CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Striped marlin numbers finally backed off last week for boats fishing out of Cabo San Lucas. Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 30 outings by Gaviota Fleet and the Cabo charter boats Fish Cabo and Fish Cabo I, with a catch including released fish of: 27 striped marlin, 7 dorado, and 49 yellowfin tuna including about half in the 40 to 50-pound class.
"Judging from the falling water temperatures on both sides of the Baja peninsula and the downturn in overall fish counts, Cabo's incredible marlin bite finally fell off after so many record catching months," Edwards said. "Cooler water is pushing southwards from both sides of the peninsula and the fish catching is being affected."
Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was sunny in the high-70s, with water temperatures on both the Pacific side banks and the Cortez side Gordo Banks as low as 67 to 68 degrees, but with warmer water to 71 degrees south of land's end. Most boats found the best action about 20 miles south of Cabo San Lucas. "If the 2 cool water masses meet, the striped marlin bite will come to a screeching halt for the time being," Edwards said. Mackerel live baits continued to be in good supply.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Durance Lowendick of Marlin Masters Sportfishing said, "The sweeping cold water down the Pacific side has definitely put the stripers on the move. It was inevitable that the unbelievable striped marlin bite Cabo has been experiencing since October would see some change. The fish are still here, just more spread. A number of fish have moved into the Sea of Cortez where waters are in the lower 70s, as opposed to the 67 to 68-degree waters now covering the Pacific hotspots like the Golden Gate and San Jaime Banks. The best action this week should be on Sea of Cortez hotspots like the 95 Spot, 1150 Spot, and the Gordo Banks. A morning check of satellite sea surface temperature readings before you head out on your trip and working the warmer water areas will be the key to success until conditions stabilize."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Mike Connolly of the Pisces Fleet charter boat Falcon said fishing on Wednesday with Capt. Manuel scored 2 striped marlin releases plus 7 small yellowfin tuna and 2 dorado. The Falcon fished about 20 miles straight south of Cabo San Lucas in fairly rough water at 72 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Jim Dillon of Salvador's Sportfishing reported on 6 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, 3 yellowfin tuna of 20 pounds, 1 dorado of 30 pounds, 1 mako shark of 30 pounds, 2 roosterfish of 10 to 20 pounds, and 20 sierra.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Grant Hartman of the Baja Anglers fly fishing service at Cabo San Lucas said fly tackle angler Don Lange released a striped marlin aboard the charter boat Flying Fish IV with Capt. Arturo. "A good part of the school has moved closer to Cabo and they are spread out," Hartman said. Inshore fishing produced sierra, jack crevalle, and smaller roosterfish. "The roosterfish are up and down the coast," Hartman said. "Expect them to refuse some of your flies, as they can be very selective. They like sunny days and don’t move around much on cloudy days. Most fish are running under 10 pounds, but there are a few in the 15-pound range."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Ramon Druck of the Cabo San Lucas charter sportfishing super panga Cheer's reported on 4 outings during the week with a total of 10 anglers, for a catch including released fish of: 3 dorado of 7 to about 12 pounds, 38 sierra of 3 to 9 pounds, 1 amberjack of 7 pounds, some black skipjack lost, 4 marlin lost, 1 roosterfish of about 4 pounds lost, and 21 yellowtail and mixed jacks of 6 to 9 pounds. The Cheer's fished mostly along the Pacific side beaches in some cold and rough conditions with water temperatures at 70 to 73 degrees. Anglers fishing aboard the Cheer's included Steve Johnson, Ray Boad, John Cappadona, John Cappadona Jr., Gerry Ocellette, Larry McQuarrie, and Michael Olson.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing said, "The striped marlin bite remained off for another week for most of the boats, but this week several broadbill swordfish were spotted on the surface and at least 2 were hooked. There were acres of Humboldt squid reported on the surface feeding on red crab this week, and this may have been a contributing factor in the swordfish being seen. There are still whales out there and the numbers seem to be increasing."
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet reported some rainy days early in the week but otherwise good local winter fishing conditions at Ensenada, some California gray whales passing by on their southward migration down the Baja coast, and his pangas at Punta Banda scoring plenty of lingcod and red rockcod, plus a few calico bass. Anglers fishing with Capt. Beto on the charter panga Vonny I included Jay Johnson of Ensenada and his friend Angie who caught the biggest fish of the day on her first trip out. Ensenada fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the high-50s, with calm winds, ocean swells of 3 to 4 feet, and the water temperature at Punta Banda averaging 56 degrees.
ERENDIRA, MEXICO: Tere Castro of Castro's Camp at Erendira on the Baja coast south of Ensenada reported 6 boats fishing during the week and 5 other boats canceled the previous weekend due to weather. "Besides the rainy weekend, we had good fishing weather and right now the water is calm," Castro said. Castro's Camp boats had good catches of mixed rockcods and bottom fish in Baja coastal fishing waters averaging 56 to 57 degrees.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Kelly Catian of San Quintin's K&M Offshore Sportfishing reported on a local outing with his wife Berta and son Christian, fishing just a quarter-mile off Cabo San Quintin in a wide-open bite of calico bass, sandbass, mixed rockfish, and sheephead on light tackle squid bait, jigs, Powerbait, and Gulps. "You don't need to go far for great fishing this time of year," Catian said. "A lot of the deep water fish are up in shallow water." San Quintin fishing area weather was glass flat, with the water temperature at 60 degrees.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Marita Melville of Don Eddie's Landing said just a few sportfishing charter boats have been going out during the winter season. San Quintin local Capt. Juan Cook fished commercially and reported slow action for about 20 kilos of mixed bottom fish. Melville also noted that Don Eddie's Landing has 8 lots for sale on the bay front with access to fresh water, power, telephone service, and a nearby paved runway for small planes. "These prime lots are for residential homes only, with space for your car, boat, and RV," Melville said. Information: 011-52-616-165-6061.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said Magdalena Bay mangrove estero fishing out of Puerto Lopez Mateos produced some good bites for corvina plus a few larger grouper and pargo as the California gray whale season got off to a gradual start. "Bob Hoyt of Mag Bay Outfitters said the gray whales are slowly filtering into the bay through Boca de Soledad but so far only 15 to 20 have made it inside," Graham said. Magdalena Bay fishing area weather was clear in the mid-70s, with water temperatures at 66 to 73 degrees.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Jeff Petersen of Lopez Sportsman's Lodge at Puerto Lopez Mateos said a local state sponsored fishing tournament was expected following the completion of the town's new paved boat launching ramp scheduled in March. "Despite periodic heavy equipment failure, construction of the new ramp and pier remains scheduled for completion in March," Petersen said. "The governor of Baja California Sur promises that boats will be able to be launched in Lopez Mateos after never leaving pavement. Expect a fishing tournament sponsored by the governor following completion of the ramp, with great prizes, a nice tournament. There will be another tournament in San Carlos. Dates are uncertain at present." Petersen said Lopez Sportsman's Lodge had bookings for a multi-boat fly fishing group scheduled to fish with Capts. Chico, Paco, and Guti in good conditions. "The Magdalena Bay weather forecast is calm this weekend on a perfect tide! How can you beat it? It should be a great 4 or 5-day experience," he said.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported on 47 combined La Playita fleet pangas fishing out of San Jose del Cabo's Puerto Los Cabos marina, with a catch including released fish of: 53 dorado, 88 huachinango or true red snapper, 14 roosterfish, 22 sierra, 13 striped marlin, 7 yellowfin tuna, 74 Mexican bonito, 11 amberjack, 6 yellowtail, 5 pompano, and 7 hammerhead shark. San Jose del Cabo fishing area weather was sunny in the mid-70s, with the warmest water temperature of about 72 degrees found on the Gordo Banks, at the 95 spot, and off Chileno. "In this same region water clarity has improved and this has been where the majority of local sportfishing boats have concentrated their efforts. Numbers of dorados increased this week," Brictson said. "The rock piles north of Punta Gorda are showing red crab activity. They were drifting on the surface and could be netted for bait for the popular huachinango or true Pacific red snapper. The commercial pangueros from La Playita did well on these fish which averaged 6 to 10 pounds. Giant Humboldt squid were feeding on these same red crabs."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO:San Jose del Cabo species fishing specialist John Snow reported 17 species of fish caught or observed during slow panga action, 11 species provided by live bait pangueros, 18 species found during beach collections, and 13 species caught in the surf. "Panga fishing was dominated by wind, ugly green water, and a lack of pelagics in residence," Snow said. "Six focused predawn surf trips to my favorite spot, Roca de Patrick, produced 22 fish with 10 different species. The sand perches and very confusing. To tell the difference between them is almost impossible. One of the key diagnostic tools is the shape of the preoperculum. The operculum is the gill cover; the preoperculum is on the gill cover and closer to the fish's eye."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly reported few anglers but good beach action in the East Cape fishing area. "There is plenty of action from the beach and inshore for sierra, small roosterfish, and jacks," Graham said, "actually more fish than visitors." Relentless seasonable north winds prevented boats from fishing outside for some reported tuna and billfish. "High seas caused by the wind prevented anyone from getting out to find them," Graham said. East Cape fishing area weather was clear in the mid-70s, with water temperatures at 67 to 73 degrees.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: John Ireland of Rancho Leonero said the hotel was undergoing renovations and was scheduled to reopen on Feb. 12, 2008. "We are building a new laundry and redoing the rooms and bathrooms," Ireland said. "The bar, dining room, and kitchen are all new. But, I have been very careful not to lose the old ranch feel. I am really happy with the way it's turning out."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: East Cape tin boat angler Torrance Eddy of Los Barriles reported cold, windy local weather around Bahia de Palmas and few boats in the water. "Tomorrow, I might just get a line in the water," Eddy said. "There are only a dozen or so boats moored between Rancho Leonero and Los Barriles."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International checked in from Boise, Idaho, after driving through some hazardous winter road conditions while traveling between fishing shows at Denver and Portland. "Lots of snow," Roldan said. "Our van got buried overnight so I guess we are staying in Boise for a few days." Few anglers were in the La Paz fishing area during the week. "Not many anglers around, but that's typical of the January off-season," Roldan said. "Everyone did get into the fish this week. There's an excellent inshore bite for sierra and cabrilla, and more pargo and yellowtail are showing too. Unlike the regular season when we've got the whole fleet out daily and can track fish better, during the winter you've only got a handful of boats fishing per week, so it's hard to know exactly what's out there. That's the reality of winter fishing, but still, the inshore action for sierra, cabrilla, and other rockies is just fine." Roldan noted that his weekly Baja column will appear less frequently in Western Outdoor News. "I will no longer be doing regular posts in Western Outdoor News," Roldan said. "My column has been cut back. It's been gratifying, but the paper has decided to move in a different direction so my posts won't be as regular."
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company said her next radio spot on the Saturday morning "Ronnie Kovach's Radio Fishing University" program will be between 5 and 7 a.m. on Feb. 9, 2008. "The later time is usually better for me as boats are usually already out by then," Bolles said. Loreto fishing area weather continued to be windy and rough, with overall slow action in between. "Although the seas were generally flat the past few days, the fishing has been slow," Bolles said.
"The overcast skies and very low sea surface temperatures have an adverse affect on the fishes' feeding patterns as they pertain to the angler's point of reference. We are likely experiencing the lowest sea temperatures of the season right now and will begin to see them rise from here on through to the spring and into the summer."
Some fast moving schools of breezing yellowtail of 10 to 20 pounds were seen off Isla Coronado and the north end of Isla Carmen. "They can be spotted as sardina schools are attacked from below and from above by diving birds," Bolles said. "These fish move extremely quickly and disappear faster than they appear." Bolles noted that yellowtail egg sacks were still undeveloped and the post-spawn yellowtail spring surface bite was not anticipated soon. "This is to be expected for the month of January," she said. "It is still too early to tell exactly, but my best educated guess is that these fish won't be spawning until late April at the earliest."
LORETO, MEXICO: Walt Kainz of Camarillo, Calif., said winds allowed fishing on 9 out of 14 days during his January visit to Loreto, with a total of 22 yellowtail to a high of 42 pounds plus 3 pargo and 8 released hammerhead shark caught at locations south of Isla Carmen and east of Isla Danzante. Kainz fished several reefs with live mackerel aboard the boat Rowe Boat out of Tripui.
LORETO, MEXICO: For the previous week, Bob Meyer of Loreto reported on a run to Bajo Cholla off the northwest corner of Isla Carmen with Don Alley aboard Alley's boat Jack of Diamonds for a catch of 1 yellowtail at 30 pounds, but otherwise just a few bottom fish hooked during visits to La Vaca, Punta Lobos, and Punta Perico.
"The rest of the day yielded only a few bottom fish. Other boats reported very slow fishing," Meyer said. At Bajo Cholla, Denny Schwartz of Loreto and his brother Bill of Boise, Idaho, fished with Loreto Capt. Rigo Davis aboard the charter panga Aranxta for a 93-pound amberjack or pez fuerte hooked on their first drop of the day. "Bill was broken off in the rocks on the only other bite they had at Bajo Cholla," Meyer said. Loreto fishing area weather was near glassy after weeks of wind and rough seas, with the water temperature at 61 to 63 degrees.
LORETO, MEXICO: Lynn Hamman of Loreto said this year's local Fishin' for the Mission charity benefit tournament has been scheduled for July 10-12, 2008. Originally established as a private event by Jim Duggins of Duggins Construction in 1993, the tournament was opened to the public in 2002 and raises money to benefit the Loreto area. In 2006, $24,000 was donated. Information: www.fishinforthemission.com.
SANTA ROSALIA, MEXICO: Jim Anderson of San Bruno reported Santa Rosalia fishing area weather with calm periods during the week, but yellowtail action slow on the Isla San Marcos bajos. "The fish must have gotten advance notice that calm weather was coming so they vacated the area," Anderson said. "The hotspot this week would have to be Tortuga Island which is about a 25-mile run. During the Mulege tournament, all of the winning fish came from that area. While these were not exceptionally large fish, up to 30 pounds, they were pretty numerous and were willing to take live bait." Local commercial Mexican fishermen were camping on Isla Tortuga. "Several local pangueros were fishing Tortuga Island," Anderson said. "They camp out there for up to a week and one boat hauls in the day's catch and brings back groceries. Since there are rattlesnakes on the island, they camp on a rock island on the south side and then go out to the fishing areas early in the morning. You really have to admire these guys and their hard work." Santa Rosalia fishing area weather was again windy by the end of the week, at 70 degrees, with water temperatures at about 57 degrees.
SANTA ROSALIA, MEXICO: Ed Duitsman of Hinkley, Calif., reported on a run to Isla Tortuga aboard his boat Daycare, fishing with cut squid bait 150 to 300 feet deep for a good mixed bottom catch of red rockfish, bass, whitefish, sculpin, cabrilla, barracuda, and "a dozen other fish I couldn't name." The Daycare caught Humboldt giant squid baits about 300 feet deep near the Santa Rosalia downtown marina. "Live bait was very hard to find, even at the usual sure spots," Duitsman said. "We stayed at El Morro Hotel and even had warm showers this time. I left my boat and plan to fish the new moon in March." Also fishing aboard the Daycare were Henry and Kathy Orlosky and Duitsman's 7-year-old son Cory. Santa Rosalia fishing area water temperatures were at 58 to 60 degrees.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Brian Benson of San Diego, Calif., reported on a run to Los Machos on the middle west side of Isla Angel de la Guarda with Capt. Igor Galvan for a catch of 6 yellowtail of 15 to 20 pounds plus some "L.A. Bay lingcod" or giant jawfish in good weather and 58-degree water. "It was a cold boat ride but it was worth it once the first yellowtail hit," Benson said. "We left Bahia de los Angeles and attempted to make bait with no success. We used irons instead. We saw about 3 boats in the area. We dropped down about 250 feet." Also fishing aboard Galvan's boat was Benson's brother, Mike Benson of Hawaii.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Catalina Meders of San Felipe's Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said the town was preparing for the busy Carnaval holiday celebration scheduled Feb. 1-5, 2008. "There will be lots of music, dancing, singing, and of course the parades," Meders said. "We are hoping for a large turnout this year since both the Baja economy and the general morale need boosting. The U.S. papers continue with their Baja bashing. All of Baja is being affected. A huge effort is being made to deal with the drug cartels and the drug problems in general. Everyone is part of this enormous issue which has to be solved. So far San Felipe has managed to avoid being involved in the major turmoil. Let's hope it stays that way." Local San Felipe weather was sunny, windlass, and cool in the low-60s.
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: John Hilderbrand of Jon Jen Charters at San Carlos reported on 5 outings during the week, with a couple of yellowtail lost at the boat on 1 trip, but mostly good counts of mixed bottom fish including whitefish, snappers, and goldspotted bass. "Great eating fish," Hilderbrand said, "and everyone had a bunch to take home." Some boats reported up to 9 yellowtail caught at Punta San Antonio, but overall action was spotty. "They are there but you have to have the right color jigs and a certain amount skill. Not as aggressive as last year," Hilderbrand said. "The fish are hit-and-miss."
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 45 Aries Fleet offshore charter boats fishing out of Mazatlan's Marina El Cid, with a catch including released fish of: 5 striped marlin, 1 mako shark, 2 dorado, and 62 yellowfin tuna. "The tuna are a welcome addition as they have been nearly absent from the Mazatlan area for a long period of time," Edwards said. "The cooler water temperatures have now stretched across the Sea of Cortez and fishing throughout the greater Mazatlan area has felt the slowdown." Aries Fleet boats fished a wide area and found the best tuna action while trolling feathers on porpoise about 25 to 30 miles south and southwest of Mazatlan. Mazatlan fishing area weather was at 80 degrees, with mostly calm seas and the water temperature at 69 degrees.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Ernesto Quintana of Neto's Fleet at Mazatlan said his boats caught up to about 10 baqueta or gulf coney at 14 to 18 pounds while fishing at Marmol, on the Mexican mainland coast about 16 miles north of Mazatlan. "Sometimes we catch a lot of them, sometimes none or just one," Quintana said. "They are caught with strips of mullet bait."
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Stan Gabruk of Master Baiter's Sportfishing & Tackle reported good winter roosterfish action in the general area of Islas Marietas and at Sayulita along the coast to the north of Puerto Vallarta including fish to over 48 inches long. "The last couple of days the roosters have been thick," Gabruk said. "It's unusual to see roosterfish of this size in our fishing grounds at this time of year, so it was surprising to say the least. I’ll be heading out for roosters myself tomorrow. Contrary to popular belief, roosterfish taste good to me. Give it a try next time." Roosterfish caught during the week included a 43 incher hooked on a sardina bait cast by Chema DeFoo, first mate of the Master Baiter's charter boat Reel Ease.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Sal Campanile of Tuna Time Sportfishing reported good light tackle action for sierra and "chula," a good-eating kawakawa-like tuna species with teeth caught by casting spoons off Punta Mita. "There's been insane action right off the point," Campanile said. "Just get under the birds and have a blast." Offshore tuna of 30 to 80 pounds were also landed using 50-pound fluorocarbon line with small baits and light terminal tackle.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze, reporting for Baja On The Fly, said Ixtapa fishing area boats averaged 3 to 4 sailfish per day, plus some dorado of 20 to 40 pounds, but the bite was showing signs of slowing down. "Unfortunately, I don't see this bite holding up for much longer," Kunze said. "Yesterday the fleet came in with fewer flags. Whether this is a trend developing or the fleet just needs to locate new concentrations of fish will become evident over the next couple of days." Top boats during the week included the Gaby with Capt. Margarito, who scored 6 to 10 sailfish per day. Ixtapa fishing area weather was cloudy in the mid-90s, with blue water 6 miles out and water temperatures of 80 to 84 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 23 total outings by Ixtapa Zihuatanejo sportfishing Capts. Cheva, Adolofo, Candelario, Temo, and Chiro, for a catch including released fish of: 52 sailfish, 16 dorado, 2 striped marlin, 14 roosterfish, 25 jack crevalle, and 2 sierra. Boats reporting included the Dos Hermanos II, Leydy, Secuestro de Amore, and Bloody Hook. Ixtapa fishing area weather was sunny in the high-80s, with water temperatures at 82 degrees inshore and 83 degrees offshore.
MEXICO: Jeff Petersen of Lopez Sportsman's Lodge at Magdalena Bay reported on his trip across the Sea of Cortez to explore fishing opportunities along the Mexican mainland coast. During a trip that included 3,800 overland miles, Petersen stopped at San Blas, Nayarit, and reported on local fishing conditions. "Based on 3 decades of experience, now is a fine time to travel in Mexico," Petersen said. "Security is omnipresent and polite. I stopped at a beach spot for lunch. The fish selection was robalo or snook, the only fish on the menu. Most striking to me was the similarity of the ecosystem to Magdalena Bay, mangroves and what comes with them. Also striking was the degree of tourism development, like Key West, Florida. Our Puerto Lopez Mateos enjoys the charm of an undiscovered paradise."