Tuna action saves the day at Cabo San Lucas sportfishing boats

Mexico Fishing News, March 15, 2004



CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Marlin all but abandoned the tip of Baja last week, but fleets scored good counts on yellowfin tuna of 25 to over 80 pounds.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Pisces Fleet, Tracy Ehrenberg said, “We didn’t catch any marlin! For the Cabo fleet, no more than two or three were caught in any given day.” Ehrenberg said factors affecting the low billfish counts included the full moon, falling water temperatures, and the heavy supply of squid in the area. Yellowfin tuna provided most of the action, as 75 percent of Pisces boats landed fish of 20 to 90 pounds. Water as cool as 68 degrees was found up to 26 miles out, Ehrenberg said.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 56 boats with a catch including released fish of: four striped marlin; one broadbill swordfish; 272 yellowfin tuna, mostly of 50 to 80 pounds, and with several much larger; eight dorado; three bonita; two mako shark; hundreds of pounds of giant squid; and two boats skunked.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Benjamin Ortega Rodriguez of Solmar Fleet reported on 42 boats with a catch including released fish of: seven marlin, 102 yellowfin tuna, 11 bonito, eight dorado, and six sierra.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Picante Fleet reported on 11 weekend boats with a catch including released fish of: one striped marlin, 41 yellowfin tuna, and two dorado.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Gaviota Fleet had a catch including released fish of: 10 dorado, 13 striped marlin, and 224 yellowfin tuna, mostly school-sized except for a few in the 50 to 60-pound range. Gaviota Fleet averaged nearly 10 tuna per outing, Edwards said.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of Flyhooker Sportfishing reported on five boats with a catch including released fish of: 13 yellowfin tuna and two dorado.

Cabo San Lucas weather was clearing in the mid-80s, with some wind. Water temperatures were cool, down to about 62 degrees near the arch, and as high as 73 degrees more than 10 miles out.

In other mainland Mexico and Baja fishing action this week:



ENSENADA, MEXICO: Mike Steele of San Diego fished with Capt. Gerardo Sanchez of the KCHTS Sportfishing four-pack boat Don Juan II (011-52-646-947 6214): “He speaks great English and had secured parking. Ensenada Mike loaded us up with four nice scoops of healthy small sardines and we began scouting for surface action.

“We chose the freezer special and loaded up on bottom fish. Between the five of us, we had no problem on full limits of reds, salmon grouper, Johnny bass, rockfish, and lings. There were numerous porpoise off Todos Santos and probably a mile-long area full of very large mackerel. The captain and his deckhand were very professional.”

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Joe Martin of Santee fished the Coronado Islands on his boat Big Eye Candy with his wife Bev and son Jeff Martin: “Bait was a good-sized mix of sardines and squid. Fished south of South Island, also the south end of the middle grounds, and Pukey Point. Lots of short lings. Jeff was able to get one keeper of 26 inches. Five sculpin to 13-inch range, and three good-sized whitefish that Bev stuffed for dinner while the boat wash was going on.” Water temperatures averaged 61.5 degrees.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sammy Susarrey of Lily Fleet said local boats caught bonito to 5 pounds and medium barracuda around Islas Todos Santos, in water temperatures averaging 60 degrees. San Miguel reef also produced barracuda, and Punta Santo Tomas had a few large calico bass. The Amigo’s refitting and re-decking was expected to be completed about the first week of May.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny’s Fleet said three pangas fished the tip of Punta Banda on Saturday, for mixed bottom fish but no yellowtail. Ensenada weather was in the low-70s, with light breezes, 2 to 4-foot ocean swells, and water temperatures of 60 to 61 degrees.

At midweek, Susan Van Rooy, Amanda Downs and Jessica Parkerson of Phoenix caught four yellowtail plus lingcod and rockfish with Capt. Beto Zamora on the Vonny I.

Villarino said he thinks the winter has been one of the best in recent memory for yellowtail, even better than last year. They have all been caught along the north side of Punta Banda, or at the tip, and so far, all on the surface aluminum jigs. Not one yellowtail was been caught deep, he said.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Humberto Garcia of San Diego fished with Vonny’s Fleet: “Ivan and his crew are very professional, as well as treat you as a friend, not just as a customer. Capt. Beto Zamora with his expertise helped my son catch his first yellowtail. My son had a blast.”



ERENDIRA, MEXICO: Fernando Castro of Castro’s Camp (011-52-646-176-2897) said 12 pangas fished during the week for heavy catches of red rockfish, lingcod, cabrilla, white seabass, barracuda and whitefish. Water temperatures averaged 58 to 59 degrees, with clear blue conditions, in excellent weather. Castro said there are a lot of large barracuda, and about 14 or 15 of the white seabass weighed about 25 pounds. Camp improvements were underway to refurbish the cabañas and make them more comfortable for guests, Castro said.

ERENDIRA, MEXICO: Chris Kugel of Castro’s Camp fished with Capt. Ubaldo in overcast but flat conditions. Kugel said the fishing was slow in water over 50 fathoms deep, but in shallower water they found nonstop action on lingcod to 10 pounds, and red rockfish to 5 pounds.

On the way in, Kugel said they stopped for unlimited large barracuda just outside the kelp. “If people want to catch barracuda that are quality fish, real logs with some in the 10-pound range, now is the time to go.”

Kugel said large sardine schools are on the beaches and surf fishing is heating up. His neighbor Gary Gentile did well on fly-caught surf perch on the evening high tide, south of Castro’s.



SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro’s Pangas said Jack Beck, Barry Anderson and Keith Williams each brought a group from the King Harbor Yacht Club of Redondo Beach. Jackpots were taken with a 17-pound yellowtail the first day, and a 17-pound lingcod the second day. “Each day they brought in one yellowtail on each boat, plus limits of rockcod and lingcod, and one 12-pound cowcod,” Hillis said. San Quintin weather was flat with no winds.

Earlier, Meza reported local boats with good bottom fish catches but no yellowtail or white seabass, in windy conditions.



MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said his group at the entrada scored on 10 species, including triggerfish and an 8-pound pargo, using shooting heads to get down deep. “If the barracuda and bonito didn’t get the fly, there were plenty of cabrilla, as well as one amberjack,” Graham said.

The esteros produced good catches of pompano and corvina, but few snook. San Carlos weather was clear in the low-70s, with water temperatures of 66 to 74 degrees.



SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said water temperatures of 65 to 68 degrees prevailed and pangas of out La Playita had consistent bottom fish action, plus a hot run of firecracker yellowtail centered on Thursday and Friday. Pangas caught up to about 25 of the 5 to 15-pound yellowtail, from Chileno to Palmilla on flylined sardina and jigs. Some amberjack to about 25 pounds were mixed with the yellowtail, and bottom fish included cabrilla, grouper to 20 pounds, and pargo to 10 pounds. Close to shore, 10 to 18-pound jack crevalle led the action, as sierra tapered off and few roosterfish were caught.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Ed Raphael and his wife Donna of San Clemente fished out of the Hotel Posada Real and got into some of the yellowtail action: “We ran into large schools of small yellowtail. They ranged in size from 3 to 15 pounds. We caught and released 20-plus the first day and the same the second day.” Raphael said the yellowtail were caught right in front of the hotel in 35 to 75 feet of water. Some bonita were also found 5 miles out, but no sierra. San Jose del Cabo water was beautiful and calm both days. “We didn't even get the afternoon wind,” Raphael said.



EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chris Moyers of East Cape Smoke House reported on 48 boats from combined fleets including the Van Wormer Resorts of Playa del Sol, Palmas de Cortez, and Punta Colorada, with a catch including released fish of: 16 striped marlin, 33 dorado, one yellowfin tuna, and 17 sierra. “In terms of actual fish, its been pretty dismal over the past month,” Moyers said. “However, it's starting to pick up a bit.”

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said 25-knot winds made fishing tough for part of the week. “The only shelter from the wind was up toward Punta Pescadero,” Graham said. “Unfortunately, the fish in the neighborhood had lockjaw.

The few that ventured out were greeted with rock and roll seas and only a few sierra to show for their efforts.” Graham said a few larger dorado were caught about 10 miles off La Ribera, and some marlin were reported. Inshore, a large school of roosterfish was spotted at the Punta Arena light, but none were caught. East Cape weather was in the low-70s, with water temperatures of 66 to 70 degrees.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Rancho Leonero, Gary Barnes-Web said anglers limited on dorado of 15 to 20 pounds, from Punta Pescadero to Isla Cerralvo, mostly on live mackerel. “Striped marlin active in the same area, taking bait as well as dark colored trolled lures,” Barnes-Web said. Fewer roosterfish were caught, but sierra remained strong off most beaches, and some 30-pound pargo were mixed with them.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of the Vista Sea Sport dive service said water temperatures at Cabo Pulmo averaged a cool 69 degrees. Sea life sightings included a pod of orca, humpback whales, and jumping manta rays “everywhere you look.” On the reef, huge grouper, snappers, turtles, and amberjack were also seen.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Several local residents reported heavy commercial fishing activity inside Bahía de Palmas, from the La Ribera area north to Buena Vista. Several shrimp boats were bottom trawling very close to the beach, and thousands of bycatch fish were seen floating dead on the surface or washed up on shore.



LA PAZ, MEXICO: At the Cortez Club, James Curtiss reported boats fishing mostly west of Isla Espiritu Santo, or at El Bajo if the weather was favorable. Five Mosquito Fleet pangas and one cruiser had a catch of: 12 yellowtail to 35 pounds, 33 sierra to 8 pounds, 10 pargo to 12 pounds, and 1 dorado of 25 pounds. La Paz weather was sunny and mostly calm, and water temperatures averaging 65 degrees.

LA PAZ, MEXICO: Gerardo Hernandez of Tortuga Sportfishing said the weather on the Las Arenas side was less windy, in the high-70s. Water temperatures south of Isla Cerralvo, at Punta Perico, and at Ensenada de los Muertos averaged 70 to 72 degrees. Fishing action improved during the second half of the week, Hernandez said, as pargo and yellowtail to 30 pounds were caught, plus cabrilla and sierra. Sardina bait was abundant. Very few sport anglers were fishing.

LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International said yellowtail were hitting, between winds, on the Las Arenas side. “Inshore, it seems like the sierra have disappeared temporarily, but cabrilla are still in the rocks and some of the larger pargo are still coming on as well,” Roldan said. On the La Paz side, larger yellowtail were caught at El Bajo.

LA PAZ, MEXICO: Don Ballentine of San Isidro said local commercial fishermen were catching 6 to 8-inch mackerel in front of his house: “First in several years. We believe it is because the Humboldt squid have moved to greener pastures.” Some yellowtail were caught, but no dorado, and lots of large sierra were just south of the hotel, Ballentine said.



LORETO, MEXICO: Arturo Susarrey of Arturo’s Sportfishing said the weather was variable in the low 70s, with some fog, but mostly sunny conditions. Twelve anglers from the Wilson Group fished for three days out of the San Nicolas camp north of town for a catch of: 110 yellowtail, 10 cabrilla, 9 amberjack including two 38 pounders, and 40 pinto bass. Bob Huston caught the largest yellowtail at 43 pounds, and Greg Mason had two 32 pounders, Susarrey said.

LORETO, MEXICO: Mike Feely of San Diego fished with Capt. Roberto on the Arturo’s 9, and caught a 45 pound yellowtail.

LORETO, MEXICO: At Baja Big Fish Company, Pam Bolles said yellowtail were coming in from San Bruno to Pulpito. “Yellowtail are feeding about halfway up the water column,” Bolles said, adding that they should be coming to the surface in a few weeks for the annual spring spawn. Shore casting action at the marina remained slow. Good-sized baqueta were caught at Punta Pulpito by Gabriel Sanchez Banuelos and Juvencio “Fidel” Alcaide Garcia.

Bolles also reported a sailfish sighted last week: “We will see them in higher numbers by the time June rolls around. In my experience the sailfish will be caught about a month before we start to see concentrations of dorado. We also have squid in the water, 10 inchers in the deep canyon between Isla Coronado and Punta Colorado and inside Puerto Escondido. The sargasso is breaking anchor from the rocks and piling up on the beaches now. There are also patches starting to float around. This year there won't be any shortage of sargasso.”

LORETO, MEXICO: Jeff Petersen of Loreto commented on using sonar to find high spots around town, only to have fishermen from the Carnaderos baitsellers’ cooperativa already aware of their location: “On the darkest nights I´ve thought out loud, look at the bottom coming up here, only to have their eyes looking straight ahead and a voice speak the name of the spot, so automatically, knowing the position and form of the bottom.”

LORETO, MEXICO: Russell Fritz of La Ribera and his son Dan fished with Capt. Tito and scored three nice yellowtail of 18 to 28 pounds on the east side of Isla Carmen.



SANTA ROSALIA, MEXICO: Mike Kanzler of Isla San Marcos said the sea was flat and beautiful last week, although a mid-March fog moved in on Friday and Saturday, bringing zero visibility until the 10 a.m. burn-off. Water temperatures averaged 63 to 65 degrees, with about 15 to 20 feet of visibility.

Kanzler said the good yellowtail bite slowed down last week, as most boats took about 2 to 4 fish of 20 to 27 pounds, on caballito live bait, and some on iron, at midwater over the reefs north of the isla.

“I fished only a couple of days for yellowtail,” Kanzler said, “with my friend Alan Lewis, and we were only able to produce five fish for two days, 20 to 30 pounds, all on bait.”

Kanzler said he took a break from yellowtail and fished a few days inshore along the east side of the island, including an afternoon with his three kids:

“How I fish inshore differs from most around here. I like to do it calico bass-style, with 5 to 6-inch Fishtrap swim baits rigged on 1.5-ounce triangle jig head, and 7 to 9-inch Mondo baits rigged on a 2-ounce conical jig head.

Since there are leopard grouper, yellow snapper and barred pargo that tend to smoke you, I like Shimano Calcutta rods, CL730MA, matched up with their reels, TN14, TN16, CTE 400, spooled with 25 to 30-pound line and the drags buttoned down. If those fish make any kind of run on you, you lose!

“When fishing with my kids, I target areas known to have smaller fish so they don't lose too many fish, or should I say, my gear. I'll wing it out there and then they retrieve the lure, taking turns so they all catch fish.”



BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Abraham Vazquez of Camp Gecko at Bahía de los Angeles said the weather was sometimes foggy and humid in the low-70s, with water temperatures averaging 60 degrees. Sting rays were starting to show. Winds were light, and yellowtail bottom action was good at Guadalupe reef and Los Machos for 12 pounders on jigs, plus a few on live bait. Very few anglers were present, and the road was in good condition.

BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Julio Meza of San Quintin made a quick trip to fish on a Casa Diaz panga with his nephew Daniel and cousin Paco: “By Smith Island we saw birds working. We dropped jigs, and instantly we found giant calamari up to 30 pounds, three for three, they were everywhere. We moved against the wind to Guadalupe reef and switched to swim baits, the ones Barry personally recommended, and bingo, nine yellowtail to 18 pounds. The wind was so strong it forced us into Guadalupe Bay, where we landed small cabrilla, sheephead, sierra, and whitefish. It was a rough ride back to the ramp.”



SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Ken Jones of Long Beach fished from the beach in a cove just south of Black Mountain in the Puertecitos area: “Mostly calm. A couple of large leopard grouper, one 15 pounds. One 10-pound spotted cabrilla, and seven or eight corvina. Numerous bay bass and triggers, as usual. The triggers found it entertaining to chomp off half a leadhead tail and somehow not attach themselves to the hook.”

“All the fish were caught with leadheads with a clear body tail with red specks. The clearer ones with the lightest red specks seem to work the best for corvina in this area.”

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At San Felipe, Catalina Meders of the Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said the weather was getting hotter, with water temperatures of 62 degrees, and the beach goers were out in force. “Today is the first day of spring break,” Meders said. “Although the thundering hoards are not due to arrive until later this afternoon, the town is out in full force waiting for them. Banners all over the place welcoming them, and Tecate and Dos Equis trucks unloading by the battalion. There will be foam dances until we are inhaling bubbles night and day.” Meders also said the Puertecitos to Gonzaga Bay road has been partially graded.



SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Bill Molden of San Carlos said water temperatures warmed into the 62 to 65-degree range. Fishing was mostly good for yellowtail at Isla San Pedro Nolasco. “Both trollers and jiggers are meeting with good results, with 7 to 10-fish days,” Molden said. Near shore bottom fishing was also productive.



MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Aries Fleet boats out of Marina el Cid averaged about two billfish per day, and the Aries II had a rare seven-striped marlin day. Overall, 32 Aries Fleet outings had a catch including released fish of: 54 striped marlin, one sailfish, and nine yellowfin tuna. Mazatlan weather was sunny in the mid-80s, with calm seas, and water temperatures about 70 degrees.

Tadeo Hernandez of Flota Bibi Fleet said 12 offshore boats had a catch including released fish of: four striped marlin, one sailfish, one jack crevalle, two yellowfin tuna, and seven skipjack tuna. One local boat had a catch of one triggerfish and about 20 mojarra.

Earlier, 10 offshore boats had a catch including released fish of: 11 striped marlin, one dorado, one yellowfin tuna, and one swordfish lost next to the boat.



PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Kim Moore of Charter Dreams said fishing was slower last week, under sunny skies, with water temperatures of 75 to 77 degrees. Some dorado and a few sailfish were caught off Sayulita and San Francisco.

“The dorado are mostly being caught off the artificial palm leaf reefs put down by the local fishermen,” Moor said. “Just pull up to the reef and toss a live goggle eye to get hooked up.” A few 40 to 50-pound yellowfin were caught at El Banco, and some roosterfish were seen at Punta Mita. Scattered action was also available on jack crevalle and sierra.



IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze of Zihuatanejo said 78-degree water moved closer to the beach, and large tuna were holding under porpoise about seven miles out. “The fleet took three of the 200-pound plus tuna this week,” Kunze said. Kunze said Capt. Adolpho, on the panga Dos Hermanos, took three roosters between 30 and 40 pounds when he made the 30-mile run south to the antennas. “Arturo, on the panga Janeth, got a 42 pound rooster, and several large jack crevalle, when he made the 15 mile run north to Troncones with client Kim Weymouth,” Kunze said.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the Fintastic Total Tag & Release Tournament said sailfish action was still spotty. Some nice roosterfish were taken both north and south.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly announced a “Jacks or Better” fly tournament for roosterfish and jacks to be held at Zihuatanejo in early October. Graham reported Zihuatanejo weather was partly cloudy in the mid-80s, with water temperatures of 72 to 78 degrees.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said North Carolina angler, Ernie Foster, fished aboard the Dos Hermanos I, and landed 1 dorado and 4 sailfish. He also fished on the Vamonos II and pulled the hook on an estimated 275-pound blue marlin.

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CABO TUNA TIME--With some nice tuna at Cabo San Lucas are Reel Dream anglers (left to right), Dave Christman (boat owner), Greg Jackson, Moni Jackson, Geri Christman, First Mate Ernie II, and Matt Van Natta. (Photo courtesy Geri Christman)

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OFF TO ARIZONA--Susan Van Rooy, Amanda Downs and Jessica Parkerson of Phoenix caught four yellowtail and plenty of bottom fish at Ensenada with Vonny’s Fleet’s Capt. Beto Zamora. Photo courtesy Ivan Villarino.

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FIRST YELLOWTAIL--Humberto Garcia (left) and his son Humberto Jr. scored on yellowtail at the tip of Punta Banda with Vonny Fleet’s Capt. Beto Zamora. It was Humberto Jr.’s first forkie catch. Photo courtesy Humberto Garcia.

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SAN JOSE DEL CABO YELLOWTAIL--Ed Raphael’s wife Donna caught her first yellowtail when they fished at San Jose Del Cabo out of the Hotel Posada Real. Photo courtesy Ed Raphael.

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LORETO YELLOWTAIL--Russ Fritz and his son Dan fished with Loreto’s Capt. Tito for three nice yellowtail off the east side of Isla Carmen. Photo courtesy Russ Fritz.

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DEEP DOWN LORETO--Gabriel Sanchez Banuelos of Baja Big Fish Company with a large, deep water baqueta caught at Punta Pulpito. Photo courtesy Pam Bolles.

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ROUGH RIDER--Julio Meza of San Quintin, his nephew Daniel, and cousin Paco, ran down to L.A. Bay for some windy fishing out of Casa Diaz. Here’s cousin Paco with a yellowtail caught at Bajo Guadalupe. Photo courtesy Julio Meza.

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MAZATLAN MARLIN--Jesus Salazar got his first striped marlin with Mazatlan’s Flota Bibi Fleet last week. Photo courtesy Tadeo Hernandez.

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KANZLER’S KIDS--Mike Kanzler and his family live on Isla San Marcos near Santa Rosalia, and last week, Mike took his kids out for some inshore action along the east side of the island. Left to right are, Jeannine, Michael, and Alexandra. Photo courtesy Mike Kanzler.

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