SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Light tackle roosterfish kept some anglers busy at the tip of Baja last week in overall fishing conditions made tough by steady winds. Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported on 46 combined La Playita fleet pangas fishing out of San Jose del Cabo's Puerto Los Cabos marina, with a catch including released fish of: 184 roosterfish, 205 Mexican bonito, 148 sierra, 4 striped marlin, 9 yellowfin tuna, 25 amberjack, 21 cabrilla, 82 red snapper or huachinango, and 9 dorado.
"The local beaches were holding schools of roosterfish just south of Punta Gorda off of La Laguna," Brictson said. "This has been a hotspot for the roosterfish in the 4 to 6-pound range and a few larger fish mixed in, fun fishing on light tackle." Larger sierra including a few of 7 to 10 pounds were found just off Punta Gorda. Offshore and bottom fishing were hampered by north winds. "La Playita pangas were limited on options," Brictson said. "Most were doing a mix of inshore trolling and drift fishing over rock piles from La Fortuna to San Luis. With the wind, you had to choose the right time to fish effectively off these bottom spots." The San Jose del Cabo fishing area had moderate crowds of tourists, with north wind pushing down the Sea of Cortez at 10 to 20 m.p.h. and local water temperatures to 73 degrees. Brictson noted that with few anglers in the San Jose del Cabo area, he was busy with boat maintenance and moving his pangas into the new Puerto Los Cabos marina.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Bob Lewis of San Jose del Cabo reported seasonably strong north winds, few boats going out, and local pangueros complaining about having few customers. "The general feeling is kind of dismal really," Lewis said. "The locals are watching the news, worried about the U.S. economy and also the shootings in Tijuana. It is usually a bit slow for fishing here in San Jose this time of year anyway, but if someone wants to come down, there are plenty of boats and captains ready to take them out. I saw small numbers of small huachinangos, a few small yellowtail, and assorted small rockfish. They are bottom fishing using small live or dead sardines, small hooks and 2-ounce plus weight. The co-ops have locked down the ramp so boat launching is difficult and only available through the Puerto Los Cabos marina management at their ramp on the back side of the marina."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Bob Grimes of San Jose del Cabo noted the continued pressure of commercial fishing along the coasts of Baja California Sur. "In San Jose del Cabo, there are still Mexican divers from the mainland taking every undersized oyster or langosta that they can find and they always have a Hawaiian sling to take reef fish," Grimes said. "The big supermercados buy the fish. You can go into San Jose del Cabo and find rows of parrotfish and other fish on the ice in the fish section. They usually have a hole in their head, because they are shot with a Hawaiian sling as they sleep at night. Some of these fish are shot in the marine park."
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet reported good local Ensenada fishing weather early in the week, with his pangas finding steady all-day bites at Punta Banda for lingcod, whitefish, red rockcod, sculpin, and mixed bottom fish species. "It was a good bite with plenty of fish and some limits," Villarino said. Anglers fishing on the charter pangas Vonny I and Vonny IV with Capts. Beto and Hector included Jay Johnson of Ensenada, Dane Wright of Canada, and Andrew Williams. Villarino also noted the recent Mexico fishing regulation change, eliminating the need for sportfishing boat permits. "All sportsmen are welcome in Mexico," Villarino said. "The new Mexican law requires no permit for the boat, only for the anglers, making it easier to go fishing."
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Steve Ross of the boat Bad Dog at Ensenada's Marina Coral reported on a run 60 miles south to the area of Punta Colonet, fishing in 57 to 58-degree water for 1 blue shark, 1 starry rockfish, and uncounted hits by Humboldt giant squid of 35 to 50 pounds that were so thick that rockcod ganions could not get down through them. "I ran the boat for 80 miles while down there looking for rockcod and all I found were Humboldt squid everywhere," Ross said. "They were so thick that our ganions could not reach the bottom while zooming down with 5-pound weight. Everywhere we went the rockcod were hunkered down to the ocean's floor showing nothing on the meter. All we could catch was Humboldt squid. There must be millions of them. We caught them in 200 feet of water and in 1,500 feet of water and everything in between." Baja coastal fishing weather in the Punta Colonet area was flat and windless up to 12 miles offshore, with the water color "green and gooey." Ross said he kept some squid alive in the bait well. "You could hear them huffing and puffing all day," he said. "Some trumpeted like an elephant. I truly believe they squirt more than 2 gallons and they are able to aim this wall of water. Several times I jumped to the side to avoid a well directed water flow. When you hear the massive air implosion into their bodies, look out for the exhaust. Keeping them alive in the tank keeps your deck clean. If you take Punta Colonet and Punta Camalu and the 100 fathom curve and draw a box, that box is full of Humboldt squid."
ERENDIRA, MEXICO: Tere Castro of Castro's Camp on the Baja coast south of Ensenada reported 10 boats fishing during the week, in sunny weather and calm water, for catches including mixed rockcods, lingcod, and whitefish. "We have been seeing a lot of bait in the water," Castro said. "We've had a few clouds, but the water is very calm." Baja coastal fishing water temperatures off Erendira averaged 57 degrees.
San Quintin Fishing
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: For the previous weekend, Kelly Catian of K&M Offshore Sportfishing reported glassy calm seas and fishing runs out of San Quintin south to Socorro for calico bass and sandbass, the 180 spot for red rockcod and lingcod, slow action at Isla San Martin, and big counts of large red rockcod, medium lingcod, and 1 cowcod west of the island while fishing about 350 feet deep. "We headed out west of the isla to a spot where mostly commercial guys go," Catian said. "Everything was working, jigs, live bait, and Gulp." Anglers fishing aboard the charter boats Offshore III and Offshore IV with Catian and Capt. Oscar included Jimmy Chi, David Dang, and Lawrence Li of Los Angeles.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas said rains arrived in the San Quintin fishing area late in the week and few anglers were in the area. "Unfortunately we still have not had too many anglers making the trip south," Hillis said. "We have been letting our customers know that we use the Tecate crossing all the time with no problems. It is a beautiful ride along the Calle de Vino which goes along the wine country in that region. It does add about 40 miles to your trip but it's well worth it."
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Shari Bondy of Baja Bed & Breakfast at Bahia Asuncion said the hotel's new panga was christened with Tecate beer and then fished with 4 anglers for good yellowtail action over the full moon phase on a rock about 2 miles off Punta San Pablo. "The new panga is bigger, wider, and more stable," Bondy said. "They flew in from Oregon to fish. They lost more than they landed but had a blast anyway and loved watching the gray whales pass as they jigged." Baja coastal fishing water off Bahia Asuncion was calm and warmer during the week at 62 to 70 degrees, with excellent visibility.
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Baja traveler, Jim Heath of Roseville, Calif., noted the earlier photo of Capt. Juan Arce of Bahia Asuncion's Arce Bros. Sportfishing playing a saxophone on the beach, saying, "My wife and I were there for 3 days in August and Juan is a very interesting person. He taught himself over a dozen musical instruments and English as a youngster, he is a pretty good stone mason, and his knowledge of his home water is scary good. I highly recommend meeting Juan and Shari."
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said boats fishing the Puerto Lopez Mateos area out of Diana Hoyt's Mag Bay Outfitters reported good Magdalena Bay mangrove channel fishing for corvina, spotted bay bass, and a few grouper. The annual Festival de la Ballena whale celebration was scheduled for Jan. 26, 2008. "Lopez Mateos is one of Baja's best gray whale watching sites," Graham said. "More and more whales are arriving every day. The bay is narrow here, so the whales can usually be seen from the pier. Boca de Soledad, only a short distance north of Puerto Lopez Mateos, boasts the highest density of whales anywhere along the Baja peninsula." Magdalena Bay fishing area weather was cloudy in the high-60s, with water temperatures at 66 to 73 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 47 outings by Gaviota Fleet and the Cabo charter boats Fish Cabo and Fish Cabo I, with a catch including released fish of: 72 striped marlin, 14 yellowfin tuna, and 6 dorado. "The billfish bite did slow up a little as the full moon weighed in," Edwards said. "I would expect it to rebound with a vengeance following the full moon."
The top boat for the fleet was the Gaviota VIII, with Capt. Juan Dominguez and 12 striped marlin released in 5 fishing days. Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was cloudy in the high-70s, with water temperatures at 71 degrees from Todos Santos on the Pacific side, around land's end, and up the Sea of Cortez side to San Jose del Cabo. Cabo San Lucas fishing boats worked the Golden Gate Bank, Jaime Bank, and the Cabo Falso drop-off.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Durance Lowendick of Marlin Masters Sportfishing reported a drop in water temperatures and striped marlin counts as his charters fished on the Pacific side for striped marlin, dorado of 20 to 40 pounds, and several wahoo in the 30-pound class caught within half-a-mile of shore north to El Migrino.
"We are now finding lots of marlin off the lighthouse bank southwest of Sunset Beach and there are fair numbers of striped marlin still on the Golden Gate and San Jaime Banks," Lowendick said. "The stripers are rapidly moving from one bait pod to another, keeping anglers and boats on the move below the telltale diving frigate birds. Dorado are being encountered near the same bait balls. This coming week there appears to be a strong warm water band forming just south of land's end and just to the west of the 95 spot. I predict this is going to prove to be a major fish producing area as cold water pushes down the Sea of Cortez and Pacific sides. This temperature ridge about 10 miles off the arch should prove to be a very productive area."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet reported 97 percent of boats releasing striped marlin, with 204 landed and 203 released during the week. "The Golden Gate Bank was still the prime fishing location although some Cabo boats did fish near San Cristobal and the Old Lighthouse," Ehrenberg said. "Mike Myatt fished with Dan Jacobs and Pisces Fleet's very own Mario Bañaga aboard the Minerva IV and they released 15 striped marlin in front of Pescadero."
Other top outings during the week included the boat Spartacus with a 12-release day, and C Rod and Bill Collector with 7 each. Just 12 percent of boats landed dorado and only a few tuna were reported. Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was partly cloudy into the low-80s, with calm to moderate seas and the water temperature averaging 70 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Michael Anderson of San Diego, Calif., reported on 3 days of fishing by his group aboard 2 Redrum Sportfishing charter boats for a count of 24 striped marlin released at the Golden Gate Bank. "All the fish were caught by casting live mackerel at tailing marlin," Anderson said. "The best day total was 14 marlin with 10 marlin taken on one boat. There were multiple double hookups and one triple hookup." Anderson said he landed a marlin that was not hooked but wrapped around the head on line caught by the barb of his hook. "On our last day we must have seen 100 to 150 marlin," Anderson said. "Redrum in a classy operation with clean, dependable boats with hardworking crews that know how to put you on fish. I will definitely fish with them again. You know when you're having an incredible day of marlin fishing when all of the open beers you're polishing off are warm, you're having trouble hooking up because 3 or 4 marlin are competing for your mackerel, and the skipper is the only one who knows how many flags to run up the outriggers."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Grant Hartman of Baja Anglers reported both yellowfin tuna and dorado fishing slower, with the water temperature averaging about 70 degrees, but striped marlin counts of up to about 6 fish per day. "If you are using the fly, it's a hit-or-miss situation," Hartman said. "If the marlin are on top and feeding, it's a great day of fly fishing. But if they are down 100 feet it's a tough day with the long rod." Inshore fishing by anglers Jeff Berzon and Jim Mincinilio of Connecticut produced lots of sierra plus jack crevalle to over 20 pounds and roosterfish to over 50 pounds. "They used both fly rods and very light spinning rods," Hartman said. "I made a video of the great action."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Jim Dillon of Salvador's Sportfishing reported on 14 outings by the Cabo San Lucas charter boats El Budster, El Budster I, and El Budster II, with a catch including released fish of: 24 striped marlin, 10 yellowfin tuna of 20 to 25 pounds, and 3 dorado of 20 to 30 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing reported "slower" striped marlin action, down from the frequent double-digits of the previous week, as green water invaded the Pacific banks over the full moon period and the best striped marlin counts came from an area of 73 to 74-degree water out about 15 miles south and southwest. "Most of the striped marlin action took place between the San Jaime Bank and the 95 Spot and to the south, down in the warmer water," Landrum said. "Most boats were happy to get 1 or 2 releases." Dorado and yellowfin tuna were few and scattered. Inshore fishing was slower in dirty water for yellowtail and sierra. "Fishing really slowed down as the water cooled off," Landrum said. "Hopefully the tuna will show in force. They are overdue based on the past 6 years' records." Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was cool and partly cloudy in the mid-70s, with mostly calm mornings and some afternoon wind.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Art Coleman of Temecula, Calif., reported on 4 days of fishing the Jaime and Golden Gate Banks aboard the charter boat Gaviota IX with Capt. Jorge for a catch of 14 striped marlin released. "They were hitting both live mackerel and lures," Coleman said. "There were lots of jumpers and tailers. The Pacific side is alive with life." Cabo Pacific side fishing area weather was cold in the mornings, with light winds, calm seas, and air temperatures at about 75 degrees during the day.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said East Cape beaches from Rancho Leonero to La Ribera produced good action between winds for sierra, jack crevalle, and ladyfish, plus a few small roosterfish. "The best fishing was in the early morning before the wind cranked up," Graham said. Some yellowfin tuna were reported for offshore boats running north to Isla Cerralvo, but wind was a factor. "North winds along with cool temperatures are predicted to be here until the weekend," Graham said. "North wind and Isla Cerralvo should not be used in the same sentence!" Graham also noted the recent change in Mexico fishing regulations dropping the requirement for boat permits, but with individual Mexican fishing licenses still required for all persons aboard. East Cape fishing area weather was cloudy in the low-70s, with winds to 17 knots and water temperatures at 67 to 73 degrees.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: For the previous week, Jeff deBrown of The Reel Baja fly fishing guide service reported a calm weather break in the north wind, with beach fishing good during a session working south from Rancho Leonero for ladyfish, sierra, jack crevalle, and roosterfish. A kayak angler at Rancho Leonero also scored on sierra and ladyfish plus a few small pargo on squid bait dropped to the rocks. "The north winds gave East Cape a nice opportunity to enjoy some mid-January fishing," deBrown said. "We'll have to see what the wind has in store for us next." A few offshore boats reported bonita and a few marlin seen to the north off Punta Pescadero, bottom fish, and a few yellowfin tuna caught to the south off Cabo Pulmo.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Daugherty of East Cape Guides said he will lead a seminar on Baja fishing at the Rod Rack tackle store in Hayward, Calif., on Feb. 16, 2008. Subjects to be covered include: the Sea of Cortez fishery, run-and-gun Baja-style fishing, trolling and bait techniques for marlin, tuna, dorado, wahoo and roosterfish, tackle and rigging, and rods and reels. Information: 510-881-1775.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Dos Hernandez of Tortuga Sportfishing said fishing on the Las Arenas side south of La Paz was made difficult by north winds, but action for pargo lisa was fairly good in sheltered waters close to Punta Perico as schools of the snappers were seen. "This fishing is a little difficult since they go straight down to the bottom where there are a lot of rocks," Hernandez said. "They aren't very far from the beach." Commercial Mexican fishermen continued to bring in good catches of sierra from the area north of Las Arenas and off the south end of Isla Cerralvo. "We hope fishing conditions in the next few days will allow us to get to different areas to see what we can catch," Hernandez said.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International was doing the winter U.S. fishing show circuit and reported 20 degrees below zero temperatures while driving from the Sacramento show to Denver. La Paz fishing conditions were also relatively cool due to winter winds "but we still got some fish," Roldan said. "The yellowtail situation might be starting to kick in early. There are plenty of sierra in the right spots and the cabrilla are hanging in the rocks with the pargo." Catches by boats working mostly out of Ensenada de los Muertos south of La Paz also included bonito and a couple of boats with a combined 10 surprise yellowfin tuna.
LORETO, MEXICO: Arturo Susarrey of Arturo's Sportfishing said his remote San Nicolas yellowtail fish camp on the Baja coast about 40 miles north of Loreto was ready to begin the 2008 season. Fishing from the camp located just south of Punta Pulpito found yellowtail averaging 15 pounds at locations including the bajo of Punta Pulpito about 2 miles out, the north side of Isla San Ildefonso, off Punta San Antonio, and in the sheltered water very near camp on the south side of Punta Pulpito. "This area is protected from the north wind and is right across from the camp," Susarrey said.
MULEGE, MEXICO: Marv Perrigo of Mulege said local boats found spotty action due to winds and rough seas, but Del Loomer did manage an 18-pound yellowtail aboard John Habberman's boat Juanita II about 5 miles off Punta Concepción. "The fish was caught just off the bottom using a live bigeye bait in 270 feet of water," Perrigo said. "The winds are now subsiding and the sea calming just in time for the upcoming Yellowtail Tournament sponsored by Bomberos de Mulege."
SANTA ROSALIA, MEXICO: Jim Anderson of San Bruno reported heavy rain in the Santa Rosalia fishing area, with yellowtail fishing slow on the Isla San Marcos bajos but decent outside at Isla Tortuga. A run to Isla Tortuga with Ed Hogan early in the week produced 9 yellowtail plus some large goldspotted bass and 1 baqueta. "At San Marcos Island, I did not see a yellowtail caught nor hear of one on the radio even though there were quite a few boats out fishing," Hogan said. "The Mulege yellowtail tournament is scheduled for this weekend, but the tides and conditions are very poor with almost no tide movement, so it should be an interesting challenge." Bait was hard to find, as most boats worked the deep bait spot off the Santa Rosalia cliffs. "Even the marina in Santa Rosalia has dried up so most boats are hitting the deep bait hole around daybreak and managing to catch Spanish mackerel," Anderson said.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Mia Blanco of Bahia de los Angeles said good counts of yellowtail were being scored by local boats working blue-white Salas jigs. A trip out of Daggett's Camp at the north end of town by father-and-son team Jerry and Mike Riley produced a yellowtail of 18 pounds plus a good catch of sculpin and mixed bottom fish on the back side of Isla Horsehead or Cabeza de Caballo.
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: John Hilderbrand of Jon Jen Charters at San Carlos reported a break in the weather after 3 days of wind and local boats averaging about 2 yellowtail per outing plus some grouper and small goldspotted bass during fishing at Punta San Antonio just north on the Mexican mainland coast and at Isla San Pedro Nolasco. "The wind blew us off the water for 3 days, and we finally got a break," Hilderbrand said. "Bouyweather says 1 foot, but when it's as tall as you are I would say it's a little more."
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 21 Aries Fleet offshore charter boats out of Mazatlan's Marina El Cid, with a catch including released fish of: 4 striped marlin, 1 sailfish, and 1 yellowfin tuna. Seven inshore super pangas had a catch of: 23 grouper, 15 jack crevalle, 12 conejo, 15 lora, and 10 mojarra. Mazatlan fishing area weather was mostly calm in the low-80s, but with cool water temperatures at 67 degrees inshore and up to 69 degrees offshore. "The full moon and cooling water temperatures have apparently pushed much of the fish away from the Mazatlan area and made for some very difficult fishing days," Edwards said. "While the inshore fishing allowed more action, even that was slower. We are going to have to get through the moon phase and a few degrees of water temperature to re-motivate the fish bite."
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Sailfish release counts improved sharply last week as overabundant bait thinned out and heavy concentrations of fish began to chew. Ed Kunze, reporting for Baja On The Fly, said, "January is considered to be the best month for sailfish when large migrations pass by on their way to Guatemala. This January is really outstanding." Top outings for the week at Ixtapa Zihuatanejo included Capt. Cali with 7 sailfish releases and 3 dorado, Capt. Adolpho with 8 sailfish and 3 dorado, Capt. Santiago with a 9-sailfish release day, and Capt. Adan with 5. "Every day at the pier around 2 p.m. is like a colorful parade as the boats come in with their flags flying. The fishing is just outstanding," Kunze said. "Plus, we are having the largest showing of dorado I have seen in years. The dorado are all mature fish, averaging 12 to 18 pounds for the hens and 25 to 40 pounds for the bulls." Ixtapa fishing area weather was calm in the mid-90s, with water temperatures of 80 to 84 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said, "Captains reported a decrease in bait in the area which contributed to a more willing population of sailfish and dorado." The charter super pangas Tarpon and Dos Hermanos II reported on 10 combined outings for a catch including released fish of: 14 sailfish, 2 blue marlin, 9 dorado, 2 roosterfish, 1 yellowfin tuna, and many bonito, needlefish, and jack crevalle. Seventeen outings by other boats produced a catch including released fish of: 29 sailfish, 13 dorado, and 10 jack crevalle. With blue water 7 miles off shore, good numbers of yellowfin tuna were also seen but not biting. Ixtapa fishing area weather was calm in the low-90s, with water temperatures at 81 degrees inshore and 83 degrees offshore.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the Fintastic Total Tag & Release Tournament reported on 2 outings by Capt. Santiago Valdovinos on the new Gitana for a combined catch of 16 sailfish released plus 4 dorado. On the second day, with anglers Billy Gray and his wife, Phillips said, "By noon we had released 7 sails including 2 doubles." Phillips noted that the new Gitana is 2 feet longer and a foot wider than Valdovinos' old boat. "That gives it a much smoother ride and with twin 85-h.p. Yamahas it moves," Phillips said. "There are 2 of these pangas for charter in Zihuatanejo. The other is the Huntress with Capt. Francisco. The boats are a matched pair built side-by-side and put into service this season."
HUATULCO, MEXICO: Eric Weissman of Explore Fly Fishing said Huatulco fishing area weather was mostly calm in the high-80s, with water temperatures at 84 degrees and blue water close to shore at this Puerto Escondido fishing location. Fish species being caught included dorado, sailfish, marlin, jack crevalle, black skipjack, yellowfin tuna, and sierra. "There are huge schools of bait from sardinas to mackerel and lots of predators around," Weissman said. "Whales, dolphin, and orcas are here. It's a great time to be here and the fishing has been very good inshore, with most species close to shore."
MEXICO: Jeff Petersen of Lopez Sportsman's Lodge at Magdalena Bay noted the fish sold in markets during a trip to Monterrey, capitol of the state of Nuevo Leon, on the Mexican mainland. "I was in a local grocery store the other day and saw a good-sized huachinango and an equally nice whole robalo or snook, like the ones we all like to catch in Baja, in the fish section displayed next to fillets and shrimp and such, similar to the meat section at a local Safeway," Petersen said. "Of the hundreds of kilos of fish that our Capt. Chico sells to the fish buyers at Magdalena Bay, I have asked, 'Where will they go?' South, and to markets in the interior of Mexico is his answer. At a different grocery store I saw again where perhaps some of Magdalena Bay's fish meet the consumer. In this grocer's case the whole fish was marked 109 Mexican pesos per kilo, not quite $5 U.S. per pound. Unlike the first grocer's case, this black snook was surrounded by a bunch of small huachinangos. These folks eat great fish!"