ENSENADA, MEXICO: Vonny’s Fleet pangas fishing at the tip of Punta Banda scored on several more hot flurries of midwinter yellowtail, landing full limits at midweek, and again on Sunday, with most fish caught on the surface with the locally-made aluminum jigs, in 59-degree water.
On Sunday, limits were scored by Dave Henson and Carl Morgan on the Vonny III with Capt. Cruz Zamora, and also by Kevin Yamamoto and Tony Torres with Capt. Beto Zamora on the Vonny I.
Describing the midweek bite, Ivan Villarino of Vonny’s Fleet said, “Jay Johnson and his friend Leonard were fishing with Capt. Beto on the Vonny I.” “I got a call to bring the big tina to the beach. When they got to shore, they had 14 yellowtails, all 20 to 29 pounds.”
Villarino said fishing during the week was also steady for limits on rockcod, lingcod, and assorted bottom fish. Punta Banda weather was sunny in the low-60s, but windy in the afternoons, with ocean swells of 3 feet.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sammy Susarrey of Lily Fleet said one boat fished at the Punta Banda Bank in bumpy conditions for six bonito to 8 pounds, trolling purple-black Rapala CD-16s.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Earlier, Celia Diaz of the Binational Emergency Medical Care Committee in Chula Vista said six American victims of three separate vehicle accidents in Tijuana, Ensenada, and Rosarito Beach were successfully transported across the border for emergency medical treatment.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro’s Pangas said the weather was cold in the mornings, but T-shirts by 10 a.m., with calm seas and water temperatures averaging 58 degrees. Fishing action was slow on yellowtail, but kicked out steady limits on bottom fish.
“The yellowtail seem to have disappeared on us,” Hillis said. “Jim Nolan, Chuck Noice, Tom Klump, Paul Brewer and Larry Mark loaded up on bottom fish limits, plus some nice white seabass averaging about 30 pounds.” Sheephead to 16 pounds were also landed during the week.
Don Fagan of Ensenada and Oscar Guzman fished with Capt. Lilo out of Pedro’s Pangas: “Fished south of the bay. Limits on cabrilla and corbina, bouncing Crippled Herrings with a gob of squid. Perfect day!”
Stan Vath and Lorenzo Biedebach of Campo Lorenzo fished with Biedebach’s daughter Julie and her husband Graham Parkes for a great catch of four white seabass to 33 pounds, plus limits of calico bass, red rockfish, and sandbass. “Lots of cutting and vacuum packing going on,” Vath said. The white seabass were all hooked simultaneously in 54-degree water on chrome-purple-mackerel Krocodiles. “Julie had a nice yellowtail right up to the gaff, but a huge sea lion grabbed it and took off,” Vath said.
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Rod Lewis of Aliso Viejo returned from a slow trip to Punta Abreojos, south of Guerrero Negro: “In four days of fishing we managed to catch only very large sand bass. Cold water, with upwelling on all the reefs, put a screeching halt on the bite. Yellowtail, grouper and large calicos were the norm the week before. The local cooperativa commercial guys were taking large numbers of big white seabass from the bajo off San Hipolito where the water was clear and warmer but very windy.”
Lewis reported that Campo Rene at Estero Coyote was open with a restaurant and generator, $10 per night for the old cabañas: “I stayed in La Bocana, in the rooms attached to the store, Adrianas, in the center of town, $20 a night with hot water, toilet and shower.”
Surf fishing was excellent on corbina and halibut caught on the high tides. The access road from Mex 1 was paved for 20 miles, then heavy washboard. Lewis said he made it in about 3 hours. Pangueros at the turnoff also reported a good yellowtail bite, on fish of 25 to 30 pounds, at San Roque, north of Bahia Asuncion, Lewis said.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said many grey whales calves were present in the bay. San Carlos weather was clear in the high-60s, with water temperatures of 66 to 74 degrees. Several larger yellowtail were caught at the entrada, but the local mangroves were slow on corvina and snook.
Out of Puerto Lopez Mateos, Graham said he found 25 to 40 fish per day at Boca Santo Domingo with Capt. Ruben Duran, including corvina and pargo to about 12 pounds, plus various other species.
“We used small lead head jigs with scampi tails, as well as live bait shrimp rigs,” Graham said. “We also spent one day at Devil's Curve south of Lopez Mateos, fishing only jigs and crocs. We caught many small to medium cabrilla and leatherjackets, and we also hooked, but sadly lost, a trophy golden jack (palometa amarilla) on a 1.5-ounce chrome Krocodile.” A trip out through the boca did not find black sea bass, due to rough conditions.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said, “It's truly been a difficult season to predict on a week to week basis, particularly with the billfish.” Edwards said Gaviota Fleet reported 29 outings for a catch including released fish of: 5 striped marlin, 15 dorado of mostly 25 to 35 pounds, and 102 yellowfin tuna of 15 to 25 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Benjamin Ortega Rodriguez of Solmar Fleet reported on 51 boats with a catch including released fish of: 24 striped marlin, 123 yellowfin tuna, four bonito, 23 sierra, and one mako shark.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 40 boats with a catch including released fish of: four striped marlin, 83 yellowfin tuna, 12 dorado, 24 skipjack, many sierra, 12 red snapper, and five skunks.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Picante Fleet reported on five weekend boats with a catch including released fish of: three striped marlin, nine dorado, and 22 yellowfin tuna.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet said, “We had a big moon all week, which could have been a factor in low catch rates for billfish.” Twenty-two percent of Pisces boats landed billfish, Ehrenberg said, including only 12 marlin overall, compared to 103 marlin during the same week a year earlier. Slightly more than 50 percent of Pisces boats landed yellowfin tuna of 15 to 25 pounds, and only 10 percent caught dorado. Most Pisces boats fished for tuna on the Pacific side.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing reported on two boats with a catch including released fish of: one striped marlin, and 11 yellowfin tuna of 10 to 25 pounds.
Cabo weather was occasionally windy in the mid-80s, with choppy water on both sides of the peninsula, and relatively flat water in the lee of the mountains, up to about Punta Gorda. Water temperatures close to shore remained cool in the high-60s, with warmer water up to about 72 degrees 15 to 33 miles out. “Straight south of the cape it was a 30-mile run to get to the warmer water,” Landrum said. Inshore, the surface sierra bite and bottom fishing were also slower.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said that despite the north winds, pangas out of La Playita found fishable water and improved action in semi-protected near shore waters. Offshore fishing was slow on all species, but conditions improved over the weekend, with better clarity and water temperatures of 68 to 70 degrees. Inshore, good numbers of 2 to 5-pound sierra were caught, plus a mix of jack crevalle, pargo, cabrilla, amberjack, bonito, skipjack, and various bottom species, with the biggest numbers on small croakers caught on cut bait.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Luis Duhart of Palmilla Bay Sportfishing said few boats fished, but more anglers were arriving next week.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Species specialist John Snow of San Diego returned from a slow trip of beach casting and several days of panga fishing with Capt. Pata on the Salome: “Surf trips were generally disappointing. Panga trips had periods of brilliance and periods of nada.” Snow reported many species caught during the trip, including three personal new ones, in water of about 70 degrees.
Snow’s catch of game fish and bait fish included the following species: dorado, leopard grouper, barred pargo, sierra, red snapper, yellow snapper, yellowfin tuna, Pacific mackerel, shortfin scad, Panamic fanged blenny, slender anchovy, blue bobo, Mexican bonita, flag cabrilla, yellowfin croaker, giant damselfish, giant hawkfish, golden grouper, yellowstripe grunt, flatiron herring, Pacific threadfin herring, yellowfin herring, Mexican needlefish, African pompano, roosterfish, salema, bigeye scad, shortfin scad, Mexican night sergeant, mullet snapper, red snapper, tinsel squirrelfish, finescale triggerfish, orangeside triggerfish, and banded wrasse.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chris Moyers of East Cape Smoke House reported on 11 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: 3 striped marlin, and 14 dorado. East Cape weather was generally windy and moderately rough in the high-60s, with water temperatures of 69 to 71 degrees.
“I'm sorry to say that we had a dismal week of fishing,” Moyers said. “There just aren't that many hooks in the water, not so surprising for this time of year.”
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Buena Vista Beach Resort reported on 5 boats with a catch including released fish of: 3 striped marlin, 1 sailfish, 13 dorado, 6 grouper, and 18 sierra.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: John Ireland of Rancho Leonero reported limits of striped marlin and lots of quality dorado from Punta Pescadero northwards to Isla Cerralvo, plus an early roosterfish bite on fish to 40 pounds and a continued strong sierra bite, from the hotel southwards to the Punta Arena light. In addition, Ireland said, “The last couple of days have produced schooling dorado, along with striped marlin and sailfish about 15 miles off the lighthouse, with tuna to 30 pounds under porpoise in the same area.”
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Baja On The Fly, Gary Graham said his guide Tim Stelzer fished between the north winds and landed ladyfish, small roosterfish, early morning sierra, and jacks up to 20 pounds. “There were even a few dorado and marlin caught further offshore this week,” Graham said. “But ah, the winds!”
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Jorge Bergin of La Ribera reported: “Not much going on. Water temp tells the whole story. More windy days than calm days, but it's getting a little better every day. A bunch of my neighbors have gone out, 30-mile days, out to 10 miles, one or two sierra.”
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of the Vista Sea Sport dive service said no divers were in town, and he joked, “Once in a while I dial the Vista Sea Sport phone number to make sure it is still working!”
Rayor said his recent trip to Magdalena Bay was very good on clams: “Either I'm getting better at it or there is a bumper crop this year. We could fill a 5-gallon bucket with chocolates in about an hour.”
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Gerardo Hernandez of Tortuga Sportfishing said the first good-sized pargo lisa (mullet snapper) of the season were caught on the Las Arenas side last week. Wednesday, about 12 pangas fished out of Ensenada de los Muertos, including 4 sportfishing pangas. Water temperatures averaged 69 degrees at Boca del Alamo, about 3 miles south of Ensenada de los Muertos. Fishing was slow on all species, except sierra, which the commercial pangas handlined in good numbers at the lighthouse bajo between Punta Arena and Isla Cerravlo. Sportfishing pangas caught small snappers and a few sierra fishing with sardinas around Punta Perico and northward to Punta Arena, plus the pargo lisa (mullet snapper). Sardina bait was abundant along the cliffs north of Ensenada de los Muertos. Also seen were one small sea turtle, and several jumping manta rays, in green water, with very cool north winds and whitecaps all week.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: At Tail Hunter International, Jonathan Roldan said boats on the La Paz side scored on some good-sized red snapper and sierra, with all fishing close to shore. “More exciting was the action coming out of Las Arenas,” Roldan said. “The larger pargo lisas seemed to have moved into the shallows a tad early. Seems like, along with the arrival of roosterfish, we're ahead of schedule on these warmer water species.”
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company said, “Solid wind from the north and northwest all week, with the exception of Tuesday. Wind, wind, wind today and really, really strong!”
Despite the unfavorable conditions, Bolles said yellowtail were caught all along the east shore of Isla Carmen, in the lee of the island, although the return rides back to town were tough. More yellowtail were also caught at San Bruno to the north and by the commercial pangueros camping at Punta Pulpito.
“The northern fish have been consistently 20 to 30 pounds,” Bolles said. The yellowtail were feeding just off the bottom, from 90 to 240 feet deep, “so basically, right now there are yellowtail in all of the areas we'd expect them in.”
Bolles also said she was visited last week by some researchers from UABCS who are studying the possibility of making the entire Loreto area a sportfishing-only marine sanctuary.
LORETO, MEXICO: Arturo Susarrey of Arturo’s Sportfishing said several boats were canceled due to last week’s strong winds, but clients including Phill Phillips of Las Vegas still caught yellowtail of 22 to 25 pounds, at Isla Carmen, plus some others at San Bruno.
Earlier, Susarrey said anglers caught limits of five yellowtail each on surface fish averaging 22 pounds. The largest yellowtail caught recently weighed 30 pounds.
LORETO, MEXICO: Chuck Byard of Shasta and Eli Rounavaara of Placerville fished with Capt. Alfonso Murillo (011-52-613-135-0843), for spotty yellowtail action in variable wind conditions: “Town was pretty quiet, with no more than 20 pangas fishing each day. We made bait easily in the area of the Isla Coronado light.
“We had a fair day on four yellowtail up to about 35 pounds off the north end of Carmen Island. There was a moderate north wind but it was still fishable.”
For the next few days, Byard reported: “The wind quit, but dead calm fishing as well. We managed only one 15-pound yellow. On Feb. 4 the wind had blown all night out of the west so we did not fish. It appeared calm on the morning of the 5th so we went out to San Bruno only to have the north wind kick up. Very rough day and NO fish. As we were leaving, the north wind was blowing steady with unfishable conditions.”
LORETO, MEXICO: At Villas de Loreto, Wendy Wilchynski said one hotel guest last week brought in the biggest leopard grouper she’s ever seen, plus a few good-sized yellowtail. The leopard grouper weighed about 30 pounds, and was caught at San Bruno with Capt. Gregorio on the Goyo.
LORETO, MEXICO: Don Bear of Loreto had the phone number for his regular captain, Paulino Martinez, who is also booking trips on his new super panga: 011-52-613-135-1568. “Since Paulino's phone is almost always answered by one of his teenage daughters, who speak no English, it's probably best to contact me, and I'll make the arrangements,” Bear said: 011-52-613-135-0348.
SANTA ROSALIA, MEXICO: San Marcos Mike Kanzler said the winds kicked up strongly in the Santa Rosalia area on Friday, after a week of relatively light weather: “Yesterday and today, and at least the next few days, are extremely windy, with winds at 40-plus knots sustained, gusts to 50, and high seas with 5 to 6-foot waves! When you live on an island, you’re stuck!”
Kanzler said water temperatures around Isla San Marcos are holding at 60 to 62 degrees, although big tides on the full moon raised it to about 65 degrees at one point. Fishing action before the winds hit was excellent, with most boats taking full yellowtail limits on fish in the low to high 20-pound range.
“On those fishable days, I saw quite a few boats come up from Punta Chivato to take advantage of the great bite the island's been having,” Kanzler said. “When I asked how the fishing was down in their waters, they relayed back, ‘What do you think I'm running all the way up here for?’ Oops.”
Early in the week, Kanzler took out Kevin Ward’s group for a great day on surface yellowtail eating foot-long squid: “Same type as the big monsters, but little ones, red in color. We changed our surface iron from the normal blues and greens over to colors you have in the box but rarely use: salmon pink, orange, yellow, red, and black on a white base.”
Inshore, Kanzler said no reports were available from San Lucas Cove, although the bass and barracuda were surely still there.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: At Bahia de los Angeles, Guillermo’s Sportfishing said Capt. Igor Galvan fished early in the week for three 20-pound yellowtail on the surface at Punta Quemado with blue-white iron.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Abraham Vazquez of Camp Gecko said yellowtail as large as 40 pounds were caught last week inside the bay. At Bajo Guadalupe and Punta Remedios to the north, the regular 15 to 20-pound yellowtail were still hitting. All fish were caught on blue-white iron, or trolled MirrOlure 111MRs, Vazquez said. L.A. Bay weather was in the mid-60s, with water temperatures of 57 to 60 degrees.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: At Caleta San Francisquito, Beto Lucero said commercial pangueros were working last week, using fish traps on the reefs. Yellowtail in the 20-pound range were still available locally, and the best access road was west through El Arco, although Lucero said he heard the north road to Las Animas had recently been graded.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At San Felipe, Catalina Meders of the Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said on Sunday, “The wind is really blowing hard this morning, lots of whitecaps on the bay, and a high, pale blue sky, and blowing sand.” On Thursday, San Felipe celebrated its 79th birthday with music, a parade, and a ceremony at the marine cemetery. “Carnaval begins on the 19th of this month and runs through the 24th,” Meders said. “The word is that the parades are going to be after dark with all kinds of lighted floats.”
ROCKY POINT (PUERTO PENASCO), MEXICO: Mark Olszewski of Rocky Point Boat Charters said fishing was fairly slow, except for the usual triggerfish, cabrilla, and halibut on the local reefs. Winds were variable in the high-60s, with water temperatures averaging 59 degrees.
Olszewski said the big news last week was the announcement of the annual JJ’s Cantina Angler of the Year Competition, a three-part tournament with up to about 85 entrants. This year, the fishing competition will be on Feb. 13-15, June 18-20, and Oct. 8-10. Eligible fish include black sea bass, pargo, sea trout, dorado, pinto bass, shark, flounder, pompano, skipjack, grouper, red snapper, triggerfish, leatherjacket, sardinero, yellowtail, mackerel, sailfish, calico, corvina, and “any type of fish caught from shore.” There is a $10 donation, and all funds collected are donated to the annual Children’s Christmas Party. More information is available at www.jjscantina.com.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Aries Fleet boats out of Marina el Cid averaged more than a billfish per outing, and some yellowfin tuna were also caught. Aries Fleet boats had a catch including released fish of: 9 sailfish, 39 striped marlin, 2 dorado, 17 yellowfin tuna, 1 mako shark, 31 corvina, 53 pargo, 42 yellowtail, 35 snapper, 4 barracuda, and 74 triggerfish.
Mazatlan weather was partly cloudy in the low-80s, with water temperatures in the low-70s, and the best fishing was 25 to 35 miles out of Marina el Cid.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Kim Moore of Charter Dreams said, “The sailfish action has been record-breaking this past week!” All boats brought in several per day, at Sayulita, north of Punta de Mita. Also in the mix were some quality dorado under floating logs, and schools of jack crevalle and sierra inside the bay.
The Anticipation caught six sailfish, releasing three, for the Michigan group of Mike Kelley, Bob McCadie, Rob McCadie, Joe DeBuck, Bob Otremba, Bruce Bernard and Bryon Bernard. Puerto Vallarta weather was calm and sunny, about 80 degrees, with water temperatures of about 76 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Local guide Ed Kunze said a 74-degree cool water current moved in last week and severely affected the fishing. “Most notable,” Kunze said, “was the three-day International Sailfish Tournament. Of 100 boats in the event, only about 150 sailfish were caught.”
Later in the week, warm blue water moved back to within about 8 miles of shore, and the fishing was improving.
Yellowfin tuna benefited from the cooler water, and 200 pounders were hitting the Zihuatanejo dock at the rate of about one per day. The tuna were on porpoise, from three to 30 miles offshore.
Inshore, some roosterfish to about 35 pounds were caught, and pangas reported huge areas of large jack crevalle.
Zihuahantejo weather was mostly cloudy in the mid-80s, with water temperatures of 73 to 86 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the Fintastic Total Tag & Release Tournament said late in the week that boats were averaging one to two sailfish per day, and roosterfish were seen in the surf.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said captains reported good action on one day, followed by a complete shutdown the next. Doug Clark, fishing aboard the Moramy, landed five sailfish, one dorado, one roosterfish, one yellowtail jack and several bonitos in six fishing days.
“Overall, the captains reported working very hard for a few strikes,” Edwards said.