up a few loads of sargasso, I found the most common dweller to be a little fish, dark bronzy-brown with darker stripes. These guys made up at least 90 percent of the population.
"I brought 8 of them home to my Sea of Cortez reef tank to see if they would survive. Today I have five left, and all are 4 1/2-inch to 5-inch sergeant majors! They are now the typical golden yellow with silver bellies and black bars. Odd that the newly-hatched and well-protected fry migrate to the open gulf and live as pelagics before returning to the shorelines to establish their territories."
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Bill Molden of San Carlos said fishing slowed to a "snail's pace" last week. "The numbers of fish being caught have been way down, but not for a lack of anglers," Molden said. "The near shore action has been interrupted with the influx of squid in large numbers, which may be the reason the yellowtail have been so dispersed." San Carlos water temperatures were in the high-50s and low-60s.
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Jim Mori of Sonora, CA was preparing for a trip to Desemboque, Kino Bay, San Carlos, Guaymas, and points south, in search of the elusive Gulf Sierra or Monterey Spanish Mackerel, Scomberomorus concolor, which were once abundant off the California coast and in the northern Sea of Cortez, but have become uncommon. After extensive research, biologist Mori, has theorized that the remaining Cortez gulf sierra population, said to be centered along the gulf's eastern shore, may have become "trapped," in a way analogous to other isolated groups, such as sheephead and ocean whitefish. "I am beginning to think that the occurrence of gulf sierra in the upper Cortez is another example of the 'fish trap' situation," Mori said, "whereby over geologic time it has become isolated, sub-speciated, and found some weird niche or combination of niches that have allowed it to hang on, however precariously."
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said north winds closed the port for 3 days, but conditions were improving and boats were again finding good action on striped marlin, yellowfin tuna, and a scattering of dorado. Sailfish counts were down, in cooling water, but Aries Fleet boats out of Marina el Cid sighted 3 broadbill swordfish in 1 day. Inshore at Marmol, 14 miles north of the marina, boats averaged 8 to 10 sierra per day of 6 to 7 pounds. Overall, 13 outings by Aries Fleet boats produced a catch including released fish of: 18 striped marlin, 3 sailfish, 29 yellowfin tuna, and 13 dorado. Mazatlan weather was cloudy in the mid-80s, with water temperatures in the high-70s, and the best fishing was 25 to 35 miles from Marina el Cid on headings of 225 to 265 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Local guide Ed Kunze said 80-degree clear water was a couple of miles off the beach and many anglers were present, with about 40 boats per day fishing. "Most boats are releasing 4 to 7 sailfish a day, and are raising 10 to 15," Kunze said. Fly angler Dan Ross had a high day of 6 releases. Inshore, plentiful sierra were about a quarter-mile off the beach.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said the Leydy with Capt. Candelerio had a 6-day catch including released fish of: 18 sailfish, 1 dorado, 1 yellowtail jack, and several bonito.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly reported Zihuatanejo weather as calm and mostly cloudy in the high-80s, with water temperatures of 79 to 86 degrees.