BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Eddie Abate of San Diego, Calif., reported cold and windy conditions during 3 days of fishing at Bahia de los Angeles with trip partner Mike Ragan and local Capt. Igor Galvan, but a good winter-style yellowtail catch of: 7 yellowtail of 20 to 30 pounds at Los Machos their first day, 1 yellowtail of 40 pounds inside the bay at Isla Calavera the second day, and 3 yellowtail of 15 to 20 pounds with slow-trolled mackerel the third day on 200 to 250-foot deep local reefs.
Many cool water sierra were concentrated in the Bahia de los Angeles area. "We had difficulty catching bait because there were a lot of sierra mackerel in the bay," Abate said. "The last day the wind was still blowing. We went in early so we could watch the Chargers game. I have been going to Bahia for 20 years and this was the coldest time I can remember, with wind going all day. Still, it was a good trip. We had no problems driving down. We did all our driving during daylight hours."
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet said very few tourists were present in the Ensenada area and no anglers coming from the U.S. fished on Vonny's Fleet pangas during the week. Local angler Brian "Calico" Foley of nearby Campo La Joya fished with Capt. Beto on the charter panga Vonny I for limits of lingcod and red rockcod. Ensenada fishing area weather at midweek was cold in the mornings, with calm winds, ocean swells of 2 to 3 feet, and the water temperature at Punta Banda averaging 57 degrees.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Steve Ross of the boat Bad Dog at Marina Corral reported on another overnight run for very deep bottom fishing outside Ensenada's Banda Bank, fishing from the surface downwards for catches including a 100-pound blue shark, a 2-foot catshark species at 3,000 feet deep, a large fish that broke a wire leader, Humboldt giant squid to 50 pounds, and more blackgill rockfish caught at the 1,500-foot level. Ross said he again did not find his targeted blackcod and thornyhead.
Of the unusual catshark catch, Ross said, "We dropped a line to the 3,000-foot bottom and waited. I reeled up a mysterious 2-foot catshark with eyes that gave him his name, glowing red like neon fire. He was squirming around trying to bite something. I grabbed him like you would a lizard and dropped this weird looking dinosaur into the bait tank. He later munched out the side of a vermillion rockfish in the tank. The catshark was released in our slip to weird out the marina people."
Fishing at the Banda Bank on the way back to Ensenada produced some vermillion rockfish of 4 pounds. Ensenada fishing area weather had 8-knot winds, with choppy seas of 2 to 3 feet and the water temperature at 57 degrees.
PUERTO SANTO TOMAS, MEXICO: For the previous week, Sam Saenz of Puerto Santo Tomas Resort south of Ensenada reported good fishing conditions between periods of rough Pacific storms, but few anglers venturing overland down the Baja peninsula. "Sport fishing activity has dropped down to almost zero due to the ongoing Mexico bad publicity plus the rainy weather," Saenz said. "During the last 3 weeks only 2 pangas have gone out and they came back with full limits of lingcod, whitefish, sheephead, and some calico bass." Saenz said recent rains cut the upper road canyon to Puerto Santo Tomas from Mex 1, but the road on the valley floor was in good condition. "The bottom road is in good shape and passable for all types of vehicles. Right after the storms, heavy equipment came in and repaired damaged areas," he said. Mountain slopes along the Baja coast were turning green from recent rains.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas said he fished about 4 miles southwest of the boca on Monday with Sergio Guzman and Capt. Hector for a catch of: large rockcods, 2 lingcod, and 2 sheephead. "Both lingcod were caught on chrome jigs used instead of a weight," Hillis said. "One panga also went out fishing on Monday and brought in nice calico bass, barracuda, and bonita. They were heading out again on Tuesday." San Quintin fishing area weather was cold but without rain. Roads were still muddy from recent storms but were passable. Earlier, Hillis reported San Quintin commercial fishermen with larger rockcods and lingcod from the 240 and 15 spots. "No boats that I know of have been to Isla San Martin or Socorro," Hillis said. "We have no counts on white seabass or yellowtail."
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Jose Pacheco of Cedros Outdoor Adventures said he was preparing a schedule of fly-down fishing trips to Islas Cedros and San Benito departing on charter aircraft from Ensenada. Tentative dates for 2008 included Jan. 18-21, Feb. 15-19, March 10-14, April 14-18, May 23-26, June 16-20, July 4-7, Aug. 29-Sept. 1, Oct. 10-13, Nov. 7-10, and Nov. 26-Dec. 1. "Our fishing expeditions to Cedros and San Benito islands will satisfy those looking for a great fishing experience, without the crowds of other common destinations, or the rough seas of a long journey on a boat," Pacheco said. Cedros Outdoor Adventures Baja coastal area trips are priced at $950 to $1,500, depending on length, and include the round-trip flight, ground transfer from San Ysidro, fishing on 24-foot boats, hotel accommodations, all meals, filleting, and freezing. Information: Cedrosoutdooradventures.com.
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Ed Jacobs of Oxnard, Calif., reported on a semi-remote Baja run with Chas Bart to Punta Eugenia on the central Pacific coast northwest of Bahia Tortugas where their spear fishing trip was interrupted by an encounter with a local patrol boat carrying possible vigilancia from a local commercial fishing cooperativa. "We were interested in spearing yellowtail via free diving," Jacobs said. "A blue panga with an enclosure pulled up and told us we could not spear fish at that location. They told us they were from the co-op and their function was to police the area. We went to see the official who was in charge of the co-op and he said the policy had just been put into effect. The reason behind the ban was because an American diver had been bringing spear fishing parties into the area quite often and on the last trip they had speared about 15 to 20 giant grouper and black sea bass weighing upwards of several hundred pounds. The locals said they were very selective about taking that type of fish themselves and never abused the fishery like this. Consequently the area is off-limits to all foreign personnel spearing fish of any species. This area is truly a paradise and it's a crime that abuse has ruined it for all of us."
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Shari Bondy of Baja Bed & Breakfast at Bahia Asuncion said the hotel's website, Bahiaasuncion.com, has a new local weekly news page. "It has the latest road conditions, fish pictures, and current events around here," Bondy said. "In this section, I will also be reporting on the gray whale migration, providing information on gray whale behavior, movement, and what they are doing from week to week."
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Juanchys Aguilar of La Bocana on the Baja central Pacific coast noted that the new commercial fish packing plant was being readied for use by local fishermen. "We are making the change to the new plant," Aguilar said.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Bill Erhardt of Loreto reported on a long offshore run out of San Carlos at Magdalena Bay with Barry Wilkerson aboard Wilkerson's 23-foot boat Rocket, fishing on a temperature break more than 40 miles southwest of the boca for a catch of 3 yellowfin tuna from about 70 pounds to a taped 190 pounds. The Rocket was launched on the sand spit at San Carlos, made bait at Punta Belcher, and spent the night there before running out in water temperatures beginning at 67 degrees and rising to 73 degrees where the tuna were found actively feeding around the San Diego long range boats Excel, Royal Polaris, and Red Rooster III. "The round trip was 165 miles," Erhardt said. "We saw very little sea life north of the temperature break. The long range boats were anchored within a mile of each other in about 550 feet of water. We saw no other sportfishing boats all day. When we left the scene, tuna the size of porpoise were crashing bait all around us. We saw no marlin. The water was clear and blue and often glassy calm. It was a great trip and if I don't catch another fish it was a good way to end the year."
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said offshore action at the Finger Bank went off again last week, but "nobody came to the party." "The Finger Bank below Punta Tosca is going off again and the few boats taking advantage of the bite are coming up from Cabo San Lucas," Graham said at midweek. "One boat out of Cabo boasted 30-plus fish 2 days ago." The Magdalena Bay mangrove channels produced good counts of grouper, corvina, and snook. Magdalena Bay fishing area weather was cloudy in the high-70s, with water temperatures at 67 to 70 degrees.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Jeff Petersen of Lopez Sportsman's Lodge said a run out through Boca de Soledad on Friday morning was aborted due to rough seas on the Pacific Ocean with swells rolling in. "We left Lopez at 7 a.m. aboard the Sonia Ann intending to fish huachinango on the Pacific," Petersen said. "Outside the south entrance the water was too rough. Timing and tide were also poor for a trip to Santo Domingo. We elected to take a look at the grounded sardine boat and then move on to convenient mangrove fishing." Petersen said the Mexican commercial sardine fishing boat had strayed from its proper course just north of the boca and had been grounded for over a week. "Over the last 4 days, she has found her way to the beach and her likely final resting place," Petersen said. "She is hard aground. She is one of 4 similar barcos out of San Carlos servicing the fish packing plant in Lopez. Folks in Lopez will feel the pinch as a result of her loss."
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Capt. Chico Hernandez of Lopez Sportsman's Lodge described the fish species caught at Magdalena Bay with local names of parguito calandrio, paleta, and corvina. "The parguito calandrio is a small fish similar to red snapper but it doesn't grow very large and stays small its entire life," he said. "The paleta is similar to the snook, but not the same. It doesn't grow large, to a maximum of 2 kilos, and you fish for it only with live bait, live shrimp. In the esteros at Puerto Lopez Mateos, there are 2 types of corvina, a small white corvina that only grows to about 4 kilos, and the orangemouth corvina with yellow fins that grows to 18 kilos. This corvina has larger fins."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: In a short holiday reporting period, Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic Sportfishing reported on 73 Cabo San Lucas charter boats, with a catch including released fish of: 1 blue marlin, 94 striped marlin, 65 yellowfin tuna, 8 yellowtail, 11 dorado, 3 amberjack, 7 mako shark, 12 cabrilla, 7 bonito, 20 huachinango, and "too many sierra to count."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Jim Dillon of Salvador's Sportfishing reported on 3 outings by the Cabo San Lucas charter boats El Budster, El Budster I, and El Budster II, with a catch including released fish of: 5 striped marlin, and 1 dorado of 35 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Mike Connolly of the Pisces Fleet charter boat Falcon noted Cabo San Lucas' extraordinary 2007 striped marlin season as the best in memory. "The striped marlin bite has been great almost every day for over a year," he said. "The marlin will move off or slow down for a few days and then boom, they are back in big numbers. Surely the last 3 years are the best ever. There were times when the stripers were seemingly spread from California to La Paz. It was tough fishing a few years back and many of us were pointing at the long-liners and figuring it was going to get worse each year. Thank goodness that was completely wrong. Speaking of the Golden Gate Bank, one key is obviously the enormous quantity of bait that has been there without leaving for all this time. It is normal to see 200, even 300 feet of solid bait in 380 feet of water on the sonar. The Finger Bank is way off the charts. That area is at least 6 miles long with boats enjoying full-time hookups everywhere. I say 6 miles because that is the limit of my personal experience there on any given day but God only knows how much farther that action extends. It really is a must-see thing. What a show."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the previous week, Grant Hartman of the Baja Anglers Fly Fishing guide service at Cabo San Lucas said exceptional striped marlin action continued last week as fly tackle anglers John Wexler and Lynn Boyd scored stripers. "Striped marlin fishing continues to be very good," Hartman said. "It was only 5 to 6 years ago that we had pea green water in the winter, and we had a hard time catching just a few striped marlin in a week's time. Right now, we are even catching stripers a quarter-mile off the Cabo San Lucas harbor entrance. The deep water canyons and bait rich currents make Cabo a unique place to fish." Local Cabo San Lucas inshore fishing improved daily as anglers caught jacks to 30 pounds on the fly and some sierra and roosterfish were found along the beaches. Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was sunny in the high-70s after rain early in the week.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Chris Badsey of the World Championship Billfish Release Tournament (WCBRT) announced results of the 2007 Mini WCBRT tournament held at Cabo San Lucas Dec. 7-8, 2007, with 1,157 billfish released in 2 days by 5 boats entered, a mark of 59 billfish released by a angler Jose Espinoza in 1 day, and the top boat, Reelaxe, releasing 190 striped marlin in 1 day and 330 stripers in 2 days. Aboard the Reelaxe were: Chris Badsey, Dave Brackmann, Steve Brackmann, Alex Rogers, Jose Espinoza, Mark Clayton, Saul Contrearus, and Dennis Poulton. Boats entered in the tournament were: Reelaxe, Get Over It, Tenacious, Bull Rider, and Cabo Villa. Badsey noted that IGFA observers were aboard tournament boats and catches were videotaped during the all-release, all-circle hook event.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: In a short holiday reporting week, Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported on 26 combined La Playita fleet pangas fishing off San Jose del Cabo, with a catch including released fish of: 29 yellowfin tuna of 10 to 20 pounds, 13 dorado, 2 striped marlin, 122 sierra at 2 pounds or less, 7 cabrilla, 6 amberjack, 18 pargo, and 14 bonito. San Jose del Cabo fishing area weather was cooler, with water temperatures dropping into the low-70s as tropical migrators began moving to the south. "Live sardina bait fish have remained plentiful," Brictson said, "but getting the tuna to come up and feed at Iman, Punta Gorda, and Palmilla where they have been so abundant has been nearly impossible. The sportfishing fleet is looking for other action. Most of the bottom species have been in the 4 to 12-pound class. The first group of sierra has been juveniles, fun for small children, but they have to grow up some."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Earlier, Randy Morishita of Carlsbad, Calif., reported fishing out of San Jose del Cabo on a panga with Capt. Jesus Pino for 2 double hookups on sierra just outside the Puerto Los Cabos marina entrance and limits of yellowfin tuna of 10 to 20 pounds for 2 anglers farther out. "While waiting for the bait boats we trolled new Rapalas and got the sierra practically at the mouth of the marina," Morishita said.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: San Jose del Cabo species fishing specialist John Snow reported on a surf fishing session in the very productive waters at the tip of Baja, for a morning's catch that included examples of: Cortez sea chub, longfin croaker, golden-eye grunt, Pacific needlefish, Mexican night sergeant, banded wrasse, and rainbow wrasse. "It remains an amazingly diverse place," Snow said. "The longfin croaker was caught in the suds. The rest were out about 20 yards in 20 feet of water." Snow fished with Sally Lightfoot crab bait, less effectively with cut squid, and without hookups with frozen sardinas.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly reported seasonable winter-style weather conditions in the East Cape fishing area, with many days windy, but some good fishing found during calm periods. "Early in the morning and sometimes all the way to midmorning, you may find good fishing," Graham said. "You can usually see the wind line coming and hightail it home before it reaches you." School-sized yellowfin tuna mixed with some dorado were found offshore. Sierra were present inshore. East Cape fishing area weather was in the low-80s and windy to 18 knots, with water temperatures at about 74 degrees.
Earlier, Graham said Rebel lures with the hooks removed were being used effectively as fly fishing teasers for sierra. "Attach the lure with a light piece of 4 to 6-pound leader," Graham said. "Cast into the melee and when the fish strike the line, it will eventually break. Now you have a free floating teaser that will drive the sierra crazy! Just cast your fly or lure in the proximity of the free floating Rebel and you should have no problem getting hooked up."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Larry Cooper of Baja Enterprises and maker of the well known center mounted aluminum boat launch wheels seen at Martin Verdugo's Beach Resort, announced a new sportfishing service that offers wheelchair access on the charter boat En Caliente. "It's a new class of East Cape charter fishing," Cooper said. "The hoist system can pluck a passenger off a floating dock or a fixed dock into either the captain's chair or navigator's chair up on the bridge. Two fighting chairs can be replaced with a lock-down device so a person can fight fish from his wheelchair. I designed a rod gripping device for persons who have no strength in their hands to grip a fishing rod. En Caliente has been completely retrofitted for accessibility." The En Caliente will be chartered through Los Cabos Adventures. Cooper, who himself has used a wheelchair since a highway accident in 1992, said wheelchair accessible rooms were also available at nearby Villa Tranquillo and the new charter service included a specially equipped van for pickup at the airport and a custom wheelchair accessible ATV. Information: 866-727-7986, Bajaenterprises.com.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Dos Hernandez of Tortuga Sportfishing said his pangas on the south side of La Paz were fishing mostly close to shore in sheltered water due to consistent north winds, with catches including sierra, small cabrilla, and pargo. On Wednesday, lighter winds allowed pangas to fish at the south end of Isla Cerralvo for sierra and huachinango, and at Punta Perico good counts of pargo lisa were scored, although fishing was slowed by excess numbers of greenjack and needlefish competing for baits.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International said inshore species and even some tuna and dorado were being caught between winds. "The weather has been the biggest issue the last week," Roldan said. "But the fish are still biting. It seems the less wind you have, the bigger the fish and the more you catch. There's still some tuna and dorado around, but the majority of fish these last few days were inshore cabrilla, some of the larger pargo, and lots of sierra." Roldan also noted that Tailhunter International will be attending the winter fishing shows next year in January and March 2008, with stops at: San Mateo, Sacramento, and Long Beach, Calif.; Denver, Colo.; Portland, Ore.; and Monroe, Wash.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jack McGuire of Santa Ana, Calif., reported an excess baggage charge of $100 each way for fishing rod tubes taken on his mid-November round-trip flight between Los Angeles and La Paz aboard Delta Air Lines. "Delta is charging now for rod cases over 6 feet," McGuire said. "I checked with both Alaska Air Lines and Aero Mexico and neither one of them charge for rod cases." In 3 days of panga fishing at La Paz with Tailhunter International, McGuire's boat caught: 15 yellowfin tuna of 10 to 25 pounds, 10 dorado, and 1 wahoo of 50 pounds. "Not bad for winter fishing but it is slowing down a lot now," McGuire said. "The water is getting cold."
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles reported few boats fishing in the Loreto area as generally windy conditions improved at midweek. On Tuesday, Bolles said, "Francisco did a short trip in decent sea surface conditions, but few fish were caught along the shorelines, just small cabrilla and barracuda." Two other boats were fishing for yellowtail. More winds were expected in the Loreto fishing area toward the end of the week.
SANTA ROSALIA, MEXICO: Mike Kanzler of Isla San Marcos said he returned to the Santa Rosalia area at night from a trip north and found the commercial squid fishermen at work. "I'd seen the Cortez with a Baja sun setting," Kanzler said. "As I neared my destination, I looked upon the sea, dark, and the lights of squid fishermen glistening in the distance. San Marcos Island, I'm home." Santa Rosalia fishing area weather was chilly at 70 degrees, with water temperatures at 65.5 degrees and water visibility at 30 feet.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Stan Gabruk of Master Baiters Sportfishing & Tackle said Puerto Vallarta fishing area boats were not coming in with big numbers fish and many of the fish being landed were released. "Conditions are changing along with the seasons," Gabruk said. "Cooler water has moved into the area signaling the arrival of winter in Puerto Vallarta. Cooler water has moved into the bay, driving the bait fish into the outer areas near the points of Cabo Corrientes and Punta Mita." Offshore water temperatures were in the low-70s. "The hot spot is still north of Punta Mita and points north," Gabruk said. "Dorado, sailfish, and the occasional blue marlin have set up camp in this area."
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze, reporting for Baja On The Fly, said sailfish and dorado counts held up nicely during the week as Kunze guided a trip aboard the charter boat Angela with Capt. Cali and fly fishing tackle angler David McCarty of Philadelphia, Penn., that produced 4 sailfish hooked on 12 follows by noon off Puerto Vicente Guerrero. Dorado were also plentiful, as 4 were hooked on 8 teased to the boat. "The dorado were actually coming in and beating the sails to the fly," Kunze said. "At one point David asked me if he should take the sailfish or the dorado. I had no more than yelled out "the one that gets there first" when a large bull sliced across the stern and slammed into the fly. The fly line parted but it sure was exciting. We are definitely going to have a great Christmas." Ixtapa Zihuatanejo fishing area weather was clear in the high-90s, with water temperatures at 80 to 84 degrees.