CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Nancy Chaloner of Pisces Fleet said multiple marlin hookups were “abundant on all our boats,” about 10 miles off shore, from San Jose del Cabo northwards on the Sea of Cortez side. Terry Hesch of Duluth, Minn. landed five striped marlin on Friday aboard the Karina with Capt. Enrique Martinez.
The previous day, Valerie, Tracy Ann and Andrea had triple releases. Overall, 64 striped marlin were landed for a catch rate of 95 percent. Yellowfin tuna were scarce, Chaloner said, but dorado of 20 to 50 pounds were landed by most anglers, and some wahoo were also in the mix. All Pisces boats fished on the Cortez side, as water temperatures averaged 65 to 70 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 58 boats with a catch including released fish of: 46 striped marlin, 58 yellowfin tuna, 107 dorado, six wahoo, eight skipjack, 12 roosterfish, and a “plethora” of sierra.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Picante Fleet reported on nine boats with a catch including released fish of: 22 striped marlin, 14 dorado, and 17 yellowfin tuna. The 35-foot Picante Pride with Capt. Antonio “Nino” Romero scored a rare quintuple striped marlin release.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing reported on four boats with a catch including released fish of: three striped marlin, nine dorado of 12 to 35 pounds, five yellowfin tuna of 10 to 25 pounds, and one 60-pound wahoo. Landrum said Cabo weather was clear and sunny, after some heavy rain during the week. Green, near shore water was 67 to 69 degrees, and blue offshore water was 70 to 74 degrees. Landrum reported boats on the Cortez side spotting as many as 20 striped marlin a day, plus some blue marlin, some smaller yellowfin tuna south of the Jaime Bank, scattered dorado in all directions, and a few wahoo.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Gaviota Fleet boats had a billfish catch rate of about 50 percent. The hot billfish boat for the week was the Gaviota VII with five striped marlin in four days.
Overall, Gaviota Fleet had a catch including released fish of: 16 striped marlin, 39 dorado, 68 yellowfin tuna including some of 60 to 80 pounds, and one wahoo. Gaviota boats fished at the Jaime bank on the Pacific side, and also at the Palmilla ridge on the Cortez side.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Benjamin Ortega Rodriguez of Solmar Fleet reported a catch including released fish of: 60 striped marlin, four blue marlin, 55 dorado, 67 yellowfin tuna, and seven bonito. Ortega Rodriguez said the fleet averaged nearly 1 billfish per departure.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: At Vonny’s Fleet, Ivan Villarino reported water temperatures averaging 58 degrees and pangas at the tip of Punta Banda finding steady action on bottom fish, and some flurries of yellowtail to 20 pounds, on the surface with aluminum jigs. On Thursday, Daniel Gonzales and Derek Stadler of Fountain Valley fished on the Vonny I with Capt. Beto Zamora and caught four sandbass, plus six yellowtail averaging 20 pounds, just inside the boiler rocks at the tip of the point. Ensenada weather was partly cloudy in the high-60s with a few light showers and generally calm seas.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: John Carroll of Bonita returned from a 4-day trip with family and friends, on his trailer boat Huachinango out of Marina Coral: “We fished the Banda Bank for some nice reds, a few lings, bocaccio, and whitefish. None of the fish were over 5 pounds. Wednesday was a little rolly and lumpy. We flew in at 27 m.p.h., cleaned fish, and just enjoyed Mexico from the balcony. Thursday, the wind really came up quick, so we moved in to fish Todos for awhile. Not much luck.” Carroll reported water temperatures of 62 degrees outside, and 57 degrees around Isla Todos Santos.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sammy Susarrey of Lily Fleet reported two slow days at Punta Banda, but a good midweek bite on salmon grouper and red rockfish, 200 feet deep at Maximino Reef. Susarrey said he had new phone numbers: 011-52-646-169-8703 (cell), and 011-52-646-174-6747 (home).
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Earlier, Sergio Susarrey of Sergio’s Sportfishing Center reported on 41 anglers with a catch of: two halibut, 152 lingcod, 547 rockcod, 84 whitefish, 19 sheephead, and 12 red rockfish.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Celia Diaz of the Binational Emergency Medical Care Committee in Chula Vista (619-425-5080) reported an evacuation of an American man who suffered a heart attack in Ensenada and was being held by a private medical clinic demanding payment in cash. Diaz said, “The patient was transported within an hour after we received the call.”
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro’s Pangas said only four boats fished last week. Yellowtail were spotty, and most anglers fished on the bottom for rockcod, whitefish, and lingcod, using dead squid and blue-white or scrambled egg jigs. San Quintin weather was cloudy with some showers but little wind, and water temperatures averaged 58 degrees. Hillis had an advisory for private boaters to be wary of extreme tides that made it difficult to get in and out of the bay at times, recommending that an experienced local guide be hired.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Julio Meza of San Quintin fished at midweek with Raul Marmol on Marmol’s 20-foot center console: “We put the boat in at 11:45. With just iron jigs, we tried the 15 spot and then the 6 spot, and we scored three small yellowtail. We lost one to the seals. There are yellowtail at San Quintin almost every day during the winter, but you need to work hard to find them.” Meza reported clean water of 60.5 degrees at the 6 spot.
Earlier, Meza fished with his brother Elias and father Julio Sr. on his own boat, the Santa Monica, for 12 yellowtail to 18 pounds at the 240 spot. The water temperature was 59 degrees, and the fish were caught with fast-retrieved iron. Meza said: “We must be moving a lot and reading the meter to spot fish.”
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said offshore yellowfin tuna disappeared, and firecracker yellowtail at the entrada provided the best action last week. “Fair action at the entrada, after crummy weather early in the week,” Graham said. More than 20 migrating gray whales were counted as they came through the entrada last week, and some calves have already been spotted. San Carlos weather was hazy in the high-60s, with water temperatures of 66 to 74 degrees.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: At Gordo Banks Pangas, Eric Brictson said cool weather dropped near shore water temperatures to 69 to 70 degrees, and 73 to 74 degrees farther out. Inshore action featured abundant sierra hitting sardina, hoochies, and Rapalas off all rocky beaches. On the bottom, pargo of 5 to 10 pounds and cabrilla up to 20 pounds were caught at the various rock piles.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Earlier, Randy Morishita of Carlsbad returned from a trip to La Playita with his friend Maged Rasheed: “It rained very hard at times. The beach in front of our hotel, Fiesta Inn, dropped at least 8 feet due to the huge, pounding waves. Rasheed and I did manage to catch a couple of nice tuna around 60 pounds and some nice huachinango that were down deep.
“One guy fishing with Chame out of Eric's fleet caught his first ever tuna--131 pounds! We were fishing with Jesus, Chame's brother.
“The next day we fished with Chame. Just as we were going to head back, a huge yellowtail swallowed a chihuil down deep. Rasheed held on. I thought he was going to go over the side. As I took over, I got to feel why Rasheed was struggling--an absolute brute of a fish, especially standing in a panga.
“Just as I was starting to get some line back, my rod did an abrupt 90-degree turn and the line started to peel quickly off. Chame yelled, ‘Lobo!!’ Chame started chasing the lobo, yelling to ‘Reel!’ We did keep pace for a while as we tried to scare it. At least we got to see the fish--in the mouth of that seal lion--really unbelievable. The chase lasted about 15 minutes, ending with the mouth of the yellowtail detaching. The yellowtail was huge, 50 to 60 pounds and so was the sea lion, 600-plus.”
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Baja Beach Captain Mike Reichner called the weather “very unsettled. Mucha lluvia and washed out arroyos.” Reichner said numerous sierra plus a 50-pound roosterfish were caught at Punta Arena, “when you can get out there.”
“Many, many dorado are being caught off Punta Pescadero, but just five to 10 pounds,” Reichner said. On Saturday he also reported a huge marlin very close to the beach: “While having breakfast at Palmas de Cortez, I was fortunate to see a grande marlin jump clear out of the water just a hundred yards from the playa or so--the kind of visions one dreams about.”
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chuck Meredith of Los Barriles said, “Just finished another 12-hour rainfall. Now, north wind blowing and sunny, 65 degrees.” Meredith said the hotel cruisers were doing very well on dorado over the weekend, plus releasing a good number of striped marlin, including the JB with a quadruple release day. All boats were fishing north up to Ensenada de los Muertos, and out to the shark buoys.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chris Moyers of East Cape Smoke House reported on 21 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: 14 striped marlin, three sailfish, and 74 yellowfin tuna. The dorado count was not available. East Cape water temperatures averaged 66 to 72 degrees.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of the Vista Sea Sport dive service said water conditions were, “in a word, ugly!” Rayor, returning from a week at Cancun, reported “puke green” water at 68 degrees.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Jorge Bergin of La Ribera said sierra were around in numbers: “They are in tight, scattered schools, biting late and hard.” Bergin said the water temperature at his place was 66 degrees.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly reported dorado and marlin offshore, and jacks and sierra on the beaches, north between Los Barriles and Punta Pescadero.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Cabo Pulmo, Pepe Murrieta of Pepe’s Dive Service said visibility was about 35 feet, with a water temperature of about 69 degrees: “We’ve been wearing 5-millimeter wet suits.”
With very few sportfishing boats working at East Cape, some residents also reported out-of-work sport fishing captains illegally gill netting sierra along shore between Los Barriles and Punta Pescadero. Said one, “I recognized the two fishermen as boat captains during the regular season. Subsistence fishing.”
LA PAZ, MEXICO: At Tortuga Sportfishing, Gerardo Hernandez said a few pangas did fish Sunday on the Las Arenas side, finding sierra, pargo, and yellowtail in good weather, after rains until midnight on Friday. Water temperatures averaged 70 degrees. “No real changes,” Hernandez said, “just a few boats out at Muertos and Las Arenas”
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International said there were enough gaps in the weather to get in some decent fishing. “We had a surprise snap of yellowtail that came on strong!” Roldan said. “A few boats that worked about halfway up Espiritu Santo Island found the forktails willing to chew.” Divers at El Bajo also reported “huge” yellowtail mixed with schools of as many as 70 hammerhead sharks.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Mino Shiba of Mosquito Fleet said yellowtail, dorado, and a few cabrilla were caught around Isla Todos Santos, in calm weather earlier in the week, with water temperatures averaging 70 degrees. At the remote northern camp of San Evaristo, Shiba said lots of yellowtail and some yellowfin tuna of 40 to 50 pounds were caught on Rapalas at Islas San Diego and Catalina.
LORETO, MEXICO: Arturo Susarrey of Arturo’s Sportfishing said north winds kept boats off the water for part of the week, but yellowtail of 20 to 25 pounds were caught at north Isla Coronado, Bajo del Medio, and San Bruno reef, about 12 miles north of town. “Excellent fishing. Good numbers. Most anglers brought limits,” Susarrey said. Mackerel bait was available east of Isla Coronado, but Susarrey recommended Salas 6X Jrs. and lightweight jigs in yellow-green, scrambled egg, and blue-white.
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company said the weather was cool and clear after some rain clouds and nortes during the week. Capt. Eulogio Davis Sanchez reported limits of 25 to 30-pound yellowtail plus huachinango at San Bruno. Inshore fishing was slow: “Very slow at the marina. Nobody was fishing at all on Thursday morning, which is rare.” Bait has not been for sale at the marina, so Bolles recommended that anglers come prepared to catch their own.
LORETO, MEXICO: Gregorio Segoviano of the Carnaderos baitsellers cooperativa said the pangueros went north to their remote camp at Ramadita again last week, and did well commercially on yellowtail: “More jurel taken this week. Iron has been as effective as macarela at times.” Segoviano said the wind continued to be a factor in the fishing, and morning temperatures were “brisk.”
LORETO, MEXICO: Earlier, Wendy Wilchynski of Villas de Loreto said hotel guests returned with good catches of yellowtail: “More and more fishermen are coming in now. Lots of fish tacos for everyone!”
MULEGE, MEXICO: In Mulege, fly-in resident Ron Grant said the weather was much cooler, and partly rainy, only in the high-70s during the day and down to the mid-40s at night. Water temperatures were holding at about 65 degrees. Yellowtail fishing was slow, Grant said, with boats returning early due to wind: “If you can get into the birds, the yellows will hit iron and live bait. The deeper holes with some larger fish are hitting yo-yo jigs and live bait.”
SANTA ROSALIA, MEXICO: San Marcos Mike Kanzler of Isla San Marcos called the continued almost windless weather “some kind of record for this time of the year,” despite some rain on Thursday and Friday.
Kanzler said water temperatures were holding at 60 to 61 degrees at the island, although some mornings have been chilly, in the high-40s. With the high tidal range during the new moon, water visibility was down to about 15 feet, and Kanzler said, “some kind of red tide is forming up as well.” Many finback whales were present in the channel between the island and San Lucas Cove.
Fishing slowed a bit from the previous week, but most boats still averaged 2 to 3 yellowtail per day, into the high 20-pound range. “I fished less this week with about the same results,” Kanzler said. “Big tides sometimes produce later bites, usually around 3 p.m., at the strongest flow. I heard one boat from San Lucas Cove stayed out late on Thursday in the rain. At about 2:30, the fish showed on the surface and it was able to catch four nice yellowtail, using live mackerel.”
Kanzler said few boats fished inshore but, “I've been seeing lots of pelicans and other seabirds crashing in the shallows off San Bruno, north of San Lucas, and the island. It might be getting better.”
In another report, Kanzler sent a photo of a rarely-seen oarfish observed on Dec. 27, 1993: “Since I've been on the island, two such fish have been found after strong wind storms in the winter. This is a photo of the larger one, about 12 foot. I've seen a live one of 20-plus feet years ago while fishing for bait in 230 feet of water off the Haystack.”
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: On Sunday morning, Capt. Igor Galvan said, “Bad news. We can’t go this morning. Too much west wind.” Galvan had planned a run to Bahia de las Animas, after scoring 15 smaller yellowtail to 14 pounds at Los Machos during the week.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Earlier, Abraham Vazquez of L.A. Bay’s Camp Gecko said yellowtail to 40 pounds were caught at the inner islands, and regular winter yellowtail of 15 to 20 pounds were at Bajo Guadalupe and Punta Remedios to the north. The yellowtail were caught with blue-white jigs, and some grouper hit trolled MirrOlures. L.A. Bay weather was cool in the mid-60s, with some rain and clouds, and water temperatures of 57 to 60 degrees.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Julio Meza of San Quintin and his family trailered his boat Santa Monica to Bahia de los Angeles for two days of fishing side-by-side with Capt. Guillermo Galvan and his son, Capt. Igor Galvan, out of Casa Diaz. “We made bait by the lighthouse, sardines and mackerel, and because of the west wind, we went south to El Soldado and Las Animas. We caught two yellowtail and moved to San Bernabe. No yellows, but lots of cabrilla and small red snapper.
On Sunday, we had an excellent day, no wind. We went north. We stopped for a while at Bajo Guadalupe, but didn’t catch any. We moved to Los Machos at Isla Angel de la Guarda, for 21 yellowtail to 22 pounds, releasing 8 small ones.”
Meza said the best bite was on blue-white and green-yellow iron, fished more than 300 feet deep, in 62.5-degree, blue water. The road was in good condition. Meza said commercial nets were working everywhere in the bay, and one net he saw was full of small shark, none over 10 pounds.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At San Felipe, Catalina Meders of the Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said the weather over the weekend warmed into the low-70s, skies were clear, and winds were calm, with “the bay steel-blue and absolutely flat.” Some visitors in town were surprised to find little information available on Consag Rock, the anomalous formation visible on the horizon about 18 miles out, Meders said: “These folks wanted to know why it is the only one in the area. On reflection, it does seem unusual.”
The town of San Felipe announced the 5-day 2004 Carnaval celebration, with activities scheduled daily from Feb. 19 to Feb. 23, including regional paella sampling, lots of live music and dancing, parades, nightly cock fights at 8 p.m., a masquerade ball and awards presentation, and a solemn “bad humor burning” speech and ceremony.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Art Myers returned from a trip south out of San Felipe, and reported about 14 Guaymas-style shrimp trawlers working as close as 100 yards from shore as he drove south.
ROCKY POINT (PUERTO PENASCO), MEXICO: Mark Olszewski of Rocky Point Boat Trips said the weather was cloudy with some rain over the weekend, but winds were minimal, and the sea stayed calm with water temperatures averaging 58 degrees. Esther Donaldson of Santiago’s Ocean Services, Alphonso of The Joker, and dive instructor Rick Hammer reported from 15-mile-reef that the catch was on finescale triggerfish, spotted cabrilla, jawfish, and halibut. “Although no one had caught any record breakers, they all were catching keeper-sized fish with regularity,” Olszewski said.
Earlier, Olszewski took 22 college students to Bird Island (Isla San Jorge), 27 miles east of Rocky Point, for a remarkable encounter with finback whales on the 128-foot Intrepid: “For the majority, this would be their first visit to the Sea of Cortez. About 3 or 4 miles out Capt. Oscar announced whales straight ahead. You can imagine 22 young and energetic men and women all jumping up and rushing for the exit at the same time. The spouts started spraying just off the starboard side, then the stern. We estimated perhaps 18 to 20 finback whales, Balaenoptera physalus. These whales are not known to come close to power boats. On this sighting they surfaced close enough for us to see the prominent but rather small dorsal fin, and the turbulence left on the surface of the water by the thrust of it's powerful tail. The finback whale can grow to 70 feet and 70 tons, only second in size to the blue whale. They will usually remain in the area until March.”
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Bob Blair of Fishing San Carlos said yellowtail action picked up last week. The Andale, Trivial Pursuit, Greek, Peaches, and Charlie Tuna fished at Isla San Pedro Nolasco, and all did well, Blair said: “Peaches had at least 16, and the Andale had the least with five, all in the 20-pound range.” Blair said sea conditions were good, but water temperatures at the island were down to the high-50s.
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Bill Molden of San Carlos said the yellowtail were the biggest of the year, 20 to 30 pounds, in water temperatures of 60 to 62 degrees. The best fishing has been pulling Rapala Mags or similar,” he said. “The jiggers have done fair, but the fish are scattered and hard to locate.”
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Neff Nash of Skywater Rods & Sportfishing said he had a charter trip early next month to the rarely visited area of Punta Lobos, between Puerto Peñasco and Kino Bay. “We will be targeting the large corvina and snapper right along the mixed rocky, sand, and pebble shores,” Nash said, adding that he will also attempt to catch and photograph the distinctive teeth of the juvenile Panama graysby, known as a “ribera cabrilla.”
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Tadeo Hernandez of Flota Bibi Fleet said fishing was superb: “We are having a great start of the year.” Nine offshore boats fished in improving conditions for a catch including released fish of: nine striped marlin, two dorado to 25 pounds, and one mako shark of 55 pounds. Hernandez said some boats got as many as four marlin bites per day.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said boats averaged two billfish per day last week, and inshore fishing was “on a rampage” with high counts of bottom fish, plus yellowtail and sierra. Michael Dadd of Newton Square, Penn. had a triple billfish release day on the Aries VII. Fifteen offshore Aries Fleet boats had a combined catch including released fish of: five sailfish, 21 striped marlin, and four dorado. Inshore boats caught: 281 red snapper, six triggerfish, 63 sierra, 31 yellowtail, and 22 seabass. Mazatlan weather was partly rainy in the mid-70s, with water temperatures of 68 to 70 degrees, and the best fishing was 25 to 35 miles from Marina el Cid on headings of 220 to 265 degrees.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Kim Moore of Charter Dreams said boats at El Banco caught yellowfin tuna in the 100-pound range on trolled and down-rigged bonita. Sailfish and dorado of 40 to 60 pounds were caught outside Corbetena, and some dorado were caught just outside the bay. Puerto Vallarta weather was partly cloudy in the 80s, with water cloudy at 76 to 78 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Local guide Ed Kunze said the clear 80-degree water pushed out several miles last week, as the area was hit by some days of rain and wind. After a brief lull, fishing action rebounded with boats averaging three to four sailfish per day by the end of the week. Dave Horn of Michigan fished with Capt. Santiago on the Gitana, and even in sometimes rough conditions, he released nine sailfish of 15 raised. Dorado were scattered, with solo fish averaging about 20 pounds, and yellowfin tuna action was variable.