ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny’s Fleet said pangas at the tip of Punta Banda again found pods of surface yellowtail last week. Locals Roy Chesley and Terry Bank of Campo La Jolla caught five yellowtail to about 15 pounds on Thursday, with Capt. Beto Zamora on the Vonny I.
All fish were caught with the locally-made, no-name aluminum jigs. Punta Banda weather was clear but windy in the afternoons, in the mid-60s, with water temperatures averaging 58 degrees and 3-foot ocean swells.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: At Lily Fleet, Sammy Susarrey said his boats found yellowtail to 12 pounds and bonito to 5 pounds at Punta San Jose, and bonito at Punta Banda Bank. Maximino Reef produced good counts of whitefish to 5 pounds, 180 feet deep. Large schools of bait were seen at Punta San Miguel, and all areas had good, clear water.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Earlier, Steve Ross’ boat Bad Dog fished at Punta Banda Bank for seven vermillion rockfish and one bocaccio in 57-degree water. Trolling in rough conditions around the tip of Punta Banda and out to Isla Todos Santos produced no fish, Ross said: “I guess it was the next day that Vonny's Fleet found the yellowtail. Good job by them.”
PUERTO SANTO TOMAS, MEXICO: Sam Saenz of Puerto Santo Tomas Resort said strong offshore winds over the weekend caused turbulent surf conditions. One sportfishing panga went out during the week, finding full limits on whitefish and rockcod for Lance Kemock of Barstow. Commercial divers winding down the sea urchin season brought in large catches of lingcod and sheephead to 15 pounds, Saenz said. Two 30-foot commercial boats were also working the area with fish traps.
“For the last two or three weeks, we have been observing schools of bonita and yellowtail boiling in and around Soledad Reef, an unusual sight for this time of the year,” Saenz added.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro’s Pangas said San Quintin weather was cold in the mornings, warming into the 70s before noon, with water temperatures steady at 58 degrees. Ed Keefer, Tony Gomes, Chris Paurazas, Steve Waters, and Mark Waters of San Diego caught large lingcod, rockcod, and whitefish.
Rob Timar from Murietta and Gary Kong from Las Veges limited on bottom fish, including sheephead to 16 pounds, and Stien Gozad of the Balboa Anglers Club caught a 5.5-pound calico bass on 2-pound test line at Ben’s Rock.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Alan Tokunaga of North Hollywood reported a good tide, but slow perch fishing at Playa San Ramon. “Larger perch not biting,” Tokunaga said. “Only one over 2 pounds.”
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Earlier, Kelly Catian of El Capitan Sportfishing said he found no yellowtail, but good bottom fishing for lingcod and larger rockcod at the 240 spot. Shallower reefs produced large sheephead. Bonita of 10 to 13 pounds were reported at Ben’s Rock, and good-sized white seabass by anglers going south.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said most San Carlos pangas were concentrating on whale watching. The entrada produced a fair bite on firecracker yellowtail, but boats running south to Punta Tasca failed to find yellowfin tuna reported in the area.
In the mangroves, Devil’s Curve had a steady pick on corvina and pompano, and mixed species were caught at the bridge just outside town. San Carlos weather was clear in the high-60s, with water temperatures of 66 to 74 degrees.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Pete Johnson of Long Beach fished three days out of San Carlos with Capt. Octavio Zarabia Mondivil and found good halibut action, trolling rubber along the beaches. “The tides gave us the opportunity to go clamming,” Johnson said. “Good fun. We used our own skiff. The first day we blew a hydraulic line and had to limp back to the beach. Octavio and his cousin got the line fixed better than new. It was a great trip.”
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: In January, Brad Marshall shore fished at Puerto Lopez Mateos: “There wasn't any promising looking water near town, but we were persistent and ended up driving to the deserted concrete platform mentioned in The Baja Catch. We made camp near the platform. The first thing in the morning my brother hooked and landed a 5-pound golden jack casting from the platform. Beautiful fish!
“After that, he hooked several others, but they all ‘platformed’ him. From this camping area, you can walk miles of sandy shores along a side channel, but the action was zilch. There were lots of locals collecting clams, oysters, and scallops.”
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 52 boats, with a catch including released fish of: 18 striped marlin, 74 yellowfin tuna, 33 dorado, four wahoo, one skipjack, one mako shark, 22 red snapper, “uncountable” sierra, and two boats skunked.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Solmar Fleet, Benjamin Ortega Rodriguez reported on 52 boats, with a catch including released fish of: five striped marlin, three bonito, 25 sierra, 28 dorado, and 11 snapper.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said 31 Gaviota Fleet boats had a catch including released fish of: 19 striped marlin, one wahoo, 22 dorado, 62 sierra, and 146 yellowfin tuna of 20 to 30 pounds, plus a few to 50 pounds. A large yellowfin tuna was lost by the Juanita VIII after a 3-hour fight.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing reported on five boats, with a catch including released fish of: three striped marlin, one sailfish, 30 dorado of 10 to 35 pounds, and six yellowfin tuna of 10 to 15 pounds.
Cabo weather was in the high-70s with occasional light sprinkles and generally good water conditions. Water temperatures around the arch averaged about 73 degrees, with a sharp break down to 67 degrees at the Jaime Bank on the Pacific side. “There was a very defined and fish-holding break of four degrees on the San Jaime, and a lot of boats did very well there,” Landrum said.
School-sized yellowfin tuna led the counts again, Landrum said, followed by dorado on a dead whale floating off Punta Palmilla. Inshore fishing featured sierra to about 10 pounds, red snapper close to the surf, and some yellowtail. Landrum also reported some boats selling sport-caught marlin fillets illegally at 40 pesos per kilo.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet reported 81 percent of boats landing all species combined, but only 20 percent scoring on billfish: “Although the number of fish caught may seem discouraging, fishing is actually turning around. Next week, I am sure we shall have much higher numbers.” Inshore boats did well on sierra to 12 pounds and snapper to 30 pounds, and the offshore count was led by a total of 91 dorado to 45 pounds, caught on the dead whale off Palmilla.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Luis Duhart of Palmilla Bay Sportfishing said six of seven boats caught fish last week, in less than perfect sea conditions. Up to 30 sierra per boat led the fish counts, concentrated mostly from Palmilla to Chileno, 2 to 5 miles off the coast, plus some dorado near the Gordo Banks. The Hebard family fished two days with Capt. Gustavo on the Cristine for sierra, two pargo, two 20-pound tuna, and several missed marlin.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said local water temperatures were 68 to 72 degrees and good supplies of sardina, mackerel, and caballito bait was available. Local boats found two days of good dorado action on the dead whale off Palmilla, and school-sized yellowfin tuna were caught offshore and at La Fortuna and the Iman Bank.
Local bottom fishing 100 to 200 feet deep continued to improve on grouper, cabrilla, amberjack, and various pargos, with most fish of 5 to 20 pounds, but including an 80-pound amberjack and a 70-pound dog snapper. On the beaches, sierra were abundant but thinning out somewhat, and some larger jack crevalle were caught.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chris Moyers of East Cape Smoke House reported on 23 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, 60 dorado, and 16 sierra.
East Cape weather was variable to about 70 degrees, with water temperatures of 67 to 71 degrees. Most boats fished northwards from Punta Pescadero to Isla Cerralvo.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Rancho Leonero, John Ireland said, “Lots of striped marlin north off Cerralvo, as well as about 15 miles off the lighthouse.” Ireland also reported some sailfish mixed in, plus roosterfish to 40 pounds “biting aggressively” from the lighthouse to Los Frailes.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of the Vista Sea Sport dive service said, “No action! The wind is blowing as hard as I have seen it all year.”
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Baja Beach Captain Mike Reichner reported “Wind, wind, wind!” Earlier, Reichner said he got into a hot bite of sierra to 14 pounds off the beach, but “a problem here at Punta Colorada is the illegal gill nets being set from the beach, taking everything that swims.”
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Baja On The Fly, Gary Graham said first light sierra were the best bet on the beaches, in water temperatures down to a chilly 68 degrees. Otherwise, Graham reported slow action on all species.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Luis Lopez of The Cortez Club in La Paz last week announced the purchase of Mino Shiba’s Mosquito Fleet boats and operation, including Shiba’s contacts and skippers. The Mosquito Fleet name will be retained, and the fleet’s new contact information out of La Concha Beach Resort will be: Luis Lopez or James Curtiss, (U.S. toll free) 877-408-6769; (U.S. direct dial) 011-52-612-121-6120; and email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contacted in La Paz, Shiba said he returned recently from medical tests in Hermosillo, and was scheduled for surgery within a few weeks for a herniated disk in his back that has been causing him leg pain. Shiba said his back problems actually began more than 10 years ago, when he was working on commercial tuna boats. He is planning to open a restaurant in La Paz similar to his family’s Teriyaki San.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Gerardo Hernandez of Tortuga Sportfishing said it was a tough, windy week on the Las Arenas side, and even the commercial pangas only fished on Monday and Tuesday. Las Arenas weather was “cold for this area” at 64 to 70 degrees, and water temperatures at Ensenada de los Muertos averaged 68 to 70 degrees. Commercial boats caught sierra, a few yellowtail and cabrilla, and very few pargo. “We’ll have better fishing as soon as the wind goes down,” Hernandez said.
Tortuga Fleet also announced its phone number direct to the lodge in La Paz: 011-52-612-122-5112. Email monitored twice per day is: Gerardo_tortuga@hotmail.com.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: At Tail Hunter International, Jonathan Roldan said, “Not much happening! Some decent-sized yellowtail made a solid appearance at El Bajito, which is a small high spot at the northwest corner of Espiritu Santo Island near the sea lion colony. Then all of sudden the seasonal winds came blowing up so you probably needed cement shoes to hold you down! On the Las Arenas side, the winds didn't help either, but before that it was a pick bite on snapper, pargo and sierra.”
LA PAZ, MEXICO: At The Cortez Club, Luis Lopez announced the purchase of Mino Shiba’s Mosquito Fleet boats and operations, including contacts and skippers.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: At San Ysidro, south of Ensenada de los Muertos, Don Ballentine said, “Nothing but wind to report here.”
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Earlier, Brad Marshall reported on a January shore fly fishing trip, based out of Club Cantamar at Pichilingue:
“We ended up fishing Tecolote Beach and Bahia de la Ventana in front of El Sargento. The action wasn't red hot in either place. At Tecolote, we caught cornetfish, puffers and cabrilla. At La Ventana we caught many, many cornetfish and another puffer. At La Ventana a roosterfish in the 30-pound range suddenly surfaced within 20 feet of me, chasing bait fish. I almost hit him with a fly but of course he wasn't interested.
“At La Ventana talked some wind surfers into letting us rent their kayaks. The wind was howling. We managed several barracuda and ladyfish, trolling off of points, just out of casting range from the beach.”
“Club Cantamar dropped us onto a beach on Isla Espiritu Santo with kayaks! We camped for four days. The most fun was had pre-sunrise when the shallow bay in front of camp would be invaded by schools of barracuda, sierra and very small black skipjack. Later in the day, slowly fishing among the rocks netted small leopard grouper and the occasional yellowtail snapper. Then in the late afternoons, the schools of sierra and skipjack could be found again off of points in deeper water.”
LORETO, MEXICO: Arturo Susarrey of Arturo’s Sportfishing said all boats were canceled last week due to winds that blew from Monday through Friday. Before the bite shut down, yellowtail to 15 pounds were caught around Isla Coronado, but “no more,” Susarrey said. “In two days, the wind will calm down, and we will go to San Bruno, where they were biting good.”
LORETO, MEXICO: Wendy Wilchynski of Villas de Loreto said, “Cold and windy! There are lots of whales out there, but no one has been fishing!”
LORETO, MEXICO: Earlier, Ty Miller of El Fuerte Sportfishing at Puerto Escondido said water temperatures averaged 65 degrees.
MULEGE, MEXICO: At Mulege, Diana Johnson of the Hotel Serenidad said some yellowtail were caught on long runs from the hotel, and many whales were present. Mulege weather was very cool in the mornings, but warm in the afternoons. The Mooney and Baja Bush Pilots groups were scheduled to arrive over the next three weeks.
SANTA ROSALIA, MEXICO: San Marcos Mike Kanzler of Isla San Marcos said, “This week was not very kind to fishermen.” Kanzler said only three days were somewhat fishable during the week, but only “if you didn’t mind getting pounded and wet.”
On Thursday, Kanzler snuck out to the north end of the island with Doug Pierson of Oregon: “By the time we finished catching bait, I noticed swells moving in. We headed out for a pretty bumpy ride.
“I was amazed to see quite a few boats, mostly pangas, but also two boats up from Punta Chivato! The fishing was still very good. Everyone was fishing iron. Every color was working. The fish were holding deep, close to the bottom, 150 to 230 feet. Most boats where taking about half-limits.”
Kanzler said he and Pierson scored on five yellowtail of 23 to 36 pounds before the wind cut them off. Inshore, bass and sculpin were caught out of San Lucas Cove.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Ken Jones of Long Beach made a remote overland trip to Punta Candeleros and Bahia Guadalupe, north of L.A. Bay: “Shore fishing was okay for leopard grouper, one of 10 pounds, a couple of 3 to 4 pounds, and a few triggers, but it’s a slow time of year.”
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: At Bahia de los Angeles, Capt. Igor Galvan said he fished over the weekend at Guadalupe Reef, 7 miles north of town, for one yellowtail, and then moved to Los Machos where he got 10 more, all on iron. L.A. Bay weather was windy from the north, with water temperatures at a cool 57.6 degrees.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: At Caleta San Francisquito, Beto Lucero reported strong, cold north winds all week long, with night temperatures down to 55 degrees, warming to about 80 degrees in the afternoons. No sportfishing boats went out, but 14 commercial pangas in the caleta were trapping for bottom fish, cabrilla, and whitefish. The north road was graded as far as Bahia de las Animas, but the west road out through El Arco was still better.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Tony Reyes Sr. of Tony Reyes Fishing Tours in San Felipe said escrow closed in Mexicali on Friday for the purchase of the panga mothership Capt. Villegas, with the boat’s new owner registered as his son, Tony Reyes Jr.
“My son will be the captain of the new boat, and he is in charge of all operations,” the senior Reyes said. The Capt. Villegas will be re-registered as the Tony Reyes and will depart on Sundays, together with the company’s other boat the Jose Andres. Due to its slower speed, the Jose Andres will leave slightly ahead of the Tony Reyes, and the boats will fish cooperatively and stay in radio contact.
As of Sunday, no captain had been picked to take over the Jose Andres, which was in Puerto Peñasco for sandblasting and painting.
Tom Ward, exclusive booking agent for both boats, said a formal christening ceremony will be held in San Felipe in few weeks, after the new boat is re-registered in Ensenada. A priest will bless the boat, and a brief celebration and maiden cruise will follow. Information is available at Ward’s Longfin Tackle Store in Orange: 714-538-8010.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Wayne Pinkerton of B&B Bait & Tackle in Blythe got blown out at Gonzaga Bay: “Huerfanito was very inconsequential. The wind was bad and we didn't get to do much fishing. So we just hit all the cantinas and tried to give them all the support we could. The road from Puertecitos to Nacho’s Camp is in good shape, maybe the best ever.”
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Tony Reyes Sr. of San Felipe’s Tony Reyes Fishing Tours said escrow closed in Mexicali on Friday for the purchase of the panga mothership Capt. Villegas, with the boat’s new owner registered as his son, Tony Reyes Jr.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At San Felipe, Catalina Meders of the Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said San Felipe weather was clear and breezy, and the town was full of visitors for Carnaval. “Very good for the vendors and the town in general,” Meders said. “But there will be a lot of partying and a lot of noise. The fireworks have already started. It's going to be a HECTIC couple of weeks.”
ROCKY POINT (PUERTO PENASCO), MEXICO: Jim Mori of Sonora, Calif., his friend Ralph Wells, and Jim Davis of Yuma looked for gulf sierra, Scomberomorous concolor, out of Puerto Peñasco on Davis’ 27-foot Hammertime, “A perfect boat during the ‘Victory at Sea’ conditions we found,” Mori said.
“We went down to Isla San Jorge, five pinnacles that poke above the sea, 30 miles south of Puerto Peñasco. Jim Davis is a very knowledgeable guy who has fished the area extensively since 1995. He has fish logs, and lots of pictures of gulf sierras. No, we didn't catch any on the day we were there. His log shows big catches from December to March.
ROCKY POINT (PUERTO PENASCO), MEXICO: Reporting on the same trip, Jim Davis said, “We did encounter numbers of especially large, adult spotted sandbass, some finescale triggerfish, one Mexican barracuda and one spottail grunt.” Species angler Davis also reported a 2-inch anchoveta caught on a 7-inch Jointed Rebel Fastrac, and a chub mackerel on a sabiki rig.
ROCKY POINT (PUERTO PENASCO), MEXICO: Neff Nash of Skywater Rods in Tucson returned from leading a group of fly anglers to Puerto Lobos, between Puerto Peñasco and Kino Bay: “It was cold and windy. Most fished from the rocks and found it much more productive than the boat, landing big, scrappy, 5 to 7-pound yellow snappers in the wind, slop and spray.
“They also managed several smallish leopard groupers, and hooked what were surely much larger fish that immediately cut them off in the rocks. Corvina were totally absent due to extensive netting, according to locals I talked to. The new road in to Lobos is 37 miles of wide, graded dirt, relatively washboard free. It's a veritable highway compared to the two previous roads.”
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Bob Blair of Fishing San Carlos said, “The water is so rough here, four to seven footers, I don’t think anybody is going out.”
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 19 Aries Fleet boats out of Marina el Cid with a catch including released fish of: 11 striped marlin, one sailfish, and 44 yellowfin tuna to 50 pounds. “Yellowfin tuna catches were up again this week,” Edwards said. “Looks as if the schools are just now making their seasonal debut in Mazatlan.”
Mazatlan weather was cloudy with some wind in the low-80s, and water temperatures of 69 to 70 degrees. The best fishing was 25 to 30 miles southwest of Marina el Cid.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Celia Diaz of the Binational Emergency Medical Care Committee (BEMCC) in Chula Vista (619-425-5080), reported on the successful evacuation of a 73-year-old U.S. angler who was semiconscious in critical condition in a Mazatlan clinic with dengue fever and kidney failure. After receiving a call from the man’s wife, BEMCC helped arrange payment for an emergency flight to San Diego, and the man’s life was saved.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Kim Moore of Charter Dreams said many dorado and some sailfish were caught at El Moro and offshore at Sayulita. Dorado were also caught on a dead whale off Punta Mita and around artificial reefs set by local commercial fishermen.
Inside the bay, Moore reported schools of sierra, plus jack crevalle of 25 to 30 pounds. Puerto Vallarta weather was sunny in the low-80s, with water temperatures at 76 degrees. “Humpback whales are quite active and continue to entertain our anglers with their mating rituals!” Moore said.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze of Zihuatanejo said 78-degree blue water was 12 miles off the beach, and boats averaged about two sailfish per outing, plus a few blue marlin, including a 365 pounder caught by Capt. Margarito on the Gaby.
Scott McKane of New Jersey fished three days with Capt. Orlando on the Tequila for eight sailfish and two dorado, including a 40 pounder.
Kunze said he’s been finding some good beach fishing for clients, about 45 minutes by car north of Zihuatanejo, on a two-mile-long beach called Saladitas: “There are at least a thousand birds, plus another 500 pelicans working the huge concentrations of sardines there. We have been getting sierra, jack crevalle, black skipjack tuna to six pounds, and green jacks. The beach has only about two-foot waves and reminds me of the protected East Cape of Baja. It is an ideal situation for an 8WT or 9WT fly rod.”
Zihuatanejo weather was cloudy in the mid-80s, with water temperatures of 73 to 86 degrees.